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August 2016

Message from the Executive Director

Announcing our 2016 Butterfly Bash Honorees: Debbi and Ernie Jarvis
We are proud to announce that we will be honoring Debbi and Ernie Jarvis at the 2016 Fair Chance Butterfly Bash on October 21, 2016, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Debbi is Vice President, Corporate Relations for Pepco Holdings; a former NBC newscaster; and the winner of many national and local awards. She is deeply involved in the nonprofit sector, currently serving on many local nonprofit boards, including Fair Chance alumni Generation Hope and has supported many Fair Chance partners over the years. Ernie is CEO and Managing Principal of Jarvis Commercial Real Estate, a past president of the DC Building Industry Association, and a former member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trade. He too has served on many local youth-serving nonprofit boards, including the Boys and Girls Club. Through their commitment to causes supporting DC's children and youth, Debbi and Ernie Jarvis exemplify what it truly means to be actively engaged in their community and to invest in its future.                                                                                                                                        

In Service

Gretchen Van der Veer
Executive Director 

What's New

Connecting Learning to Employment and Other Opportunities for DC Youth 
One of life's major challenges for young people is making the translation between required classes in school and thier interests outside of school into actual marketable skills aligned with potential future jobs. For too many students, that leap is just too great. And for some, this unfortunately leads to apathy, truancy, dropping out, and unemployment.
That’s why Fair Chance is pleased to be collaborating with the District of Learning (DoL) -- an ecosystem for anytime-anywhere learning that helps teens and young adults create learning paths that transcend multiple environments, and take ownership of their paths to college and career. Here’s an example of how the District of Learning works:

DC Scores is a nonprofit that provides free after-school programs and summer camps integrating soccer, poetry, and service-learning to help low-income 3rd-8th graders build physical fitness, find their voice, improve literacy, increase school engagement, and strengthen ties to their community. During their time with DC Scores, students learn and practice the game of soccer. But unless you are ready to play for DC United, how can that skill actually lead to a paying job?

In partnership with the District of Learning, DC Scores has created a referee certification program where alumni of the program now in high school can enroll in and move through a series of required activities that results in an online badge signifying completion of all requirements for referee certification. District Sports, the entity that oversees soccer leagues in DC, is working with DC Scores and plans to hire high school students completing the “playlist” of activities and receiving the badge to serve as paid referees at local soccer matches.

The DoL is working to recruit more nonprofits like DC Scores onto the LRNG platform at where they can list their learning opportunities for youth.  Also, a young person can log onto the platform to find learning opportunities and get recognized for what they know. With the start of the school year, DoL is ramping up engagement efforts with schools, teachers, and employers to advance how DoL can improve workforce development in DC. Having program participants log on to the DoL platform and document accomplishments is also a great way for smaller nonprofits to roll up participant achievements and demonstrate program results.

If you are a nonprofit, an agency like a library, or a potential employer and would like to help more young people connect what they learn to potential career paths and opportunities, please contact Michael Robbins at 


2016 Nonprofit Capacity Conference  

Fair Chance's Executive Director, Gretchen Van der Veer will speak on a panel at the third workshop of the 2016 Nonprofit Capacity Conference on September 13th titled  “ How to Use a Little Data to Make a Big Impact on Your Nonprofit”. In addition to the panel, the event will include breakfast, networking, a keynote address by Julie Chapman of Tech ImpactTo learn more and register, click here

Partner Highlights

This school year kicks off Access Youth’s largest growth spurt yet. The organization added five new staff members to the team and implemented their programs at three DCPS high schools. The Truancy Prevention Program supports students at Ballou, Eastern, and Anacostia High Schools, while our Alternative to Suspension Program continues to mediate student disputes at Ballou High School. Access Youth is incredibly excited to see their new team of talented and passionate program managers carry on the organization's mission of serving disadvantaged youth as they aim to serve 500 youth this school year!

Twelve formerly incarcerated youths and adults completed the Free Minds Book Club Job Readiness and Personal Skill Building Apprenticeship in August. Participants read poetry and spoke to volunteers at the Free Minds "On the Same Page: Write Night" event on Capitol Hill. One Apprentice, Ira, told the gathered volunteers what Free Minds meant to him: “Hope, understanding, and love.” The next "On the Same Page: Write Night" event will be on Wednesday, September 28, at Seekers Church in Takoma, at 7:00 PM.

This summer, Kid Power students applied their business, culinary, and service-learning skills through Pickle Power! Students first developed their own pickle recipes and worked with a professional chef to make and bottle 500 jars of pickles. Next, they created business models and marketing plans and then used their models to sell their pickles at school-based markets. Finally, students kept half of their proceeds for themselves and donated the rest to a charity of their choosing. Click here to read a full blog post on the project.
Little Lights Urban Ministries was recently named a 2016 Board Leadership Award winner by the Center For Nonprofit Advancement. Little Lights is honored and thrilled that the Center's selection committee deemed the organization worthy of such esteemed recognition and a $10,000 prize. Little Lights' Board of Directors looks forward to continuing to strive for excellence in leadership and in its committed work to our community. 
Each summer, participants in the Reach Incorporated Summer Leadership Academy are given $3,500 with one rule: give it away. On August 2nd, a crowd gathered to hear the teens' final pitches. After the pitches were given and the audience votes were cast, Reach Inc. teens granted money to six organizations: The Amara Legal Center ($1,500), DC Diaper Bank ($1,000), Access Youth ($250), Critical Exposure ($250), Free Minds Book Club ($250), and Safe Shores DC ($250). Congratulations to all the winners!
Words Beats and Life's (WBL) "Roll Down Get Down" Paint Jam was recently highlighted in The Washington Post, a fitting end to a successful summer of public art! With fall on the way WBL is gearing up for the return of their after-school academy classes and launching their first ever adult DJ workshop.
Young Playwrights' Theater (YPT) is curating a creative placemaking project in Southwest DC, and wants you to get involved! Entitled Crossing the Street: SW Is..., the project engages local residents of all ages in a creative conversation about the changing face of Southwest, DC. Also, YPT's free playwriting workshops begin on August 29th. Click here to learn more. 

Thank You! 

To Penny Rigler at Red Hen Design for the amazing graphic design work on the 2016 Butterfly Bash save the date and invitation! Thank you, Penny!


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