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“It’s not about what’s bad here. For the residents, it’s about the neighbors and the community and the support they get.” –Maggie Angel-Cano, Duwamish Valley Youth Corps

Faced with one of Seattle’s most challenging places to live and work, the people of South Park and the greater Duwamish River Valley have found strength and sanctuary in one another.

Despite being hemmed in by pollution from airplane flight paths, two major highways, and a Superfund site, the South Park community is persevering together to advocate for change, lead neighborhood improvement projects, nurture their children, and enlist outside support from allies and sponsors.

To take on the pollution surrounding them, community leaders created the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. The DRCC amplifies the voice of the community calling out environmental injustices – such as the river pollution – and working toward a healthier, more equitable environment.

In a thoughtful approach to comprehensive community health they’ve established the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps (DVYC), a program that gets young people involved in local environmental cleanup – and along the way, teaches project management, speech and presentation training, collaboration and teamwork, and a host of other professional skills under the mentorship and tutelage of local leadership.

DVYC leader Maggie Angel-Cano shares what she and her peers are working toward: “My definition of healthy is having access to clean water, access to an environment where you can jog and do other exercise, access to healthcare, and access to opportunities to grow and to move around.”

This vision is being translated into action through facilities and programs that provide opportunity for athletics, which is especially important for the younger generation. Active youth are significantly less likely to develop obesity, and being active is also associated with less smoking, drug use, and unintended pregnancy. They also tend to have significantly higher test scores and are much more likely to attend college.

The South Park community leaders’ pursuit of improved comprehensive community care, and its willingness to welcome new partners in the effort, have created an opportunity for Tegria.

Founded and backed by Providence, which has been involved in South Park via the Providence Regina House for decades, Tegria’s support comes through a new partnership with the Seattle Kraken’s philanthropic arm, the One Roof Foundation.

Tegria and One Roof are joining the people of South Park to learn, build real connection with the neighborhood, and provide support for health and wellbeing in the community.

Maggie Angel-Cano commented “The most impactful thing is Tegria coming down to the Duwamish Valley, physically here, seeing that they care about our community.”

Members of a community cleaning up a neighborhood.
The DVYC supports comprehensive community health via environmental cleanup by the Duwamish River.

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