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Unwavering Belief in the Potential of Youth with BUILD MetroDC

by Bryce Jacobs, Executive Director, BUILD Metro DC

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BUILD was created with the audacious notion that students at the highest risk of dropping out of high school have the power to become self-starters who can change the trajectory of their lives. BUILD has seen that holistic academic support, combined with business training, leads to long-term success both in the classroom and beyond high school. We like to say that, “entrepreneurship is the hook; college is the goal.”

Through the process of developing and managing their own businesses, BUILD students experience first-hand how their academics are not only relevant, but also crucial, to life beyond the classroom. The result is a vital sense of ownership over their education and careers. As the applicability of school to “real life” becomes clear, and as students gain important skills, the BUILD program stimulates their motivation, challenges them to set high expectations for themselves, and empowers them to succeed.
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BUILD holds an unwavering belief in the potential of youth. Unlike many other youth programs, BUILD Metro DC targets students who are not are not on-track academically and might not consider college an option. Furthermore, many BUILD students are at a socio-economic disadvantage, and will be the first generation in their family to earn a college degree.

For this school year, BUILD is serving nearly 350 students at six schools in the Metro DC area: Columbia Heights Education Campus, Eastern Senior High School, Friendship Collegiate Academy, Friendship Technology Preparatory Academy, Roosevelt Senior High School, and The SEED School of Washington, D.C. And, for the first time ever, BUILD is also working with the entire 8th grade class at Friendship Technology Preparatory Academy Middle School.

In Washington, DC, only 69% of high school students graduate high school on time compared to the national average of 78%. Of those who do graduate on time, only 50% enroll in college. With such low graduation rates in DC, the dropout crisis does not just impact individual lives, it cripples our local economy and sets our city’s competitiveness behind. BUILD Metro DC launched in 2008 to stem the tide of high school dropouts and prepare students for college.

Our nation’s education system itself is woefully outdated. Students are not being taught the skills they need to thrive in the 21st Century, particularly in under-resourced communities in urban environments. BUILD aims to change that. With a focus on skills like creative problem solving, effective communication, self-management, collaborating effectively with others, grit and determination – what we describe as the “entrepreneurial mindset”. BUILD uses entrepreneurship to prepare young people for the Innovation Era and to get them engaged in their education.

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While I’m passionate about BUILD’s curriculum and how it engages our students with a very hands-on, experiential learning model, what truly inspires me are our students. There’s Jada and Imani, and Daniel, to name a few. They came to BUILD uncertain of the possibilities and opportunities available in their future, and exceeded their own expectations.

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For us, our outcomes speak for themselves. The impact of BUILD’s program on the achievement of low-income students is notable even after only one year: in the lowest performing schools in which BUILD serves students, BUILDers with just one year of BUILD graduate at a rate up to 56% higher than their peers. In higher-performing schools, BUILDers graduation attainment is 12-15% above the average for their low-income school peers.

The results of BUILD’s program speak to the impact of our model on student achievement and success. Since BUILD Metro DC’s first class of students became high school seniors in 2012, 95% of seniors have graduated from high school on time and 95% have been accepted to a college or university. In the 2016-17 school year, BUILD Metro DC’s accomplishments included a 100% on-time graduation rate for seniors and a 100% rate of acceptance to at least one college. Collectively, BUILD seniors were accepted to 100 colleges and won $1.4m in scholarships.

Further, BUILD students persist in college at a higher average than their peers. Research conducted by BUILD demonstrated that BUILD’s 2013 graduates enrolled in more four-year colleges, compared to two-year colleges, than their peers at the national level. For BUILD’s target demographic of low income, 100% minority, urban high school students, 75% of BUILD students in 2013 enrolled in a four-year college compared to 57% nationally. Moreover, BUILD students are on track to have higher college graduation rates within six years than the national average for both the target demographic of low-income minority students, and overall nationally.

