Image description: Two students sit at a table focus on an activity. The furthest with dark long braids in a light pink shirt and the closest in an olive green shirt and long black and red straight hair.

South End Stories: Healing through History and Creativity is a program that originated at Orca K-8 School in Seattle, headed by seasoned educators and community leaders Donte Felder, his wife Tanisha Brandon-Felder, and his father Dr. Donald Felder. In that collaboration, we celebrated the arts and the importance of playful learning, and embraced our incredible community of Orca scholars, staff, families, and neighbors. The program culminated with a vibrant community showcase.


To carry out that program, we received a generous grant from the King County Best Starts for Kids initiative to improve trauma-informed practices in public schools, followed by another grant from Seattle University to develop new and innovative trauma-informed arts curricula and support educators in serving their students. We’re using those funds to encourage our community to share their stories through film, dance, writing, visual art, and performance.


Since that inaugural program at Orca, we've grown our offerings to implement with multiple schools and organizations, and expanded our community to serve even more educators, administrators, families, and young people. This year, our staff grew by more than 100%. We've welcomed a diverse group of passionate and knowledgeable people into our family who are deeply dedicated to bringing joy and justice into classrooms and communities.


  • Artistic creation & expression

  • Anti-racist & anti-oppression practices

  • Social justice

  • Community

  • Joy

  • Inclusion 

  • Accessibility

  • Equity


Best Starts for Kids is a voter-approved King County initiative that invests in comprehensive approaches to promoting healthier, more resilient children, youth, families and communities. "Every child is born full of possibility. For Best Starts for Kids, these possibilities boil down to four words: happy, healthy, safe and thriving. That is King County's vision for our kids. In 2019, Best Starts invested $83.9 million in 281 community partners and 483 programs to serve children and families in our communities."


The COVID crisis has affected how students and families can connect with community-based organizations in culturally responsive ways. SU recognizes that our central area community partners are critical in reshaping education and learning in summer and out-of-school programming.  Learning in the COVID crisis and beyond requires investing in community and home-based learning, as well as supporting our school’s connection to community. The Continuous Learning Grant seeks to amplify and increase the capacity of community leaders and parents as educators to our youth.

South End Stories is a proud recipient of this grant and partner to Seattle University.

South End Stories is funded by Best Starts for Kids, an initiative of The King County Department of Community and Human Services.

 In 2020, SES joined the Intiman Theatre family of education programs, where it continues to operate with its own director and staff.

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