Monday, December 28, 2009

Volunteers needed for free tax preparation

Tax season will soon be here and volunteers are needed to help low- and moderate-income DC residents benefit from tax credits and at the same time avoid paying to have their local and federal taxes prepared.   Two opportunities have already presented themselves if you are interested in volunteering:
  • The DC EITC Campaign is recruiting hundreds of volunteers for the upcoming tax season:   Volunteer positions include tax preparers, savings promoters and language interpreters.   Contact Adam Perry -- aperry (at) caab (dot) org -- for more information.
  • Greater DC Cares, IRS and Howard University Partnership for tax prep:   These organizations have teamed up to help prepare taxes for low income residents of Petworth, Park View and the Pleasant Plains.   Volunteers will receive training from professional accountants who are dedicating their skills to help during their busiest time of year.   Shifts are Tuesday, Thursday evening and Fridays during the day starting in mid-January.   For more information email Sherman Taylor at sjtaylor (dot) 10 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What the DCPS satisfaction survey can tell us about school safety in Ward 1

It should come as no surprise that where you go to school can color how you think about things.   This is the case when it comes to school safety.

Nearly 20,000 parents, students, faculty, and staff participated in a SY 2008-2009 DCPS/Westat school satisfaction survey whose purpose was to identify areas of improvement and to use as an accountability and progress measure.   Areas asked about included safety, family and community engagement, leadership, and teaching and learning.   The report compares findings from the SY 2007-2008 survey.

Violence is unfortunately an issue for too many of DC's youth.   How young people think about school safety, then, is important.   A comparison of the citywide and Ward 1 secondary school findings is shown in the table below.   The good news is that students in three of the four secondary schools in Ward 1 feel safe in their schools.   The not-so-good news is these same Banneker, Columbia Heights Ed and Shaw students do not feel as safe out of school as they do in school, particularly when compared with their peers across the city.   Of course, the Cardozo results are not a surprise.   We owe it to all students to improve safety in and around schools, particularly those who are most threatened.

What we -- school stakeholders, elected and appointed officials, advocates, students -- do with this survey information and real life experience is the question.   There are very real public policy and practice challenges associated with "fixing" this problem.   Some in the community advocate for law and order kinds of solutions while others seek solutions that are less punitive and more in the rehabilitative and supportive realms.   No matter which solutions are chosen, the public should use the survey results as DCPS plans to:   to assess progress and identify areas of improvement.

DCPS is reporting the results in a variety of ways.   Users can find citywide reports as well as summaries for elementary and secondary schools.   DCPS is also reporting results by school:

Free legal advice clinic/asesoría legal gratis - January 9

The next free legal advice clinic sponsored by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program is being held on Saturday, January 9, 2010 from 10:00 am - Noon.   Bread for the City is hosting the clinic -- at two locations:
  • 1525 7th Street, NW (Green Line to Shaw/Howard University)
  • 1640 Good Hope Road, SE (Green Line to Anacostia, Bus B2 or W6)

Details about the clinics are in the fliers, below, in English and Spanish.

Free Legal Clinic Jan 2010 English


Help save the Anacostia and save yourself a nickel

Remember, starting January 1, 2010, District businesses selling food or alcohol must charge 5 cents for every disposable paper or plastic carry-out bag.

Five cents here and there adds up; save these nickels by bringing with your own bags.   The District government along with Safeway and CVS are giving away reusable shopping bags as part of the "Skip the Bag, Save the River" campaign.   To learn more about the new bag law, and DDOE's efforts to clean up the Anacostia River, visit the Skip the Bag, Save the River Web site.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pedestrian and other improvements coming soon to Mt. Pleasant

Good news from Mount Pleasant Main Street:   MPMS has been awarded $243,000 to make much-needed improvements in public space in Mt. Pleasant.   Pedestrian, bicycle and landscaping amenity improvements in Lamont Park and along Mount Pleasant Street, NW will be made.   People can expect to see lighting, benches, a crosswalk, trees, signage and share-the-road arrows for cyclists.

