ҹֱ

ҹֱ
“We're going to help people deal with their needs for right now but everybody has an aspiration and a hope and a goal, and that's what we also want to focus on,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E.Bowser (D) said. The mayor launched 10 centers in October to connect families in Ward 7 and Ward 8 with government and community resources. (Lola Fadulu/ҹֱ)

Amid pandemic, families in Ward 7 and Ward 8 welcome new resource centers

The city offers a wide range of resources for families, and “family success” centers aim to help residents navigate them better.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) launched 10 centers in October to connect families in Ward 7 and Ward 8 with government and community resources, as part of an initiative to narrow health, education and employment disparities in the city.

The ten “family success” centers are part of a created by Bowser in 2019, and will exist as dedicated rooms in churches, libraries, and schools and as entire units in mixed-use buildings. They will serve as a place for families to connect with a myriad of programs the government offers, such as food and employment services.

“These centers represent the District’s commitment to making each neighborhood a place where families can thrive and where everyone in our great city gets a fair shot at success,” said Kim Ford, the president of Martha’s Table, during an Oct. 7 launch event. Martha’s Table is one of that will run the centers.

The areas where the centers are located violence prevention priority areas, reports on child abuse and neglect and social determinants of health data. The D.C. Child Family Services Agency is spearheading the initiative. Nearly 75% of the families the agency serves live in Ward 7 and Ward 8.

The family success centers are located in areas where the D.C. Child Family Services Agency serves families. Nearly 75% of the families the agency serves live in Ward 7 and Ward 8. (Lola Fadulu/ҹֱ)

The centers were always supposed to open in October, but leaders had no way of knowing they’d have to launch during a global pandemic. More than in the District have died from COVID-19, and Ward 7 and Ward 8 have been among the hardest-hit areas of the city. More than 75% of COVID-19 deaths in the city have been Black residents.

But Smart from the Start, which operates the Woodland Family Success Center, felt well-equipped to follow through on its launch.

“We’ve been kind of in the trenches with our families since pandemic first hit,” said Cherie Craft, the director of Smart from the Start. During the pandemic, the organization has delivered groceries to families, provided tele tutoring, helped people with rent and bill pay and provided other services on Zoom such as counseling, Craft said.

“We were already well versed in safety protocols and what the directives from the Department of Health were,” Craft said.

The Woodland Family Success Center opted for a virtual launch event and a socially distanced celebration to follow a few days later.

Both events were well-attended. The outdoor event, called a “Party n Parade,” was located outside in a parking lot. Thirty tables were spaced 10 feet apart, and just two families were allowed to be at a table at one time.

Families had the opportunity to do arts and craft and trivia activities, sign up for programs and take home brand-new books, water bottles and T-shirts. And health groups provided health screenings.

The group decided to include an in-person event because the community had been waiting with “bated breath” for the center to launch, Craft said.

“Given the fact that the community was so invested and so excited about the launch of the center, we figured that we would have to provide some access to the center and some opportunity for folks to celebrate this new set of programs and services to the community,” Craft said.

Community members helped put together the program plan and even helped interview and hire staff for the center. Craft said the community breathed life into the project and gave the center authenticity.

The goal of the centers is not only to help people with their current needs but also with their future needs, Mayor Bowser said during the launch event.

“We’re going to help people deal with their needs for right now but everybody has an aspiration and a hope and a goal, and that’s what we also want to focus on,” Bowser said.

Lola Fadulu

Lola Fadulu covers health in Southeast Washington for ҹֱ.

Add comment

Family Centers Launch Schedule

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) launched ten centers in Ward 7 and 8 to connect families with government resources, ranging from health to employment services. Here is the launch schedule according to the Ward 8 Health Council, which has been working with the grantees to launch their centers.

Ward 7

  • Oct. 1, 12-4 p.m. Clay Terrace FSC
    • 260 54th Street NE
    • Grand Opening Resource Fair (in-person, adhering to health guidelines)
  • Oct. 1, 3-7 p.m. 37th/Stoddert FSC
    • 252 37th Place SE
    • Grand Opening and Family Painting Activity (in-person, adhering to health guidelines)
  • Oct. 3, 12-3 p.m. Mayfair/Paradise FSC
    • 765 Kenilworth Avenue NE
    • Grand Opening and Resource Fair (adhering to health guidelines)
  • Oct. 13, Benning Terrace/Benning Park FSC
    • More details to come
  • Oct. 13, Benning/Minnesota FSC
    • More details to come

Ward 8

  • Oct. 7, 5-6:30 p.m. Woodland Terrace FSC
    • Virtual Grand Opening
  • Oct. 10, 12-3 p.m. Woodland Terrace
    • 2498 Alabama Avenue SE (in the parking lot of the church)
    • Party n Parade Resource Fair (in-person, adhering to health guidelines)
  • Oct. 17, 2-5 p.m. Anacostia FSC
    • 2375 Elvans Road SE
    • Resource Fall Fair/Resources, giveaways, fitness classes, music, etc. (in-person adhering to health guidelines)
  • Oct. 21, 2-5 p.m. Bellevue FSC
    • 4 Atlantic Street SW
    • Grand Opening Fair/Mask Giveaway (in-person adhering to the health guidelines)
  • Oct. 24, 1-4 p.m. Congress Heights FSC
    • More details to come
  • Oct. 27, 10-11 a.m. Washington Highland FSC
    • Virtual
  • Oct. 29, 5-6 p.m. Washington Highland FSC
    • Virtual
  • Oct. 21 and 23, Ward 8 FSC Joint Launch with the Ward 8 Health Council
    • More details to come.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular

Most discussed