CARECEN: 37th Annual Celebration & Awards Ceremony

Educate- Unite- Empower

 Since 1981, the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) has been dedicated to protecting the rights of Central American refugees seeking shelter in the Washington DC metro area. Empowering the community through legal services, housing counseling, and citizenship courses, CARECEN continues to create a stronger Latino community.

CARECEN is a safe place that fosters growth and empowerment! Joining the launch for the Campaign for Permanent Residency, CARECEN is committed to the effort to seek permanent resident status for nearly 270,000 Central Americans who currently hold Temporary Projected Status; cultivating a more stable and secure future by paving the path to U.S Citizenship!

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SAVE THE DATE: Support organizations on the frontlines of change!
CARECEN presents its 37th annual celebration and awards ceremony
When:    September 20th 2018
Where : The Willard Office Building
1455 Pennsylvania Ave, NW 
Washington DC 20004
Time:     6:00 PM

 Purchase your tickets at the door!

Educar, Unir, Empoderar

Desde 1981, The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) se ha dedicado a proteger los derechos de los refugiados centroamericanos que buscan refugio en el área metropolitana de Washington DC. Empoderando a la comunidad a través de servicios legales, asesoramiento de vivienda y cursos de ciudadanía, CARECEN continúa construyendo una comunidad latina más fuerte.

¡CARECEN es un lugar seguro para la comunidad latina inmigrante que fomenta al crecimiento y el empoderamiento! Uniéndose al lanzamiento de la Campaña de Residencia Permanente, CARECEN está comprometido al esfuerzo de lograr el estado de residente permanente para casi 270,000 Centroamericanos que actualmente tienen Estatus de Proyección Temporal. CARECEN sigue cultivando un futuro más estable y seguro- allanando el camino a la ciudadanía!

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RESERVA LA FECHA: ¡Apoye a las organizaciones en la vanguardia del cambio!

CARECEN presenta su 37 ° celebración anual y entrega de premios

Cuándo:    20 de septiembre del 2018
Dónde:      The Willard Office Building
1455 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington DC 20004

Hora:         6:00 p.m.

Compre sus boletos en la puerta!

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Gala Theater’s Paso Nuevo & Summer Youth present: Blood Wedding

On August 3rd at 8:00 PM, the Paso Nuevo and Summer Youth program will present Blood Wedding at GALA Theatre’s Main Stage. This adaptation, by GALA  veteran Cornelia Cody, of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play will explore gang warfare in our city through a bilingual performance that will be FREE and open to the public. Throughout the summer, the Paso Nuevo program brings together a diverse group of youth from across the District and provides the unique opportunity for students to learn about self-expression through theater and art. It also incorporates all aspects of theater arts to provide a safe and collaborative environment for building self-esteem, developing language and communication skills, and strengthening cultural identity. GALA offers this FREE after-school theater program to students ages 13 to 18 in fall, spring and summer, and all workshops culminate in a final performance followed by a talk-back with students and members of the community.

Paso Nuevo is one of the many ways GALA is serving our youth and community. In addition to its after-school program, the theater hosts a series of Mainstage matinees for students in middle through high school and GALita matinees for our elementary students throughout the school year. These discounted performances are designed to align with the Common Core ELA standards and integrate art with the classroom and curriculum through bilingual study guides, vocabulary guides, and activities. These performances are more than just shows, they are a key component in helping educate our youth in a fun and meaningful way that also allows them to share in the richness of diverse perspectives. After performances, these experiences are reinforced through conversations and interaction with the actors who allow students to engage in a dialogue beyond the stage.

Access to theater and the arts is invaluable to our youth, and according to a 2012 study by the National Endowment of Arts, having exposure to these kinds of enriching, art-centered experiences has been shown to benefit students through improved academic performance across the board. In particular, arts activity among at-risk and lower-income youth correlates to a positive outcome both in academics and civic engagements. But our children aren’t the only ones who benefit from this incredible asset – the value of GALA is that it serves our WHOLE community.

Founded by Hugo Medrano and Rebecca Read, the GALA (Grupo de Artistas Latino Americanos) Theatre has evolved and grown since 1976 to become one of the country’s leading Spanish theaters. Developing and producing works that explore the breadth of Latinx performing arts, GALA provides opportunities for Latino artists to share their stories while engaging the entire community in an exchange of ideas and perspectives. GALA Theatre recently hosted an outdoor production Out of the Shadows in the heart of Columbia Heights. Using the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, our community was able to share in the very personal experiences and delicate stories about a gamut of issues that undocumented workers who hail from Central America often face, including wage theft, along with creative responses to the removal of TPS (Temporary Protected Status).

