Dream Big 2013

Are you a fan of the Zine Project? Check out this invitation to attend a celebratory breakfast about Zine and other youth programs brought to you by CCS

Are you a fan of the Zine Project? Check out this invitation to attend a celebratory breakfast about Zine and other youth programs brought to you by Catholic Community Services of Western Washington

You are cordially invited to

Youth Services’ 9th Annual
Breakfast Benefit and Celebration

Friday, March 15, 2013

415 Westlake
415 Westlake Avenue North
Seattle, Washington

Registration at 7:00am
Breakfast and Program
from 7:30am-8:30am

Register here to join us for breakfast and learn from youth how the Youth Services of Catholic Community Services and its programs
support young people as they transition from challenging beginnings to successful adult lives-ready to achieve big dreams.

Tickets to this event are complimentary. Guests will be asked to make a gift to support Youth Services and its programs (which include Zine Project Seattle). These gifts help sustain the critical work of Youth Services throughout the year.

Can’t join us but want to support Youth Services? Make your gift here.

For more information about the event,
please contact Rebecca Kuenzel at 206-328-5659.

Groundwork Project I University District Youth Center I Youth Tutoring Program  


Zine Project Seattle Celebrates the Best of 2012

With the ball only a few hours away from dropping, The Zine Project is taking a moment to reflect on our amazing year.

  • In the last twelve months, 26 homeless young people have graduated our paid, eight week program in spite of harrowing life circumstances.
  • They created a total of 27 original zines.
  • We helped 20 of them to maintain or better their housing situation.
  • And 10 of them have gone on to obtain employment.

In the last year, our youth have also written countless heart wrenching pieces about their lives and limned a gallery of artwork reflecting their creativity.

Our interns also worked hard spreading the word about Youth Homelessness and have advocated to decision makers and community members about the importance of youth employment and youth voice.

Here are 5 Zine Project highlights of 2012:

Click pic to read more

Click pic to read more

1.)    Zine Meets Mayor McGinn.

Click pic to read more.

Click pic to read more.

2.)    The August-October 2012 Zine Group Graduates, delivering devastatingly honest and powerful performances.

Click pic to read more

Click pic to read more

3.)    Zine Project Murals bring color to urban renewal.

Click pic to read more

Click pic to read more

4.)  Ziners advocate in Olympia.

Click on pic to read more

Click on pic to read more

 5.)   Ziners advocate in Seattle.

As we end our year today, we’d like to do some shout outs:

  • A big thanks to Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (CCSWW) for making The Zine Project possible.
  • A thanks to Leslie at the New Working Zone for coordinating our consortium of youth employment programs.
  • Thanks to Dwight our contract monitor with the City of Seattle.
  • Thanks to Erin at CCSWW for reading our youth posts.

Finally, a big thanks to our 43 followers for reading this blog and walking with us as we write and create and change.

Have a Happy New Year and look forward to a 2013 filled with more beauty, truth and creativity from the youth at Zine Project Seattle.

Zine Project Alums Graduate from Youthcare’s Barista Program

Previously, we’ve written about how Youthcare’s Barista Program is a landing pad for Zine graduates to pursue further employment opportunities (click here to read previous post).

Josh at Barista Graduation

Josh at Barista Graduation

This is no truer than ever after last Friday’s Barista Graduation event. The final 2012 Barista cohort contained two former Zine superstars–Josh and Justin who rocked it in Zine and, not surprisingly, went on to rock it in Barista.

Justin at the Barista Graduation

Justin at the Barista Graduation

For two weeks they studied coffee. For five weeks they worked at a cafe serving real life customers at Fare Start’s Cafe at the 2100 building in South Seattle. And for a final week they looked for jobs, getting a chance to get interviewed by current management at neighboring Starbucks.

Last Friday, they celebrated. The Barista Grads made gourmet drinks for their guests and then got a chance to read words of thanks.

Graduation from Barista meant employment success continued from their Zine Project tenure. But, of course, it meant more. It meant a moment of victory for young people still struggling with difficult issues like poverty and addiction that make it difficult for young people to finish things.

