Growing up in Southern California, Bobby Wagner, his siblings, and friends knew that if they needed a safe place to get away from whatever life had in store for them, or just a place to go. to relax and unwind, they could head to the Westwind Center community in her hometown in Ontario.
Wagner has since pursued a career in the NFL that saw him grow to be one of the best players of his generation and a near lockdown to end up in the Professional Football Hall of Fame after his retirement, but even after a decade of accolades and wins and big contracts, Wagner has never lost sight of how important it can be for children to have a safe and welcoming place to call home, which is why he, along with the Seahawks, does everything that it can to support the Seattle Youth Achievement Center, which is being built in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle to provide housing and support services to BIPOC youth in the Seattle area.
The Seahawks have committed $ 500,000 to the development of the Youth Achievement Center, pledging to donate $ 100,000 per year over the next five years. And Wagner donated on top of that $ 500,000, while also helping the fundraising phase by recording a public service announcement on the Youth Achievement Center.
“The Youth Achievement Center is so important because it’s crucial that children have a place where they can feel safe and can call home,” Wagner said. “People don’t realize how much impact having a place like this has on people’s lives. The people who are going to change the world are the young people, so you want to make sure they have the love and the support they need to thrive in the world. “
When complete, the Youth Achievement Center, located next to the Columbia City light rail station, will be a 45,000 square foot building that will provide resources such as health care, child care, consulting, technology and financial education. On-site vocational training and skills development opportunities will also be offered. The project is being developed by Africatown Community Land Trust and will ultimately be owned by Seattle’s Community Passageways with Created Justice as the operational and service provider.
“The Seahawks believe in the mission of the Youth Achievement Center to provide a community-based approach to providing housing and life-saving resources to Seattle-area BIPOC youth who need a safe and supportive place to feel. home, ”said Seahawks president Chuck Arnold. “We are proud to show our commitment to this project through not only this donation, but also by raising awareness through fundraising and long-term support. “
Explaining the need for the Youth Achievement Center, Creative Justice Executive Director Nikkita Oliver said, “The Youth Achievement Center is a solution to some of our city’s most serious problems. It was born from the brilliance and creativity of the young people most affected by gentrification, homelessness It is their lived experience, their hope and their vision for their neighborhood and their families that led us to co-develop the YAC housing co-located with services that are culturally rooted and Together we are building pipelines to thriving communities and the Youth Achievement Center is just the start.
BIPOC’s focus on young people is one of the main reasons Wagner supports the Youth Achievement Center so much, as it is too often children who are neglected in society.
“This is very important because these are the groups that often tend to be forgotten,” said Wagner. “So it is important that these families and groups know that they are seen and heard and that they are loved like everyone else. It is our job as older individuals to make sure that they do not fall apart. feel no different, because they shouldn’t. “
For the Seahawks, supporting social justice causes, including initiatives that support youth, homelessness and racial equity, is a priority all year round. The team has long-term relationships with Community Passageways and Creative Justice, and has partnered with both organizations to launch documentaries. In community, by community in 2020 and Out of the fire in 2019. In December, the Seahawks and Community Passageways will launch a new social justice documentary that will raise awareness of Community Passageways’ “30 Days of Peace Program”. The documentary follows the journeys of local youth participating in the 30-day program, which takes those at high risk of perpetuating or experiencing gun violence to a 30-day off-site program. The aim of the documentary is to raise awareness of the problem of gun violence among young people and the work that organizations like Community Passageways are doing to prevent it. The documentary will launch on the Seahawks Youtube channel December 17th.
As part of the NFL’s “Inspire Change” social justice initiative this month, the Seahawks will be encouraging fans to donate to the Youth Achievement Center through in-game messaging and team digital platforms. The team will also donate 12% of blanket sales to the Seahawks Pro Shop, as well as $ 0.25 from each bottle of water purchased during the home games on December 26 and January 2 at the Youth Achievement Center.
“The YAC will be a representation of healing for marginalized communities,” said Community Passageways CEO Dominique Davis. “It will give us the possibility of having a safe space to provide the necessary resources to youth and families of color. A space to feel supported, loved, appreciated while opening doors and pathways to success. Communities of color have faced systems of oppression for decades and now it is time for us to set a new standard and new expectations for people in our community to feel hope. We want to inspire them to take it to the next level. higher through education, economic success and ownership. I want to thank the Seahawks for believing and investing in this vision. “
King County Council Member Girmay Zahilay said, “The YAC will be a role model in providing housing and opportunities for young people in our area. By creating safe and nurturing places for young people, we can ensure that everyone in Seattle and King County can grow up to be healthy and prosperous adults. “
For more information or to donate, visit www.seahawks.com/yac.