What’s Our History
New Futures was originally founded in 1990 as Project Look by educators seeking to support students struggling within the school system. They also provided social services for students and their families, but because of cultural and language barriers, educators struggled to make long-lasting connections. This resulted in parents from the community volunteering to support programs and in return helping to bridge that gap, thus creating trust, and strengthening community relationships. A Miami-based program, Puertas Abiertas, provided crucial advocacy-based trainings and established a cohort of Capacitadoras. This position has since been reimagined as our Family Advocate role and some of those Capacitadoras are still working with us today. In 2003 Project Look was renamed New Futures and in 2013 we merged with Southwest Youth and Family Services.
What We Do
New Futures is an out-of-school supports program provided at 5 affordable housing communities in South King County; where students and their families live, work, and go to school. The program focuses on:
- Academic support for students in grades 1- 12 to help build skills needed for school success, and typically includes literacy and math tutoring, homework help, English Language Learner (ELL) services.
- Enrichment activities such as arts education and STEM based learning, outdoor recreation, and field trips that increase access to opportunities while promoting social-emotional learning.
- Youth development activities in which youth take on leadership roles in program planning, community service, and tutoring.
- Family advocacy in which a dedicated Family Advocate works with families to meet their needs in areas such as translation, transportation, parenting skills, while breaking down institutional barriers and engaging in their children’s education.
Who We Serve
New Futures’ staff partners closely with schools located in the Highline School District and serves families living in 5 low-income housing communities located Southwest King County. Housing communities are:
- Windsor Heights
- Arbor Heights
- Alcove at Seahurst Apartments
- Woodridge Park
- Coronado Springs
Most of our students are enrolled in the Highline District and attend 33 different schools. About 10% attend charter schools. Our students’ families are largely immigrants or refugees, and 66% speak a primary language other than English (Spanish 61% and Amharic 18%; others are Arabic, Oromo, Somali, and Tigrinya). Ninety-seven percent of the youth are BIPOC. Demographic variations exist in the housing communities we serve and we adapt programming to meet the cultural and academic needs at each site. For example, at Alcove in Burien, 98% of youth are Hispanic/Latinx while Windsor Heights is 72% Black/African American/Other African (primarily immigrants and refugees from African countries). Expanded learning students are almost evenly divided between male (49%) and female (51%).
Our students experience stark educational disparities. Highline Public Schools (HPS) data show that as of Fall 2021, 53% of White students met standards in English Language Arts while only 25% of Black/African American and 22% of Hispanic/Latinx students met those standards. In Science, 51% of White students met standards compared to 25% of Black/African American and 21% of Hispanic/Latinx students. These disparities affecting BIPOC youth follow students through high school – the graduation rate for White students in HPS is 86%. For Black/African American students it’s 80%; for Hispanic/Latinx students it’s 78%. Through our dedicated services and work, the New Futures team strives to bridge these ducational gaps.