You’ve enriched more lives than we can count — tens of thousands directly, in summer camps and year-round classes, and in a ripple effect through our graduates, hundreds of thousands more. These kids whose lives you’ve touched are forever changed; the experiences and connection to nature they’ve enjoyed will always be a well of inspiration and strength to draw from.
This year, your support helped reach a new community, with the possibility for change on a scale for which we we’ve hoped for years. Meet the recess and after-school program kids of South Seattle’s Beverly Park and Roxhill Elementary Schools.
Remember the magic of your first camp fire, or the sheer joy of rolling down a grassy hill? When surveyed before beginning our pilot program, Northwest Recess 360, fifty-two percent of these students reported spending less than an hour per week playing outside when not in school. This program — designed to bring back active, connected play, reduce bullying, increase academic performance, and improve overall health and wellbeing — has had a transformational impact. Matt DeJong, one of our lead instructors, describes the depth of the need:
“At first, we encountered substantial fear around getting wet and dirty —they were afraid to even to touch a stick, or go up a steep hill. One student went from being barely able to go down paths, to now happily pushing his way through bushes, to explore off-trail.”
Invest in kids. Your support can bring connection and love of the natural world to the children who need it most. Nate Summers, our pilot program Coordinator, shares how public recess and after-school programs reach kids who can otherwise miss out:
“We consistently work with autistic and special-needs children, who are eager to join in the games with the regular classrooms — an experience their teachers are also very excited about.”
Our spring Invest in Kids campaign goal is to raise $45,000 to increase the number of kids reached by our summer programs by 16 percent — serving over 1800 children — and continue to develop additional public school partnerships. Please give generously to help get even more kids outside!
Merilee Wilmore, another lead instructor at our inner-city program, shared a story about demonstrating primitive fire that moved her tears:
“They’d never actually seen a real flame. They expressed both their complete disbelief that it could be possible, and their incredible joy that it actually was real. It’s a powerful journey, one that we share in all of our work with youth, and now have the privilege to extend to public school campuses…. Hopefully, one day, we’ll have the opportunity to take them beyond our concrete playgrounds, where they can gather around a real campfire, cook food, tell stories, perhaps having helped start that fire themselves, and opening their lives to a whole new journey.”
This year, we are continuing to pilot programs. Our goal is to find the optimal mix of programs and partnerships that will reach the most kids, and engage and inspire their home communities to continue outdoor play.
Ingwe, our co-founder, had a dream that kids of all ages would have the opportunity to develop a strong connection to the natural world. In his honor, half of your donation will go to the Ingwe Memorial Scholarship Fund.
We need your generous support to reach 1800 children this summer, and continue building public school and other partnerships to serve kids who have great need of nature connection — to help bring Ingwe’s dream to life.
P.S. Please send in your donation by June 1st — the deadline for us to notify this year’s Ingwe Memorial Scholarship Fund recipients.
P.P.S. Grow your Gift? Join us on May 15th for giveBIG! The Seattle Foundation is
hosting a ONE-day event — all gifts given online that day will be Stretch Matched.
Please donate to Wilderness Awareness School for giveBIG, online, on May 15 at www.seattleFoundation.org/npos/Pages/WildernessAwarenessSchool.aspx
“I’m constantly impressed with how well the skills they learn at program translate into other areas of their life — and how beautifully they seem to flow through all the threads of my children’s experience, to support their growth.”
— Program parent, spring 2013
Grow your Gift through giveBIG! What a difference a day makes…
• giveBIG — Join us for a community-wide online day of sharing, hosted by The Seattle Foundation
• ONE DAY ONLY! — online, May 15th midnight to midnight (Pacific Time)
• Donations must be online — Contribute with your credit or debit card to qualify for the Match
• Stretch your donation — The more money we raise online that day, the more of the Stretch Match we earn
• Chance to boost your donation an additional $1000! — Golden Tickets will be awarded randomly, during this 24 hours, allowing a donation of any size to WinBIG!
Donate to Wilderness Awareness School on The Seattle Foundation’s website on May 15th for giveBIG!
ALL DONATIONS ARE 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE AS PROVIDED BY LAW
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Wilderness Awareness School is a division of The Awareness Society, a not-for-profit organization, recognized as Federal Tax Exempt Organization under IRS code section 501(c)(3). Tax ID # 22-3190778.