Seattle Parks TeensTeen Programs History

The 1980s marked an unprecedented surge in violent juvenile crimes, due in part to a transition by young people from drug use to the profitable and highly competitive drug trafficking market. Traditional youth recreation programs and approaches became irrelevant because they were not aligned with the current behavior and circumstances of the participants.

A new mayor was elected in Seattle at the end of the 1980s and at every public meeting he attended he was asked, "What are you going to do about gangs?" Seattle had a reputation of being America's most livable city. Although known for its high quality of life, this image was being tarnished by the gang problem. The public, political officials, and businesses were all applying pressure to the bureaucratic system to address the gang problem. Reco Bembry, Seattle Teen Programs Coordinator, noted, "It was clear the solution had not been found yet, so the community and government were open to new ideas."

In 1989 a consortium of recreation professionals in the city was established as the "Seattle Team for Youth." In addition, a Mayor's task force was formed comprised of the heads of city departments which deal with youth.

See more information about our Youth Violence Prevention program.

We continue today to strive towards success in the following:

  • Expanding parks and recreation opportunities for high school aged youth in the evenings and on weekends
  • Creating and expanding youth employment opportunities, including paid internships and career shadowing, during the summer and throughout the year
  • Aligning out-of-school time activities with school readiness and academic success
  • Partnering with communities to develop services and activities that are specifically tailored for ethnic and immigrant populations


Seattle Parks TeensOur Mission Statement

The Seattle Parks and Recreation's Citywide Teen Programs works to improve and enhance the self esteem, opportunities, knowledge, cultural awareness and well being among Seattle teens.

Citywide Teen Programs assists teens in navigating traditional systems to get what they need to meet their individual and community goals. We actively instigate teens to empower themselves by participating in civic dialogue, community activities, self-exploration and development.

Seattle Parks TeensTeen Program Success

Laurie's Experience with Seattle Teen Programs

"Late Night has provided me with a safe environment where I can go hang out with friends and play basketball and enjoy myself. I first started going to Late Night when I moved to Seattle, at 13. It was a place I was able to make new friends and try new things like basketball. That's where my love for the game first began. I was, and still am, the only girl that came to play, but I think that is what got me as good as I am today. Through Late Night I had a chance to play against the boys that were always bigger, faster, stronger and more skilled than I was but that was the challenge. Their abilities challenged mine which in turn made me a better player."

"I was lucky to find my first job through Late Night with the YES (Youth Engaged in Service) program. A YES volunteer worked late night most nights that I attended and they steered me towards the program. The next summer, I applied and became a YES volunteer at Bitter Lake Community Center, which helped me get to know the staff and the surrounding community. Through Bitter Lake I gained resources at other Community Centers that eventually helped me mature into the young woman that I am today."

"After the YES program I followed it up by volunteering at Bitter Lake and getting more involved in my community. Upon realization of how dedicated I was to working at Bitter Lake, Cynthia Etelamaki, site supervisor, hired me to work as a Pre School Counselor during the summer and even sometimes during the school year when one of the counselors couldn't make it. Now I work at Bitter Lake as much as I can, whether it is with the Pre School, helping out behind the desk or working at special events we host."

"I still come to Late Night and play basketball and socialize. I now see a lot of younger kids going through the same process and experiences I went through. Late Night is a great program that gives young people a place to hang out and grow into young adults."

Seattle Parks TeensTeen Leaders

Thanks to support from the Pro Parks Levy approved by Seattle voters, Seattle Parks and Recreation has specialized teen leaders at community centers throughout the city, enabling us to provide more thorough, focused services to youth.

Visit or call your nearest community center for site-specific teen programs.


Community CenterTeen LeaderOffice#Email
Alki CCLaura Wilburn206-684-7430laura.wilburn@seattle.gov
Ballard CCAlex Govan206-684-4093alexis.govan@seattle.gov
Bitter Lake CC Rob Bellm206-684-7524 rob.bellm@seattle.gov
Delridge CCDaryl Look206-684-7423daryl.look@seattle.gov
Garfield CC Nikitta Vinson206-684-4788nikitta.vinson@seattle.gov
Garfield TLCJoy House206-684-4550joy.house@seattle.gov
Garfield TLC Stephanie Berry206-684-4550 stephanie.berry@seattle.gov
Green Lake CC Carl Berquist206-684-0780 carl.berquist@seattle.gov
Hiawatha CC Tiffany Jordan (Temporary)206-684-7441 tiffany.jordan@seattle.gov
High Point CC Laura Wilburn206-684-7422 laura.wilburn@seattle.gov
International District CCChristine Lesh206-233-0042 christine.lesh@seattle.gov
Jefferson CCJean Lee206-684-7481jeanf.lee@seattle.gov
Langston Hughes PACIsiah Anderson Jr.206-684-4740isiah.anderson@seattle.gov
Laurelhurst CC Elana Sims206-684-7529 elana.sims@seattle.gov
Loyal Heights CCAlexis Govan206-684-4052alexis.govan@seattle.gov
Magnolia CC Raft Hollingsworth206-386-4235 raft.hollingsworth2@seattle.gov
Magnuson CCKristopher Alina206-684-7588kristopher.alina@seattle.gov
Meadowbrook CCBetsy Seberson206-684-7522betsy.seberson@seattle.gov
Meadowbrook TLCGlenn Hubbard206-684-7523glenn.hubbard@seattle.gov
Miller CCRonald Brown206-684-4753ronald.brown@seattle.gov
Montlake CCTraci Grant206-684-4736traci.grant@seattle.gov
Northgate CCNick White (Temporary)206-386-4283nick.white@seattle.gov
Queen Anne CCDirk Hallingstad206-386-4240dirk.hallingstad@seattle.gov
Rainier CCDerryn Anderson206-386-1919derryn.anderson@seattle.gov
Rainier Beach CC Sauvignon Quinichett206-386-1025 sauvignon.quinichett@seattle.gov
Ravenna-Eckstein CCBritt Lord-Jacobson206-684-7534 britt.lord-jacobson@seattle.gov
O2 Outdoor OppurtunitiesMatt Axling206-684-0195matt.axling@seattle.gov
Service LearningKen Turner206-615-1727keno.turner@seattle.gov
South Park CCMatthew Roberson206-684-7451matthew.roberson@seattle.gov
South FloaterShanyanika McElroy206-617-8265shanyanika.mcelroy@seattle.gov
Southwest CCChris Jones206-684-7438chris.jones@seattle.gov
Southwest TLC John Hasslinger206-684-7438 john.hasslinger@seattle.gov
Southwest TLCGeorge Yasutake206-684-7438george.yasutake@seattle.gov
Van Asselt CCJoy Williams206-615-1921joy.williams@seattle.gov
Yesler CCDonna Kirvin206-615-1245donna.kirvin@seattle.gov


