Greentrike To Lead Community Efforts For Equitable Access To Expanded Learning Opportunities

Beginning March 1, 2021 Pierce County education and advocacy organization, Greentrike, will be leading Out-of-School Time Intermediary (OSTI) efforts to improve access and quality of Expanded Learning Opportunities for local youth. GTCF Senior Program Officer Fahren Johnson, who has led much of the OSTI development work over the past several years, will be joining the team at Greentrike as Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this role Fahren will work directly with Tanya Durand, Greentrike Executive Director, to seek and fill spots in the community where play, positive adult interactions, and engaging environments can make big differences for children, youth, and families. Bringing nearly a decade of experience working together with numerous community partners to coordinate Expanded Learning Opportunities for students in Tacoma Public Schools, Fahren has seen firsthand the positive impact these opportunities have on young people.

“Expanded Learning Opportunities are the key to supporting young people outside of the school day. They provide spaces where children and youth find their spark, where they can foster relationships with caring adults who model wisdom and grit, and where they can flex their muscles in social emotional learning and life skills that will help them thrive in whatever path they choose. Data has also proven that students increase and enhance their core learning academic success when they plug into opportunities that Expanded Learning can offer.” – Fahren Johnson, Senior Program Officer, GTCF

Greentrike’s focus on children and social emotional learning through programs like the Children’s Museum, Play to Learn, and Preschool Powered by Play, along with its demonstrated ability to convene local leaders around a child-centered community movement, make it a natural fit to be an OSTI.

“At Greentrike we are passionate about children being the center of our community—our planning, our actions, our time. Creating opportunities for children to have a safe nurturing place to gather after school with deeply engaging activities is our mission at work—to honor children and champion play. We step into this OSTI role humbly and eager to make a difference for more children and youth…We’re excited to have Fahren’s heart for children’s innate sparks, her passion for partnership, and her strategic impatience for doing what’s right for our youngest to complement the Greentrike team.” – Tanya Durand, Executive Director, Greentrike

Over the past four years, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Tacoma Public Schools, and numerous Expanded Learning providers have been engaged in The Wallace Foundation-funded Tacoma Whole Child Partnership. This community-wide effort works to ensure every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged in and out of school.

Through the Tacoma Whole Child Partnership, partners developed the values alignment, trusted relationships, and professional development necessary to create a broader vision of what’s possible. By developing opportunities for children and youth to experience equitable Expanded Learning, they laid the groundwork for this OSTI. Recent community research showed that local families want a central hub to plug into for equitable, streamlined access to Expanded Learning Opportunities.

“For the past decade, GTCF has supported and learned from Pierce County’s youth development organizations. From the Youth Program Quality Initiative to delivering funding via the Youth Philanthropy Board, GTCF has invested in opportunities that increase youth voice, enrichment, and engagement. This OSTI has been a missing, but critical, need in our community landscape. Greentrike and Fahren Johnson will provide supports for youth that strengthen and sustain our community’s future.” – Kathi Littmann, CEO, GTCF

As Greentrike steps into the OSTI role, they will continue to foster ongoing collaboration with partner organizations, school districts, and families to ensure children and youth across Pierce County have consistent, equitable access to high quality Expanded Learning Opportunities.

“How a community engages, listens to, and supports its children and young people says a great deal about a community’s values, aspirations, and vision. Greentrike’s decision to step into this OSTI leadership role is yet another example of how our community values and nurtures young people and their futures. However, we also know that it will take systems, providers, funders, and families all coming together with Greentrike and districts to ensure that young people of all ages have equitable access to school and Expanded Learning Opportunities.” – Seth Kirby, VP Community Impact, GTCF

Further Reading  

Youth Hunger for Connection Served Up By Online Expanded Learning Opportunities (November 12,  2020) 

Working Together, Tacoma Organizations Remove Barriers to Expanded Learning Opportunities (October 9, 2019)  

Community Partnerships Expand, Expanded Learning Opportunities for Tacoma Students (September 11,  2019) 

Early Lessons From Schools and Out of School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning (The Wallace Foundation) 

Partnerships for Social Emotional Learning (The Wallace Foundation)