Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DCAYA Turns the Lights On Afterschool!

Lights On 2008

Cheerleaders, chess players, and head-spinning hip hop dancers came together at the Lights On celebration of District afterschool programs. While representatives from DC Public Schools, DC Public Libraries, DC Parks and Recreation, DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and the Children and Youth Investment Trust spoke about the importance of quality programs for youth when they are not in school, the highlight of the afternoon was the young people who performed poems, songs, and cheers illustrating the power of these programs.

During the event many organizations presented information at tables, signing youth up for programs and sharing pictures and slideshows about the work youth do at the different sites. Several sites brought their elementary and high school after school programs to the event, and the auditorium echoed with the cheering of students from Lincoln MS, Bancroft ES, Bell Multicultural HS, among others. CYITC Director Millicent Williams’ closing remarks were a call to action to the youth and providers present, saying we must work together to ensure that these programs are well-supported in the District. DCAYA Director Eshauna Smith encouraged the children and youth to find their voice, write a letter, and let decision makers know how afterschool programs affect them.

To that end, DCAYA kicked off our out-of-school time postcard campaign, gathering approximately 25 postcards from those present. Messages ranged from “We need programs to help us and guide us to a better career,” to “Afterschool is important to me because I get to study there. People can help me with my homework.” DCAYA will continue to collect these at member organizations throughout the next months as we create tools to share the importance of out-of-school time programming with those who will be making decisions about city investment in children and youth.

School is not enough. In addition to quality schooling, it is critical that all youth have access to quality neighborhood afterschool programs. Some estimates state only 6% of DC youth have access to afterschool programs. Afterschool programs ensure that youth are safe and positively engaged in meaningful activities. The city must support youth by enacting youth positive policies and comprehensive funding support.

DCAYA thanks all the organizations who participated in making the Lights On event a success!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

November General Body Meeting

Friday, November 14th, 9:30-11am
The Charles Sumner School (1201 17th Street, NW)

Ever wondered how the budget is created?

Who has the final say about funding?

What happens when there isn't enough money to go around?

DCAYA will host a Budget 101 training at our November General Body Meeting. Lindsay Clark from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute will share information about the budget process, and we'll discuss DCAYA's budget recommendations for FY10.

Please RSVP to

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

S.T.E.P. Up D.C. Launch, October 22, 2008 at 4:30pm at Thurgood Marshall

The S.T.E.P. Up DC Launch will be an opportunity to formally announce our efforts and objectives. This event will take place on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 4:30pm in the Thurgood Marshall Center Gymnasium, 1816 12th St. NW. One of the components of our youth-led press conference will feature personal testimony from D.C. youth and expert speakers around the dropout crisis and the need for youth to be part of the solution. Michael Wotorson, Director of the Campaign for High School Equity, who supports community work to increase graduation rates, will be one of the speakers.

At this event D.C. youth will invite public officials to step up for D.C. youth by standing and publicly pledging support for S.T.E.P. Up D.C.’s work to address the dropout crisis.

Please R.S.V.P to June Williams at the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA) at 202-587-0616, ext. 34, or via email

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Youth Budget Training

The purpose of this training is to provide a better understanding of the city’s budget process and outline the specific role youth can play in creating and advocating for budget recommendations. Together we will make a case with the City Council for youth initiatives we care about or would like to see implemented. Because the budget process is over the course of several months, we are looking for youth between the ages of 14-24 that will be able to attend the training but also participate in ongoing meetings from October through March. Subsequent trainings will include how to prepare and present testimony.

More information is available here