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Because the nature of our work is so collaborative, a great day at BUILD is when everyone – program staff, BUILD teachers, mentors, and students – are in sync. In practice, that means teachers, staff and mentors are creating a safe and inclusive space for learning, collaboration and creativity. It means students are not just dreaming about but acting on their desire to start a business, tour prospective colleges and experience potential careers with professionals who host them throughout the city. It means that we are working relentlessly to reduce the opportunity gap for our students and work together to collectively impact our student’s success.

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BUILD could not do our work without the involvement of committed volunteers. Mentors play a critical role by working with students on a weekly basis to support their businesses and academics. Annually, BUILD recruits and trains 100 mentors who fulfill their mentor requirements of working with students (10th – 12th graders) on a weekly basis, starting in the 6th week of the school year, for 1.5 hours per week, to support their business and academic pursuits. Mentors are college-educated professionals who expose students to different career options while serving as reliable, caring adults.

BUILD also offers one-time volunteer opportunities where professionals from the community serve as judges at Business Pitch Competitions or serve on college and career panels.

Individuals interested in volunteering and supporting BUILD should contact us at builddcinfo@build.org.

Building Homes and Rebuilding Lives with HomeAid Northern Virginia

By: Kristyn Burr, Executive Director, HomeAid Northern Virginia

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This month, HomeAid Northern Virginia completed our 116th project to improve and expand housing provided by homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities – helping vulnerable individuals and families in our local area rebuild their lives with a secure, stable place to call home. Our most recent project was collaboration with the Brain Foundation of Fairfax County (another Catalogue nonprofit). With the assistance of HomeAid Northern Virginia, two Brain Foundation group homes that provide affordable, stable housing for individuals suffering from brain disease/mental illness – a population that is particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless – now have new bathrooms, more storage, enhanced common space and more.

HomeAid Northern Virginia facilitates and enables construction and renovation work on shelters, provides significant cost savings and allows organizations serving the homeless to invest their budgets in people-focused programs and services rather than building expenses. We facilitate renovations to shelters and supportive housing properties by bringing together the expertise of the local homebuilder community with the needs of local nonprofits who work to house the homeless.

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By convening and mobilizing the donated expertise, labor, and resources of homebuilders and construction trade partners (suppliers, subcontractors, etc.) who work with HomeAid Northern Virginia, we have completed 116 construction and renovation projects. Together these homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities have served more than 112,000 individuals in our community. Every single project we undertake gives more and more individuals and families safe housing where they can plan their futures and rebuild their lives.

Homelessness in Northern Virginia
Nearly 2,000,000 people find themselves homeless in America each year. A lost job or unexpected illness or injury can easily disrupt a family just getting by. A veteran’s posttraumatic stress, or the courageous decision to flee domestic violence displaces others. Due to the high cost of living in Northern Virginia, even the slightest change can affect a person’s living situation.

Building What Matters Most: A Secure, Stable Home

Stable secure housing has been shown to foster stable employment for adults and greater success in school for children. Access to stable, accessible housing enables families who were separated due to homelessness or housing insecurity to be reunited. At HomeAid, we do more than build housing for the homeless – we change lives.

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From the construction of entirely new shelter buildings to renovating sleeping areas, kitchens, and bathrooms, HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 116 projects have provided $14.7 million of construction to more than 40 nonprofit housing organizations that serve homeless families and children, victims of domestic abuse, runaway teens and other at risk individuals. Importantly, our projects have saved our nonprofit service-provider partners $8.4 million in retail construction costs, while at the same time enabling them to support improvements to provide a safe place for children to do their homework, for parents to get ready for work, and for families to get back on their feet. Instead of dollars spent on construction, our partners can pour more funding into the programs and services – education, vocational training, day care, counseling, etc. – that help individuals and families rebuild their lives.
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Several of our projects and partners include:

