From marketing to training, to building community relationships, to assisting with the implementation of new programs, MyKa’La works hard and diligently to connect communities with resources.

In May of 2018, MyKa’La landed a position with AmeriCorps Vista and the City of Renton working at the Renton School District as a paid volunteer for a 1-year term of service.

Getting started in Mississippi with the National Civilian Community Corps, MyKa’La was in search for the next transition to bring her back home to Seattle working in the educational field. After searching the AmeriCorps Vista website she stumbled across the Early Learning & After-school Program Development Specialist position.

Since the start of her employment, MyKa’La has worked under the wings of Cherryl Jackson Williams (Family & Community Engagement Coordinator, Renton School District), Ebony Pattenaude (Director of Renton Innovation Zone (RIZ) Partnerships & Early Learning, Renton School District) and Jessica Calabrese-Granger (Chief of School Improvement, Renton School District) who oversees the Renton Innovation Zone (RIZ) aka the West Hill Now! Initiative.

As MyKa’La became more familiar with the land, completing research and understanding projects, she also began to understand community needs by attending partnership meetings. MyKa’La worked closely with Gretchen Stahr Breunig from Community Center for Education Results (CCER) and their Communication Team to develop a communication survey, and a Renton Innovation Zone Partnership (RIZP) brochure for the partnership to achieve the goal of effective communication.

Throughout MyKa’La’s service year she had also worked closely with Gretchen on a project that includes a strong emphasis on providing resources for childcare providers. Additionally, she focused on outreach and out of school time opportunities.

In an effort to get community-based organizations, the school district and parents to get on one accord, MyKa’La began working closely in the community to survey how people want to receive communication. Doing this, she introduced parents and interested community members into the work of the RIZP.

Growing up in Seattle, MyKa’La has family that grew up in the Renton community while she attended various programs in Skyway.

Shifting RIZ work into the work of the RIZP, MyKa’La worked to connect families; reaching out to hard to reach populations. She painted the town red with RIZP brochures and flyers while focusing on outreach and awareness for students and families in the Skyway/West-Hill & Highlands area.

MyKa’La worked with community-based organizations and community partners to help shed light on families, students, and parents who reside in the RIZ communities; all while working with the local improvement schools to showcase the work and efforts.

MyKa’La serves on the Early Learning Action team (helping to raise awareness on Kindergarten registration and educational resources) and sits on the Partnership Steering Committee.

Friday, August 16th will be MyKa’La’s last day working with RIZ, RIZP and the Renton School District as an AmeriCorps Vista and The City of Renton volunteer. Within her work, she hopes to see missing voices come together and out of school time programs pick up and continue.

MyKa’La has an undergraduate degree in Health Studies and pursuing a Master of Science degree in Nonprofit Administration at Louisiana State University Shreveport, and is expected to graduate Spring of 2020.

For the RIZ community, MyKa’La has successfully assisted with the launch of:

  • Play & Learn Groups at New Birth Center for Community Inclusion
  • Community Cafes’ (Parent Focus: Somali, English & Spanish)
  • Kindergarten Readiness
  • The 2019 Juneteenth Celebration
  • Childcare Provider Training for Early Achievers Standards
  • Kindergarten Sessions: Introducing Kids to Kindergarten (Fine Motor, Self-Regulation, Early Literacy & Early Math)
  • The Parent Resource Rooms (Sartori, Lakeridge, Campbell Hill, Bryn Mawr & Highlands elementary school)
  • An original RIZ newsletter
  • A community brochure
  • Out-of-School Time Programs
  • The Local Improvement Networks (LIN) Video Creation (Social
  • Emotional Learning and Math)
  • Outreach & Awareness

    “Am I even making a difference?” jokes MyKa’La.