For almost four decades, GALA has opened up a space where artists can come together on and off the stage to promote and share the Latino arts and cultures for audiences. As our community continues to face the challenges of preserving our diversity and protecting the rights of many of our immigrant friends and neighbors, GALA provides an opportunity for our Latino community, especially its youth, to see themselves on stage. Highlighting their stories for all to see and hear through their performances, GALA gives voice to many who too often go underrepresented and unheard.

Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) will kick of GALA’s 2018-2019 subscription series starting September 6 and running through October 7. For more information and a full list of upcoming performances, you can visit GALA’s website.

Starting in September, GALA Theatre will begin its matinee series with 6 student matinees for high and middle school students for Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) -September 20,21,27,28; October 5,6. There will be 10 student matinees for Between Earth and Sky for elementary school students followed by talk-backs – October 15,16,17,18,19,22,23,24,25,26

If you would like to help support the great programming offered to our community, GALA Theatre is a registered nonprofit and donations are eligible for tax deductions.

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DC FREE Summer Meals Program

Access to healthy food and good nutrition should be a right for all, but it is especially important for our children. A consistent diet of good food helps lay a strong foundation for future physical and mental health, improves success in school and, ultimately, economic productivity. Unfortunately, 27% of DC children live below the federal poverty line – that number drops slightly in Columbia Heights to 22%[1] but is still above our national average[2] and overall, DC ranks 7th in the nation for child food insecurity defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as households with limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate and safe food.

DC public schools help to stem deficiencies in access to healthy food by providing breakfast, lunch, and (at some schools) supper to more than 48,000 students. Throughout the school year, 70% of DC Public and Charter school students rely on their school meal program for the bulk of their nutrition and for too many, this may be their only regular, consistent food and this need doesn’t end when school lets out for holidays, emergency days off, and summer vacation. Hunger doesn’t take a vacation and during these periods too many kids go without access to food. The good news is that the DC Free Meal Program helps bridge the summer gap by working to make sure that ALL youth under the age of 19 continue to have access to free, healthy food – breakfast, lunch, and snacks – from June until August every weekday with a few sites providing meals on Saturday, too.

Summer meals and snacks will be served at sites across the city. Just by dropping into a participating site, any child or teen will be fed without needing to fill out any applications or provide proof of age and income. Most of our DC Parks and Recreation Centers and 46 DC Public schools have been designated as participants in this program along with a variety of community and faith-based programs and Public Charter Schools. The summer meal program is administered by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) using federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of agriculture. A list of sites can be found by texting “Food” to 877-877 or clicking on this link:


  • Banneker Recreation Center
  • Columbia Heights Recreation Center
  • Mount Pleasant Library
  • Park Morton Community Room
  • Park Road Community Church
  • Parkview Recreation Center
  • Rita Bright FYC
  • Columbia Heights Farmers Market



A special thanks to D.C Hunger Solutions for sourcing up to date statistics on the challenges and needs facing too many in our community. This organization works to create a hunger-free strategy to overcome barriers and build self-sustaining connections between city residents and nutritious food. You can learn more about this issue at

[1] Please visit this for more information and datasets.

[2] The national avg. is 21% according the National Center for Children in Poverty. The Federal Poverty Level is $25, 100 for a family of 4.

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826DC: Make Magic Happen

Tucked inside of the Tivoli theatre building between Z-Burger and Giant, is the hidden treasure of 826DC and Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company. Step inside and you’ll find the District’s only illusionarium and de-lux haberdashery that stocks everything a budding magician needs to embark on a path to mastery, from Stage Fright Antidote to their Micro Escapes (for starting a career in escapology). 

More importantly, every purchase makes real magic happen– in the writing center beyond the secret door.

Not your average tutoring center, 826DC promotes a passion for writing by beginning with a magical and creative space serving ages 6-18. They work one-on-one with students, teaching them how to express themselves through the power of words. 

Serving our community for over 10 years, they offer programs that are both challenging and enjoyable and that ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, and confidently in his or her individual voice. 

