By the SWDCCC Community Engagement and Communications Committee

Although the 6,000-square-foot Southwest DC Community Center (SWDCCC) is not planned to be open at the corner of 4th and M Street SW for a few years, the volunteer Community Engagement and Communications Committee has been hard at work over the past couple of months on several fronts. 

Following the asset mapping efforts presented at the November ANC6D meeting, we completed more than 15 interviews with organizations serving Southwest and Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront and gathered additional information through surveys to learn about the tremendous work community organizations do to provide critical services in our neighborhood. It’s been truly humbling to hear about all the phenomenal groups that contribute to such a strong social fabric within ANC6D and to see how much effort goes into advocating for and improving the quality of life for all our neighbors. What we learned from these conversations and surveys will inform our future engagement efforts, which we hope will ultimately be integrated into a virtual community asset map.

One theme that emerged from this partner engagement process is that youth programming – particularly more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic – is a key need and crucial component of our neighborhood’s ability to thrive. With that insight in mind, along with our desire to engage deeply and broadly within our community, we are piloting a summer initiative to provide training to five Civic Fellows (ages 16-24) who will receive a stipend to conduct interviews and co-facilitate focus groups. Community members will also be compensated for their time sharing their lived experiences as interviewees or as focus group participants. Youth in our community who are interested in being a Civic Fellow are encouraged to apply at https://swdccc.link/CFapplication.

We’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to give members of our community an opportunity to contribute financially to the initiative. We’ve set a fundraising goal of at least $2,000 and invite you to make a tax-deductible donation on our crowdfunding page: https://swdccc.link/crowdfunding. Any additional funding is welcome and will go to turbocharging our summer initiative efforts, supporting additional engagement activities, and covering operational expenses.

We are also seeking volunteers who want to support our work with time and expertise or be a focus group participant, so please visit https://swdccc.link/getinvolved if you’d like to be considered. Ultimately, we hope this initiative will enable us to engage segments of the population that we might not otherwise be able to reach, empower youth through more meaningful exposure to the civic space, and gather helpful feedback to consider as we design and develop programming for the SWDCCC. 

If you missed our May 25 Engagement Kickoff Meeting or want to review the materials covering our summer initiative, other upcoming engagement activities, and how to get involved, please visit https://swdccc.link/kickoffevent. While you’re there, subscribe to our email list at https://www.swdccc.org/subscribe and stay tuned for updates!

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