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Catalogue Blog

Around Town: March 31-April 1

Coming up this weekend …

Limited Visibility, featuring Christopher K. Morgan Artists from CityDance Ensemble (Alden Theatre, 1234 Ingleside Avenue, McLean, VA)

Inviting the dancers to reveal things they might only do in private, the piece will be a suite of dances connected in theme and design. Performances are Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 PM; tickets available right here.

Lemons and Lost Belongings at District of Columbia Arts Center (2438 18th Street NW)

Through Saturday, the Dolce Revolution presents a double feature: Lemons by Barry Eitel is an examination of class struggle through the metaphor of a lemonade stand, while Lost Belongings by Jennifer Berry explores human sexuality, identity and the longing for connection in the era of Facebook. More info this way!

Intermediate Concert from DC Youth Orchestra Program (Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street NE)

All young performers in Concert Orchestra, Concert Wind Ensemble, and more, will after just five weeks of rehearsals on Sunday at 4:00 PM. Learn more about the youth orchestra season right here!

And next week …

FREE Noontime Cantata Series at Washington Bach Consort (Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G Street NW)

At the popular series of fifty-minute concerts presented on the first Tuesday of the month at noon, music director J. Reilly Lewis shares his enthusiasm and love for the music before presenting an organ work and one of Bach’s cantatas. Directions available right this way!

In The News … (more!)

Affordable housing means financial incentives, experts tell MontCo (Washington Examiner): “Yet 44 percent of renters in the county spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, said Michael Bodaken, president of the National Housing Trust. A minimum-wage earner would need to work four full-time jobs to afford a “modest” two-bedroom apartment in the county. The most realistic solution is to try to preserve some of the existing housing where rents are in danger of climbing, because working with existing structures costs one-third as much as building new housing, Bodaken said.” According to Roger Lewis, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, “it is going to take some public-sector financing, which then gets into the political briar patch.” (We also touched upon the high housing costs in Arlington in yesterday’s In The News)

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In The News …

Not Enough Qualified Workers in DC? (Washington Post via DCentric): “Unemployment in some DC neighborhoods is as high as 25 percent. At the same time, cranes fill the skies in pockets of the city, signaling economic activity. So why not encourage hiring unemployed DC residents for those projects? That was the intent behind tightening the District’s hiring rules for projects receiving city money. But now builders and contractors say that the new hiring standards are impossible to meet because the city simply lacks qualified workers.” To learn about a Catalogue nonprofit focused on construction training, head to DC Students Construction Trades Foundation.

3 new private conservation reserves established by communities in Peru (Mongabay: environmental news): “Three new private conservation areas in the Amazon-Andes region of Peru will help buffer the country’s national park system while offering new opportunities for local people to benefit from protecting ecosystems. The new private conservation areas cover 18,882 hectares (46,659 acres) of habitat ranging from high elevation grasslands to cloud forests to rain forests [...] The new reserves are also significant in that they are part of a broader initiative by the Amazon Conservation Association, an NGO with offices in Washington DC and Peru, to support sustainable livelihoods in a region that is traditionally very poor.” A Catalogue nonprofit, ACA preserves miles of wilderness through sustainable use of resources, research, and education.

Housing costs trouble many Arlingtonians (Washington Post: Local): “The biggest problem facing Arlingtonians, by many measures, is the cost of housing. If you don’t have it, and you’re not financially well-off, you can be in for a long, painful search. “Affordable” housing options usually are targeted at those who make 60 to 80 percent of the median income,” which is $110,000 in the county. “Further down the income ladder are those who are already homeless. A-SPAN, the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, recently received a $93,000 grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing and case management for six chronically homeless adults in Arlington.” Also a Catalogue nonprofit, A-SPAN also operates Opportunity Place, where homeless individuals can take a shower, wash clothes, secure a health-care referral, and obtain an address.

Second Chances

If you have not yet checked out the American Graduate series on WAMU 88.5, certainly do so. Education reporter Kavitha Cardoza examines the “causes and consequences” of the drop-out crisis in our region and the country.

This week, WAMU highlights several dropout recovery schools (specialized programs that provide a second chance to students who have not succeeded in traditional schools), including Catalogue nonprofit YouthBuild Public Charter School. Through YouthBuild, students ages 16-24 move among the classroom (focusing on reading, science, math), a construction site (building affordable housing units), and service learning opportunities (creating community gardens and cleaning up local rivers).

Here’s a glimpse into the life of a YouthBuild student:

Students in overalls and hard hats saw and sand boards for new trim at the construction site where they’re currently working. They attend a dropout recovery school in the District, and they use the construction skills they’ve learned at school to renovate low-income housing. One of the students, 22-year-old Omar Mobley, measures a plank of wood.

“You gotta know math if you wanna do construction. You gotta read a measuring tape,” he says. “It ain’t as easy as it looks … Basically you gotta know your division.”

Mobley dropped out of school a few years ago after his twin brother was shot and killed. His is just one of dozens of rough stories of students at YouthBuild Public Charter School in Northwest DC. [...] He felt his life was spiraling out of control. Going to school just made it worse; he couldn’t concentrate because classes were so chaotic, he says. He missed a lot of days, and eventually stopped going back.

Now at YouthBuild, Mobley has perfect attendance. He likes the small classes and feels the teachers there are different.

As Executive Director Arthur Dade explains, “We ask them when did they drop out of school, but it’s really when did they check out of school.” So the challenge is re-engagement as much as re-enrollment.

