Summer of Opportunity

Keeping youth engaged and safe during summer through positive activities

As part of Mayor's commitment to building youth achievement and equity, the City of Seattle has launched "Summer of Opportunity" to support positive youth development, safety and diversions from the criminal justice system. Programming areas include education, recreation, employment, health and positive connections for children and teens, and a $145,000 Youth Opportunity Fund to support those providing positive youth experiences. Youth opportunity programs are offered throughout the City year-round and a number remain open for summer enrollment and drop-ins as part of the Summer of Opportunity to help kids and teens stay engaged and safe.


Through the Families & Education levy, the Department of Education and Early Learning supports high-quality summer learning programs critical to closing the achievement gap facing youth of color. This summer, the City will add 200 new summer learning slots based in culturally and gender specific curriculum. Programs are available to help prevent "summer melt" and provide struggling students with opportunities to catch up with peers, establish deeper relationships with teachers and adult role models, and participate in experiential learning activities (STEM, visual and performing arts, and college/career exploration). Visit DEEL to learn more.  

Seattle Libraries Blast Off to SpaceThe Seattle Public Library offers hundreds of free programs and activities for children and teens to keep youth engaged in reading and learning all summer long. This year's theme is "Blast Off to Space," with programs encouraging reading and activities around science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Visit SPL to learn more about offerings geared toward early learners, children and teens.

Health, wellness and recreation

Keeping children and teens healthy and active throughout the summer is a focus of many City departments. Recreation options supported by Seattle Parks include summer wading pools and spray parks, sports leagues, day camps, outdoor opportunities for teens and the Teen Musical Program. In addition, the City has expanded community center hours and eliminated fees for most drop-in activities, including Tot Gyms, Fitness Rooms, Basketball, and many others.

Athletics provide an opportunity for youth to have positive interactions with law enforcement. The Seattle Police Activities League (SeaPAL) provides youth 5-18 the opportunity to be a part of a variety of programming activities with police officers serving as coaches, mentors and role models. The City's Summer Meal Program provides healthy no-cost lunches for children and teens ages 1-18. Meals are served at approved sites where at least half the participants are eligible for free or reduced price school lunches. Use the Summer Meals Search Tool to find where meals are available near you.

Community safety

Police Athletic LeagueContrary to popular myth, summer does not bring a spike in crime. But it does mean more youth are out and about and susceptible to negative influence or harm. Mayor believes to prevent crime, we must provide opportunities for youth and community members to enjoy their streets and public spaces citywide, and evidence bears this out. Through the Youth Opportunity Fund, the City is supporting organizations providing safe, positive experiences and again activating community centers and other public spaces. The City will again be extending library and community center hours, as well as building on the work of previous violence prevention efforts. Providing safe places and enriching activities for residents are important steps in bringing more "eyes on the street" to discourage and report illegal activities. Find It, Fix It Walks hosted throughout the summer by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods offer an opportunity to meet neighbors, share ideas and help identify safety issues present in the built environment of Seattle's neighborhoods.

Positive Connections

Mentorship and positive connections with caring adults are key to giving youth the tools and support they need to realize their full potential. Announced during Mayor's 2017 State of the City address, Our Best represents the City of Seattle's first-ever initiative focusing specifically on improving life outcomes for young Black men. This summer, Our Best will launch a mentoring pilot with the goal of doubling the number of Black men mentoring young Black men and boys through formal mentoring programs.


The City has grown youth employment and internship opportunities dramatically in recent years, with a focus on youth of color who experience unemployment at a rate double that of White youth. Over the course of the year, the Mayor's Youth Employment Initiative will place some 3,500 youth in jobs within the City, and with private partners and local nonprofits - many of those summer jobs. Summer employment opportunities are available with the Seattle Public Library, Seattle Parks  and other departments.