Youth Board


Strengthening the voice of local youth in Seattle’s emerging conversation about urban manufacturing, sustainability, and the future of our city’s economy. 


The Seattle Made Youth Board (SMYB) is comprised of up to 9 local youth (ages 14-21), who are keen to learn about the role of the local economy in building more equitable communities and a healthier environment. Board members work creatively and collaboratively to build public awareness campaigns on issues that impact our city, ranging from the local food economy, slow fashion, urban sustainability, and more. Board members also help to inform our overall youth programming design and materials.

SMYB aims to provide relevant and equitable opportunities for all youth. We highly recommend young people of color and LGBTQIA youth to join! SMYB is looking for new members to join this year’s cohort! The 2019-2020 cohort will run from mid-end June, for one year.

Why join the Seattle Made Youth Board?

  • Make a meaningful impact and have fun!
  • Learn more about Seattle’s new economy and connect with creative local makers and entrepreneurs, people who make everything from bicycles to bags to bowties!
  • Learn how these makers have turned their passions into businesses, and how those businesses in turn impact our city’s economy, environment, and communities.​

Who You Are

  • Ages 14-21​
  • Looking to develop your voice and leadership skills​
  • Collaborative, open-minded, and able to work on projects autonomously and collaboratively​
  • Able to commit to quarterly, in-person meetings, monthly virtual meetings (video/phone), and additional meetings as needed
  • Able to commit to a minimum of 1 year on the Youth Board. Approximately 10 hours/month in meetings, projects, and more

What We Offer

  • Personal and professional skills-building opportunities. Each board member elects a variety of skills to be explored during quarterly meetings. This helps board members develop essential life skills that may be limited, or inaccessible otherwise
  • Digital platforms to share stories and information that will reach thousands city-wide​
  • A travel stipend to attend quarterly and other in-person meetings​
  • Opportunity to meet and work with local business owners and makers​

2018-2019 Project

About Spotlight on the Makers

“Spotlight on the Makers,” is the Seattle Made Youth Board’s first and multifaceted project, with the intention of offering career exploration resources for youth. The project consists of two video interviews and one written piece all posted to the Seattle Made website and social media, created collectively by Cody Small, Huma Ali, and Sydney Brusnighan. In this, the stories of three local businesses are shared, and a series of career exploration questions are asked. The purpose of such is to provide fellow youth a chance to explore careers, particularly regarding entrepreneurship and small business ownership. It allows youth a chance to learn about and break away from the standard career options advertised to them. Through the various mediums, the pieces take a look at partners of Seattle Made: Molly Ray Fragrances, Northwest Wood Design, and Of The Earth.

Check out the happenings on our Seattle Made Instagram and Facebook!

Papermakers, Of The Earth

When Kevin and Lori Graham, Seattle’s very own papermakers, were preparing for their wedding, they realized they couldn’t afford what they’d hoped for. So Lori used her skills as a paper artist to make their wedding invitations, and a positive response to such sparked the creation of their business: Of The Earth.
Of The Earth is a handmade paper store, where services range from custom wedding invitations to memorial pieces. The store is located in North Seattle on Aurora Ave, and is open to the public, with the back reserved for production.
When the shop was just starting up, Lori was making each and every product by hand, in parallel with other work. Kevin had just left a career as a commercial fisherman and Lori was a recent graduate from The University of Washington’s fiber arts program. Their desire to start their own business consisted of various factors, the primary being the flexibility of having one’s own schedule and working on one’s own terms, while having a means to express one’s creativity. It isn’t just the freedom that draws them to papermaking, but also the emotional fulfillment aspect, and ability to give back to the environment, (by embedding seeds into the paper so that flowers sprout when they degrade) that creates for a captivating craft.
Before Of The Earth, Lori outlined her time working for small businesses, where she was doing seemingly unimportant work to pay the bills. But, she recounts that such time allowed her to learn about small businesses, and apply such knowledge to her future. Though the situations were uncomfortable, she recognized the benefit of enduring t.
After asking Kevin when he knew he wanted to start his own business, his immediate response was “As soon as I started working for other people.” He explained that he works better as a lead. “You hear it a hundred times: do what you love. I don’t love paper. I like paper. I love working in a creative position where I have control.”
This advice is more powerful than it seems at face value. People do always seem to say “do what you love”—but what does that even mean?
Kevin has finally quantified such a saying in a comprehensible way. If you find something, be it a craft or position, that you have a passion for in some regard, it means that you will stay committed to it. If you are working towards a goals that you care about, you will not give up—and this is what is meant by that “love”.
In response to an inquiry of the disadvantages of their work, Kevin remarked “paper cuts.” On a more serious note, the couple outlined that as business owners the must work many hours, and be ready to add to their weekly workload because things always come up, be it staff, shipments, letter of recommendations, or anything unaccounted for.
But still, it is important to let go, and let your products enter the world. You have to step back and realize you can’t do it all.
“It’s hard to create—it takes a lot of energy and emotion—but it’s rewarding. And you must remember you have a community of creators that support you and understand your experiences. In owning your own business you must remember to give yourself credit, because what you know is valuable and so is your time, so price yourself accordingly,” Lori explained. In essence, you’ve got to value your skills, look at the time you’ve put in, the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired, and assess its worth.
Not having a boss, being the responsible one, and not meeting anyone’s standards but your own, are the benefits.
When asked how youth could get involved, I was informed that papermaking is usually an industry one falls into, rather than trains for. But for those interested, Daniel Smith’s Fine Art Materials offers occasional papermaking courses, and has materials needed for such. Of The Earth also sells papermaking materials, and puts out occasional calls for staff. But Lori’s primary advice for getting involved is to contact companies and ask to intern, and gain hands-on experience.

