DC-AYA Annual Members Summit 2013

Washington, DC

I was excited to cover the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates 2013 Annual Member Summit at the All Souls Unitarian Church in DC a few weeks ago. The organization is a coalition that helps guide policy and programming within the district, and is comprised of several members that do amazing work like Bread for the City, City Year, and Horton’s Kids. The summit was an opportunity for them to hear from DC Councilmember David Catania and David Grosso, and to also bring up questions concerning their work with the youth population in DC.

In true nerd form, I was especially enthused to put a face to the voice of Kavitha Cardoza, a reporter for WAMU 88.5, DC’s public radio station that I listen to all the time. Her work covering education in the region is so insightful and she produces some of my favorite pieces, so it was great to see her moderating the Councilmember Panel.

After listening to the crowd and the councilmembers discuss some of the challenges in the system that face DC’s at-risk youth, it was encouraging to end of a uplifting note. Lisa Lazarus from Reading Partners shared how a child came in to the program and, being far away from reading at grade level, ran around the room is frustration – unwilling to sit with his tutor. Months later, as the tutor stepped away to assist another student, the child began to run around the room again. This time it was because he had read a book all by himself for the first time and as he tore around the room he exclaimed, “I can read!”

These are the people who work tirelessly to reach our community’s under-served populations, doing the groundwork necessary that breaks the cycle of poverty for the next generation. It’s not easy, but it’s good work.


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