  • Shelter House’s Artemis House, Fairfax County’s only 24-hour domestic violence shelter. With HomeAid’s renovation, the shelter now provides safe housing for up to 8 individuals at a time facing life-threatening crisis.
  • Youth for Tomorrow (YFT), a residential campus for at-risk youth in Bristow, Va. HomeAid completed construction of two new homes on the campus, each allowing YFT to provide shelter and support services to 36 girls who are pregnant, young mothers, homeless, runaways, or survivors of sex trafficking.
  • Loudoun Transitional Housing Program. The program’s eight apartment units that provide transitional housing for homeless families and single women were completely renovated to create a well-appointed and fully-furnished home to help residents rebuild their lives and get back on the road to self-sufficiency.
  • Northern Virginia Family Service. HomeAid expanded and updated its shelter and food distribution center, constructed space for a Head Start day care facility, and renovated housing provided for disabled veterans and homeless families.

Beyond the Brick and Mortar: Enabling a Virtuous Cycle
Beyond the individual benefits to those living in the new/renovated facilities, there is a virtuous cycle of good associated with each HANV project:

  • Upgrades to housing positively impact not only current residents, but future residents for years to come.
  • Enhanced real-estate improves the balance sheet for nonprofits, and improves neighborhoods.

In this way, our projects are not “done” when they are completed; their impact is felt across individuals and communities long-term. By strategically building what is needed most in Northern Virginia, HomeAid is able to support other nonprofits as we work together toward ending homelessness, one person and one family at a time.

brain foundation renovation image 1HomeAid Isn’t Just For Homebuilders: “Helping Hands”
While we are always recruiting new homebuilders to serve as project “builder captains” and construction trade partners to collaborate with on our projects, we have plenty of other volunteer opportunities as well. The homes and shelter facilities we build and renovate provide comfortable shelter, but that’s typically not all that incoming residents need. Many arrive with little more than the shirts on their back. We started our Helping Hands program to make sure that individuals and families who move into HomeAid-renovated housing have what they need for a fresh start:

  • Our Fill the Fridge program collects gift cards so that homeless families moving into a new home can buy milk, fruit, and other perishables for a healthy start in their new home.
  • Our Welcome Home Baskets include basic but essential items that formerly-homeless families need for their new home, including towels, sheets, pots, dishes etc.
  • Our annual backpack drive ensures that children living in homeless shelters and supportive housing properties have access to a new backpack before the start of each school year; and our annual “Night at the Ballpark” treats hundreds of families living in local shelters to a Potomac Nationals baseball game – quality family time at a sporting event that may otherwise be out of financial reach.

Scout groups, neighborhood groups, school groups, church groups and other community organizations have organized collection drives for our Helping Hands program. These drives help make a house a home and you can make a difference by organizing one for an upcoming project. Learn more at http://www.homeaidnova.org/get-involved/volunteer/.

Motherhood is a Sisterhood with DC Diaper Bank

By Corinne Cannon, Founder and Executive Director, DC Diaper Bank
33593131875_ca921b159b_oNext month, DC Diaper Bank will distribute our 5 millionth diaper to a little one in the metro area. If you had told us that we would reach this milestone in six years we would have laughed! But we’ve gotten there because so may people have come together to make supporting vulnerable families a priority.

DC Diaper Bank was founded to ensure that all moms — all families — have what they need to thrive. Through our network of 40+ partnerships in Maryland, DC and Virginia, we distribute diapers (150,000+ each month!) and other necessary essentials, like formula, period products, adult diapers, and breastfeeding supplies, to families with young children experiencing poverty.

Diaper need is an issue for 1 in 3 families in poverty in this area and nationally. Government support like WIC or SNAP does not cover diapers, and as any parent will tell you — they are expensive, especially when you aren’t buying them in bulk. Diapers at a corner store can cost up to $.50/diaper, when a child goes through 10 diapers a day, that expense adds up quickly! Lack of diapers can lead to a host of problems, from diaper rash for babies to employment issues for grown-ups, since a supply of clean diapers is required by most child care providers.

