This Saturday, local celebrities, athletes and community leaders will go to bat at Safeco Field during United Way of King County’s third annual All-Star Softball Classic for Youth. They’ll play alongside formerly-homeless youth who epitomize why this event is so important for our community and why the Raikes Foundation is such a proud sponsor.
These young people—like roughly 5,000 others each year in King County—at some point in their lives have been forced to prioritize shelter over school and basic survival over pursuing their dreams. These are unacceptable choices that no young person should ever have to make, and that no community should ever allow. The young people playing alongside the celebrities in Saturday’s game have overcome the challenges of homelessness, but we’re working hard at the local, state and federal levels to make these types of success stories the norm rather than an exception.
Youth homelessness is a community-wide problem that can only be addressed through a coordinated community-wide effort. It truly takes a team to make youth homelessness rare, brief and one time. That’s exactly the sentiment that will be demonstrated on the field during Saturday’s game. Everyone, including the young people themselves, have a role to play. Equally important, we’ll only earn the “W” against youth homelessness by uniting under common goals and giving our best for our teammates.
This year’s game will also be an opportunity to celebrate the passage of the landmark Homeless Youth Act in Olympia and the recently completed refresh of the Committee to End Homelessness’s comprehensive plan to end youth homelessness. Both milestones were the hard-earned result of teamwork between policymakers, service providers, funders, young people and advocacy organizations. By banding together, we’re making progress to ensure all young people have a safe place to call home.
We hope you’ll join us on Saturday for a family-friendly day at the ballpark. Tickets are still available and kids 14 and under are free, though everyone will need a ticket to enter the stadium. Jeff’s oiling his mitt and prepping to help Team Jay, and I’ll see you in the stands as we recognize everyone working to strike out youth homelessness in our community.