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25 Years of TAF Excellence – And We’re Not Done Yet!


The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Imagine what’s possible when we invest in students of color: a more equitable tomorrow.

Since 1996 TAF has brought in a new era of education for students and teachers of color. Starting with 40 kids in our first years of after school programs, TAF focused on providing early tech learning and internship opportunities. Today we transform education by implementing our education model in schools and supporting both teachers of color and leaders in education to build equitable classrooms. TAF programs are impacting over 24,000 students thanks to supporters like you. And we’re not done yet!

Invest in tomorrow’s leaders by donating today. Double the impact of your donation with a matching gift. Thanks to the generosity of Evelyne Rozner & Matt Griffin, donations of $250 or more and new monthly donations will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100,000).

A special thank you to our premier sponsor, Zillow, for making this Lunchbreak event possible.


Trish Millines Dziko, Jill Hull Dziko, and Sherry Williams

Video Timestamp: 1:17 – 7:09

Trish: After 25 years, the three of us are sitting here, together, and we have a lot of memories together. I wanna take us back to the early days on Edmonds and Rainier, right location, right in the middle of the hood, where all the kids were that we wanted to serve. There’s this thing about running afterschool programs that, at some point, you forget, kinda about the program itself and you focus on the kids and the families, right? And that, to me, is the fun part of it.

Jill: Those very first conversations that you and I had when we were thinking about TAF and what it was gonna be, we were looking at a holistic approach, right, not just your kid’s gonna sit here for a couple hours and this is what we’re gonna teach them. We were looking at the whole child and that’s, ideally, what education would be, right, is looking at each individual child and the whole child, what do they need to succeed as a whole person.

Trish: I will just say, as your co-founder, that part came from you, right, as a social worker, like that’s the thing you’re thinking about. I was thinking more about the tech side, like what do we wanna teach them. And you were thinking about the whole child and all the things that come with growing up in our communities, and just growing up, period. And that’s what made this the start of this, work, be a strong foundation.

Jill: It was so exciting.

Trish: It was good stuff.

Sherry: Yeah, I think we learned to not let anything else distract us which is why we’re here, 25 years later, right, because if we would have listened, not everybody was ready for TAF.

Jill: A whole lotta people weren’t ready for TAF.

Trish: Oh! You gonna bring that up?

Sherry: And so, you know, you don’t have everyone cheering for you so you have to stay steady, and we did. It was like, we are always gonna keep kids at our center.

Sherry: I will never forget the TAF Academy conversation. I was just like, “Trish has completely lost it. She wants us to co-manage a school.” And I’m like, “I can’t keep up with the children we have now,” right? Like, how are we gonna do that, what does that look like? Trish is like, “Okay, think about it like this, what if we took all of our best practices, everything we’ve put into our programs, and we were able to give kids that everyday, six hours a day, Monday through Friday. What would be the impact of that?” Right, and we were gonna be very deliberate in making sure families of color knew this opportunity was for their children. And so that’s what we did and we were like, “Listen, you want something greater than what you’re already getting, come check out this school.” We built such strong relationships. I think the families never really left us. They stayed in contact, kids stayed in contact, even going through college, we knew how they were doing, they stayed connected to us and then wanted to figure out how to help, which was always a part of our big plan, right? The full circle. Right, college, get those good jobs and then come back.

Jill: It is such an incredible thing that is unlike anything else because it is child and community centered and you guys have maintained and stayed true to that mission and that ideal you know, despite some huge, huge challenges and a lot of entities trying to pull you other directions and you just know, “This is right. We are about the kids and we’re about the family.” And you guys have always, always stayed true to that.

Sherry: When we hire, we’re looking for, yes, do you have the skills to do the job, but also, more so, do you have the passion? Right? Because what’s gonna carry you on the hard days is your passion, right? And so if you don’t have that, and you have lots of credentials and all of the things, this is not gonna be the non-profit for you. Right? If you’re not passionate about students, kids, and racial equity, then we appreciate your time, but this one’s not for you. Yeah. There was one summer we actually decided we were gonna hire our own kids to do a project.

