Access Youth's Quarterly Newsletter
Access Youth is a District of Columbia based non-profit that provides at-risk youth with the support and access to the resources they need to stay in school and out of the juvenile justice system. In order to remain accountable and accessible to our donors, we provide a quarterly newsletter detailing our work.  
 
A Note from Our Executive Director


I would like to start our first newsletter of 2016 with a huge thank you! Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, our end of year giving totaled more than $38,000! We are tr uly honored and grateful for your continued support in our fight against DC's School-t o-Prison Pipeline. The innovative programming we have created to reduce truancy and suspensions has received wide-spread recognition as the issues of the school-to-prison pipeline continue to garner both local and national attention. Last month, Access Youth was selected as the recipient of two major grants to expand our Truancy Prevention and Alternative to Suspension Programs within DC Public Schools.
 
The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation awarded Access Youth $45,000 to increase our life skills and support services for students in Wards 7 and 8. We are thrilled to announce that Access Youth also received $170,000 from the Deputy Mayor of Education. With these new funds Access will hire two new program managers to deepen our impact at Ballou and HD Woodson High Schools, and expand our impact to Eastern High School. In addition, Access Youth is in the process of hiring a Truancy Strategist to oversee the expansion and implementation of our Truancy Prevention Program.
 
We are also gearing up for the Access Youth Annual Celebration, which will take place on April 27th at Longview Gallery. Please join us as we celebrate our students, families, and supporters.
 
In gratitude,
Jodi E. Ovca
Founder, Executive Director
Save the Date for Access Youth's Annual Celebration

Access Youth is holding our 7th Annual Access Youth Celebration
on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 from 6:30-9:30pm at the Longview Gallery.
 
Please join us for a fun and inspirational evening with amazing food and signature cocktails from Blue Ice Vodka, jazz by Saxophonist Brian Lanier, and performances by the Ballou High School Drum Line and the HD Woodson High School Choir. You will have the chance to bid on vacations, a house in St. Croix, premium sporting events, a private wine class, private chef dinners and tastings at the area's best restaurants and more during our silent auction. For sponsorship inquiries or silent auction donations please email Lila Blackney at lblackney@accessyouthinc.org
 
Youth Advisory Board Kickoff

In January, Access Youth kicked off our Youth Advisory Board (YAB), comprised of successful students from each of our programs, with the dedicated mission to educate, evaluate, and advocate. Our goal is to give student s a positive environment to take on leadership roles, addre
ss community issues, and gather t heir feedback to create more comprehensive and effective programs at Access Youth. 

Early results are in: YAB students are not only eager to meet again but they look forward to the opportunity to learn from each other and are comforted to hear students from other schools share similar concerns and challenges. They are already planning how to implement their ideas to improve their communities, including addressing the issue of inadequate resources in the classroom. It is truly inspiring to see our youth realize their full potential and ability to create change.

Student Spotlight


Briyana Stevens, a sophomore at HD Woodson High School, was referred to Access Youth's Alternative to Suspension Program for fighting with other students. She was expelled from her previous high school, and as a transfer at HD Woodson had difficulty adjusting to a new environment. Miss Stevens felt unwelcom ed and alone, viewing school as a hostile environment. This ultimately led Briyana to react negatively through fighting.

Since joining Access Youth, Briyana has come a long way in getting the support she needs to
succeed. She regularly checks in with Access Youth program manager, Moe Wright, to talk through her problems rather than fighting. Miss Stevens is now thriving in school with a 3.94 GPA and staying out of conflicts! In addition, she's taken an active role in Access Youth's monthly round table discussions, which engage the students in thoughtful conversations on subjects of their choice. In February, Miss Stevens led HD Woodson's round table, focusing on the issue of cheating- at schools, in relationships, and even in professional sports. Most recently, Miss Stevens has taken on a strong leadership role by joining Access Youth's Youth Advisory Board. Briyana is excited to continue to grow with Access Youth, and is particularly excited for Youth Advisory Board because for the first time in her life she is realizing her personal strengths as a good listener and friend and has a passion to create change in the world around her.   
 

Healing Through Yoga

As part of Access Youth's Arrest Prevention Program, we offer our students weekly Kundalini Yoga classes. Over 30 students have participated, and it has been such a success that their parents have asked to join too! As Aaron White said last week, "Yoga makes me feel more aware of myself." Our goal is to give our youth who have experienced some form of trauma a space to relax and reset. Each yoga class allows our students to decrease their stress levels, improve concentration, and increase feelings of contentment. They practice meditative sequences, breathing techniques, and physical movement. When we provide our youth with alternative experiences, they are able to learn more about themselves, and class becomes an experience of elevation and empowerment. Through yoga our youth develop a new relationship with themselves as they observe their progress.

Welcome Teddy and Charlotte

In 2016, our Founder & Executive Director Jodi Ovca & Deputy Director Caitlin Connelly Ellsworth have taken on their most challenging jobs yet- motherhood. Caitlin welcomed handsome Theodore Connelly Ellsworth on January 12th, 2016 weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Jodi greeted beautiful Charlotte Elaine Ovca who was born on February 2nd, 2016 weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces. We can't wait for the new additions to our Access Youth family to get to work and wish both new mommies all of the love and happiness in the world! Both Teddy and Charlotte serve as precious reminders that the work we do is invaluable for the lives of thousands of children across the District of Columbia, because a child no matter the circumstances they are born into, deserve the same access, support, education, and opportunities to succeed.  
 


Access Youth Galley Give Back 

Galley Foods is so impressed by the work done by Access Youth, it will host a week-long Galley Give back the week of our Annual Celebration from April 25 through April 29, 2016. Please enter #AccessYouth in the delivery instructions and 20% of your order total will go to Access Youth! Galley Foods prepares a wonderful variety of meals from scratch daily using fresh, seasonal ingredients. They offer lunch and dinner (including a Family Style meal option for dinner), you can order on the spot or up to a week in advance on their iPhone app or website by simply scheduling delivery for a 30-minute window. You can put a healthy meal that took hours to prepare on your table in minutes, giving you the feeling of a home-cooked meal without the hassle. 


  3259 Prospect St, NW Washington DC 2007 | (202) 652-0287 | accessyouthinc.org
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