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The moms out there doing their best in tough circumstances inspire us! At DCDB, we’ve come to realize that motherhood is a sisterhood — we help a mother out when we can, we are helped by other moms when we need it, and that’s how we raise healthy, strong, thoughtful members of the next generation.

We’re also inspired by our partner organizations, who every day find new and creative ways to engage families in their programs and support them through challenges. Finally, we’re inspired by the families that volunteer with us (1,500 each year!)– folks that are demonstrating to their children that it’s never too soon to help someone out, and that your time, and dollars, can have a real impact on someone in need.

We are excited to be broadening our definition of essentials right now — in addition to diapers, we are able to offer our partner agencies formula, wipes, period products, hygiene items and feeding supplies, and the list grows! Success for us is every child having everything they need in those critical first years of development, and every family having the support they need.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities and other was to get involved at dcdiaperbank.org

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Mentoring helps students gain access to College

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Only 46% of low-income students matriculate to college, according to the US Census. Most of these students are afraid they can’t afford college and that huge debt will burden them and/or their families. At First Generation College Bound (FGCB), we break down misperceptions about college affordability and accessibility, and strive to improve our students matriculation and graduation rates.

Our College Access program works with 150 first generation students annually. Countering the perception that low-income students must win a scholarship to attend college, our program welcomes students with a 2.0 or greater GPA and helps them tackle the financial aid process. Many students receive need-based aid assistance that they didn’t know they qualified for. Our students are ready to make successful transitions to colleges that are the best fit for them and can compete academically with their more affluent peers.

Most of our students must overcome long odds to attend college and obtain their degrees. Mentoring enables our students to overcome barriers which have prevented many first generation college students from attending and graduating from college.

In one-on-one coaching sessions and in workshops, we constantly instill college bound attitudes in our students. Our outstanding College Access Coaches develop customized plans for students, empowering them to surmount barriers blocking their way to their goals. Preparing them to do well in the SAT and maintaining a college bound transcript, we remind our students they can compete academically. We demonstrate attending college is affordable and accessible by showing our students how to leverage aid available to attend college.

For more than 27 years, our college access mentoring has ensured 93% of our students matriculate to college, twice the national average, and 64% of our students finish their degrees in four years, twice higher the national average of 33% for low-income students, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

FGCB is striving to develop support services and training for other organizations and programs. We hope other groups will want to replicate our highly successful model. If more groups adopt our mentoring approach, we’ll come closer to realizing our vision: one day all Marylanders will have equal access to affordable college educations.

You can learn more about our work by visiting www.fgcb.org

Guest Post: Aspire Counseling

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and in that spirit, we welcome Aspire Counseling to the blog! Aspire Counseling is committed to meeting the mental health needs of all Montgomery County residents, regardless of income. Their programs reach out to patients at the most critical junctures in their lives: when they become parents, battle an illness, or face aging. In particular, their Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program offers in-home therapy to expecting and new mothers battling post partum depression. Read more about their program and how to get involved here:

When Mother’s Day is Not Happy

Sunday May 11th is Mother’s Day. If a mother, you may receive breakfast in bed, a homemade card, flowers or a text message from your college son with “Happy Mother’s Day!” And yes, mothering can be a “happy” experience. It can also be hard. Sleepless nights, tantrums, juggling schedules, laundry, negotiating, reminding, etc. are no fun and can make for, at times – an unhappy experience.

One in five women will experience an even darker side to motherhood: pre and/or postpartum depression (PPD). Low income women have triple the chance (45 – 55%) of developing PPD compared to women in middle and upper income families. Low income women are also most likely to be uninsured. Finding affordable mental health treatment is often impossible.

