Seattle Hall Pass Podcast

MINI: E37 - The Southeast Seattle Move-a-Thon

April 29, 2024 Christie Robertson & Jane Tunks Demel Season 1 Episode 37
MINI: E37 - The Southeast Seattle Move-a-Thon
Seattle Hall Pass Podcast
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Seattle Hall Pass Podcast
MINI: E37 - The Southeast Seattle Move-a-Thon
Apr 29, 2024 Season 1 Episode 37
Christie Robertson & Jane Tunks Demel

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In this special episode of the Seattle Schools Pass podcast, guests discuss the role of the Southeast Seattle Schools Fundraising Alliance's (SESSFA) annual Move-a-Thon in supporting 17 of our chronically underfunded schools. The Move-a-Thon raises essential funds for basic needs and educational experiences while also building community. Support the cause by donating online at sessfa.org or via mobile by texting D7MOVES to 44-321.

contact us: hello@seattlehallpass.org

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Music by Sarah, the Illstrumentalist, logo by Carmen Lau-Woo.
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Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this special episode of the Seattle Schools Pass podcast, guests discuss the role of the Southeast Seattle Schools Fundraising Alliance's (SESSFA) annual Move-a-Thon in supporting 17 of our chronically underfunded schools. The Move-a-Thon raises essential funds for basic needs and educational experiences while also building community. Support the cause by donating online at sessfa.org or via mobile by texting D7MOVES to 44-321.

contact us: hello@seattlehallpass.org

Support the Show.

Music by Sarah, the Illstrumentalist, logo by Carmen Lau-Woo.
Sign up for our newsletter

MINI: E37 - The Southeast Seattle Move-a-Thon

contact us: hello@seattlehallpass.org

[00:00:00] Christie Robertson: Welcome to Seattle Hall Pass, a podcast with news and conversations about Seattle Public Schools. Today we have a special episode focused on the Move-a-Thon hosted by the Southeast Seattle Schools Fundraising Alliance, also known as SESSFA. 

This is an entirely grassroots organization, and this fundraising event has become a vital lifeline for many schools in Southeast Seattle, part of our district that feels the impact of the chronic underfunding of our schools the most keenly. 

Matt Burtness, a second and third-grade teacher at Dunlap Elementary articulates the following. 

[00:00:38] Matt Burtness: We have a chronically underfunded public school system. Public schools have been, I feel like, increasingly in the crosshairs lately from book bans to the woke nonsense that people keep talking about. And it's just like, our kids still need a great education, and this isn't going to fix the systemic problems. And yes, this is a band-aid, but we are hoping that this can bring more awareness to the fact that we have a chronically underfunded public school model.

[00:01:21] Christie Robertson: Alaron Lewis a parent at Kimball Elementary and one of the founding members of SESSFA, shares the origins of the Alliance. 

[00:01:29] Alaron Lewis: It was the COVID year, and it was a really challenging year for PTSAs. We weren't spending any of money in the normal ways, but there was this huge level of need in our communities. And we were trying to raise money for just basics, keeping people in their houses and utilities. And Christina Jiménez, who is one of the other founding members, got this idea that we should all raise money together.

[00:01:59] Christie Robertson: Here's Matt Burtness again.

[00:02:01] Matt Burtness: Schools can be really isolating organizations. We all feel like on our own island and whatnot. And the Move-a-Thon and the Fundraising Alliance in general, I feel like, has really built a lot of bridges between our schools

[00:02:14] Christie Robertson: JC Fretz, a fifth-grade teacher at Emerson Elementary explains how the Move-a-Thon Funds directly benefit students. 

[00:02:23] JC Fretz: One of the most important things we use the funds for is having snacks for our classrooms because the district does not provide snacks. At first, we were just buying snacks out of our own pockets, and then once we got those funds from the Move-a-Thon, we've been able to really buy snacks, also being able to use the money for field trips and educational experiences for students.

[00:02:49] Christie Robertson: Thuy Do, a parent who went through Seattle Public Schools, K-12 herself, is raising a second-generation Seattle Public Schools student, and she shares her perspective on the use of funds. 