By offering drop-in tutoring, field trips, after-school workshops, in-school programs, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications, students learn to create amazing and wonderful worlds for themselves. Putting pencil to paper, students develop important writing skills by letting their imagination run wild; 826DC doesn’t just teach our kids, they inspire.

Each 826DC serves at least 3,000 students across ALL wards of the city, and in Columbia Heights, they extend beyond Tivoli directly serving our local school, Harriet Tubman Elementary, where they provide ongoing support for the Reading All Stars literacy program. 

This one-on-one literacy and enrichment program brings together volunteers and students to build writing and reading skills together, as well as a deeper love for the written word, all while working closely with school administrators and teachers to reinforce and build on classroom learning.

All of this amazing work is even more magical because it is offered for FREE. But, none of this would be possible without support from the community and from a dedicated corps of volunteers. 

If you are looking to volunteer, foster a strong sense of creativity, and build up kids in our community…this is a great opportunity! The first step to getting involved is to fill out a Volunteer Application here on their websiteThe highest need for support is with programs that happen during school hours—weekdays between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. 

There are opportunities for volunteers to work directly with students through one-on-one writing mentorship, and also behind the scenes, from publishing support to greeting visitors in our store. The volunteers with 826DC build meaningful relationships with students and help them gain the skills to tell their unique stories with confidence.

On May 30, 826DC will release their latest student publication: a powerful and timely collection of social justice poetry titled Spit Fire, written by students from the SEED Public Charter School of Washington, DC. All are welcome to join at the free event to celebrate the book’s release, and young authors will be on hand to read excerpts and autograph their newly published work. 

If you miss the kick-off, you can also attend one of the more local readings on June 6th, 7-9PM at Petworth Citizen, or June 14th, 5:30-7PM at Busboys & Poets on 14th Street. Included below is the book’s introduction poem as a preview—written collaboratively by the student contributors and a nice snapshot of the rest of the book’s content.

Telephone: (202) 525-1074

Office 10AM-6:00PM (MON-FRI)
Storefront 12PM–6PM (MON-FRI) &  10:00AM-6PM (SAT)

Bonus: Intro Poem from

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Community Foodworks at Columbia Heights Farmers Market

Spring is here and with it the reopening of the Columbia Heights Farmers Market. On Saturday, April 21st, the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza was once again filled with fruit and vegetables, bread, pickles, organic meats, and a variety of small businesses selling their goods. Our Farmers Market has become a centerpiece in our community every Wednesday and Saturday from April through December, providing residents with access to locally sourced foods and the chance to better engage and get to know one another!

Community Foodworks (CFW) has been operating the Market since 2010 and has since expanded beyond Saturdays to include Wednesday evenings. A DC based non-profit, CFW is dedicated to creating market opportunities for local farmers and, more importantly, increasing access to fresh, healthy food in underserved communities. To do this, they operate a variety of innovative food access programs designed to improve the health and well-being of residents.

One of the many programs available includes Bonus Bucks, a cornerstone of CFW’s food access and financial support program. A dollar-for-dollar match for SNAP (food stamps), WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women, Infants and Children), and Senior FMNP (Farmers Market Nutrition Program). Bonus Bucks help increase the purchasing power for shoppers who utilize Federal food benefits. This summer, CFW will continue to serve as an OSSE-sponsored Free Summer Meal Site, where all children and adolescents can receive a free snack or supper at the Wednesday AND Saturday Markets.

CFW’s Market Share program is another great benefit to many in our community, and it is one of two CSAs in the whole city that offers discounted memberships for residents. Customers who use SNAP are able to purchase Market Share bags at a 75% discount and in 2016, the program expanded to include WIC customers, who are also able to purchase these reduced-price bags at the markets and at two WIC clinics across Ward 1. In 2017, Community Foodworks was able to provide $31,986 in discounts for the Market Share to those using SNAP and WIC. It is also the only CSA to offer delivery for seniors and last year weekly food deliveries were made to neighborhood seniors at Sam Kelsey, Victory Heights, and NCBA Estates. This year they will be expanding this partnership to serve DCHA properties, including Garfield Terrace, Judiciary House, and Kentucky Courts.

These Market Shares are available to anyone who wants a regular supply of the freshest local produce and other foods from area farms. You can still sign up for the program and delivery will begin on May 16th.

