Mister Rogers Sweater Drive kicks off this Monday and helps benefit Queen Anne Helpline

Mister Rogers sweater drive logoLocal charities receive many donations in December with the combination of holiday cheer and year-end tax deductions acting as reminders to make charitable contributions. Once the holidays are over, January drags us into another year of day-to-day routines – but for people in need, this is a critical time of year. It’s winter, it’s cold, and warm clothing is essential.

This year, as in years past, you can donate warm clothing such as sweaters, coats, gloves, and hats via the Mister Rogers Neighborhood Sweater Drive. KCTS is hosting the drive for the 18th year, it starts Monday, January 12th and runs through Sunday, February 8th. All donated items go to Wellspring Family Services, Queen Anne Helpline and Northwest Center.

How to donate: Look for the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive collection bin at any PCC Natural Markets or Sound Credit Union or drop items off at KCTS 9‘s Seattle Center studio. Warm clothing for children is greatly needed, but all new or gently used adult and children’s sweaters and coats will be accepted.

Fred Rogers (aka Mister Rogers) began the sweater drive in 1997 and it continues today. Last year, the KCTS Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive collected more than 7,500 sweaters and coats — 5,336 pounds of warm clothing — for families in need in both Seattle and King County.

Umbrella Tree hosting backpack drive for Northwest Center Kids

Local Queen Anne business Umbrella Tree is hosting a backpack and school supply community drive for Northwest Center. Umbrella Tree creates and hosts kid-focused social and play development classes at Twirl Café.

Umbrella Tree backpackTo help out Northwest Center’s Kids Program, Umbrella Tree is running a community drive to get 45 backpacks and supplies “adopted” for the upcoming school year.

Northwest Center has had a tough year, as the organization was faced with a late notice to vacate its long-time Queen Anne home. As of June, it found a home in Greenwood, but it still has many strong ties in the Queen Anne community.

If you’d like to help out, sign-up on Umbrella Tree’s site to adopt a new, or donate a “like-new” backpack, and they’ll also let you know of the recipient’s school supply needs to help fill the backpack.

Backpacks can be dropped off at the Queen Anne Eat Local (corner of Queen Anne Ave N and McGraw) and Twirl Café (2111 Queen Anne Ave N) now through next Friday, August 15th.

Northwest Center school given 6 months to vacate Queen Anne location

Editor’s note: updated with additional information on the Cascade Parent Partnership program.

NW Center signA reader wrote in to let us know about the letter sent to Northwest Center Queen Anne parents, detailing the Seattle Public School district’s plans for the current location of Northwest Center Kids school on the corner of Florentia and 1st Ave W.

Northwest Center provides an early learning program “for children with and without disabilities in the same program, recognizing each child as a unique individual.”

NW CenterThe site is owned by Seattle Public School district, but has been the home to Northwest Center’s school for 28 years – and per a letter from the school district, they now have 6 months to vacate so the district can use the building for Cascade Parent Partnership, a program for home-schooled children. According to the Seattle Times, their current building, the Wilson-Pacific  School, is being demolished and replaced with a new middle school and elementary school.

While 6 months is the timeframe in the lease termination agreement, the school says it needs more time to make the move. According to Northwest Center, “at least two years would be needed to navigate the logistical challenges of a move as well as the licensing and permitting hurdles we would face.”

The Seattle Times has picked up the story and KING 5 is looking for parents to interview. You can read the full letter to Northwest Center parents below. If you’re interested in helping, check out the “How You Can Help” document, which also contains all of the contact information for Seattle Public School Board officials.

Dear Families,

I am writing to share news that affects the entire Northwest Center Kids community that we have all worked so hard to build here at Queen Anne.  As many of you know, we have made our home at North Queen Anne Elementary for 28 years, made possible by a long-time lease with Seattle Public Schools.  We were recently notified by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lester Herndon, who is in charge of facilities among other things, that Seattle Public Schools needs the building back and will terminate our lease with six months notice per the terms of our lease agreement.

This is shocking news and news which we are prepared to challenge and fight with every resource available to us.  Our first priority for the 49 year existence of Northwest Center has been you the families that make up our community of “people of all abilities.”  We are determined to keep this community of families intact, and we are pursuing any and all possible solutions to accomplish this.

At this point we are in the early stages of reviewing our options which we hope will include productive negotiations with Seattle Public Schools.  Northwest Center has already expressed its interest in buying the property from Seattle Public Schools.  But if that is not possible then at minimum we need more time – at least two years to identify, permit, remodel, and license a facility that can accommodate our students and their specific needs.

Unfortunately we have not been included in any discussions to-date about the future of our school and our programs.  Had Seattle Public Schools been more transparent with us about this plan when it was first formulated, we would have made our case that the facility is serving its best and highest purpose with Northwest Center Kids.

But we are inserting ourselves into the discussions now and making our case forcefully.  Our singular focus is in doing everything we can to prevent devastating impacts to our programs, the early learning opportunities for the children we work with, and the sense of place and community that are so important to everyone associated with Northwest Center Kids.

It is obviously important for all of us to work together as we navigate this process and we want to hear from you and answer any questions and concerns you have.  Tom Everill, our CEO, and I will be available to share information and answer questions on Friday from 4:30 – 6:00PM.   At that time we will also be able to share with you what you can do to support our efforts and secure a future for Northwest Center Kids.

Open House
Friday, January 17   4:30 – 6:00PM
Queen Anne Conference Room

Thank you.   We look forward to tackling this critical challenge together.

Jane Dobrovolny
Executive Director, Northwest Center Kids

Northwest Center partnering with Blue Sky Cleaners for local donations

You may be familiar with Northwest Center’s donation drop-off via the Big Blue Truck at Eat Local. They’re there every weekend 9am-5pm to take your clothing and household goods donations, and those donations help fund the non-profit, which serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. It’s also a local non-profit with a Queen Anne school, Northwest Center Kids at Queen Anne.

Well, you no longer have to wait for the weekend to donate gently used clothing to Northwest Center, as the organization has partnered with local Blue Sky Cleaners for clothing collection bins.

Blue Sky Cleaners is Seattle’s only toxin-free cleaning service, with a dedication to the environment via its emissions-free delivery vehicles and carbon neutral cleaning process – and it has a commitment to the community via the Northwest Center partnership. You can now drop off your clothing donations at barrels in each Blue Sky Cleaners location, including the one at 1420 Queen Ave. N.

So, next time you drop off your dry cleaning or miss the Big Blue Truck, you can take in your clothing donations to Blue Sky Cleaners and support Northwest Center and their mission of “promoting the rights and independence of infants, children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities.”

copyright 2007 - 2013  Next Door Media website by: KILMERHANSEN Design