Empower DC’s Summer of Youth

Summer is a time of liberation and growth for youth as it is for movements for justice.  Youth are free!  You can hear it in the collective shrill at last bell of the year.  Youth know instinctively -a moment of freedom is not to be wasted.   Yet, we need not be like the grasshopper, who wasted his summer dancing and singing in Aesop’s (who was Ethiopian) fable, The Ant and Grasshopper.  We should do as Proverbs suggest consider the ants, who work collectively and rigorously over the summer.  What we do in the summer plants the fall’s harvest and provides what we will store to get us through the winter to another spring.

I am excited about the Empower DC Youth Organizing Project’s FIRST Summer program.   We have five great young leaders, who will get a chance to introduce themselves below.   As EYOP Youth Mobilizers, they will be organizing side-by-side with our great team of organizers and their campaigns, helping to plant the seeds to make Empower DC intergenerational by bring youth into the fight for a fair and just District of Columbia.  It is a moment of deep growth for the organization.  It is also a moment of liberation.   We are planting the seeds for a new generation of activists, leaders and organizers.  The youth are our future and they are our NOW.  The city needs the inspiring and authentic leadership of its young people now more than ever.   Be inspired!

 

My name is Kamari Bowman but most people call me by my nickname Mari. I was born on July 8th, 1995 in Washington DC. I attend Woodrow Wilson SHS and I’m a rising senior, so that makes me class of 2013. I have interests in many things such as food, music, shopping and cheerleading. My number one interest is food because I love to eat and cook. Some music artists that I enjoy listening to are Trey Songz and Rick Ross. My best friend would say that I am helpful, funny, mature and outgoing, but at times mean. For example there were times in school that I would pick on people for no reason. Also whenever I was upset about something I would take my anger out on others even though they didn’t do anything.

My proudest moment was actually this year because I passed to the 12th grade. My 11th grade year was my hardest year since I started high school. As of right now, I’m considering majoring in Culinary Arts or Social Work. Most likely I think I will end up majoring in Culinary Arts, because like I said before, I love to eat and cook. Right now, I’m not too sure which school I would like to attend to pursue my career choice, but I know that it’s about time that I start looking because the school year will go by fast.

My family means so much to me, I would give up everything I have for my family if it ever came down to that. I always cherish every moment I spend with my family because tomorrow is never promised for anyone.

Whenever I’m out helping the community I’m making a difference.  Whether it’s preparing the food at Martha’s Table so it can be cooked or handing out shirts, bread and dessert to the homeless, I’m making a difference.  Even if it’s not the community that I’m helping, if I’m helping someone in school or at home I’m making a difference. If I’m teaching or helping a person then they will be able to do the same; it’s called “Paying It Forward.”

Affordable housing is the Empower DC issue that affects me the most because I believe that everyone should have a roof over their head. There are many people out here that work but aren’t making enough money to afford a house of their liking so they need something that can accommodate their price range, and that also goes for the ones who are living off of welfare and social security.

My name is Olando Nath. I was born at Children’s Hospital on May 8th 1996.  I’m in the 11th grade at Friendly High School. The Empower DC issue that affects me most is jobs because a lot of people need jobs to go home, take care of their children, put cloths on their back, food in their mouth, shoes on their feet and take care of themselves. My best qualities are working, and math. My best friend would say I am the best friend she ever had because I’m there for her.  We talk on the phone, I’m funny, immature, and be cooling. What family means to me is loving, working, protecting, achieving, and believing. The one time I made a difference was standing up on stage and rapping like I never rapped before. My career path is to be an architect or an NFL football player. My interests are music food and movies.  The proudest moment of my life was protecting my aunt from a stranger.

 

 

My name is Clivia Escobar. I’m a graduate from Freestate Challenge Academy in Aberdeen’s Proving Ground, looking into college to continue with my education to start my career. I’m still not sure what would I like to do more, SWAT, Marshall or Social Worker.  My birthplace is DC but my parents are from El Salvador & Honduras. I like to listen to music a lot because it calms me down and helps me think about life issues.  Bob Marley songs are a good example of this. I don’t like watching TV as much because I believe that they say and show things that they would like for you to believe but aren’t necessarily true. That’s just my personal opinion.

I work for my own money even though I have two great parents that are married that would support and give me anything I would like. God has truly blessed me, but I think it’s better to be independent so that when it’s time for me to stand on my own it won’t be as hard. I have strong pride, that is my best strength out of everything about me. I have a very strong personality as well because of the things I have gone through when I was younger.  I’m glad I’ve had bad and good times so that I would be built like a rock or a race car that not even popped tires can stop.

