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In the News …

I wanted to highlight this post from Greater Greater Washington; the piece was written yesterday morning, the City Paper picked it up yesterday afternoon, and the comments thread debate is still going now. Bryan Weaver, executive director of Hoops Sagrado, recounts his twelve-year connection to Jamal Coates, who was killed in the 13th & U funeral shooting. He concludes:

“I don’t profess to have the answers. If I did, Jamal would not be dead. But I do have some ideas about how we as a community — the entire community — can begin to frame the conversation that will hopefully bring about real change and possibly save some lives [...] We need real action. We need people who are really willing to look at our system and fix it [...] The best way to stop a bullet is an education and a job.”

The debate has focused, at least in part, on whether small and localized changed can make the difference or whether a national paradigm shift is necessary. For a simple answer, I’d say that the former is of course critical while we are waiting on the latter. But I’d also posit that education and outreach programs created for a single neighborhood, a single street, or a single block can have an impact (and an intimacy) that no national program could ever duplicate.

Do check out the post in full and TBD also has an interesting perspective. Moreover, take a look at some of the amazing work that our non-profits are doing in Education and Human Services. The changes may be local and specific, but that translates to deep and undeniable.

3 thoughts on “In the News …

  1. I think there is no question that we all want and need systemic change. But how long will we wait to get it? If I had a child in DCPS, or if I lived in a neighborhood where violence was a fact of every day life, I would be searching high and low for the kinds of programs that Catalogue nonprofits offer — alternative schools, after-school tutoring and mentoring, after-school arts, college access programs that start early and stick with kids till they graduate. I’d be looking for the kind of support from human services organizations that can really turn lives around. We all want a better economy, more jobs, and better schools for our kids. While we’re waiting for the big solutions, we had better be able to find SOME solutions that really work.

  2. A national strategy that builds up and on community efforts is whats needed. While national policy may provide some very important answers in the long run, it will always be the community organization providing the shoulder for residents to stand on and sadly to cry on.

    I recall a young lady participating in our nature ride program who’s father was in jail. During one of our events a washington Post reporter took a picture of her and it ended up in the health section of the newspaper. Our volunteer took 10 copies of the paper to the girls mother who was in the hospital for esophagus cancer. Her mother cried tears of joy that we were there when she needed someone in her life. A short while later her mother passed away, the child was wisked off to spend time with family she didnt know and was soon put on the suicide watch list at school. Our volunteer received a simple request from the girl. “I want to ride” We quickly arranged for her to return to the comfort of the woods and you could see the stress fly away from her. three years later she is still participating in our program.

    A national policy could never provide this service but it could help create financial security for those community leaders who do. In the meantime, I appreciate every little effort done by community leaders especially in the nonprofit sector because they often make large differences in lives.

  3. Thanks to the Catalogue of Philanthropy, DC organizations like AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation (“AppleTree”) are raising the trajectory of learning for highly disadvantaged children, that leads to greater success in school, careers and life. The US Department of Education recently awarded AppleTree a $5 million Investing in Innovation grant to develop our “Every Child Ready” instructional program for scaleability.

    AppleTree’s recent external evaluation, by Dr. Craig Ramey of Georgetown University concluded, “The AppleTree results reveal that an effective structured educational program is not at odds with children?s positive engagement (having fun) or with teacher sensitivity. In our opinion, having fun while learning basic skills and language from sensitive teachers are complimentary facets of effective early childhood education for children from disadvantaged circumstances. Finally, we should be reminded that although the teachers were warm, sensitive and effective, they continued to participate in professional development to improve their knowledge and skills about teaching. It is refreshing to realize that high standards, clear goals, continuous professional development and increased rates of children?s development can be encapsulated within a single program.

    Would that more children in need had access to programs with these characteristics.

    The Catalogue of Philanthropy found AppleTree and with your support we created a preschool in Columbia Heights serving 120 young, at-risk children. We can all work together to build more successful loves that avoid the kind of tragedy that happened on U Street.

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