Trish: The job was to take our donor database, our volunteer database which was built on Microsoft Access. So you had to have a standalone file and all that and move it to a SQL server backend, which was my product in Microsoft, SQL server backend, and then a .NET front, a web-based front-end, using the Microsoft .NET technology, which was new at that time. It was still in, when we started to use it, it was still in beta form. I looked at it and thought about, “Okay, the kids know how to program, they’ve never programmed a client server kinda thing, how long would it take for them to learn to do it?” And then I knew, at that point, exactly who I wanted to do it. And because it was .NET, we just called them and they were all young women, we called them the .NET Divas.

.NET Divas: Alumni from TAF's Early Programs

Sherrell Dorsey, Miya McClain, My Phan, and Willette Harris

Video Timestamp: 7:09 – 15:34

Sherrell: You all started at TAF, in its early days. I think I might have been part of the second or third, maybe fourth cohort, but y’all were ahead of me. So talk to me about your experience deciding to go to school, all day, and then say, “I’m gonna go work on computers on the afternoons, and not hang out with my friends.”

Miya: When I joined, I was 14, and Trish was our teacher, and she used to call us “Chatty Cathys,” ’cause we’d talk a lot. And I had no idea what I was signing up for, literally, like, I just, I knew I wanted to try something different, and we took apart a computer the first day, and I was like, “Yes, I wanna do this.” And I did it all four years. And I can’t imagine not doing it, like it was something that I just wanted to spend all my time doing, so.

My: I went to Boys and Girls Club to get tutor, right, for my English and whatnot. And so that’s how TAF recruited me. I had no idea what that was, just signed up, but I had no clue what it was. All I thought, in my mind, was “Oh maybe this program will help me with my English,” right, and you know, I just signed up for whatever people tell me to sign up.

Sherrell: I love that.

Willette: Actually, My is the one who actually got me to come to TAF.

My: I don’t remember that!

Willette: Yes, we were taking classes, we were, I think we were in math class together.

My: Is that right? How come I can’t remember it?

Willette: Yes, you! And the other My, you recruited us to come to TAF.

My: Oh!

Willette: And you were like, “There’s this great program and they give you scholarship money and an internship, you should join.” And you gave me the application and everything. We were in, I think we were in pre-calculus together. She kept on telling me, like, “Did you sign up? Did you sign up?” And I remember going in for the interview and Sherry was there and everyone was like, talking to us and I was thinking, “Oh my God, they are not going to pick me. I have no clue about technology, I’m really just here for the scholarship, I wanna be a doctor. Like that’s what I wanna be–

Sherrell: Wait, so you planned to be a doctor?

Willette: Yes, I was going to be a cardiothoracic surgeon and my mind–

Sherrell: That was very specific at that age!

Willette: Yes. I had already decided and technology was the farthest thing from my mind, but My was like, “It’s really cool, just come, just come.” And we can catch the bus together ’cause we were going to Roosevelt so we would catch the bus from Roosevelt all the way to Columbia City and then once they moved to the Central District, we would catch the bus from the Roosevelt to the Central District. So that’s how I got to TAF because of her. It changed my life. Clearly, I did not become a doctor, I went into technology–

Sherrell: Specifically a cardiothoracic surgeon that you were thinking at 14, 15 years old, right?

Willette: Yes.

Sherrell: You were focused, yes!

Willette: Oh, I was definitely focused. My mind was set and she changed my whole trajectory by introducing me to TAF.

Miya: That’s amazing, I love that story.

Sherrell: So do you all remember the project you worked on as interns at TAF?

Willette: We got titled the .NET Divas. And it was us three working together, building a SQL database and I remember running into some problems and Trish was saying, “Willette, you always are really good at solving really difficult things, why do you always get hung up on the simple things?” And I was like, “I don’t know,” she was like, “‘Cause you’re overthinking it. Go back in that room, think about it and then come back and tell me what you come up with.”

Miya: We always had to figure it out. And we were writing it at HP.NET, I’m pretty sure, yeah. That’s where the .NET Divas came from.

Willette: TAF was exposing us to all of that stuff very early on. It was like, “Hey, yeah you’re only in high school, but you’re going to do this.”

Miya: And solve a real problem. It wasn’t just a fake thing, we were solving a real problem, so.

My: And so we all had to deliver.