Aspire Counseling, a mental health non-profit organization based in Gaithersburg Maryland, runs Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, a community based program that provides free home based mental health therapy to low income, uninsured and under-insured pregnant women and new mothers with pre-natal and post -partum depression. Our bilingual therapists travel to the women’s homes — or wherever easiest for the mother (playground, community center). This way she does not need to find childcare, arrange transport, or leave the house which can be a completely daunting and overwhelming exercise if depressed.

Eighty five percent of the women we serve are foreign-born. Many come from countries where they would be considered “crazy” if depressed. Seventy percent have experienced physical or verbal trauma in their home country. The trauma is often horrific: repeated childhood sexual abuse, gang violence, physical abuse by parents or partners, and rape. These women have not bad choices. They have been dealt a difficult hand in life and want to rise above it — for themselves and their child.

For example, “Jane” was referred for help when she experienced symptoms of pain and paralysis after her baby’s birth and medical tests ruled out physical causes. Most of Jane’s family stayed in El Salvador when Jane came to the US. Her pregnancy was fraught with depression, bad thoughts, and remorse about having left her family behind. Jane’s feeling of paralysis spread. Her anxiety skyrocketed. Her marriage was at risk. After 13 therapy sessions, Jane’s pain and paralysis had almost entirely disappeared. She was able to use “positive self-talk” and relaxation techniques to decrease anxiety and increase her sense of control. Her marriage improved. Jane still grieves her separation from her family in Central America, but she has begun to go church, where she sees other mothers from El Salvador.

The program has been running for over twelve years and treats more than 100 low income uninsured women each year. Nancy Ebb, program founder, recalls the very first client, “She was so anxious she stayed awake all night holding her baby to make sure nothing bad happened. She, and the baby, were listless.” In 2013 the award winning program helped 111 women. One hundred of the 111 women were uninsured and would have had no source of mental health care were it not for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.

Home visitation means therapists can make a real difference. Ninety percent of the women we serve through the program get better and learn tools to combat depression in the future. When a mother’s depression lifts, babies “wake up,” come alive to their surroundings, and begin to thrive. Effectively diagnosing and treating postpartum depression restores the mother-infant bond, and avoids cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems that can arise in children of depressed mothers. Mothers who are available to their babies read their signals, keep them nourished, and teach them to laugh, explore, and trust the world around them.

If you know a family member, friend, or neighbor with a new baby this Mother’s Day, take the opportunity to bring them a cooked meal, offer to run errands, or just let them know it is okay to feel tired, overwhelmed and unsure. If they need more help, are unable to sleep when the baby sleeps, continually crying and are listless, call Aspire Counseling Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program manager, America Caballero on (301) 978 9750.

For more information on Aspire Counseling’s Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program and other services, visit them online at: www.ccascounseling.org or check out their Catalogue page to get involved!

In the (Snow Day) News…

A few highlights from last week’s news, in case your paper is buried in the snow!

Education

According to a Washington Post article, approximately 6,000 state-funded preschool slots in Virginia were not filled this year beucase localities did not invest the required matching funds to take full advantage of the program. Though data show $23 million earmarked for the Virginia Preschool Initiative went unclaimed, at a cost of $6,000 per student, some 60 districts said they were constrained by lack of resources and space and did not fill their programs. In Northern Virginia, Arlington was the only district to fill 100 percent of funded spots. Some advocates note that the state’s pricetag does not reflect the cost of a high-quality pre-K program, which would run closer to $9,300 per student. This discrepancy leaves communities scrambling to make up the difference. Virginia’s cost per pupil is in keeping with regional spending: $8,000 per student in Maryland and nearly $15,000 per student in the District, which covers all 3- and 4-year olds.

Also in the Post: 100 local school boards in Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, and Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, are challenging a measure that allows for state takeover of struggling local schools. Resolutions filed by these board support a lawsuit currently fighting the General Assembly measure, which affects any school that fails the state’s accreditation or is accredited with a warning for three consecutive years.