Seattle Parks TeensTeen Questions

What do I need to graduate?

60 hours of service-learning are mandated by the Seattle Public School District, but your school may require something else. Please speak to your school counselor to clarify graduation requirements.

My teachers said that I need community service. What's the difference?

Community Service is helping the community by choice or through court requirement. Community service may or may not be tied to academics or curriculum and may or may not include some form of reflection.

Service Learning is a teaching methodology that allows students to learn and apply academic, social and personal skills to improve the community, continue individual growth and become better citizens. Service learning focuses on both the service and the learning and is appropriate for all students and all curricular areas. One of the key components of service learning is structured and systematic reflection.

Each school has its own interpretation of service learning and community service. Before participating in a project it is imperative that the project be approved by your teacher or faculty member responsible of service hours at your school.

How do I track my hours?

There is a form available at your school that has a section for tracking your hours. Please visit your school counselor for the form. If you need additional assistance, please contact the person below.

Ron Mirabueno
Service Learning Coordinator
Seattle Parks Department

Do I have to complete all 60 hours in one school year?

No. You have your entire high school career to accumulate your 60 hours, but don't wait till the last minute. Please note some schools may require you to complete a certain number of hours per year to help you manage your hours more easily. Be sure to check with your school counselor.

I don't live in North Seattle, who can I call to find other opportunities?

Just inside this page you will find the name and number of a Teen Development Leader at a community center located near where you may live. Check it out. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact Ron Mirabueno through the contact information above.

Who can I contact if I have any additional questions?

For details on programs, classes, or special trips & events, please contact a Teen Development Leader at 206.684.4387.


Seattle Parks TeensParent Questions

What does my teen need to participate in a teen program?

In order to participate, all teens need to have on file is an E-13 waiver. This is a liability waiver for the City of Seattle. This allows them to participate in virtually any teen related program within the city. Some programs require more documents.

Is there a fee?

Many of the city Teen Programs are free but select programs, based on the site and activity have nominal fees. Please check with the individual program.

What age do you have to be to participate in the city Teen Program?

Teens ages 11-18 can participate in the programs. Late Night activities are reserved for 13-19 yr olds.

What is a TDL?

A Teen Development Leader (TDL) works with teenagers to create programs that are educational, fun, and productive for our youth. Many TDL's try to introduce teens to a variety of experiences, some where they would not otherwise have an opportunity to try or do.

How often do the Teen Programs occur?

Most programs are 4-5 days a week. Programs very in range and scope. During the summer programs happen between the hours of 10am and 10pm. During the school year and during most breaks most programs run from 3-9pm on weekdays with an occasional weekend program.

Programs include sports, art, educational programs, trips to: muesums, parks, Mariners games, concerts, dances, movies and much more. Programs are different in each community to match the diverse interests of teens in each community.

Do you provide day care?

No, we do not substitute for day care. The Associated Recreation Council runs programs at select sites for teens for ages 11-14 yrs old.

What is Late Night?

Late Night is a program that has been run in the city of Seattle for over 15 years. It provides a safe place for teens to hang out between the hours of 7pm and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Each site offers a variety of programs for each weekend. Late Night sites are at: Rainier Beach, Rainier, Mercer Middle school, Southwest, Delridge, High Point, Garfield Teen Life center (attached to the Qunicy Jones performing arts center), Bitter Lake Annex (west of the community center) and Meadowbrook Teen Life center (attached to Nathan Hale High School).

Are the Teen Programs safe for my teen?

Teen Development Leaders (TDL's) are charged with not only creating unique and fun oportunities, but to make them safe as well. TDL's ensure that language is appropriate, comments are tasteful and tactful and that nothing illegal is going on while teens are present. Often many TDL's act as peers and a step down from a parent figure.


Seattle Parks TeensParticipation Forms

Your specific teen program may require additional forms to be filled out. Please check with your teen development leader at the program's site to ensure all of the necessary paperwork that is needed for you to participate.

Welcome to Seattle Parks - Information web page. Find the latest info about all of Seattle Parks Teens programs, events and activities. Including Late Night, O2 outdoor education, the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, service learning hours and more.

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