Willette: Yeah, we had deadlines.

My: Just to speak to the level of trust and belief that Trish had, right? Right, at that level. Like some new thing and here’s these three girls, high schooler, “You’ve gotta figure it out.”

Willette: Yeah, but we figured it out, we did figure it out. We had a working product at the end. We started that from the ground up.

Miya: Designed, built, testing, all of it, yeah.

Willette: The whole, entire thing, we went through the whole development life cycle, which was really cool.

Sherrell: Did all of you intern at TAF first or did you go to other companies, what was that process like?

Willette: I went to Network Commerce my first internship. It was downtown and I went there and I interviewed and I kept on thinking, “They’re not gonna pick me.” Once again, the technology thing, it’s not my thing. I did, really well in the classes while we were at TAF, learning everything, but in my mind, technology still just wasn’t my thing, just yet. But I got there and I thrived. I actually met this lady, her name was Jeanetta Waterberry, she was an African American lady and it was the first time that I saw anyone, like outside of TAF, that looked like me, that was working in technology, and she took me under her wings. I remember, we went to Palisades. It was like, the entire restaurant was closed down, it was just her and I, having lunch. She was like, “This is what you can do if you just put your mind to it. You can have all of this stuff. Don’t let them tell you that you can’t have the fancy stuff or you can’t be successful or because you’re black or a woman, that you can’t do technology, you can do this, and you’re really great at it.” Having that relationship with TAF and then having that relationship with her, through TAF, it was so profound. It allowed me to really think that no matter what, no matter what room I stepped into, no matter how many people look or did not look like me, I could be successful and I had a right to be in the room.

Miya: Yeah, I think, obviously, as people of color, we’re not always at the starting line, and I think TAF gave us the opportunity to be at the starting line. I had no idea that technology was a career that I could go into and TAF truly changed that. It changed my life. I love my job, I love being in tech, I love talking about it, I love hiring people, I love all of that and I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I had not gone through TAF.

Sherrell: One of the things that was so fascinating to watch was TAF go from this program, to see it really grow into what it is today, which is one of the leading, award winning, STEM, training academies in schools. My younger cousins actually got a chance to attend TAF and graduate from TAF, and I was so jealous because I thought to myself, if I could’ve done this every day, Monday through Friday, I would be absolutely, like I’m great now, but like, I would’ve been like, exponentially incredible. And I want you all to share, you know, a bit about what your hope is for TAF in the next, you know, we’re celebrating 25 years, but like the next 25 years and how students really look at the opportunity that is in front of them and get to that point where, you know, in 25 years, they’re sitting here, in these exact same chairs.

Miya: Yeah, I have three daughters and one of my daughters, she tells me all the time, “Mommy, “I wanna go into tech like you, “I wanna be a woman in tech.” And in 25 years, I hope that she can sit in a meeting and not only be like one of many black women in the room, but those people be touched by TAF in some capacity as well, and you can look and say, like, “Yeah, we’re TAF alums,” in a variety of ways.

Willette: When you invest in TAF, you’re not investing into a checkbox. What you’re investing into is real humans, real people, people that really can change the world. If you invest into diversity, what you’re saying is you’re investing into innovation, you’re investing into creativity, you’re investing into your company, to make your company better.

My: It gives folks like us a chance, and so, that is kind of what I want to leave with, with our supporters because it changes all of our lives.

Sherrell: Yeah. Absolutely.

My: It’s future, right, we’re building our future.

Sherrell: That’s it, that’s it.

Willette: That’s the most important thing.

Sherrell: Thank you all. This was great.

Today, TAF is building a brighter future for 24,000 students. In the next five years, we’re committed to educating 65,000 more students. Representation matters. With your support, we can ensure tomorrow’s leaders in STEM industries and beyond are representative of the communities they serve.

From Student and Teacher at TAF to Coworkers

Larry Powelson and Tommy Nguyen

Video Timestamp: 15:57 – 21:29

Larry: It’s been, what, 14 years since I was a teacher at TAF, at TTIP, at the Technical Teens Internship Program. Probably more like 20, since I was your instructor? And then, going back even further, when you first started at TAF.

