The mission of East African Community Services (EACS) is to provide culturally responsive K-12th Education programs that keep our youth safe and help them succeed in school and life.
Our vision is for our children to be safe and healthy, to graduate high school and complete college, to find careers they love and give back to their communities.
Respect, Community, Culture & Identity, Commitment and Growth
About Our Agency
With a vision of developing and strengthening the capacity of East African refugees in King County at the individual, family, and community levels, EACS has established a strong record of service in the King County. EACS meets our vision by providing culturally specific advocacy, information, referral and direct social services, and by bringing together members from the major sectors of the East African refugee community. Past EACS programs have assisted hundreds of refugees in achieving naturalization through citizenship classes, provided interpreting services, and provided in-home-tutoring for over 100 students.
A Brief Overview
History and Timeline
1991 – Since the beginning of the Somalian civil war, an estimated 1 million have been reported dead and more than 1 million refugees and asylum seekers have settled outside of Somalia – fleeing religious extremists, natural disasters, and clan factions competing for resources. Throughout the 90’s and 00’s, more than 45,000 Somali refugees have sought refuge in King County, WA.
2000 – After many Somali refugees and immigrants arrived in the King County, four Somali refugees established a service organization for their community called the Refugee Social Development Resource Center (RSDRC). The Refugee Social Development Resource Center begun out of various collaborations and partnerships with local community agencies and stakeholders.
2001 – The Refugee Social Development Resource Center was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and changed its name to East African Community Services (EACS), broadening its scope to include all of Eastern Africa. Today, EACS brings together members from the major sectors of the East African refugee community.
2008 – East African Community Services launched K – 5th grade programs, foreseeing the assistance that parents, who’ve had their own academic futures disrupted by ongoing war would require to ensure their children successfully graduated high school and pursued post-secondary education.
2011 – East African Community Services conducted a community-wide survey, and learned that the greatest challenges facing East African youth are academic underachievement, violence, pressure to join gangs, family stress, and conflict with authority figures.
2015 – East African Community Services has established a high level of trust with the East African immigrant community in the Puget Sound area through culturally specific advocacy, information, referrals, and direct services. Our agency has demonstrated a clear understanding of client needs, and remains a high-profile presence among the East African population in King County.
Working Towards a Healthy Future
As East African communities’ needs change, EACS responds by adapting our programming. Whereas we once focused on providing assistance to newly arrived refugees, these refugees urgent needs have been met, but youth development and education have steadily grown into one of the largest challenges within our communities. Because of cultural, linguistic, and religious differences, many East African youth feel alienated from their peers and their Western education.
The children of refugee parents are caught in limbo between generations, neither fully tied to longstanding traditions from home, nor to the culture of their American peers, leaving their parents and guardians scrambling to find appropriate social services and educational programs to meet their needs. In response to these pressing issues, our agency is transitioning our area of focus to K-12th Education and Youth Development Programming.
East African Community Services values the diversity reflected in King County’s mosaic of communities and welcomes everyone without regard to ethnic origin, religion, or political affiliation. However, our agency’s first obligation is to meet the unique needs of East African youth and families.