Sometimes unsung heroes get a song written about them—or at least an award that is a perfect fit. Highline School Board Director Aaron Garcia received an award for his volunteer work and support of the White Center community.
The award was presented at the Southwest Youth & Family Services (SWYFS) Gala last Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.
“Aaron was selected for his incredible advocacy for White Center and his work to build community,” said Steve Daschle, SWYFS executive director.
Given each year since 2009, the award is named for Ben and Roberta Weeks, who were devoted to West Seattle and served as committed volunteers in a number of causes. SWYFS created the award in their honor to recognize sometimes unsung heroes who support their community through volunteerism or in some other significant way.
School Board Director Garcia is a proud graduate of Evergreen High School, a former college and career specialist who served Evergreen students through the TRiO Talent Search program and as a wrestling coach, and is currently a community inclusion manager with the White Center Community Development Association. He has volunteered and helped lead numerous community events and outreach efforts.
In 2019, he was elected to the Highline Public Schools board of directors, representing District 1, which includes White Center and nearby neighborhoods.
The award profile lists some of his experience and volunteer activities focused on empowering local youth and supporting social justice:
- Worked collaboratively to eradicate poverty and eliminate racism by building a vibrant, economically diverse community as the community inclusion manager of the White Center CDA.
- Mentored 1,000+ students to achieve their goals of higher education and jump-started their careers in a variety of trades as the learning specialist of the South Seattle Community College Access Programming.
- Expanded the pilot project program at Cleveland High School to a 50+ application rate at Chief Sealth International High School as the 13th Year Scholarship coordinator at South Seattle College.
- Organized large-scale campus events representing 14,000 students that centered diversity and inclusion as the student government vice president and associated students productions director.
- Committed to preserving small businesses with a racial equity anti-displacement lens as a board member of the White Center Chamber of Commerce.
- Helped facilitate a conference supporting black and brown young men on how to navigate post-secondary systems at the Black and Brown Summit.
- Participated in a workgroup which provides recommendations on continuing education policy, clock hours, and related issues in our state as a member of the 2018-2019 PESB Clock Hour work group.
- Served as a committee member on the Instruction on Race and Identity 2019-2021 Implementation Plan.
- Co-chaired a community-led advisory committee for capital facilities, bond, and school boundary recommendations to school administration through the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee.
- Instrumental in helping pass the 2018 levy as former president of the Yes For Highline community-led committee, which included more than $198 million to provide quality education in the Highline Public Schools.