7 Questions with Hedrick Belin, President of Potomac Conservancy

Hedrick-headshot.jpgJuly is Parks and Recreation Awareness month and today we welcome Hedrick Belin, President of Potomac Conservancy to 7 Questions!Potomac Conservancy is the region’s leading clean water advocate, fighting to ensure the Potomac River boasts clean drinking water, healthy lands, and connected communities. Under his leadership, the Conservancy has launched several successful initiatives to promote river-friendly land use and to expand the base of volunteers actively engaged in the stewardship of our local green spaces.

Continue reading

Save the date! #GivingTuesday: December 2nd, 2014

With exactly 5 months to go, the countdown is officially “on” for #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014. The Catalogue is excited to be a partner once again to raise money for our charities on the heels of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

From a press release, distributed today by United Nations Foundation:
Last year #GivingTuesday again proved the power of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities when they give back. In 2013, statistics showed an increase in online giving and a surge in the number of partners who rallied to make the day a success. This year, as partners from around the world support the global movement, #GivingTuesday is transforming the way that people think about the giving season with a global call to “get out the give.” Online tools, social media toolkits, webinars and a new interactive website make it easy for people to get involved, share their stories and tips, and highlight a global call to action for partners everywhere.

In September, the Catalogue will announce this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign plan and begin working with our nonprofits to ensure a successful event. We’ll continue posting updates on the blog — stay tuned!

Around Town 6/27-7/3

With a beautiful weekend ahead of us, and on the heels of an exciting US advancement in the World Cup, we encourage you to check out our packed weekend of events! Summer is a great time to get out and meet our amazing nonprofits and enjoy all that they have to offer. Fun for all!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Garden Workday @ Girard Children’s Community Garden

City Blossoms
Workdays are scheduled sessions that include FREE staff-led activities for children (Fridays are Market Stand days!!), families, volunteers and anyone who wants to drop by! You Help You Harvest: When available any helping hands get to take home fresh garden goodies.
When: Fri Jun 27 2014 (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
Where: Girard Children’s Community Garden, 15th & Girard Sts NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers are welcome — just drop by!
Contact: City Blossoms, (443) 854-1669
For more information:click here

Sunset Tour of the Anacostia

Anacostia Watershed Society
For the first time AWS will offer an opportunity for community members to experience the sunset on the water in the Anacostia. It is a relaxing trip with opportunities to observe active wildlife. Participants will be taken via our large pontoon boat to see the best views the Anacostia has to offer. Register now as the event is capped at 20 participants.
When: Fri Jun 27 2014 (6:30 PM – 9:00 PM)
Where: Bladensburg Waterfront Park, 4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD 20710
Fee? yes $29
Contact: Paul Ryberg, (301) 699-6204
For more information: click here

An Evening with Debbi Morgan: The Monkey on my Back

Family Crisis Center of Prince George’s County
This one-women show is a deeply personal memoir about television and film actress Debbi Morgan’s journey through a legacy of fear and abuse, which spanned three generations of women, beginning with Debbi’s grandmother, her mother, and Debbi herself. After the show, join us for a reception, book signing & meet and greet. Doors open at 6pm.
When: Fri Jun 27 2014 (7:00 PM)
Where: Hallam Theatre – Prince George’s Community College, 301 Largo Road, Largo, MD 20774
Fee? yes $40 in advance; $45 at the box office (cash only)
Contact:Shirley Schreffler, (301) 779-2100
For more information:click here

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Recreational Fishing Day

Anacostia Watershed Society
Please join Anacostia Watershed Society, University of Maryland College Park, and Anacostia Community Museum for a day of recreational fishing! We will provide fishing rods and bait on a first-come, first-served basis (bring your own if you prefer). Each participant will receive a gift card valued at $10 for providing us with your catch (per DC fishing regulations)! All ages and experience levels are welcome. Please register so you can be notified if inclement weather cancels the event.
When: Sat Jun 28 2014 (08:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: Hains Point, 927 Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: We are looking for 5 – 10 volunteers to help with event logistics (e.g., help with participant registration for those who provide caught fish, direct and check on participants, take GPS coordinates, distribute supplies and gift cards, assist with proper labeling and storage of fish samples). If you would like to help, please let us know in either the ‘Please share reasons for participating’ section or the ‘How did you hear about AWS’ section when you register and we will contact you with more details.
Contact: Lori Baranoff, (301) 699-6204 ext 107
For more information:click here