The Right Place

[...] I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

– “Birches,” American poet Robert Frost, born today in 1874

In this spirit, learn more about DC SCORES — which combines physical activity (soccer) with a Power of Poetry program to inspire young people to lead healthy lives and be engaged students.

Around Town: March 24-25

An awesome range of events coming up this weekend …

Reading: A Family Affair with Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church)

A free, five-hour event, this family literacy day brings books alive through a variety of venues: visitors can see, hear, become, read & write, and even click (through computer activities) great books on Saturday from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM. Learn more right here!

Tree Planting! with Anacostia Watershed Society (Waterfront Park, 4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg)

Come roll up your sleeves and help to restore the health and natural beauty of the watershed on Saturday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM; simply zip an email to to sign up.

“All Mozart” at National Philharmonic (The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda)

Assistant Conductor Victoria Gau makes her National Philharmonic debut in an all-Mozart concert that opens with the joyful and beloved Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (“A Little Night Music”) on Saturday at 8:00 PM. Tickets right here!

Red Shoe 5K Run & Walk with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC (2303 Dulles Station Boulevard, Herndon)

Calling all runners and walkers! The Red Shoes 5K, coming up on Sunday at 9:00 AM, features a scenic fast, flat course and a special kids fun run. Sign up online and help in the fight for children’s health.

“The Art of the Fugue” at Washington Bach Consort (National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue NW)

In this rare performance of the complete Die Kunst der Fugue, experienceit in different ensemble groupings including string ensemble, harpsichord, and organ on Sunday at 3:00 PM. Tickets this way!

Scrabble Scramble at Literacy Council of Montgomery County (Manor Country Club, 14901 Carrolton Road, Rockville)

On Sunday at 6:00 PM, four-player teams will compete to achieve the highest total score and raise money for the organization’s adult literacy programs. Dinner is included, along with a cash bar. For more info, call (301) 610-0030 x202.

In The Water

Did you catch this story of The Kojo Nnamdi Show yesterday morning?

“College campuses across the country are restricting or banning the sale of bottled water. Instead they’re promoting “hydration stations,” where students can fill up their own reusable bottles with filtered tap water. The groups behind “ban the bottle” campaigns cite environmental concerns over plastic bottle manufacture and waste as their motivation. But critics say students have a right to choose what they drink [...]“

The NPR food blog, The Salt, also reports that “the bottled water war is spreading beyond campuses, though. Several cities have stopped using public funds to purchase bottled water, and Grand Canyon National Park announced Monday it will stop selling water in containers smaller than one gallon.”

And after delving into the bottle battles, you can learn plenty about the water in our own rivers right here:

- Anacostia Watershed Society: protects and restores the Anacostia River and its watershed, working hand-in-hand with local volunteers
- Rock Creek Conservancy: mobilizes over 2,000 volunteers to clean local streams and advocates for the park’s natural resources.
- Potomac Riverkeeper: increases public awareness and promotes community action to protect a great resource; volunteer citizen monitors act as its “eyes and ears”

In The News …

Investing in Education, Workforce Development and the Safety Net Will Close the Income Gap (Huffington Post): “In other words, while our region’s economy has led to economic growth and prosperity for many on the middle and higher rungs of the ladder, residents on the bottom of the income scale largely are being left behind,” writes Terri Lee Freeman, president of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. “While philanthropy alone cannot address income inequality, it can make a difference. We believe economic security can be achieved by investing in three key areas: education, workforce development and the safety net.” Do you agree that these are the three key areas? What would you add?

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In beginning to write The Giver, I created a world that existed only in my imagination — the world of “only us, only now.” I tried to make Jonas’s world seem familiar, comfortable, and safe, and I tried to seduce the reader. I seduced myself along the way. It did feel good, that world. I got rid of all the things I fear and dislike [...] One child has pointed out, in a letter, that the people in Jonas’s world didn’t even have to do dishes.

It was very, very tempting to leave it at that.

But [...] if I’ve learned anything through that river of memories, it is that we can’t live in a walled world, in an “only us, only now” world where we are all the same and feel safe. We would have to sacrifice too much. The richness of color and diversity would disappear; feelings for other humans would no longer be necessary. Choices would be obsolete.

And besides, I had ridden my bike Elsewhere as a child, and liked it there, but had never been brave enough to tell anyone about it. So it was time.

author Lois Lowry, born today in 1937
Newbery Medal acceptance speech for The Giver, June 1994

Feature of the Month: Happenings

Making plans with friends or looking to meet some new people? Check out the “Happenings” section of the Catalogue homepage:


When one of our nonprofits uploads a news story or press item, you always can find it under the NEWS tab. This month, you can see Women Thrive Worldwide featured in The Hill and on the The Jim Bohannon Show and Heart of America Foundation in the Journal Gazette.

Same deal for the EVENTS tab! This is where you find all events from all our nonprofits, organized by date. We also do a handy events recap for weekend happenings right here on the GoodWorks blog. Coming up this Wednesday, for example, are “Life After Diagnosis” sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Family Day Center and a Dream Booster Tour at Bright Beginnings.

Finally, are you interested in getting involved? Click the VOLUNTEER Opportunities tab, which just pulls up events that are in need of some willing volunteers, also sorted by date. This coming Thursday, as it happens, Anacostia Watershed Society needs some help with wetland meadow site prep in Hyattsville.