Minimum Wage Across the Region

On the heels of D.C.’s minimum wage hike to $11.50 by 2016, Maryland Governor O’Malley has proposed raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016, up from $7.25 currently. D.C.’s increase was signed by Mayor Gray last week, and by 2017, the District and Maryland’s Montgomery & PG Counties will all have a minimum wage of $11.50.

Housing

The good news is that Maryland’s housing prices are on the rise. Prince George’s County, one of the region’s hardest hit during the foreclosure crisis, saw a 16 percent housing price increase last year – the second highest in the region. The bad news, according to a WAMU article, is that those rising prices are encouraging banks to foreclose more quickly on homeowners who are late on payments, causing a soar in foreclose rates as banks work through a backlog of foreclosures from the recession. PG County received $10 million in a national mortgage settlement, but very little goes to mortgage assistance, helping approximately 200 homeowners. While most struggling homeowners in PG County owe less than $10,000, many lost income in the recession and “even getting current on their mortgage may not make their home affordable.”

Local Giving & Our Region

The 2013 Combined Federal Campaign is over but reports from the Nonprofit Quarterly & the Federal Times indicate a “sharp decline” in this year’s giving. In the National Capital Region, the largest CFC campaign, pledges were approximately $47 million going into the CFC’s last day, down from nearly $62 million last year. The CFC peaked nationally at $283 million in 2009 and raised $258 million last year, but was hampered by government furloughs, the shutdown in October and coincided with a three-year freeze on federal pay scales. Some 2,000 local charities and 2,500 national charities participated in the 2013 CFC.

More than a third of of greater Washington zip codes are “super zips” according to the American Enterprise Institute. WAMU reports that these zips are mostly contiguous and rank in the top 5 percent nationally on scales of average income and number of adults with college degrees. That means households with an average income of $120,000+ and 7 out of 10 adults with a college degree. Check out the Post’s map of our region’s “superzips” here.

Around Town: May 18-19

If you are looking for a fun way to learn, make a difference, and get out of the house this weekend, these Catalogue nonprofits are waiting for you! See what is in store for the DC Metro area this weekend on Around Town. Heading to one of these events? Let us know–we would love to hear about it:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grocery Deliveries to Low-Income Seniors in North Capitol/Shaw

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be delivering groceries to over 250 low-income seniors in the North Capitol and Shaw neighborhoods.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Where: Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge St. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will help assemble and deliver grocery bags to low-income seniors. Although a car is not needed, it is helpful.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698
For more information: click here

LAMB 10th Anniversary Fiesta & Auction

Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School
Join us in celebrating LAMB’s 10th anniversary at the Fiesta & Auction! Food, music, silent auction & live auction, including items for many fabulous restaurants, hotels, and local businesses. Venga a disfrutar!
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (6:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Where: Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School, 1375 Missouri Ave. NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20011
Fee? yes $35 in advance; $45 at the door
Contact: Colleen Renk or Iyon Rosario, (202) 726-6200
For more information: click here

The Big 33: The World’s Most Important Dinner Party

A Wider Circle
Come see why Zagat calls 9159 Brookville Road one of the finest dining establishments in town. Okay, not really, but come see – and share – what A Wider Circle is all about! It only costs A Wider Circle $33 to provide a child or adult with all of his or her basic need items – from beds and dressers to sheets, towels, dishes, pots, pans, and much, much more! $33 is only a suggested donation. We invite you to come on out, share in some great food, hear about the work, and enjoy a wonderful dinner party. Have questions or want to RSVP? Call 301-608-3504 or email Dinner@awidercircle.org All are welcome, so please feel free to share this invitation with friends, family members, neighborhood listservs, or anyone who may be interested.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: A Wider Circle’s Center for Community Service, 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Fee? no
Contact: Erin Fiaschetti, (301) 608-3504
For more information: click here