Invasive Removal — Glover Archbold Meadow

Rock Creek Conservancy (formerly Friends of Rock Creek’s Environment)
We will be continuing our work to restore the meadow in Glover Archbold Park by removing invasive plant species. The majority of the volunteers will be removing invasive plant species, so please make sure you wear appropriate clothing for the activity.
When: Sat Jun 28 2014 (09:00 AM – 12:00 NOON)
Where: Glover Archbold section of Rock Creek Park, Macomb St & Massachusetts Ave NW: walk 1000 feet NW on Mass towards Nebraska Ave. Trail entrance is on the left side of Mass Ave. and the meadow (meeting location) is .25 mi down the trail., Washington, DC 20016
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Tools, gloves, and training on how to identify and cut invasives will be provided. Volunteers will mainly be pulling wineberry and early garlic mustard. Trained Weed Warriors will be able to do vines and ivy. Ages 16 and up to use tools. What to Wear: Please wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt. Wear sturdy boots or sneakers, no sandals. What to Bring: Bring water. Tools and gloves will be provided. Feel free to bring your own tools and gloves if you have them. Students can earn SSL hours, but please bring needed forms.
Contact: Peter Forbes, (202) 237-8866
For more information:click here

Invasive Removal — Melvin Hazen East

Rock Creek Conservancy (formerly Friends of Rock Creek’s Environment)
Join Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Park Service in removing invasive plant species from the eastern half of the Melvin Hazen section in Rock Creek Park. Tools, gloves, and training on how to identify and cut invasives will be provided. Ages 16 and up to use tools.
When: Sat Jun 28 2014 (09:00 AM – 11:00 AM)
Where: Melvin Hazen Trail Head, Quebec ST NW (From Connecticut Avenue, turn onto Quebec Street N.W. ( not to be confused with Quebec Place N.W.) and follow until it hits a dead end. The trail head to Melvin Hazen is on the left side street. On-street parking is limited), Washington, DC 20016
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Tools, gloves, and training on how to identify and cut invasives will be provided. Ages 16 and up to use tools. What to Wear: Please wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt. Wear sturdy boots or sneakers, no sandals. What to Bring: Bring water. Tools and gloves will be provided. Feel free to bring your own tools and gloves if you have them. Students can earn SSL hours, but please bring needed forms.
Contact: Rena Subotnik, (202) 237-8866
For more information:click here

Distribution Day

DC Diaper Bank
Our distribution days are one of the most exciting and important days at DC Diaper Bank. This is the day we distribute more than 50,000 diapers to over 18 amazing organizations across the DC Metro area. Come join us as we help these great organization fill their trucks with much needed diapers for the families that they serve.
When: Sat Jun 28 2014 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: DC Diaper Bank Warehouse 8858 Monard Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Sorting and packing diapers; helping with other inventory
Contact: Corinne Cannon, (202) 656-8503

Garden Workday @ Marion Street Intergenerational Garden

City Blossoms
Workdays are scheduled sessions that include FREE staff-led activities for children (Thursdays are recipe days!!), families, volunteers and anyone who wants to drop by! You Help You Harvest: When available any helping hands get to take home fresh garden goodies.
When: Sat Jun 28 2014 (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
Where: Marion Street Intergenerational Garden, 1519 Marion St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers are welcome — just drop by!
Contact: City Blossoms, (443) 854-1669
For more information:click here

Garden Workday @ Girard Children’s Community Garden

City Blossoms
Workdays are scheduled sessions that include FREE staff-led activities for children, families, volunteers and anyone who wants to drop by! You Help You Harvest: When available any helping hands get to take home fresh garden goodies.
When: Sat Jun 28 2014 (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
Where: Girard Children’s Community Garden, 15th & Girard Sts NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers are welcome — just drop by!
Contact: City Blossoms, (443) 854-1669
For more information:click here

La Traviata

The In Series
The In Series celebrates the completion of 25 years producing pocket-opera with a Verdi masterpiece, as the wordwide celebration of the master’s 200th birthday year ends. Based on Dumas’ Lady Of The Camelias, La Traviata is the intimate story of a not-socially-acceptable love affair that continues to touch our souls with its heart-breaking music. Director: Nick Olcott Music Director: Carlos Rodriguez
When: Sat Jun 28 2014 (8:00 PM)
Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
Fee? yes $44 general admission; $40 seniors; $22 students with school id & children
Volunteer Info: Usher, box office
Contact: Gregory Stuart, Executive Assistant, (202) 204-7765
For more information:click here

 

 

7 Questions with Andrew Barnett, Executive Director of SMYAL

June is Pride Month and today we welcome Andrew Barnett, Executive Director of SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) to 7 Questions! SMYAL supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, DC metropolitan region through youth leadership development, community service, and advocacy. While working at SMYAL over the past 9 years, Andrew served on the Mayor’s Bullying Prevention Task Force, worked diligently to strengthen in-school GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliance), and developed SMYAL into an influential organization.

