header-image.jpg
Dranitzke_Backpack Bash at CHAW 8.28 -29.jpeg

What Is Back to School Bash

With the 2021-22 school year fast approaching, we want to make sure that ALL of our DC students are able to have the resources that they need to be successful. Last year’s Back to School Bash was a massive success, reaching over 425 DC students and providing them with the materials and support they needed for the school year. This year, our goal is to double that by providing 1,000 backpacks. 

 

We are putting together a backpack that is truly comprehensive, and, unlike many backpack programs, we are giving Black and Brown students access to the same supplies that their white counterparts will receive. Access to quality supplies will empower our students to excel in school without worrying about the basics. We are also providing opportunities for recreation and health, as well as tutoring and extracurricular support. This year will be a major transition for our kids, and they need our support and our love more than ever.

How You Can Help

Become a sponsor at the highest level you are able to ensure that more kids have the opportunity and access to the items they need to succeed during the 2021-22 school year. Email our sponsorship team to find out how!

Sponsorship Levels

  • Family level - 4 backpacks - $1,000 - website thank you

  • Classroom level - 20 backpacks - $5,000 - newsletter + website thank you

  • Grade level - 50 backpacks = $12,500 - all above + logo on banner at outdoor event

  • School level - 100 backpacks = $25,000 - all above + special recognition at event

Who is Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid?

Serve Your City’s mission is to provide life-changing experiences and opportunities for under-resourced DC students by making sure Black and Brown students receive the same opportunities as their white counterparts. For the last decade, SYC has provided youth enrichment programs such as tutoring, college preparatory, and financial literacy workshops; the only majority Black youth rowing crew in the city; yoga developed for youth of color; and water sports, including swimming lessons, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving instruction. In March 2020, SYC broadened its focus to ensure that students and the communities they live in have the basic necessities like food, cleaning supplies, and masks to weather the pandemic and combat the systems that created the crisis. Since then, SYC has served as the infrastructure hub for Ward 6 Mutual Aid, part of the DC Mutual Aid Network, a community-led effort to safely support community members hardest hit by the pandemic, now and into the future. The network is a grassroots, trauma-informed response to the pandemic for the most vulnerable and under-resourced communities in the District. Members of these communities are disproportionately African Americans, people of color, and those who have recently immigrated to the United States, and bear the burden of systemic poverty, racism, and environmental injustice. Together with other largely Black-led organizations, Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid provides lifesaving public health information, a vaccine hotline, supplies, food, masks, and technology access; works with our partners to serve our unhoused neighbors; and provides organizing education through our online DC 101 webinar series.

 

SYC was born in 2009 as a response to rapid gentrification in DC’s communities. One of the outcomes of the city’s changing demographics has been increasing privatization of programs such as arts and athletics. SYC's programming addresses both health and economic disparities. Over the past decade, we have helped underserved students in grades 7 - 12 in DC's Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8 experience sports they typically do not have access to. And over the past year, the digital divide has made education similarly inaccessible to our Black and Brown students. We know that racist policies have kept children of color from accessing these activities, and our work always seeks to address and repair disparities for all children and communities. Our goal is to disrupt these systems by providing access to equipment and safe environments with trusted adults who provide high-quality education.

What is our impact?

With Serve Your City as its infrastructure hub, Ward 6 Mutual Aid serves 200 community members per week, including our unhoused neighbors, by providing food, cleaning and personal hygiene supplies, and other household items, as well as critical public health information and access. We have matched students with mentors, provided students with devices and hotspots so they may access the internet and online instruction, and produced a Black public health campaign to educate the community about COVID-19 and the effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as assisting in accessing it, in an equitable and culturally sensitive manner. The theme of this work is “We Keep Us Safe.”

 

Over the past year, SYC/W6MA has:

  • Onboarded 180+ volunteers and is volunteer led and organized.

  • Managed a request/needs hotline daily. At the height of the pandemic, the hotline received 100 calls per week.

  • Distributed food and supplies to community members. To date, we have:

    • Collected and distributed over $200,000 in groceries and supplies

    • Printed and distributed over 10,000 fliers relaying crucial public health information to vulnerable populations through the We Keep Us Safe Public Health Campaign. Created by volunteer public health experts, these fliers help to keep vulnerable neighbors in Ward 6 safe by providing them with culturally appropriate resources on how to avoid COVID-19 and what to do if they contract COVID-19, and now, we are sharing information — even setting up a separate hotline — to help our Black and Brown neighbors access the vaccine, as well as information about it from trusted sources.  

    • Established multiple “pod” locations throughout Ward 6, including one at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW), which serves as a donation collection hub. 

    • Ward 6 Mutual Aid has 70+ grassroots partner organizations

  • Worked to close the digital divide by providing digital devices to students in DC. 

    • Collected, refurbished and distributed more than 500 laptops to students. 

    • Connected more than 200 students/families with caring tutors and extracurricular opportunities. 

We need your help. Here’s how you can support students: