Fenton Day of Service: Working Together to Help Our Community Flourish
This summer Fenton has been working with the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI), a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. dedicated to ending multigenerational poverty in the Kenilworth-Parkside community of Ward 7. Their model is unique, in that they support locally-driven solutions that build sustainable, just and prosperous communities by involving people of all generations, from babies to elders. Essentially, solutions for the community, by the community embodies the values DCPNI upholds. Success for them means creating neighborhoods where healthy, safe places exist and children and parents succeed, in DC and beyond.
Fenton’s work with DCPNI has focused on helping this amazing organization tell their story and share their long term vision with target audiences. When the Fenton DC staff was offered an opportunity to volunteer for this beloved client, we all jumped at the chance to head over and help kick off their back-to-school night.
The excitement in the air was palpable as students filled the gymnasium at Cesar Chavez Parkside Campus. A local DJ spun top 40 songs. Volunteers handed out lunch kits and school supplies. Kids lined up at the cotton candy stand staffed by a local police officer.
The focus of the back-to-school night was to equip neighborhood kids and their parents with support and love from their community. With this event, DCPNI was able to get the kids excited for the start of the school year instead of worrying about the burden of whether they would have school supplies. Fenton was enthusiastic to be part of this amazing night and have the chance to give back to our own community.
Fenton DC staff at DCPNI’s Back-to-School Night event at Cesar Chavez Parkside Campus.
Mary Brown, Executive Director of DCPNI and Jefferi K. Lee, General Manager of WHUT-TV, sponsor of the event, welcomed students and parents.
Left to right DCPNI’s data team: Nick Carrington, Director of Data & Evolution, Antonio Brown and Ijeoma Anyanwu, Data & Evaluation Specialists showcased the Data Walk that illustrated how data is being used in the community to improve social services and DCPNI programs.
The Data Walk illustrated interesting statistics that exemplified the dilemmas these children face as students in Ward 7. Missing more than 18 days of the school year can lead students in early grades to fall behind, fail courses, and eventually drop out of high school. In 2013, 63% of pre-K students were chronically absent at Neval Thomas Elementary School. In response, DCPNI launched the Every Day Counts Initiative (EDCI), a partnership between the school, local partners, and DCPNI. EDCI uses weekly reports to identify students at risk of absenteeism, provide tiered interventions to families, and get absent students back on track. By 2015, EDCI had reduced chronic absenteeism by 21% among preschoolers.
Fenton Fellows Alison Jones and Emir Hasanovikj worked with students at the arts and crafts station.
Michelle Hunsberger helped kids decorate as they created their masterpieces.
Shanae Williams, and her children Shia and Rayne have participated in DCPNI activities since 2013. Shanae’s children have grown up in the program and love the opportunities that DCPNI has offered them. Shanae loves the DCPNI community because she can spend time with her son and daughter as they are exposed to exciting adventures. DCPNI has provided Shanae’s family with books, field trips, and more. “This program helps me bond with my kids. You get a chance to sit with your kids as they learn new things. I’ve told all my friends about this program,” Shanae said.
A performance by the Northeast Performing Arts School brought the evening to a close. This bright and talented group develops and fosters the creative talents of youth in the Northeast/Southeast corridors of Washington, D.C. through performing and visual arts. The dance team gains invaluable lessons of, “discipline, commitment and team motivation.”