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dance Place
DC based Christopher K. Morgan & Artists joins forces with NY based skybetter and associates for an evening of contemporary dance employing sinuous and abstract movement combined with detailed musicality. Performance includes Inclement Weather, choreographed by Sydney Skybetter, centering on the hallucinogenic memory of a beloved, lost grandmother. Co-presented by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
When: Sunday, May 19, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here

 

Around Town: April 27-28

Looking for a great way to spend your weekend? Catalogue nonprofits have great events that you can not only attend, but volunteer at as well!! If you go to an event, tweet about it using hashtag #CatalogueCheers!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Race to End Poverty

A Wider Circle
Featuring a 4K run/walk and a tot trot! In 2012, A Wider Circle furnished 3,650 homes. This year, we hope to furnish 4,000 homes – 4K! Run or walk on April 27 and help us accomplish a 4K in service! Enter as an individual, as a team, or join the Bed Brigade.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (09:00 AM)
Where: Meadowbrook Park, 7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Fee? yes $33 for individual 4K entries; $20 for ages 11 – 20; free for 10 and under 4K participants and Tot Trot participants free; $33 for the Bed Brigade
Contact: Ann Marie Schaeffing, (301) 608-3504
For more information: click here

Living Well With Cancer One-Day Retreat For Caregivers

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts
One-day Caregiver Retreats aim to help strengthen innate healing mechanisms through group support, yoga and stress reduction, creativity, and nutrition.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (09:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
Where: Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, 1632 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee? yes $40 per person
Contact: Smith Center, (202) 483-8600
For more information: click here

Grocery Deliveries to Low-Income Seniors in Columbia Heights

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be delivering free grocery bags to over 250 low-income seniors in the Columbia Heights, Petworth, and Adams Morgan neighborhoods.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: Kelsey Apartments, 3322 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20010
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will help assemble and deliver grocery bags. Although a car is not needed, it is helpful. Some of our delivery routes can be done on foot, while others require a car.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698
For more information: click here

REVISION dance company

Dance Place
In JUST BE, Artistic Director Shannon Quinn leads REVISION dance company in exploring the raw emotions and personal experiences of working with people with disabilities. The evening length modern dance work invites the audience and dancers to focus on the abilities of individuals, instead of the challenges and stereotypes associated with disabilities.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (8:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mass in B Minor featuring Agnes Zsigovics

Washington Bach Consort
Johann Sebastian Bach Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 We end our 35th Season with the monumental Mass in B Minor, a work Bach returned to again and again during his life. Although it draws upon Lutheran and Catholic traditions the B Minor Mass holds deep significance for people of all religious and cultural origins. Bach scholar Christoph Wolff describes the B Minor Mass as a summary of his writing for voice, not only in its variety of styles, compositional devices, and range of sonorities, but also in its high level of technical polish … Bach’s mighty setting preserved the musical and artistic creed of its creator for posterity. Pre-Concert Lecture: 2:00pm, Talking Bach is a series of free pre-concert lectures by noted Bach scholars one hour before performances at National Presbyterian Church. The lectures focus not only on the musical elements of the work that will be performed, but also on the historical context in which the music was created. Talks are designed to enhance the concertgoers’ appreciation and enjoyment of the music they are about to hear. The series is open to all ticket holders.
When: Sunday April 28, 2013 (3:00 PM)
Where: National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
Fee? yes Tickets $23-$65, Students 18 and younger $10, Pay Your Age 18-38
Volunteer Info: Usher, Sell Tickets, Direct Patrons, Clean up after Reception
Contact: Washington Bach Consort, (202) 429-2121
For more information: click here

The Two Sides of Hunger

Hunger and obesity may seem like far ends on the spectrum of food and nutrition, but both are symptoms of a near-epidemic problem in the US: food insecurity and malnutrition. Hunger’s victims suffer from the inability to provide sufficient food for themselves or their family; and a substantial group of the Americans now considered obese are either children, come from low-income families, or both. This week, at a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress, representatives from the private sector, public sector, and nonprofit sector shared thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of hunger in the US.