Justin, after thanking the Barista staff and his fellow graduates, shared the following:

I had a lot of struggles during the program. Fears of the future, guilt from the past, stuff that matters, and mostly, just stuff that really shouldn’t matter but does. I was scared I wouldn’t finish the program a few times. I hit a rough spot, a rough week really, and I was doubtful I would get out of it.


To quote one of my favorite writers, Hubert Selby, and I’m paraphrasing here: “We despair because we choose to fight against pain instead of letting go”. That clicked on one of those despair days, and I promised myself that I would work to get better. I don’t want to fight pain anymore. It’s just as much a part of me as the happiness I feel here now. And you know what? Its ok to hurt sometimes, because it sure as heck makes these moments when I feel accomplished that much better.

Justin with Barista Completion Certificate

Justin with Barista Completion Certificate

This is a crucial insight. Especially considering that so many youth problems stem from the impulse to fly from feeling pain. An insight gleaned from literature, acted out in the crucible of meaningful work and shared through the spoken word with the young person’s community: this is what Zine hopes for for all of its graduates.

It’s a tall order. But both Justin and Josh did it last Friday.

Justin continued:

I had a blast in this program. I am most happy when I’m bettering myself and my craft, be it writing, or running, or making coffee. It satiates me spiritually. My idea of happiness is something that takes struggle and change. Something that is built with my hands. We are the sculptors as well as the marble as the saying goes. And though I’m not perfect, and have plenty of work to do. I’m happy to say that I’m finally sculpting the person I want to become.

Josh with Barista Completion Certificate

Josh with Barista Completion Certificate

Way to go Barista Grads!

Click here to check out more of Justin’s writing in his zine, Unhinged.

Click here to read Josh’s zine The Book of Life.

Seattle Art Gallery Sells Zines

Zine Instructor Shaun with zines for sale at CMD P Gallery

Zine Instructor Shaun with zines for sale at CMD P Gallery

CMD+P, a new art gallery in Pioneer Square, is currently displaying Zine Project zines for purchase!

A collaboration between Efflux Creations and Sanctuary Art Center, the gallery is dedicated “to creating art and apparel for social change” and hosts artwork and apparel designed and created by street involved youth.

Zines at CMD+P are $5 Full color!

CMD P Gallery

CMD+P Gallery

CMD+P (on the southeast corner of 2nd & Yesler) opened its doors back in , selling, along with our zines, t-shirts printed by interns in

W.A.G.E.S.—another prevocational program like the Zine Project. The gallery is currently opened Wednesdays through Fridays 12-6pm and for the first Thursday Art Walk from 6-10pm.

I paid them a visit on October’s First Thursday and checked out how our zines were doing.

They’re available on sale at $5 for full color, so stop by this Thursday, November 1st and have some fun on the town and support local youth

writers and artists!

Screen Printing used by interns at Sanctuary Art Center

Zine Interns Advocate for Youth Employment to Council President Clark

By Shaun

Last Tuesday, The Zine Project went to City Hall.

The Zine Project In front of City Hall at Youth Summit 2012

The Zine Project In front of City Hall at Youth Summit 2012

 The Seattle/ King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) was hosting its 2012 Youth Advocacy Summit. The event was a two day effort to mobilize homeless youth to advocate for themselves to the City Council Members, who will soon be helping Mayor McGinn hammer out Seattle’s 2013 budget.

As youth benefitting from a pre-employment program supported by the city, our interns attended the Youth Summit, hoping to share their experience with decision makers in a meaningful way.

To make this hope real, Ziners showed up at the crack of dawn and road a bus downtown, then hiked up a hill to Yesler Terrace Community Center, to attend Day 1 of Youth Summit.

It was gear-up day.  Rather than just shoving the youth raw through the glass doors of policy makers, SKCCH takes a whole day to educate interested youth around advocacy strategies.  Youth listened to speakers like Jim Theofolis, founder of The Mockingbird Society. Theofolis, with his loud, gravelly voice and wisdom, stirred the room.

