By Southwest DC Community Center Community Engagement and Communications Committee

After a successful crowdfunding campaign powered by generous neighbors, the Southwest DC Community Center (SWDCCC) volunteer Community Engagement and Communications Committee is embarking on a community engagement initiative to lay the groundwork for co-creating the future SWDCCC. 

This initiative will empower local youth as Civic Fellows to connect with neighbors who can share their lived experiences as Community Experts. Insights collected during this process will be used to inform the design and operation of the new community center. The crowdfunding campaign we conducted this summer will enable us to both provide the Community Experts compensation for their contributions and to offer a stipend to Civic Fellows for their efforts.

Civic Fellows will receive training in topics like interview and group facilitation practices, civic engagement and urban planning concepts more broadly, and human-centered design principles. In addition to one-on-one interviews with neighbors, Civic Fellows will leverage this training to co-facilitate a neighborhood discussion group around one of the following themes: 

  • Promoting workforce readiness and entrepreneurship
  • Supporting older adults aging in the community
  • Designing a center accessible for all
  • Creating a family-friendly amenity

The Civic Fellows will then present a final project that reflects on their experience and shares their own vision for the community center at an event open to the public. Youth in our community who are interested in being a Civic Fellow are encouraged to fill out a short application at

Each discussion group will meet once for 90 minutes in September or October in a COVID-safe way. If you’re interested in participating in a discussion group, please sign up at

This engagement process will be a key feature of our longer-term efforts to build a community center that can achieve the vision of the SWDCCC, which is to serve as a vibrant, central hub for the community to support lifelong learning, arts, cultural enrichment, and community life. We hope you’ll join us!

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