 

1. What motivated you to begin working with your organization?

I first became involved in advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth when I co-founded a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) as a senior in high school. When I graduated college, I knew that I wanted to get more involved in the LGBT movement and I moved to DC to find a way to do that, which led me to an internship at SMYAL. One of the aspects of SMYAL’s work that drew me in was the organization’s focus on addressing intersectional issues. The majority of the youth we serve are African-American and low-income, and so face challenges due not only to their sexual orientation or gender identity but also due to institutionalized racism and economic factors. I greatly valued (and still do!) the way in which SMYAL’s programs incorporated an understanding of how different systems of oppressions impact youth’s lives. As my internship was winding down, a staff position opened up, and I joined the team.

2. What exciting change or innovation is on your mind?

Last year, we teamed up with a California-based organization, GSA Network, to launch a major new initiative: the DC Regional GSA Network. This new effort focuses on empowering LGBTQ youth leaders to organize and promote positive change in their schools and communities through GSA clubs. The program has challenged us to shift our thinking in two major ways: (1) incorporating youth leaders into the program at all levels, including program facilitation, and (2) using a network-based model in which we are not only creating a safe space for LGBTQ youth to be who they are but also working with youth to create affirming spaces wherever they are. As an Executive Director, it’s been exciting to see our youth develop and articulate their own visions for the program, their schools, and their communities.

3. Who inspires you (in the philanthropy world or otherwise)? Do you have a hero?

There are many people who inspire me and whom I admire. In the landscape of LGBT youth organizations, I am particularly inspired by Carolyn Laub, the Executive Director of GSA Network, and Grace Sterling Stowell, the Executive Director of the Boston Alliance of GLBT Youth (BAGLY). I am also a huge admirer of the work of Dr. Caitlin Ryan and the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University.

In addition, what sustains me day to day is the inspiration I take from the people I work with–the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and, most importantly, our LGBTQ youth. I consider myself so fortunate to work with amazing, talented people who are so passionate about the work that we do.

4. What was your most interesting recent project/partnership?

For the past two years, SMYAL has been a member of the Mayor’s Bullying Prevention Task Force here in DC. The Task Force was charged with developing of a model bullying prevention policy and then assisting with its implementation in our schools and other youth-serving providers. I have been so impressed with the way in which the DC Office of Human Rights has spearheaded this effort through engaging a diverse pool of stakeholders (ranging from folks who work at DC Department of Parks and Recreation to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) while also keeping us on task and ensuring we adhered to the timetable for speedy implementation. I believe that the model bullying prevention policy that the District adopted is very strong and the ways in which the work is being coordinated across the city will serve as a model for other cities in the future.

5. What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces (besides finances) and how are you dealing with this challenge?

The greatest challenge we face is probably similar to many other community-based nonprofits, which is that there is always more need than resources. We strive to be strategic in how we develop programs and focus our time in order to ensure that we are able to maximize our impact. Unfortunately, this means that we cannot be everything to everyone and that sometimes we have to say no to opportunities for collaboration and partnership because we just don’t have the bandwidth to take on a new initiative.

6. What advice do you have for other people in your position?

When I first became Executive Director of SMYAL, I took a class at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement for new EDs. The instructor hung a banner at the front of the classroom each session which said, It’s all about relationships. I have reflected back on that banner over the years and I have to say I think it is true–as EDs, the relationships we build with our Board members, staff members, community stakeholders, and constituents are central to our ability to do our jobs. Another piece of advice I would offer is never to be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

7. What’s next/coming up for you or your organization?

This year is an exciting one for SMYAL–we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary! To commemorate this milestone, we have been recording the history of SMYAL through our alums–former youth participants, Board members, volunteers, and staff. We just released a publication, 30 Years of SMYAL Stories, that collects several of these interviews and will be putting out a podcast later in the year. Programmatically, we are continuing to build our DC Regional GSA Network and preparing for the second school year of implementation.

A major change for me is that I will be stepping down from SMYAL in August to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the George Washington University. It is certainly bittersweet, as I will be very sad to leave this organization that has meant so much to me since I joined the staff 9 years ago. However, I am excited to see how SMYAL continues to grow in the years to come. The Board is in the midst of a search for the next Executive Director, so I would encourage anyone who is interested to apply!