The improvements are based on previous studies involving community input from residents, businesses, and neighborhood organizations.   But there is still plenty of opportunity for residents, businesses, and others to weigh in as the scope and details of the work are finalized.   Construction will take place in 2010.

The funding comes from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and more information about the grant is online -- visit DDOT's Transportation Enhancement Projects.

For more information about MPMS -- a volunteer-driven neighborhood non-profit, founded in 1991 that works with businesses, residents, government, and other community organizations to promote sensible economic development, enhance the quality-of-life of community residents, and foster a dynamic and pleasant commercial corridor -- visit their Web site.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mentoring Works2 holiday party postponed

Due to forecast of snow this weekend, Mentoring Works2, Inc. has rescheduled its 2nd Annual Christmas Banquet.   Rather than celebrating on December 19, the fete will take place on January 16, 2010 from 7:00 - 11:00 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Building, 1816 12th Street, NW.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Make Saturdays spectacular at Park View Rec

This just in from Greater DC Cares:
A team of talented young people have put together an exciting set of programs under the guidance of the manager of the Park View Recreation Center to start on Saturday, January 9, 2010.   You can help turn the recreation center into a beacon of light in a neighborhood that is undergoing rapid changes.   To get involved, email Katie Delaney, katsdelaney [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ward 1 unemployment up slightly in October 2009

According to data from the Department of Employment Services, unemployment in Ward 1 increased from September to October 2009 -- from 10.1% to 10.4%.   While the increase is statistically insignificant, try telling that to people who are not working.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Save the Date:   Del. Norton's Tax Fair, February 2010

On February 27, 2010, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will once again hold her Annual Tax and Information Fair at the Washington Convention Center.

The highlight of the fair is the free preparation of taxes for DC residents.   Residents will have to bring photo identification, social security cards, their 2008 tax return, and appropriate forms such as W-2s and 1098 or 1099.   More information will be available online next year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

City Council hearings/roundtables

Upcoming City Council events include:
  • The Performance of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration:   The Committee on Health (CM Catania, At-large, chair) is holding this public oversight roundtable on December 17 at 10:00 am.   The purpose of this roundtable is to review the performance of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration (HAHSTA) in facilitating and monitoring the delivery of HIV/AIDS services to District residents.   The roundtable is open to the public but only invited witnesses will be permitted to provide oral statements.   Public comments are encouraged in writing; details about submitting comments and the roundtable are in the hearing notice.
  • Utility Reliability in the District of Columbia public oversight roundtable:   The Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs (CM Bowser, Ward 4, chair) is holding this roundtable on January 23 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.   The purpose of the roundtable is to hear from residents and others about the quality of regulated utilities in the city; regulated utilities include Verizon, Washington Gas, and PEPCO.   Details about the hearing, including how to register to testify and what information the committee is most interested in hearing from residents about, is in the hearing notice.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Help needed to set up food bank at Bruce Monroe

From Greater DC Cares comes this call for assistance:
Assist parents of Bruce Monroe at Parkview Elementary School on Thursday, December 10 (and every Thursday) set up and run a food bank from 3:30 - 5:30 pm.   Volunteers will help set up and distribute free food to area residents, including many hit hard by the economic crisis.   To get involved, contact Elizabeth at elizabeth [AT] stepdc [DOT] org or 829-8989.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

16th Annual Report Card on Children & Family Well-Being in DC

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 DC Kids Count will release its 16th annual report card and fact book on the well-being of children and families in DC. The release will take place at the Urban Institute, 2100 M Street, NW 5th Fl.

The D.C. KIDS COUNT Collaborative for Children and Families consists of public and private organizations using research to support advocacy for changes in human, social, and economic policies and practices of government, the private sector, families, neighborhoods, and individuals. Its mission is to fight for the interests and well-being of children and families, and to ensure their healthy development and future in D.C. For more information please see the press release following.  
Kids Count Press Release 2009

Breaking the Cycle of Teen Violence Fundraiser-December 10, 2009

Have fun fundraising for the purpose of breaking the cycle of teen dating violence across the Nation. “Break the Cycle - a non-profit located in DC and Los Angeles - works on policy, education, and direct service to address the 1 in 3 teens that experience abuse in relationships.” They are hosting a BEER TASTING on Thursday, December 10th from 7pm to 10pm at 2704 Ontario Rd. NW. Donations of $15 to Break the Cycle are being requested.  Break the Cycle Beer Tasting Fundraiser

Parent time with Michelle Rhee

Thanks to the Post's Bill Turque for sharing this important news from DC Public Schools:   Starting immediately, DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee is holding office hours to speak with parents and community stakeholders.