The statistics are staggering. After the “great recession” of 2008, the number of Americans living in food insecure households jumped to nearly 50 million, and over 16 million of those are children under age 18. In addition, one in three children is considered obese today, and that number increases to nearly half of all children living in poverty. On the other hand, programs that have proven to be effective on the front lines of ensuring food security for Americans falling into poverty (including school lunch programs, SNAP, and WIC) are facing intense scrutiny and potential cuts in upcoming budget discussions.

Fortunately, there are also some great examples of best practices and cross-sector collaborations making headway on not only alleviating hunger today, but attacking its root cause (poverty), of which malnutrition is only a symptom. Organizations like Share Our Strength are disproving the myth that healthy food is too expensive for lower-income families. This perception, and the all-too-real occurrence of food deserts across the county, highlight why children living in poverty are disproportionately like to be overweight or obese, as compared to children in middle- or higher-income families.

In the Greater Washington area, nonprofits like Brainfood and FRESHFARM Markets also work to make fresh, healthy, and nutritious food available to all – regardless of income. Brainfood is a non-profit youth development organization that uses food as a tool to build life skills and promotes healthy living in a fun and safe environment. A majority of the students involved with Brainfood struggle with poverty, violence, and a school system that fails to meet their needs. Through Brainfood’s programs, students gain practical cooking skills, an introduction to the food industry, a framework for nutritious eating, and leadership experience that prepares them to make a difference in their community.

FRESHFARM Markets is both a collection of farmer’s markets in the Chesapeake Bay region, as well as a voice advocating on behalf of farmers and the right to fresh, local food. They offer four different programs that help low-income people buy healthy foods in DC and Maryland markets — accepting SNAP (EBT/Foods Stamps), WIC, and SFMNP vouchers, and offering an incentive Matching Dollars program for those vouchers.

These are only two examples among the many organizations working to relieve hunger in our community — from Capital Area Food Bank, which distributes 33 million pounds of food every year, to local food pantries like Arlington Food Assistance Center, which serves 1,600 families a week. For more information on Catalogue charities addressing hunger and poverty in your community, check out the online catalogue here, and learn about ways that you can make a difference as a donor or volunteer.

In The News …

Commentary: DC Council Should Support Grandparent Caregiver Program (WAMU): “The proposal before the DC Council is a small, but important, change to the Grandparent Caregiver Program, a program that provides financial support to low-income grandparents who are raising their grandchildren,” says Judith Sandalow, the executive director of the Children’s Law Center. At present, the subsidy starts starts only after the child has lived with their grandparents for six months; the proposal would permit the city to waive that requirement and “children who are being removed from their parents and are at risk of entering foster care could immediately go to live with their grandparents.”

Ward 8 parents, teachers challenge DC school closure plan (Washington Post: Schools Insider): “A standing-room only crowd of parents, teachers and activists gathered Tuesday evening at Savoy Elementary School in Southeast Washington to critique and challenge Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s plan to close 20 under-enrolled schools.” Principal concerns included the quality of transitions for students from one school to another and the reinvestment goals for the money saved from closures. “The community meeting was the first of four scheduled over the next week;” the meeting for Wards 1-4 and 6 is coming up tomorrow.

The Risks of Limiting Charitable Deductions (Nonprofit Quarterly): “In his Urban Institute blog, The Government We Deserve, the Tax Policy Center’s Gene Steuerle looks to the past to auger the future of charitable deductions reiterates the argument that limiting charitable deductions will dampen giving, which threatens nonprofit coffers and ultimately hurts those who benefit from programs and services provided by the sector [...] The Wall Street Journal reports that “there is no specific plan to eliminate deductions for charitable giving” in the ongoing haggling over the fiscal cliff. There are, however, proposals to cap overall deductions.” What do you think about a possible cap, and does the amount or the mere existence of it matter more? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.