Wednesday, September 20, 2017

DCAYA Federal Budget Impacts on DC

This document is intended to provide an evolving picture of how the 2018 Federal Budget could impact DC children, youth, families and the organizations that serve them.

As you review the following chart, keep in mind that due to the federal funding cycle, any decisions made in the FY2018 Federal Budget will not - generally - impact DC funding until FY2019.

We will continue to update this document as information is made available and decisions are made. For the most up to date version, make sure to bookmark this link

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Introducing Ramina Davidson, DCAYA's new Senior Policy Analyst

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Ramina Davidson to the DCAYA team.

As a Senior Policy Analyst, Ms. Davidson works to support the development of policy, advocacy, and budgetary recommendations on Expanded Learning and Youth Homelessness through high quality research and analysis.

Prior to joining DCAYA, Ms. Davidson worked at HIPS, a D.C. non-profit, to build and implement the a housing navigation program to serve individuals impacted by sexual exchange and drug use, individuals identifying as LGBTQ, and people living with HIV.
“It’s clear that a lot of LGBT youth have experienced a lot of trauma either in their families or on the street,” Davidson said during a panel discussion... (Coleman, Justine. "New Plan for D.C Homeless Youth." Street Sense, 1 June 2017.)
While at HIPS, she also worked to address the gap between DC organizations providing services for youth and adults experiencing homelessness and housing instability.
She holds a juris doctor from Georgetown and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from UCLA.

We are thrilled to have her on board and invite you to join us in welcoming her to the DCAYA family!

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Youth Job Fair on September 20

In August 2015, a coalition of employers launched the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and has formed the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating meaningful pathways and hiring opportunities for at least 100,000 youth by 2018.

With thousands of youth in the DC-metropolitan area out of school and not working, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is committed to investing in the region.   As a first step, this employer-led coalition is partnering with the District of Columbia and other key partners to host the sixth Opportunity Fair on September 20, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. It will be an inspirational day of connection and empowerment to more than 20 leading companies and a full suite of services, workshops, and inspiration to help break down barriers for youth. Check out this video from a recent Opportunity Fair to learn more.

We Need Your Help
Help us impact as many Opportunity Youth as possible at the Opportunity Fair on September 20th:

  1. Reach out to youth directly in your programs, email and text lists, and networks broadly to encourage them to register, schedule interviews, and attend;
  2. Helping make sure youth are ready to take advantage of the day, that could mean one-on-one support through the registration process or even hosting pre-workshops if you think that will be valuable for the youth you serve
  3. Leverage your network to ensure other community leaders know about the event through direct     contact or social media

Event Information
What: Opportunity Fair with job for youth between the ages of 16 to 24 featuring interviews and on-the-spot offers, mock interviews, resume and application computers, clothing assistance, training resources, mentorship, food, and much more!

When:    September 20, 2017 - 9 am to 3 pm; come for the whole day or just a few hours!
Where:   Walter E. Washington Convention Center DC
Who:   Targeting Opportunity Youth (16-24 year olds not working or in school)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Youth Voice: Calling My Peers- Let's Get Civically Engaged

This week, we're sharing the perspective of Tavian Southall, a youth participant in Mikva Challenge DC who has spent the summer interning at the DC Council. We thank Tavian and Mikva Challenge DC for their contribution to this blog!

I am a college student! I just graduated from high school, and now I am on my way to change the world. At the beginning of my senior year of high school, I told myself that I wanted to complete as many challenges in an efficient and timely manner. I wanted to be engaged in and out of school. I participated in my school’s Student Government Association as the 12th Grade Representative. I advocated to the Executive Director of the school to partner with an organization named Reach Inc. I was a tutor for Reach Inc. for two years as an underclassmen at my old high school, so as I came to my new school for eleventh (and twelfth) grade, I made sure Reach Inc. was a program that was coming with me. Consequently, when I began twelfth grade, Reach Inc. was at my new school! From there, I led the ninth and tenth graders in the program with tutoring second and third graders in reading and writing. I soon joined the State Board of Education’s Student Advisory Committee -- advocating and discussing issues we faced at our respective schools. I also continued to work with the SBOE Representatives to ensure that the upcoming committee members are more productive and action-based. And of course, I joined Mikva Challenge DC, an organization focused on youth civic engagement in a variety of ways. Now, I want to fuse youth engagement and education into one organization and call it my own.

In the District of Columbia, there are many opportunities for youth to become civically engaged in their communities. I participated in a few of them this past year, and would encourage all youth in DC to learn more about the opportunities available to them!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Late to class? Go straight to jail.

Do not pass go.

Do not go to class.

Do not go home.

Mic's Jack Smith IV wrote a piece this week about a new report by the Vera Institute of Justice, We still put children in jail for being late to class.

Now you might remember that several weeks ago, we stood in solidarity with the Every Student, Every Day Coalition regarding under reported suspensions at some DC high schools. And this report is the other side of that coin.

Here is an excerpt from Smith's article.
Across the country, thousands of kids are still thrown in juvenile detention for violations known as “status offenses” — offenses that wouldn’t be considered crimes if not for the age of the offender. A new report by the Vera Institute of Justice shows that 100,100 kids were locked up this way in 2014 alone, the most recent year the data is available. They’re the kind of offenses that child psychologists will say are a natural part of growing up. But if you’re black, poor, LGBTQ or female, you often don’t get the benefit of the doubt: You get jail.
Too often we see youth in DC stumble into and sometimes from systemic and institutional barriers that keep them from being able to catch up with their peers, or even simply move forward at their own pace. To paraphrase what one colleague said at our Youth Advocacy for Action Summit in the Spring, "youth challenges are commonly adult issues". And as adults who value and do our best to raise up youth voice, part of our work often involves understanding youth development.

While the bulk of our work is rooted in policy research, community meetings, and legislative advocacy, part of it also has to do with informing and changing perspectives we have as adults of our young people. You may have heard the term adultism, which Wikipedia defines as "prejudice and accompanying systematic discrimination against young people".

One of the recommendations which the Vera report makes to decriminalize adolescent behavior certainly addresses adultism, in that it calls on adults that work in systems of care to "approach all misbehaviors with an understanding of youth development and needs":
Whether it is a teacher reacting to an outburst in the classroom, an officer responding to an incident in the home, or a case manager determining a service plan, adults cannot properly respond to kids’ misbehaviors—either in the moment or procedurally—if they do not appreciate the context in which behaviors occur. Adults who work with or make decisions for kids must be trained to understand youth development and needs, as well as how those factors shape behaviors. This includes knowledge of the effect and signs of mental health problems and trauma, as well as an understanding of how culture, systemic bias, intersecting identities (including gender and gender expression, race, and sexual orientation), and their own personal biases influence dynamics with kids. 
We recommend checking out both the Mic article for a brief overview, as well as the full report. And please share with your family, friends, and colleagues. Also, let us know what you think about the report in the comments!