Tommy: It feels surreal that we’re kind of like, sitting here, ’cause I feel like time has flown by, but I still remember a lot of the lessons you’ve taught me and having that accessible to me was really kind of crucial in me following, kind of, my career path and, you know, working at the same company as you do now, so. You know, when I was 16 years old, I was already able to work a full-time job at, like a technology, you know, kind of area, and I felt like TTIP really gave me that chance.

Larry: I really like that TAF just came in at the right moment in your life. That, you know, if you think about the entire course of your life and all the things you learned, TAF was just a small part of that, giving you that lift, right at the start, it just builds and builds and builds.

Tommy: I actually remember you hosting a college event at Google where, you know, we did like a campus tour and talked about the different roles that, you know, that people can work on, or different projects that they can work on, and it really showed me that, hey, this could be kind of my next step in my career. So I think TAF really gave me some, you know, empowerment around, like, “Hey, I have a choice, and here’s what my future can look like.”

Larry: You know, having access to computers and programming from an early age, is just something that, for the kids who really enjoy it, just lights them right up. My experience was my dad bought a Radio Shack computer way, way back in the day, TRS80, if you can believe it, and that’s where I learned to program.

Tommy: If you don’t have access to it, like, you can’t really explore, you can’t really learn, as well as, you know, having something available, and that was one of the unique things about TAF is like, hey, here are devices, here are things you can actually get really hands-on, spend time with, it kind of like snowballed to where, you know, it’s like I have some of these experiences, I can actually do these things and it really kinda gives you a little bit more confidence. You know, having kind of gone through Tech Start and TTIP and having good instructors such as yourself, it really was something where my parents were like, oh, we have to get, you know, my other siblings into this program because whether or not they end up pursuing these types of careers, it gives them a good foundation, right? And at the time, my dad was like, pretty much like, “Yeah, I’m here for the three of you, whatever you need,” it’s after school, so he would literally drive the three of us to, you know, it was Tech Start or TTIP, at the time, and he would drop us off and then he would actually, like, wait in the car until we were done with our lesson and then, you know, drive us home. And I think he got to know, you know, some folks like Sherry and Trish, like, just ’cause, you know, they would see him sitting in the car and they’d be like, “Is there a dad outside?” And so yeah, it was one of those things where my parents trusted TAF to kind of provide me and my siblings with the additional education. Looking at it now, actually, like, myself and my siblings are all working in STEM related areas, right. So, it’s one of those things where my dad was like, he knew what was right for his kids, and I felt like TAF also knew early that STEM is gonna be important, right? And like, how do we get more people into STEM. And so, it’s one of those things where it kinda worked out.

Larry: So what’s happening with TAF in the next 25 years?

Tommy: I can really see TAF being embraced by companies and kind of being an apprenticeship program or something where it’s like, “Hey, you might not necessarily have the background, but through TAF, you can kinda get that in and transition.”

Larry: I would really like to see a lot of people figure out how TAF does what TAF does. So, it can really start scaling, start helping people out, not just in Washington State, but anywhere really.

Tommy: I’ve been really impressed with the kind of tenacity of people working at TAF to be able to continue this mission that started, you know, 25 years ago.

Over the next five years, TAF will partner with 15 additional schools, providing the training materials, data, and programmatic tools needed to transform classrooms for more kids in Washington state.

The Parents of TAF

Steven Sneed and Geneva Sharpe

Featuring: Sherry Williams and Alisha Bond

Video Timestamp: 21:41 – 28:40

Sherry: I remember there was one time where a parent was like, “I’m gonna take my child out. Her grades are slipping, and it’s just, I’m not doing this.” And I said, “Can you give me a quarter? Can you give me one more quarter with her? And if it doesn’t work and her grades are still slipping, you’re her parent, you do what you have to do.” And I remember her just excelling and getting into programming, and I’d have to remind some of our girls, like, “If you can make it through this, you’re gonna be able to make it through anything. So when it gets hard, just remember that you got this.” And then the parent came back and thanked me and you know, she’s a mom now, thriving and doing incredible community work. So those are the moments you think back, you’re like, “Okay, I made a difference, I gave my best advice I had at the time, and now look.” 

