Blog post by Reed from Washington, DC
If you live in DC and are not familiar with Hands on DC, check them out today! Founded back in 1994 by a small group of friends who wanted to make a difference in DC public schools, this all-volunteer organization leads a variety of improvement projects at more than 30 area schools. Their largest event is Work-a-Thon, held every spring.
I signed up to lead a team at the 2011 Work-a-Thon that was held April 29th. I was joined by about a dozen Year of Giving volunteers. We were part of a larger team that was assigned to Brent Elementary School, a Pre-K – 5th grade school located not even three blocks from the well-groomed lawn of the US Capitol.
When I showed up I was really impressed. This school looked a lot better than I expected. I have done two other school based projects this year and their campuses didn’t look anything like Brent. A variety of gardens surround the brick building that sits across from Folger Park. On the Southwest corner of the grounds is a really cool playground. It’s got a special foam-like ground surface that helps reduce injuries upon impact. So I’ve got to say that when I walked onto the campus I was thinking, “Did I miss the event? Was it yesterday? It looks like everything is already done!”
But I was indeed in the right spot. This school, which seems to be very progressive with their Museum Magnet Program, benefits from the fact that the staff and parents are very involved with all aspects of the school experience. To give you an idea, check out something I found on their website: “Students, parents community members and Brent staff will collaboratively share leadership and accountability for empowering the highest quality of teaching and learning, everyday, in every Brent setting, for every student.” We worked side by side several parents and staff members and I could tell that they really cared for their school.
Team Year of Giving quickly got to work on a variety of projects. I, like most of us, spent the day weeding and mulching. My brother and Jody planted a tree. Kimon and Aster built a tee-pee! So there were some interesting projects.
Everyone on the team had a great time. I hope to do more volunteer projects where I have support from you guys! Thanks to those who came out and helped make Brent Elementary look really fantastic! Click here for more photos.
For those of you who were not able to participate in Work-a-Thon can make a donation to this great organization. 100% of your donation will be to secure supplies for service projects as well as to provide college scholarships through College Bound, a local mentoring and tutoring organization dedicated to supporting DC public schools students who want to attend college.
We are one month away from the Worldwide Day of Giving – if you haven’t signed up, and everyone can sign up, click here. How many people do you think we can get to sign up in 30 days?!