Founding youth board cohort 2018-2019


Huma Ali

Huma Ali is a junior at Lake Washington High School who is passionate about the power of words. She is a patron of the arts, an active writer, and works to make teen voices heard through TeenTix’s Press Corps program. She is the founder of her school’s Creative Writing Club, where she and her peers spend hours upon hours reading short stories from the New Yorker. Huma was also the re-founder of her school’s Feminism club, the former president, and currently works on its council. In addition, she serves as a member of the Bellevue Art Museum’s Teen Arts Council. She first became interested in the Seattle Made Youth Board after conducting a research project in school regarding the minimum wage issue, where she learned about sustainable business practices. As a member of the Seattle Made Youth Board, Huma hopes to shed light on local underrepresented makers, while educating her fellow youth about the logistics regarding business ownership—in hopes to provide them with the steps to creating their own viable business. In the future, Huma envisions owning a small business related to public health and medicine.

Sydney Brusnighan

Sydney Brusnighan is a senior at Raisbeck Aviation High School. She is a member of Women in Aviation, Black Student Union, National Honor Society, and the Tukwila Library Council. She joined the Seattle Made Youth Board to try to enact change in Seattle by finding ways to reverse the effects of gentrification by learning more about small businesses and how to support them against big corporations. She also strives to make the local businesses of Seattle more visible to the next generation of buyers. She plans on pursuing aerospace engineering at the University of Washington next year.

Laila Mohamud

Laila was an intern for SGBN during the summer of 2018, and is a founding member of the Seattle Made Youth Board. Having previously worked with community organizations and nonprofits such as OneWorld Now! and the NAACP Youth Coalition, she has a passion for community building and change. Her work for racial equity within her own community opened her eyes to the struggles of local businesses, particularly those owned by women and people of color. Her passion for community engagement and change has brought her to be the outreach and communications intern, where she will hone her skills and connect with potential new members of Seattle Good and Seattle Made.

Cody Small

Cody wanted to join the Seattle Made Youth Board to explore creative opportunities and to learn more about the Settle Made program and how it brings together local urban manufacturers and producers. He is currently enrolled at Seattle University studying mechanical engineering because of his interest in machines and the way they function. Cody hopes to one day, in the future, own his own machining business and produce parts for larger companies to use.

Advisory Committee

The Seattle Made Youth Board’s (SMYB) Advisory Committee are a group of local professionals and community leaders who are committed to supporting the board throughout their group projects, individual tasks, and personal/professional development. Advisory committee members also assist the youth program manager in strategizing and executing the quarterly in-person meetings. 

The Seattle Made Youth Board aims provide relevant and equitable opportunities for young people of color and LGBTQIA youth, and are looking to provide the support of an advisory committee that is equally representative, and highly recommend women of color, POC, and LGBTQIA folks to apply.

brooke headshot

Brooke Galberth

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Gabriel-Bello diaz

Gabriel-Bello Diaz is a Puerto Rican designer and teacher. As founder of Efficio he combines 3D printing and laser cut technology with leather to create high end leather products. With his background in architecture and robotic engineering he has developed educational programs and curriculums that encourage students to pursue a variety of STEM careers. Gabriel has been published in several books for his research in robotics and is currently working on his first solo publication on deconstructing public school education. He is also very passionate about empowering people of color and started an online fashion editorial, Hyena Culture, that highlights artists using their talent to strengthen and give back to their own community.


Cassidy Follins


Brenda Medina

Brenda is a Los Angeles native who has made Washington her home for the last 4 years. She is embarking on new endeavors after working in the labor movement for the last 7 years. Previously, she worked on empowering youth to plan and fulfill their ideas to making their communities a better place. Brenda is excited to work with the Seattle Made Youth Board  to give back to the future leaders of Seattle.



Want to get in touch with the Youth Board, advisory members, or join either?
Contact the Youth Program Manager via email by clicking the icon!

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