A parent knows that when they come and start being a part of the community, the TAF community, no matter what school they’re at, and they start to watch this shift in their child, and they come back and tell us about that. I just got a really nice quote from a parent over the weekend, it was just like, this is a part of my family. TAF is a part of my family. Two of my children went to TAF Academy, TAF@Saghalie, and they’re doing amazing things. We were with you for seven years, you are a part of our family. Like that’s huge. And when I think about other schools, how many people get that back, right, it comes back to us.

As a parent, I can sense when people genuinely care about my children. I felt that care during the 7 years that my children attended TAF Academy. They were challenged to think outside of the box and encouraged to be their individual selves. My husband and I strongly believe it takes a village to raise a child. TAF has been and will always be a part of our village!

Alisha Bond, TAF Parent

Steven: Well how did you all find out about TAF? ‘Cause we came, you know, when it was really brand new. ‘Cause my kids had the pleasure of starting really, I don’t even remember what year it was, but my daughter’s 30 something now and she works in the field, but golly, yeah, this was a long time ago. When they started, and TAF was on Rainier, Rainier Avenue, it was in this older building and we’d drive ’em up there, and they loved it. I had two girls who started. Now I have six kids, but the two girls started, and actually, all five of them were involved in some way or another.

Geneva: In the program, yeah, nice.

Steven: Yeah.

Geneva: A friend invited me to a luncheon and Trish was the keynote speaker. And so, again, so that was probably, maybe about 15 years ago or so. And so, at the luncheon, Trish was just a magnificent speaker and was just sharing the programs, talking about the success and what the kids were working on and what they was teaching them and how they were, you know, it was just amazing work. And then Trish shared with us, her new vision. And the vision was to actually expand, that after-school program, into actually be inside the classroom, inside the school itself. And I kept thinking, “I would love for at least one of my three to be a part of this program.” In which case, then, it was the right choice for Cameron, my youngest.

Steven: I see, yeah. I know for Miya, my daughter, she was about 12 or 13, and she would wanna help set up the VCR. And I looked at her like, “You wanna do this, you wanna set up this, you don’t just wanna put the tape in and play it, you wanna set it up?” So I gave it to her, and from that point on, I would always let her set up any sort of electronics, you know. I think it was the phone answering machine, which we don’t even have anymore. But she always took to that sort of thing and so TAF was just a perfect place for her to be. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to find that.

Geneva: With Cameron, he went from, again, being in the high school, the internship with Fred Hutch, going on to university, getting his bachelor’s degree. Again, working with others, ’cause that was the key focus in college. So it wasn’t foreign to him. Then, from there, he came back and got a job at the Fred Hutch and worked for them for a few years. Then he went on to pursue his master degree in public health. And the university, that program for public health, for that master program, was case-based learning, plus, project based. And today, he’s, like I said, he’s in Toronto at a hospital, with project-based learning, collaboration, ’cause he’s meeting with the president, the, you know, the CEO of the hospital, collaborating with doctors in all different fields. So I feel like his journey has come full circle, you know, just with what he learned.

Steven: Yeah yeah, it’s like the learning to work in projects and with groups is what happens in the work world, that’s the, you know that’s just the way that things get done.

Geneva: And if I have to say anything to parents now, of what I’ve learned back then, it’s pretty much to say, “Just be patient.” Because, you know, anything good, like an opportunity like this, when it comes around, take that chance, take that risk.

Steven: TAF just stands so unique and so special. And we literally reap the benefits of that with our children who are able to learn and grow, as a result, and find employment, as well as friends and just, you know, it impacted their lives in such a way that it made sense that we need to support this organization because it’s doing the real thing, it’s doing the real work.

Geneva: It’s doing the real work, yeah.

Martinez Fellowship: Supporting Teachers of Color

Sherry Williams and Trish Millines Dziko

Video Timestamp: 28:45 – 33:36

Sherry: One of the most unexpected things that happened, over our history, was when we inherited the Martinez Fellows Program. That was another one of those days where you came in and said, “What do we think about managing the program, taking it over.” And I remember hearing about all the good work because we had attended some of their fundraisers and we’re very excited about the work they were doing with teachers and supporting teachers, specifically teachers of color, and I thought, “Well, wouldn’t that be incredible for us to have that resource and for our schools to be able to tap into that resource.” And it aligned really well with the work we were already doing, right? Teachers that look like the students that are being served, that was gonna be an incredible opportunity. So I was actually really excited about that when you came and talked to me because it felt really natural. I know we had to think about the process of inheriting another program because it was not in the plan. So it was new, but I remember just being really, really excited about it.