Individuals will get five minutes face-to-face with Chancellor Rhee, more personal than the community and town hall type meetings with which she started her tenure.   Office hours start on December 9 in Ward 7 and come to Ward 1 on April 8 at Bruce-Monroe Elementary School (3560 Warder Street, NW).   Can't wait until April?   Then head up to Ward 4 on January 14 to Raymond Education Campus (915 Spring Road, NW).   Other dates and locations are listed on the DCPS Web site.   All office hours will be held from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.

HIV Prevention Project

Mary's Center for Maternal & Child Care, Inc.'s HIV Prevention Project provides effective culturally and linguistically age appropriate HIV/STD education and screening services to African residents of DC.   In addition, Mary's Center staff provide information and referrals and routine HIV screening.   All services are free and confidential.

More information is available by calling 420-7033 or emailing bmuleta [AT] maryscenter [DOT] org.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Are you looking for affordable rental housing?

Housing Counseling Services' weekly Housing Search Clinic is held every Thursday* from 4:00 - 6:00 pm at the HCS Training Center, 2410 17th Street, NW, Adams Alley, Suite 100.   HSC is located in Adams Alley.   Walk down the alley on 17th Street between Euclid and Kalorama Streets.   Using the intercom, press # and 100 to be admitted.   No appointment needed.

HCS asks that people bring documents that might help in a housing search.   These include all documents related to income (such as recent pay stubs, TANF, unemployment, disability, child support, pension benefits, alimony, or Social Security statements) and expenses (such as recent phone, credit card, or utility bills, student and car loan statements).   Also, bring information about your current housing (such as a copy or your current lease).

*HCS follows DC government holidays and emergency closing procedures for inclement weather.

Mentoring Works2 holiday celebration

Mentoring Works2 has announced its December 19 holiday event.   Details about the 2nd Annual Christmas Benefit Banquet are in the flier below.

Mentoring Works Christmas Banquet

Vietnamese-American Community Service Center Holiday Fete!

The Vietnamese-American Community Service Center (VACSC) invites the community to the VACSC Annual Holiday Party on December 22 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm.   This Children's Christmas event is being held at the Josephine Butler Park Center, 2437 15th Street, NW.   The event will feature refreshments, entertainment, lots of fun, and good cheer!

Please RSVP By December 15 to Hien Vu at (202) 667-0437 or hienvu [AT] vacsc [DOT] org.

More details are in the flier below.

VACSCAnnual HolidayDecember 2009

Parents: Help bring fresh fruit and veges to DC schools!

Parents can help bring fresh and locally grown fruit and vegetables to DC!

Learn the role parents can play in making Farm to School a reality here in the District at this December 9, 7:00 pm meeting.   The meeting is being held at the Northeast Library (330 Seventh Street, NE at Maryland Avenue in the Second Floor Meeting Room) accessible by using the Union Station/Eastern Market metros.

Questions?   Contact Laura Marks at lauramarks [AT] gmail [DOT] com or Tara Flakker at tara [AT] flakker [DOT] com, or visit

Turning Point Center Recruiting Families

Throughout December, Salvation Army is recruiting applicants for its Turning Point Center for Women and Children located at 1434 Harvard Street, NW.

The Turning Point Center is an intensive, two-year, transitional living program offering housing and supportive services to guide homeless families to independent living and self-sufficiency.   The program targets single parent families, headed by women ages 16 to 30 years.   Candidates should have no more than four children, should be homeless or in an unstable living situation, and, most importantly, should be motivated to make positive changes in their lives.

