Can you teach a special skill? Are you an arts teacher? Do you love working with kids or teens? Do you know great dance steps, yoga, or performance skills? Are you able to support photography groups or other arts? If so, your skills and time are needed this summer at the Randall Recreation Center.

The long closed Randall Recreation Center will open on July 1st as the result of a year long community effort. Volunteers are needed in two hour periods from 4:30 through 8:00 pm Monday through Friday to add their talents to those of Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s two person staffing.

With support of volunteers the 8,000 square foot facility can become a vital center of community building and arts programming. Its prime location, on the corner of South Capitol and I Street, can reach residents of Capitol 1V and Greenleaf as well as the rapidly developing apartments near National’s Park. Closed to the public since King Greenleaf Recreation Center was built, it will add recreation and meeting space not available at the King Greenleaf building, including a large dance floor, kitchen, children’s play space, and a planned computer center.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a city-wide not-for-profit which has long been active in the Southwest, will oversee programming at Randall each weekday evening. The center will be open some Saturdays to accommodate programming. Sasha Bruce Youthworks, a Program Partner to the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, has the requisite insurance, skilled staff, and organizational infrastructure to take oversee the facility when the city is not providing direct staffing. Their staff for this effort is supported by grants from Telesis/Rubell, the developers of the Randall School property next door, the site of a planned contemporary art museum, and by community foundation and funding grants.

The opening of Randall is a genuine public-private partnership. This summer Randall Center will house two city-run Teen Career Pathway Summer Camps during  the morning through late afternoon. The camp’s career  will focus on Visual Arts and fashion, and will serve a total of 50 youth ages 14-16 who are mostly residents of Southwest. Managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation Career Pathway programs developed in conjunction with Dept. of Employment Services is the Summer Youth Employment Program. The camps will run from July 1st through August 4th from 9 to 4 pm.

Sasha Bruce Youthworks will open the facility when the camps are over. Currently much of the late afternoon and evening programming will be oriented towards children and youth. However, space is available to add many activities for people of all ages. That is why the Advisory Committee is actively seeking volunteers with special skills and interests.

The Center will also host life skills discussions, mural making, chess lessons, physical fitness classes and hopefully yoga. Other activities will be added later. All volunteers will need to be qualified in their area of expertise under the Department of Parks and Recreation criteria, and pass MPD’s clearance process. Volunteers are sought for two hour periods to:

-Work with young people and assist with supervision

-Lead programs in any of the following: arts, dance, crafts, photography, computer skills, yoga, zumba, literacy, creative writing, games and more!

-Provide front desk help

-Assist with scheduling, programming, and communication

-Help with fundraising

-Oversee drop-in play groups for young children

Volunteering is EASY and BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE FREE TO COMPLETE!

Contact the Sasha Bruce Youthwork Volunteer Coordinator George Burton to get started at gwburton@sashabruce.org or call him at 202-675-9340 and specify Randall Recreation Center as your volunteer interest. The Recreation Center will be open for visitors and volunteers on Friday, June 21st at 10:00 through 2:00 and may be open on Saturday June 22nd from 10:00 to 12:00.

Funding for Sasha Bruce staffing, needed to oversee the facility and provide youth programming, is still being raised. If funding holds out, Sasha Bruce will keep Randall open through late August. To learn more about funding needs, call or write Eve Brooks at evebrooks@verizon.net or 202-460-5130.

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