Classes started this week—and we are in need of supplies! Click the flyer to donate needed items from our Amazon Wish List!

Youth without a high school diploma or GED have a 346% higher risk of experiencing homelessness. YouthCare’s robust education programs reduce that risk by helping young people build the academic skills needed for long-term stability. We’re thrilled to announce a new addition to our education programs: YouthCare’s GED Program at UDYC.

The program is available to young people staying at YouthCare’s housing programs. It offers youth small class sizes with specialized support and instruction.

But students gain much more than just a GED—read on to find out what makes this program so special:

Art & Social Justice as Part of a Formal Education

More than obtaining a GED, the program empowers students to become informed learners beyond the classroom. Through a specialized lesson plan rooted in art and social justice, students are taught to be active participants in their learning by using critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The curriculum supports YouthCare’s values of social justice by challenging students to think about social systems and injustices in their own lives—and encouraging them to develop their voice to affect social change.

Social Justice Curriculum
By: Alex Berry, Assistant Teacher of Creative Arts

A Holistic Education For Every Student

Every young person comes to YouthCare with a unique story and set of circumstances. Maggie, the program’s GED Teacher, notes that the program provides a special opportunity to tap into youth’s budding passions by personalizing the curriculum and supporting the needs for each student.

“If a youth really likes hip hop music, an assignment could be an analysis of the political or cultural messages in a popular music video.” – Maggie, GED Teacher at YouthCare

Additionally, youth may enter the program with negative or traumatic associations with school from their past. Specialized and compassionate support seeks to reframe negative feelings and help youth approach learning with confidence.

Cohort-Based, Community-Centered

The program will focus on creating a community-based environment: activities will include trips to local museums and landmarks. Guest speakers from around the community will be invited to speak on topics like advocacy and social change. It will also follow a cohort-model, empowering students to build kinship and support with their classmates and teaching staff. Last, student interns from the Doorway Project, a collaboration with the University of Washington, will offer added tutoring support to students.

Posters at UD GED
Credit: Amplifier


Opening our GED Program in the University District allows young people living in YouthCare’s housing programs to attend classes close to home, minimizing barriers to steady attendance. YouthCare is lucky to have great neighbors in the University District: classes are housed in a large and welcoming space at the University Congregational United Church. Youth are able to work on their educational goals in a focused environment that is free of distraction. And because the building is adjacent to UYDC, access to drop-in services are a stone’s throw away.

Computers at UD UDYC
Computers in the classroom


Meet the Teachers


Maggie HeadshotMaggie Meshnick is the program’s GED Teacher. She is new to YouthCare and recently received her Master’s in teaching from the University of Washington. She is most excited about fostering curiosity among youth, helping students see themselves as natural learners, and helping students grow to become leaders and teachers themselves.




alex mugshotAlex Berry teaches the social justice-based art class for the program. She also founded and supports the P.O.C. Street Arts Program at YouthCare. She is most excited about incorporating unconventional art content to empower students while encouraging them to explore their identities and the world around them.




How Can You Help?

Program classes officially started this week! We need your help to ensure the program runs efficiently with needed school supplies and that staff have the resources to foster youth creativity in the classroom. Please check out our Amazon Wish List to have items donated directly to us!

Here are some items we need!

  • YA fiction and non-fiction books by authors of color, books in other languages
  • Snacks (brain food to help students focus—classes are four hours long!)
  • Notebooks and composition books
  • Visit our Amazon Wish List for more!

If you have any questions, please email donations@youthcare.org or call (206) 204-1404.