[00:03:01] Thuy Do: From what I've seen, very basic school supplies. It's like pencils and pens and water bottles and whiteboards and stuff like that. Which, you'd think that can be gotten without a big fundraising effort, but that's not the reality that we live in, right?

[00:03:21] Christie Robertson: For some schools, like Dunlap Elementary, the Movathon is their sole fundraiser. Burtness highlights this here. 

[00:03:28] Matt Burtness: my school does no other fundraising. this is it. This is all we do as far as fundraising. And I don't want to say it's going to make or break us, but it definitely seems like the more that we're able to get from the shared fundraising model, the more that we're able to provide for our students. And that goes the same for every one of the other 16 schools.

[00:03:50] Christie Robertson: The impact of the Move-a-Thon goes beyond fundraising and also helps break down barriers and build a sense of community. Lewis shares the following. 

[00:04:00] Alaron Lewis: it is so easy for our lives to get siloed. For us to think about our family, our community, our little patch of the world. And the Move-a-Thon has been one of the coolest ways that I've had personally to just start thinking about how those barriers are all in our head. That we are one big world. And it gets a little bit overwhelming, the bigger you get, but it's also amazing and brings in so much more joy and community as you open the door to having a broader group. And that's just been one of the blessings of having SESSFA in our community. 

[00:04:46] Christie Robertson: This is just the kind of philosophy that inspired Juliana Rigg-Hillard to co-found the Central and North Seattle Schools PTSA Alliance or CANSSPA.

[00:04:54] Julianna Rigg-Hillard: SESSFA led the way for CANSSPA. When a few of us approached SESSFA a couple of years ago to have a conversation about how to engage SESSFA's work in the North End, the folks at SESSFA encouraged us to come back to our own schools and work on building bridges and creating community. While tackling the very real issue of equity and PTA funding for our North and Central schools through collective fund shifting.

Prioritizing community and connection to build a more equitable future for our kids is core to CANSSPA's efforts, and that comes directly from SESSFA's model.

[00:05:31] Christie Robertson: Do emphasizes the importance of supporting local schools. 

[00:05:34] Thuy Do:  So every parent that has a child will start thinking about, okay, what is a good school district that you go to? So people will often think about moving - spending the money and investing to move into a good school district, whereas this is a hyper-local effort where instead of moving to a school district, we just improve the school district that we're in.

[00:05:55] Christie Robertson: The Move-a-Thon also imparts lessons to the students themselves. Here's an anecdote that Burtness shared about his students. 

[00:06:04] Matt Burtness: I literally had two kids come up to me the other day with an envelope that they had combined their allowance and wanted to donate it. And I was just like, thank you. 

[00:06:12] Christie Robertson: Supporting the Move-a-thon is easy and open to everyone whether you have a student in one of the participating schools or simply want to make a difference in the lives of students in Southeast Seattle. As Thuy Do says,

[00:06:23] Thuy Do: Donate from anywhere. We don't have to just have children in the Seattle Public Schools like I do, right? Even if it doesn't benefit your child specifically, it benefits someone's child, your neighbor's child and that's worthy, right? Or your future child who will go to that school. And it increases the quality of the school and education, right?

[00:06:43] Christie Robertson: And here's how you can donate. Visit the Southeast Schools Fundraising Alliance website at sessfa.org. And click on the donate now button. You can also text D7MOVES to 44-321 To donate using your mobile device. So that's D7MOVES to 44-321, And then follow the prompts to complete your donation. 

 As Thuy Do points out. 

[00:07:16] Thuy Do: The donation goes to not just one school, so it benefits all 17 schools of Southeast Seattle, right?

So your money goes a long way because your money is used wisely. So even if it's, $5 or a hundred dollars. It's all being used. There's no like overhead in any of this. 

[00:07:36] Christie Robertson: Let's come together as a Seattle community to support our students and all of our schools. D7MOVES, all one word, to 44-321. 

I'm Christie Robertson. And we'll be back in your feed soon with the summary of the April 25th school board meeting.