We’re in These Streets: CHOOSE 180—101

By United Way of King County, on April 27, 2023 | In Helping Students Graduate, News

United Way of King County is out and about in your community! We’re keeping an eye and a pulse on happenings, events, organizations, and activities throughout King County as we work toward a racially just community where all people have homes, students graduate and families are financially stable.

We’re in These Streets is an occasional blog post that highlights your community. Recently, we stopped by the first-ever lunch and learn at CHOOSE 180, a Burien-based organization that transforms young people’s lives by partnering them with institutional leaders and empowering them with choices to change.

CHOOSE 180 is a member of the Black Community Building Collective, a coalition of 15 Black-led organizations brought together by United Way of King County to build relationships, form strategies and implement those strategies with United Way funding.

If you’re headed to CHOOSE 180 in Burien sans a GPS, you might drive past it unawares. The nonprofit organization sits adjacent to Lake Burien Presbyterian Church in a sleepy residential area, offering few indicators of an impact that’s as expansive as Columbia Tower.

In an effort to get the word out about its work, CHOOSE 180 on Wednesday held its first-ever lunch and learn to share with the public what many young people already know: It has given hope to those that society would just rather lock up at the first sight of wrongdoing.

Among the programs discussed at the lunch and learn:

School-Based Diversion, a five-week restorative practice for youth at risk of school suspension or expulsion.

CHOOSE Freedom, a program that offers one-on-one group sessions for people ages 12-24 who are either impacted by gun violence, are incarcerated or at high risk of gun violence in the future.

Court-Based Diversion, a four-hour diversion workshop for legal-system-involved youth ages 18-24 that are referred through King County and the City of Seattle to avoid court engagement.

Summer Internships, an eight-week paid entrepreneurship program that allows youth to work with local businesses to develop a business plan and learn soft skills.

Youth and Young Adult Advocacy, a space for those who have been impacted by the criminal legal system to build community and advocate for systemic change.

In addition, CHOOSE 180 has diverted more than 25,000 young people from the criminal legal system, serving them instead with community-based restorative practices, expanded its School-Based Diversion program from three schools into 10 middle and high schools in both the Highline and Seattle public school systems and provided more than $400,000 in basic needs and COVID-19 relief funds to local families.

CHOOSE 180’s May events include an Art Drive on May 20 through United Way of King County—to collect donations for our art therapy counselor who is in more need of art supplies. Interested in learning more about CHOOSE 180? Click here.


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