CITY OF BELLEVUE, WA
Mayor Mike Creighton

CROSSROADS AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM

1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The Crossroads Community Center is located in the most ethnic and economically diverse neighborhood of Bellevue, Washington. An inter-generational recreation and human services center, that serves primarily children, youth and teens. Many children and teens are from low income families.

The Crossroads Centerís After School Program prevents violence by providing youth and teens, 6-18 years, recreation, education, life skills and socialization opportunities, Monday through Friday, 3:00 - 5:30 p.m. The young people participate in constructive activities, interacting with positive role models in a positive and healthy environment. This environment promotes personal responsibility (reinforcing the Centerís guidelines, "Respect yourself, respect others and respect this place"). The program reinforces socialization and communication between the diverse cultures and age groups represented in the Crossroads area.

2. When was your program created and why?

The program was created in 1997, in response to a growing number of young children, youth and teens who were not involved in structured after-school activities. The majority of these young people were not being served by other service agencies or after-school programs. Many are from low-income, indigent, single parent households and are not supervised in the late afternoon. Most children are in a latchkey situation, primarily due to economic status of the parent(s). Consequently, they are at a far greater risk of negative influences (including gangs, drugs and criminal behavior).

3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

Crossroadsí After School Program tracks the daily attendance of duplicated and unduplicated visits to the program. In 1997, an extensive survey of youth and teen participants was conducted rating the programís effectiveness. The survey reflected concerns of the youth and teen participants; the need to have a safe, fun place to relax and talk with friends; the importance of access to positive adults who would take time to talk with them about their problems and the opportunity to learn new recreation (e.g., sports, arts, music). The survey also encouraged youth to suggest new programs to be included at the Center. Since instituting the Crossroads Center After School program and two other complimentary programs - Peer Mediation and 23:59 Late Night Program - incidents involving youth violence (arguments and gang-related activities) has been greatly reduced. A fifty percent reduction of police intervention at the Crossroads Center has occurred since the introduction of youth and teen programs.

4. How is the program financed?

The City of Bellevue, Parks & Community Services Department is the primary funding source for the Crossroads Centerís After School Program. Additional activities, special events and field trips are supported by the Crossroads Advisory Board, corporate donations and private and public grants. The After-School Program annual cost is approximately $52k.

5. How is the community involved in the program?

Community volunteers assist with programs and donations are provided by local businesses, civic groups and individuals. The Friends of Crossroads Advisory Board serves as a conduit for the community feedback and helps promote the program.

6. What are the major lessons learned from your program?

  • Conduct an environmental scan of youth-related services currently provided, to avoid duplication of services.
  • Involve young people in planning activities, they enjoy the responsibility and will be more apt to participate.
  • Assume that programs serving a wide spectrum of ages will work. This program for example, which serves 6 to 18 years, utilizes the older teens to mentor the younger children (with adult supervision). This mentoring instills a sense of responsibility, encourages positive behavior and results in a cooperative environment.
  • Offer a variety of activities to reach as many interests as possible. Opportunities to work with animals, music, arts, crafts as well as traditional and alternative sports are very attractive to youth and teens.

7. Contact person:

Lee Springgate, Director

City of Bellevue Parks & Community Services Programs

P.O. Box 90012

Bellevue, Washington 98009-0012

(425) 452-6881

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