Now in its 19th year, School’s Out Washington’s annual Bridge Conference brings together school-age care providers, youth development professionals, leaders, community organizers, funders, and policy makers from across the country.

Attendees hear from thought-provoking presenters and learn new strategies to build strong programs and equitable systems for young people, in and out of school. Reflected in all aspects of the Bridge Conference are the values of equity, belonging, leadership, nourishment, change, innovation, and community. Our attendees and presenters represent the diverse communities we work with across the state. In 2021, for our second virtual conference, we will come together to celebrate, influence, and learn in community with the expanded learning field.

We gather to:
  • Engage with a diverse range of knowledge, people, and perspectives
  • Identify the ways that racial inequities impact youth, expanded learning opportunities, and educational outcomes
  • Experience a sense of belonging to nourish social connection and professional networking
  • Learn how to implement tangible practices that promote an equitable expanded learning opportunity ecosystem
  • Strive to recognize power dynamics throughout programs and systems and begin to strategize how to co-create stronger partnerships across sectors

2021 Bridge: From Seedlings to Stardust
Across time and cultures, humans have found comfort, guidance, and knowledge amongst the stars. Before we had the technology to tell us what was out there, we were grounded and deeply connected to this unknown we reached for it. The stars can be said to be our first home, the first dreamscape of humankind. We have only just begun our rupture – the shattering and deconstruction of—individual and collective realities. This change has brought exhaustion—with no clear path in sight. Yet, we cannot stifle ourselves in normalcy. 2021 Bridge: From Seedlings to Stardust dares us to dream and to pour into the tenaciousness of transformation. The seeds have been sown—now, how do we shape this change?

Systems Leader Cohort
For 2021, the Systems Leader Cohort will include a Pre-Conference on October 26 and a series of recommended workshops for funders, policymakers, and community leaders. This cohort will focus on advancing equity through a well-supported expanded learning system in this profound moment of change.

Bridge Conference Registrants: Once you register, participants will receive an email from Sched inviting you to create and/or log into your Sched account so you can create your personalized schedule and prepare to attend the event. Check out our Attendee Guidance Checklist for more info on "how" to show up to this virtual event or contact our Customer Service team at bridge@schoolsoutwashington.org if you have any challenges navigating the platform. 
Back To Schedule
Wednesday, October 27 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Essential Not Ornamental: Increasing Youth Civic Engagement, One Funding Process at a Time

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Co-presented with members of Seattle’s Youth Commission, this session will lead participants on how to civically engage youth through planning development processes. Utilizing Harts' Ladder of Youth Participation, program and policy leads will learn how to create a framework that integrates youth through critical steps of their planning and development processes. The operational goal of the workshop is to teach participants how to "ASK" Awareness, Structure, and Knowledge. "A" = Awareness, often times adults are not aware of the youth groups they have access to nor have they full awareness of how their practices are exclusionary of youth voice, implicit or explicit. "S" = Structures, knowing where to start concerning youth engagement and participation. Finally, "K" = Knowledge examining how participants plan to apply the knowledge to create frameworks to apply in their next planning process.

STARS Credit offered for live attendance or watching the recording of this session.

Session Survey​​​


Mei-Li Thomas

Planning and Development Specialist, Sr, Department of Education and Early Learning
Mei-Li Thomas has been with the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) for the past three years. Within the department she serves as the Planning and Development Specialist, Sr, which comes along with the responsibility of Funding Coordinator where Mei-Li edits the policy... Read More →

Osbaldo Hernandez

Program Coordinator, City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods - Seattle Youth Commission
Osbaldo Hernandez is the Seattle Youth Commission Program Coordinator for the Department of Neighborhoods. Osbaldo is an advocate for youth and will stand as the liaison for the member of the Seattle Youth Commission that will be the actual co-presenter.

Eleanor Cenname

Commissioner, City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods - Seattle Youth Commission

Katherine Kang

Commissioner, City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods - Seattle Youth Commission

Wednesday October 27, 2021 2:30pm - 4:00pm PDT
Zoom- Meeting