The Randall Community Center, at the corner of South Capitol St, will hold a Community Open House on Saturday, November 16th, from 12 to 6 pm. The event will provide residents of all ages an opportunity to see the facility, register for activities, and weigh in on activities they seek at the site. A community meeting at 2:00 that afternoon will give all an opportunity to share program ideas and learn more about planned activities.

The new Community Center is overseen by Sasha Bruce Youthwork, who have been working to improve the lives of vulnerable youth in DC since 1974, when founded by its Executive Director, Debbie Shore. Sasha Bruce has worked closely with the Community Benefits Coordinating Council and SWNA in planning for the reopening of Randall.

The Randall Community Center is directed by Clynthia Graham, who is well known and admired for her skills as a leader of community programming. Ms. Graham, recently hired by Sasha Bruce under a court approved disbursement of funds to cover  one year of programming at the Randall Recreation Center, brings enthusiasm and an impressive background and expertise to the task of creating SW’s first Community Center. Formerly employed by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation as Manager for wards six and eight, she also served as Regional Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland, directed Teen Women in Action for the Young Women’s Project, and served Church World Service International as Regional Director.

In Ms. Graham’s words “Southwest is a special community in terms of its diversity, beautiful setting, and calming waters. It is an oasis inside of a busy city. The people are warm and community centered. It is a privilege to work at creating a bridge for the varying interests of resident’s right here in the neighborhood.”

Ms. Graham emphasized the importance of community involvement. “We will be working closely with the Community Benefits Coordinating Council and with SWNA (the Southwest Area Neighborhood Assembly) as we have in the months leading up to this opening.”

Ms Graham, noted that “at the start the staff time is limited to one and a half people.  As additional funding is secured, we will be able to extend both hours and activities. We are looking for volunteers” (see attached list of specific skills).

Starting Monday, November 18th, the center will be open for scheduled activities. Once fully staffed, the center will be open Mondays from 4pm to 8pm, Tuesday through Friday 10am to 7pm, and Saturdays will be scheduled at a later date.

Start up activities will include a Tots Lot program for parents and children 18 months to 3 years, yoga classes for youth and adults, digital storytelling, chess classes, the Sasha Bruce Youthwork Teen P.O.W.E.R. and T.O.P. Program, as well as monthly fitness workshops. Interested adults and children will also be able to sign up for art classes, which have been supported by a generous grant from Mr. and Mrs. Steven Tanner. For more information and to sign up visit Randall at the Open House, call The Randall Center at 202-554-6973 or e-mail cgraham@sashabruce.org.

By: Eve Brooks

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