Trish: Yeah, it was not, definitely was not expected, right. So I had met Holly back in 2008, the first year at TAF Academy, I think it might have been early 2009, like the 2008, 2009 school year, and got to know her, wanted her to see what was going on at TAF Academy, and the relationship went from there, and before we know it, I think maybe two years later, we had four Martinez Fellows on that TAF Academy campus. It made a huge difference. Right? And then one day, this was in early 2015, I’m pulling up in the parking lot here, and I get this call from Holly and she’s like, “Trish,” you know, “I need to talk to you.” So I pulled into my little parking spot, and I’m sitting there and she goes, “Edgar and I are going to fold the foundation but we want the work to keep going. Can TAF take it?” And I immediately say, “Yes,” and then I said, “But you know I have to ask my board, right?” So, and that’s when I came in and I was talking to you about it and it was a good fit. 

You know, the thing that I worried about, more than anything, is how would other people see how it fit for us. Like, we knew that it fit for us and then there’s also the logistics of, okay, it’s one thing to inherit a program, it’s another thing to understand how it runs and so how long is it gonna take us to understand how it runs, how much does it cost to run it, so thankfully, they gave us two years worth of funding so that we can focus on the program itself instead of just also having to fund raise for it. We had over 300 Fellows which was pretty cool. And we made a decision to grow the Fellowship an additional 10 Fellows per year. So when we started, we were bringing in 25 Fellows, then the next year we brought 35, and then 45 and 55. So we finally got ourselves on that clip and I think this coming year, we’re supposed to bring in 75.

Sherry: Yeah, it’s gonna be the largest.

Trish: It’s gonna be the largest and the thing that people need to understand is that the Fellowship is not just the three years that you do with us it’s your entire career. Right, so we’re responsible for providing networking opportunities, you know, beyond that three years, and then moving people into leadership, helping them get into leadership and all that. So when all is said and done, by 2036, we will have 2,400 Martinez Fellows.

Sherry: Wow.

Trish: 2,400.

Sherry: That’s a big number.

Trish: And I think we’re on track, I think we’re on track, but what it’s gonna take is for us to be able to, and deliver that personal service, is for us to be able to have the resources to expand the team to support these teachers.

By 2027, the Martinez fellowship will bring 400 teachers of color into Washington State Public Schools, providing early-career coaching, ongoing professional development, and networking opportunities for future teachers of color.

Staff Who Believe in the Cause

Trish Millines Dziko, Sherry Williams, and Jill Hull Dziko

Video Timestamp: 33:37 – 36:09

Trish: When I think about trying to get a school going, and trying to build a building and then having the economy tank, and all this stuff, and all the, you know, we’ve been through two layoffs. Right, we’ve been through two layoffs and we have seen a lot together.

Sherry: Mmhmm. I think about the interview with the two of you, 25 years ago, walking in to the building and feeling like, I had completely bombed it and calling my mom after I interviewed, and she’s like, “Well how’d it go?” And I was like, “Yeah, “I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the job,” and then two days later getting the letter in the mail, and I remember, at the time, my son was eight, Allan was eight.

Jill: Oh my gosh, that’s crazy.

Sherry: And I remember, I was like, “This is the moment we get to jump on the bed.” And I remember us jumping on the bed, with the letter, like celebrating, and now, you fast forward 25 years later, I stuck with it and I stayed, and I can still get up and say I’m excited about my work. I have an uncle, my Uncle Ed, that I adore, and he will always ask me, “How’s it going at work,” when I see him or I talk to him, and we talk about it and he always says, “You’re so lucky, you found it. “You found your spot that you could be you, “you could be passionate and you can keep going. “I’m so proud of you.” And like–

Trish: You’re good babe, you’re good.

