1997- 2003

Messages from Young Leaders was a partnership between CEEDS and the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the American Planning Association, the City of Seattle, and multiple planning and design firms. Offered at the beginning of the school year, the program involved youth groups and their accompanying adults in advocating to city and state legislators for more kid-friendly urban environments.

Responding to various legislators' request-for-ideas, each year this program involved youth in addressing a timely issue that affects children's experience of the city. Projects ranged from light rail and monorail station design to school design, bicycle paths, and waterfront design.

After an introductory workshop, architecture and planning professionals and students visited elementary and middle schools throughout Seattle to help children and their teachers and parents develop their proposals. Then a representative group discussed those proposals with legislators in a public forum. In some cases, the group made a second presentation to City Council.

The program aimed to help young people be more critically aware of their surroundings, create alternative visions of the city, and advocate for those visions--called messages--to elected officials. In addition to building planning and design skills, the program provided an opportunity for young people to learn about the city and see how to bring about change through the political process, serving as a hands-on civic lesson.

Often part of Architecture Week, a series of events that brings individuals and organizations together to celebrate the designed environment, the program was offered free of charge to schools. It was funded by AIA Seattle, AIA Northwest, the American Planning Association, the Pacific Region Education Grants program, and the University of Washington.

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