Social Impact

If you would like to help support their subsidized program, please choose “SOCIAL IMPACT SHARE” when you check out. This will add a $3 donation to your weekly Market Share bag that will go towards helping ensure that everyone who wants fresh, local produce can have the access we ALL deserve.

Other ways you can support this great community resource: VOLUNTEER! Help is always needed, especially on Wednesdays 1-4pm and 4-7pm.

More information on all the great work being done can be found on their website:

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We are Family

We Are Family is a dedicated and truly selfless local organization working hard to make our community a better place by serving over 700 seniors each month in the Columbia Heights, Shaw, North Capitol Street, Petworth, and Adams Morgan neighborhoods.

Co-founded in 2004 by two local residents and long time social justice advocates, Mark Andersen and Tulin Ozdeger—with the help of neighborhood seniors—the organization provides services, advocacy, and brings companionship into the homes of isolated, low-income elderly. Above all, they offer the invaluable opportunity for volunteers and recipients alike to build friendships across the boundaries of race, class, religion, age, culture, and sexual orientation.

“It makes me feel so delighted to know that someone cares, that they go out of their way to care for the needy, for the hungry…because that is what we are to do, to look out for one another—for the destitute, for the homeless, for the sick, for those who don’t have family.”

Ms. Jaqueline Twitty, a longtime DC resident

We Are Family is able to do this largely through the work of volunteers coordinated by co-directors Mark and Tulin have more than four decades of combined experience serving seniors and fighting poverty in these neighborhoods. While many of those who help We Are Family’s work are seniors—they are the people who, after all, have built this community—they need you as well!

The possibilities are truly endless: Mark & Tulin are able to tailor a volunteer task to whatever time or gift you might have, from helping out once a year on holidays, to calling lonely seniors once a week, to making home visits or delivering groceries on Saturday mornings once or twice a month, to pairing up individual volunteers with nearby seniors, and beyond. An important note, a lot of opportunities are great for all ages so parents, please bring your kids to share in this wonderful and multi-generational experience, too. We all benefit when we build relationships and support our neighbors.

Please join in supporting some of our most valuable neighbors—our senior residents! More than simply a social service agency, We Are Family is an experiment in building a just, caring, and inclusive community—help them realize that dream. Give the gift of your presence to an isolated senior—and get to know the history of your community at the same time!

Upcoming opportunities: Columbia Heights & Parkview Grocery Delivery, Saturday, March 24, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Meet at the Kelsey Apartments, 3322 14th St, NW (1 block north of Columbia Heights Metro). If Saturdays aren’t good, you can get connected to a senior or two to befriend during the week. For more details, check the Events section at

For more information:
We are Family
Mark at 202-487-8698,
Tulin, 202-423-3858,

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Briya Public Charter School

Serving our community for almost 30 years, Briya Public Charter School provides a unique educational model for over 600 families throughout Columbia Heights and neighboring communities with a two-generation model where parents and their young children learn together. Adult students learn English as a second language, digital literacy and parenting skills, while their children receive a high-quality early education in infant, toddler, and PreK classes right across the hall. Briya also offers a high school diploma and training for Medical Assistant and Child Development Associate credentials. And while over half of Briya’s preschool students enter below widely held expectations, 96 to 100 percent meet or exceed those expectations upon leaving the program, effectively eliminating the achievement gap by the time they enter kindergarten!

Alejandra Sandoval, one of our many residents currently participating in this program came to DC 13 years ago to escape an abusive father and now, as a student in Briya’s advanced-level English classes, she has excelled and become a leader in our community and local school. “Going to Briya will change your life, even up to the way that your children see you,” Sandoval says. “You will be a model for your children. I see that my children are proud of me when they hear me speaking English. And knowing more English has helped me a lot–I use it at school, in my job, everywhere. I really appreciate what I learned in parenting class. When I think about my childhood and the childhood of my children, I see the difference. We learned about positive discipline in parenting class, and I can see that my parents gave me punishment rather than positive discipline. Now that I have learned about this, I can change for my kids so their childhood is different.”

Briya operates in 4 locations, including being co-located with Bancroft Elementary School since 1990. It is also co-located with Mary’s Center, another great community resources, in the Adams Morgan, Petworth, and Fort Totten neighborhoods. Through this partnership, Briya is able to provide additional medical, dental, and social support services.

To learn more about the school, visit or search for “Briya Public Charter School” on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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