If you have clients or know people who are eligible and interested in committing to a life-changing program, refer them to a Turning Point Center information session so that the full details of the program's requirements and offerings can be explained.   After completion of this information session, interested applicants can ask for a referral form to be completed in conjunction with their case manager.   Fully completed referral packets with accompanying relevant information will be due just after the holidays.

After the referral is received, candidates will be contacted for an interview with the Turning Point Clinical Team.   Please note that the submission of an application packet does not guarantee an interview and that an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the Turning Point Program.

The referral and interview process usually takes 4-6 weeks to complete.   Therefore, candidates in a "crisis" situation may not be appropriate if they cannot maintain stability in their current residence until the process is complete.   They anticipate accepting 10-12 new families for move in early February 2010.

An information session can be scheduled at your site if you have three or more potential candidates.

Sessions will also be offered at the Turning Point Center itself throughout the month of December for candidates from those agencies that may only have one or two potential referrals.   Your client must call to reserve her space.

Attendance at an information session is mandatory and applications will not be accepted for those candidates who have not completed this part of the process.

For more information or to reserve a space for an information session, contact Pamela T. Lieber, LICSW, Program Director at 202-250-7721 or Pam [UNDERSCORE] Lieber [AT] uss [DOT] salvationarmy [DOT] org.

Thanks to DC Campaign's Spreading the Word for this information.

Learn about the Afterschool Supper Program for kids

Ward 1 is home to many programs serving children and youth after school.   We all know how hunger has become more common with the youth in these programs.   That is why this December 16 event by the state superintendent's office is so important:   Afterschool Supper Program Information Session.

The session is designed to teach providers how to start participating in the new Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) Afterschool Supper Program.

  • WHEN:   Wednesday, December 16, 10:30 am - Noon
  • WHERE:   Wellness & Nutrition Services, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (51 N Street, NE, Lower Level Conference Room) (Parking is available, but allow enough travel time to secure a parking spot before the session begins.   51 N Street is also Metro accessible.   The office is one block from the Red Line, New York Ave-Florida Ave/Gallaudet U station.   Be sure to bring ID; you will have to check in at the building's guard desk.)

Confirm your attendance by Thursday, December 10 by contacting Suzanne Henley (suzanne [DOT] henley [AT] dc [DOT] gov or 654-6119).   Direct questions to Suzanne Henley (information above) or Katie Vinopal, a Nutrition Associate at D.C. Hunger Solutions (KVinopal [AT] frac [DOT] org or 202-986-2200 x3042).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday party and silent auction, December 10

You're invited to join with the U Street Neighborhood Association to celebrate another successful year of working for and in our neighborhood at the U Street Neighborhood Association's Annual Holiday Party and Silent Auction on Thursday, December 10 at 7:00 pm at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th Street, NW.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Operation Fix-It Visits Ward 1

Greetings Ward 1 Neighbors:

The Mayor's Liaison to the Office of Community Relations will be conducting a Fix-It on December 2nd at 10:00am at the following locations in your Ward:

200-400 blocks of T Street

200-400 blocks of U Street

200-400 blocks of Elm Street

200-400 blocks of V Street

200-400 blocks of W Street and the surrounding area on Florida Avenue.

We will be addressing the following issues: Abatement of all bulk trash, graffiti removal, abatement of rats, inspection of potential vacant properties, abandoned autos, street signage, street light audit. Please join us!! Operation Fix-It is Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's multi-agency initiative aimed at abating crime, blight, and compliance issues in communities throughout the District of Columbia. The Fix-Its are held weekly and the locations are generated directly from concerned citizens.

To learn more about Operation Fix-It and how you can join us on our next project in Ward 1, please contact the Ward 1 Helpdesk at 202.727.6224.


Community Forum-Greater DC Cares

  Greater DC Cares is hosting a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, December 2nd 2009 from 6:30pm-8:00pm. This meeting will take place at the Parkview Recreation Center, located at 693 Otis Place, NW. The discussion will be centered around various programs in the community initiated by Greater DC Cares. Additionally, information will be given as to how community members can become involved. To register for this event email Meghan at