Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Springing toward Equitable Transit Access

This week we're bringing you an update and call to action on our developing transportation advocacy. Please be sure to reference the end of this blog post for ways you can get involved in advocating for expanded transportation supports this budget season!

Last spring, DCAYA set our sights on ensuring adequate access to transportation supports for District youth, advocating for both adjustments to the popular Kids Ride Free program and additional funds to cover its expansion. Our efforts stemmed from concerns raised within our membership that in addition to long and sometimes dodgy commutes to school, some of the District’s most vulnerable students still couldn’t afford to get to and from their classes. Specifically, youth pursuing their education in alternative settings—both because many are older than 21 and because their classes are intentionally held during nontraditional hours—could not access free bus rides to school through Kids Ride Free.

Hearing a myriad of concerns from youth, parents, educators and advocates, the Mayor and Council moved swiftly last budget season to expand Kids Ride Free to rail in addition to the bus. For youth ages 5-21, this was a huge win that translated into shorter, safer, and more convenient trips to school for traditional students. Furthermore, for students in alternative education settings through age 21, the expansion to rail was successful in removing Kids Ride Free’s availability restrictions during the day. As a result, youth 21 and under who are pursuing GED preparation classes can use Kids Ride Free to travel between work and school, access childcare during the day, and ultimately balance the many competing demands on their time as they pursue their education. All things considered, Kids Ride Free has proven highly effective at removing one of the most pervasive barriers to sustained educational success for District youth.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Last week, the DC Council approved the schedule for the coming months’ performance oversight and budget hearings. With advocacy season upon us, DCAYA is rallying a coalition of community partners and parents to promote increased funding for and greater access to quality community and neighborhood-based afterschool and summer learning opportunities for the District’s children and youth. Please check back here for more resources to get involved!

The time has come to step up our efforts. As other states and localities increasingly see funding for afterschool and summer learning as a major policy goal, funding in the District has actually followed a downward trend in recent years. This means still fewer program spots for the growing number of kids who need them most.

This year, through our collective efforts we intend to reverse these troubling trends in 2017 and beyond by ensuring full access to quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities for DC’s students with the greatest needs - it's time to #ExpandLearningDC!

To do this, we plan to inform the council, the mayor and other agency leaders about the positive impact expanded learning and youth development programs have on children, and to seek a stable, multi-year funding stream beginning with $10 million over the next year for quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Advocacy Season Update: Performance Oversight and Budget Hearings Set by Council

The DC Council has approved the schedule for the coming months’ performance oversight and budget hearings. Below we have noted the hearing dates and times that will be of interest to our members and the youth advocacy community, along with contact information for testifying. You can find our resources for advocacy season and advice for writing testimony in last week’s blog.

All hearings are held at the John A. Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. If you wish to testify, you may sign up here or directly contact the committee staff persons listed below. Some of these agency hearings are held concurrently with other agencies under the committee jurisdiction. You can find the full schedules posted on the DC Council’s website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Resources for Advocacy Season

It’s that time of year again, when the Wilson Building becomes abuzz with councilmembers and advocates meeting over issue areas, testifying at hearings, and deliberating on budget priorities. The DC Budget Season is particularly exciting though, because this is a time when community members can provide valuable input into how your city spends your tax dollars.

At the same time, these next few months can be a bit confusing, so we wrote this blog to help answer any lingering questions and offer resources to understand the DC Budget Season and how you can be involved.  Check back throughout the rest of January and February - we'll be detailing each of our asks in the next few weeks; as well as sharing key dates and other ways you can get involved!

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

New Year, New Resolutions

A belated Happy New Year!! Before we kick into high gear for advocacy season, we thought we'd share one final note of levity we hope you'll keep in mind this year.

Okay, so some of these may be more recommitments than resolutions. Either way, here are our resolutions of things to do (or simply do more of) for 2016, in no particular order:
  • Drink more water. It's just good to stay hydrated, whether you're at work, at play, wherever.

    via GIPHY