“If you’re not at the table,” Theofolis began. “You’re on the table.”

In his speech, he told the youth about the three R’s of advocacy, which state that citizens have:

  • The Right to say what needs to be said,
  • The Responsibility to say what needs to be said,
  • Even while being Respectful to policy makers who don’t understand.

    Ziners Debate

    Ziners Debate

Having been inspired, Ziners broke up into groups with other Seattle homeless youth. They brainstormed about pressing issues like employment, housing, and shelter and voted on the key topics they would present the next day.

Like all political discussions, there was emotion. Even some lulls of indecision. But everyone made it through the day more ready to thoughtfully represent themselves.

Lulls of indecision

Lulls of indecision

Taking place on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, Day 2 of Youth Advocacy Summit hummed with energy and anticipation. Continuing on in their groups, the youth had two precious hours to hammer out their concerns before they had to present them to real, live Council Members.

Youth Hammering Out their Employment Presentation

Youth Hammering Out their Employment Presentation

Zine interns sat on Youth Summit’s Employment Committee. With the reality of sitting before a power figure looming over them, they wrote and rehearsed earnestly.

Then 1pm came and the Employment Group was led up the slab-like stairs of City Hall and ushered into Council Member Clark’s private waiting area.

Things about to get real

Things about to get real

Sally Clark serves on the Committee for Economic Resiliency and Regional Relations. She has an interest in internships and employment projects that put people to work; she also proved to be an approachable and keen listener. Council Member Clark sat the group around a large round table in a room with wall to wall glass windows. The brilliant September sun lit up the room and made the wood of the tables and chairs smell warm. Seated, well-groomed and ready, the youth cleared their throats and started to speak.

Youth who’d experienced Youthcare’s Tile Project, YMCA’s W.A.G.E.S., as well as Zine, were present. Each youth began by sharing with Clark three words that described their work experience in city supported work programs.

“Freedom, expression, creative,” said one youth.

“Integrity, fun, team work,” said another.

Fast paced, excellent, enjoyable, self-motivating, supported, hard-work, character building, hands-on. Worth the trip. The youth delivered their words with confidence and then began to get specific.

Youth at the Table

Youth at the Table

Council Member Clark gazed attentively as Michelle, Zine Intern, shared that for her, Zine gave her “something to wake up for”.

“We want you to keep supporting programs like Zine. We need this,” she said. “In the three weeks that I’ve been at Zine, I’ve learned a lot and without it, I may not have had the courage to present myself today.”

Council President Clark Listens

Council President Clark Listens

Others shared how employment programs like The Zine Project aren’t just jobs, their supportive resources for young adults with little experience and difficult situations to get basic needs met. Zine interns who show up early often shower or get a fresh change of clothes. And everybody gets breakfast.

“Zine is a jumpstart,” stated Zine intern Michael.

Clark affirmed many of their comments.

As with all good proposals, the youth had an ask. They asked Council Member Clark to not only argue for a sustained budget for Working Zone and other programs, but also to expand them.

“12-18 hours for 8 weeks isn’t enough to support ourselves on,” advocated one youth.

“A 6-8 week internship isn’t enough experience to get other jobs with,” said another.

Council Member Clark took in all of the youth’s comments. She thanked everyone and observed how rehearsed, well-spoken and confident they had been.

“This signals to me it’s money well spent,” she said.

Elated, the youth debriefed. Many felt encouraged and proud.

A Triumphant Exit

A Triumphant Exit

“It was refreshing,” someone said. “To get a new perspective on people in power. That some of them actually do listen.”

Flag half mast at Seattle City Hall in memory of 9/11

Flag at half mast at Seattle City Hall in memory of 9/11

Have you been listening? Feel free to write City Council Member Sally Clark about what work from The Zine Project has meant to you:

Council Member Sally Clark

City Council President





Advocacy is Fun

Advocacy is Fun