Sherry: Moments like that where, you know, my mom will tell me, like, “I’m so proud of what you’re doing. You make a difference. I wanna hear the stories about your day and the people you work with.” Feeling great about the tomorrow of TAF, there’s gonna be a tomorrow and a tomorrow after that and I get to be part of something great.

Trish: You know, for me, having you be as much TAF as I am, makes me feel really good. It makes me feel really comfortable, it makes me feel like the best decision I ever made in my life, 25 years ago, was hiring you. So thank you.

Sherry: Thank you.

Trish: I’m done ’cause I’m gonna start crying any minute.

How Can You Support TAF's Future?

Trish Millines Dziko and Jamila Conley

Video Timestamp: 36:19 – 40:20

Trish: So Jamila, here we are, 25 years later. And you have been on the Board for five years, you’re in the second year as Board president, thank you very much, but I’m curious if you would share, like, in your five years, the growth that you’ve seen at TAF and what your hopes are for the future of TAF.

Jamila: Absolutely, and I’ve been a big fan of TAF, even before my five years on the Board, I have to say, and from what I’ve seen TAF evolve from, of being an after-school program, to where we are today, of not only educating kids in STEM, to be specific, to increasing the number of teachers of color, throughout the state of Washington, to just how we’ve connected more with companies as Seattle has become a tech hub, of them getting firsthand experience of the students, and the magic that TAF is helping to accelerate, it’s just been huge and a phenomenal success and I’m really excited to see what the next 25 years would bring. So, Trish, why don’t you talk to us a little bit about the impact that we have had, these first 25 years, and where we’re going.

Trish: Well, you know, when we turned 20, we set a 20 year goal of opening three school partnerships with Transformation, bringing in 2,400 new teachers of color, right, this is by 2036, and I’m happy to say that we’re actually on track. So, when we look at our Transformation program, our partners with schools, over the next three years, we will educate over 5,000 students.

Jamila: That’s amazing.

Trish: And we will also bring in 255 teachers of color into Washington State Public Schools, and they will impact 23,000+ students. So I’m really excited about our growth. I’m excited about the work.

Jamila: The work is just so important, it’s important to continue to build equity in education. It’s important to build pipeline that tech companies are always saying they’re suffering with, these are the types of things that TAF is helping to do and overall, continue to build diversity that we all know is very important. So to think that for just $350, we can take a child through a full year program at TAF. So my ask to you is to think about the importance of this work and do you have $350 that you can give us to continue to make an impact for the next 25 years?

Trish: I hope everyone decides to support the work of TAF. It is very important.

Jamila: Absolutely.

Trish: But the other thing that’s also important is that we celebrate the last 25 years and also recognize that we’re not done yet.

Jamila: That’s right, we’re not.

Trish: Let’s raise a glass though.

Jamila: Let’s do it.

Trish: All right. Everybody, raise your glass with us and let’s toast TAF’s 25 years and wish us a healthy 25 more. Cheers.

Jamila: Cheers, to TAF.

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Produced by the TAF Development Team

Adelaide Leroy
Freddy Abramson
Sherry Williams
Tyrone Cunningham

Directed by the TAF Communications Team

Adam Tageldin
Ezra Manjarrez
Trudy Gritsch


Bryan Tucker

Camera Operators

Brian Lee
Jovelle Tamayo


Bryan Tucker

Music courtesy of:

Music Bed

Thanks to the talent:

Geneva Sharpe
Jamila Conley
Jill Hull Dziko
Larry Powelson
Miya McClain
My Phan
Sherrell Dorsey
Sherry Williams
Steven Sneed
Tommy Nguyen
Trish Millines Dziko
Willette Harris

Thanks to our Premiere Sponsor


Thanks to our Community Sponsors

Fluke Corporation
Alaska Airlines

Thanks to our partner universities:

Antioch University
Central Washington University
The Evergreen State College
Heritage University
Pacific Lutheran University
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle University
University of Washington
University of Washington Bothell
University of Washington Tacoma
Western Washington University

Thanks to our district partners:

Federal Way Public Schools
Highline Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools
Tacoma Public Schools

A special thanks to:

TAF Board of Directors
TAF staff
TAF students, educators, and administrators
TAF Lunchbreak Ambassadors

And thanks to TAF supporters who rally with us in support of an equitable public education system.
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