The Beach Fives project is a young adult (18 – 24 years old) empowerment and leadership initiative, where they learn-by-doing and lead by example. It’s a citizen-led community service for young adults to leverage the neighborhood they come from.
Beach Fives is funded by Best Starts for Kids (BSK) which is an initiative to improve the health and well-being of King County by investing in promotion, prevention, and early intervention for children, youth, families, and communities. We know that’s a mouth full but the investments made by residents of King County through the Best Starts for Kids levy is making a huge difference

RBAC learned there was a gap in programming in Rainier Beach for young adults age 18-24 years of age. Schools, community centers, and local non-profits cover a lot of ground in providing Rainier Beach youth year-round activities, but these seem to disappear post-high-school. This is what we heard from the teenagers hired in our Corner Greeter (CG) program, a non-arrest crime intervention alternative to policing and a part of Rainier Beach’s A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth (ABSPY). By the time graduation comes, they have no alternative but to bring more money back home to either pay for college or support their family.
This is something we’ve come to realize in RBAC’s operational structure. We didn’t have opportunities to engage high schoolers post-high-school. We were missing the capacity to hire and train mentors to get involved in the community. We called it the “Missing Middle”. Many of the young people taking part in our Corner Greeter leave the program for the reasons explained above, and drop out of an activity and a group of friends that they have enjoyed, sometimes for several years, as captured in this video:

So we lose this early investment, and we send off the new generation that we nurtured, ill-equipped into this unfair, inequitable world.
The current Beach Fives have focused their attention on building capacity within RBAC programming and have a hearty array of activities and projects that make RBAC a significant contributor to the well-being of residents in Rainier Beach, see list below.
Circle Keeping – planning, facilitating, training
Corner Greeter program support – planning meetings, event participation, scouting participation, supervisors meeting attendance, Freedomnet coaching, continuous quality improvement, nutrition, Boot Camp development/presenting, safety survey support including data entry, and data analysis, credential development program, equipment support
SE Seattle FreedomNet – Community Newz (with a “z”), video editing, graphic work, social media management, website updating
Beach Fives – meetings with team and supervisor, schedule management, payroll management
YATTA (Young Adults Transition To Adulthood) Rising – planning, information sessions, letter of interest and proposal writing
Food Justice – Beach Fresh, Farm Stand, Waste-free Communities
PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports) – Tier 1 support: posters, website, billboards, coloring book
Personal Projects – Essay writing, staff photograph board, time management workshop, RBAC Family Meal, podcasts, nutrition coordination, WA-Bloc Block Party, food justice work with Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, vegetable garden, UW950, RBAC inventory,
Extension Activities – Transportation for All Surveying, Pacific NW Kwanzaa Celebration, MLK March, Rainier Valley Communities of Opportunity Clearinghouse, RBABSPY meeting with Mayor Durkin, Praxis Project Conference, #EcDev206 Summit
Maneuvering Systems/Shadowing – Resource list development, Lead Team meeting attendance, FreedomNet website management, Corner Greeter onboarding, food justice interviews, Rainier Beach Clean Crew interviews

By G.Davis