My family is a big part to my life because they stand strong when things get hard; they are people I can go to when I can’t go to a friend. They mean so much to me, for example my mother is a hard-working lady that has worked day and night for 23 years as a housekeeper in a hotel, but thanks to God she works only one job now so I get to see her more. My father is a construction worker that always helps my mother and my little brother including myself. Whenever we are missing or need something, my dad has never let us down. He always makes sure we are okay. When it comes to my little brother he is my motivation to being a different person than who I was before. He is 9 years old and at his age they know what’s wrong and right.  So I have to do right so that he may do right as well and finish school. Everyone that knows me has seen me raise my little brother since a baby so I want to show him that there are better things in life than bad, that’s the reason why I have changed a lot to the person I am today.

There are issues in the communities these days and kids don’t even make it through high school because they drop out or their schools are closed down. I would like to see my brother finish school. That’s why I support Empower DC. With their help, and the help of more parents and siblings, we can fix all these new changes that are causing trouble in communities. Thank you for reading a little about me. Hopefully I will see you supporting Empower DC.

 

My name is Reonna. I go to Thurgood Marshall Academy. I’m in the 11th grade my favorite subjects are Spanish and history. My birthday is April 7, 1995. My favorite social networks are Facebook and Twitter. My favorite food is pizza. My favorite movie is Cat in the Hat. My favorite Go-Go band is X.I.B.  I’m interested in going shopping, getting my nails done, hanging out with friends, hanging with my little sister and texting and talking on the phone.

An Empower DC issue that I support is childcare because teens need help with their children and paying bills, etc. To me, family means there are people who care about you and have your back when you need help. Some things that motivate me are when I do something that is good or I achieve higher than others. It motivates me to do better every time I do something. Another motivation is when I think that I am going to do badly on a test and my teacher gives me a good comment on it. The two things that motivate me are good comments and achieving higher.

 

My name is John Fleming. I attend Henry E. Lackey High School. I am a junior. The career path that I choose to take as plan A is to go to college and further my education. I want to major in music producing. For plan B, I would like to major in architecture. My proudest moment was when I changed my nephew’s diaper, fed him and burped him. The time I think I made a difference is when I was in a business program called B.U.I.L.D.  I was the C.E.O of my own company called Gift Baskets for Everyone. The way I made a difference was by showing my peers and a lot of adults that the more dedicated you are and the more you show that you’re not playing, the more people will take you seriously.

My birth date is April 22 and I am a Taurus which is a bull, that’s my sign. I was born in Washington DC at Washington Hospital Center.  I was raised in Southeast Washington DC, Ward 8 from 13 months of age to 7 years of age.  I was then put into foster care.  From then until this year 2012, I’ve been in foster care for nine years. That is my motivation to become successful. Why? Because kids that’s put into foster care are mainly automatically hit with a stereotype. Those that are put into foster care are mainly considered as more emotional, unstable, and bound to get into trouble because of their families mistakes and history. We are hit with those types of stereotypes off bucks. I have to set higher standards for myself because of those reasons; that’s why that is my motivation to become successful. To me now days, the main issue that affects me the most is education, because a lot of kids are easily distracted because we are stressed because our families are stressed.  There are a lot of other reasons why we are stressed out and easily distracted from school and not able to focus or have patience to finish.  That’s why a lot of kids drop out and get turned away from their life’s career and futures.

My strengths are leading, talking in general, giving advice, my mannerism, having dedication, being persuasive and being very helpful. Some of my interests are females, money, and music. My family means everything to me even though they weren’t there really.  The reason why they mean everything to me is because their mistakes made me into the good person I am today.  That has inspired me to keep becoming better and better at what I do every day.  The one thing that I think my best friend would say about me is that I’m very kind but playful and that I don’t let no one run over top of me.

Affordable housing is an Empower DC issue that affects me the most because in my ward houses are unaffordable. I reside in Ward 1 where affordable homes don’t exist anymore. The building of luxurious condos and apartments are causing problems within my neighborhood.  It’s becoming impossible to find houses in my area. It’s a shame that my family and I can only find houses in other wards. These are all the things that I struggle with as an up-and-coming senior in high school.

 

My name is Kween B and I attend PSP.  I’m hoping to start my senior year at Capital City PCS (CCPCS) this fall.  Perry street wasn’t a great school environment for me, so that’s why I’m hoping to attend CCPCS. I believe I can bring much potential to that school.  Bringing my potential to CCPCS will help them understand my strengths.  I’m very outspoken and good at explaining myself.  I love to have everything in order in my life, because I hate being messy and confused.  You can say communication and organization are my strengths. My best friends believe that I have obsessive compulsive disorder and that I ask too many questions.

My family is everything to me because without them I wouldn’t be the strong person that I am today. I didn’t understand the meaning of family until I was in a time of need. I took them for granted because I thought I could do things on my own. Shortly I begin to realize that I needed them like they said I would.

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