Development, Events, News

Partners “FLOC” to Serve DC Students

For Love of Children has been the fortunate recipient of two volunteer service days by our corporate partners at CEB and Deloitte. Both groups joined FLOC staff at our office to get prepped for our Summer Academy, which started on June 20th. There was a lot of cleaning and organizing, and each and every volunteer put in a lot of hard work with a smile.

Volunteer Service Days are vitally important to organizations like FLOC that rely on donations to get the supplies we need and on having enough hands to assist our small staff in keeping our facilities organized, cleaned, and maintained. Even though our space at FLOC is great, sometimes we get overcrowded with old and overly used items because we have hundreds of kids using every room and office (even the Executive Director’s) over the course of each year, and that can takes its toll on our facilities and the quality of our educational materials. It is important that every student that walks into FLOC’s doors walks into a welcoming environment, that every parent can walk in and see our past work and our achievements, and that every tutor can come in and find quality materials to teach their student right where they are supposed to be.

CEB

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CEB arrived at FLOC early on May 13th bright eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to help us out with some serious sprucing up the FLOC facilities. CEB’s incredible volunteers made some big, and very much needed, changes to our office. Not only did they donate furniture for several of our spaces, but since the furniture came in parts they even put it together for us. And the fun didn’t stop there! They broke out the hammer and put our accomplishments spanning FLOC’s 51 years of existence on our wall so that everyone who walks in can see the history of our mission. They even painted and rearranged our Executive Director’s office. For everyone’s sake, we didn’t keep any “before” pictures on that one!

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The CEB volunteers were even kind (and brave) enough to help us with our overcrowded program spaces and they threw away old furniture and other items that had been well-loved over the years by students. Creating space that can now be used by NTP students and their tutors and by the Scholars staff and students. It was hard work, and there was a lot of handwashing, but they powered through and made our space look fun and clean again.

Deloitte

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Deloitte came in on June 10th for their 6th consecutive Impact Day with FLOC, and they brought a full team of 18 people to help out. For all of their projects they had to put their organizational and creative skills to use. One group sorted out ALL of our closets and made us space where we didn’t know we had any. Now our staff can easily find what they are looking for and they can store more items that may have been crowding their offices before. Although FLOC does not condone hoarding, the Deloitte volunteers did find a few interesting items, such as a stapler from the 1960’s and a megaphone still in its box!

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Another group went through hundreds of donated books and our books that we already have in our library to determine which books were out of commission and which books would be perfect for our students to peruse. This was so helpful to our staff and tutors who want to provide the best reading material that they can for students, but don’t have the time to sift through the donations.

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Finally, we had a group working on a Career Board for our students. Part of FLOC’s mission is to get students focused on their futures. To help fulfill this need, Deloitte created a fantastic interactive career board that answered some of the bigger questions that students have about what it means to have a job and what they need to do to be prepared for a future career. Now every time a student walks down the hallway they can look at some great information and a wealth of experience from professionals who have already gone through the process of finding a career. Not to mention the board looks really cool!

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FLOC sincerely thanks all of these amazing volunteers from our partners at CEB and Deloitte who took time out of their own schedules to get us ready for our Summer Academy!

(Laura Evans is the Development Associate at FLOC.)

 

 

Development, News

FLOC Invites you to Concert for a Cause!

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Looking to enjoy music and family fun this summer while supporting For Love of Children (FLOC) and other nonprofits? Check out Concert4aCause for a charitable summer time event!

What is it?

For Love of Children (FLOC) is honored to be one of 12 nonprofits selected as a beneficiary from Acumen Solutions’ inaugural Concert4aCause (C4C) where music enthusiasts can enjoy a concert filled with talented musicians, family friendly activities, and great food and beverages. The headliners for C4C will be winner of The Voice season 3 Cassadee Pope, country group High Valley, popular party band Gonzo’s Nose, and renowned children’s band Rocknoceros. It is going to be a great event for great causes!

How can you help?

  • Click the links and find out more about the event and the nonprofits that you will be supporting.
  • Sign up! Join the fun and bring the family. Tickets are on sale now here
  • Spread the word about it to friends, colleagues, and family and make this a successful event that benefits a lot of great causes!

We hope to see you there this summer!

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(Laura Evans is the Development Associate at FLOC.)

Development, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Scholars Program

Looking back, looking forward: end of the year at FLOC

The holiday season is a time of reflection at FLOC. It gives us an opportunity to pause and give thanks to those who’ve helped our organization and the students we serve. We count ourselves extraordinarily lucky to be supported by such a vibrant and passionate community. The remarkable achievements of our students are a reflection not only of the tireless work our students put forth, but it’s also a testament to the generosity of our donors and volunteers.

Nationwide, 81% of students now graduate from high school. Inarguably that’s an important milestone and an indicator that things are moving in the right direction, but it also shows the work that remains. We are failing one-fifth of the young people in this country. The numbers are even worse in Washington, DC. In our city, a city that has more college degrees per capita than anywhere else in the country, only 64% of students will achieve a high school degree. Even fewer will earn a postsecondary degree. A failing of this magnitude is hard to fathom, and it’s even more difficult to create and fight for the lasting, systemic change necessary to rectify it. However, in the push for sustainable and lasting change, we cannot lose sight of the thousands of students in classrooms today who are living the reality of these statistics.

9th grade Scholars group

At FLOC, we believe that the only thing separating students who struggle and students who succeed is opportunity. Over the past 50 years, we have served over 10,000 children, talented young people who thrive when exposed to quality out-of-school-time programming. Thanks to continued and new support, another class (the ninth straight!) of FLOC high school seniors achieved a 100% graduation rate. We’re proud of their hard work and grateful that our donors have allowed us to continue supporting these tremendous young people. Across all our programs, this support and partnership have led to remarkable results.

  • Our Neighborhood Tutoring Program served a total of 380 students and recruited more than 349 volunteer tutors.
  • Those 380 students made more than a year of improvement after just three and half months of steady tutoring.
  • Thanks to a new program model for SAT prep, students improved their composite scores on the SAT by more than 100 points.

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This growth is fantastic, but preparing students for postsecondary success requires a lot more than just raising test scores. Today’s student are leaving high school and entering a highly competitive, quickly moving world. They require new skills and new experiences to help them navigate it. Jason, one of our recent high school graduates, is a great example of the ways that FLOC is working to fully prepare students for postsecondary success.

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Ever since he started coming to FLOC, Jason has been a presence. Sometimes this was a positive thing, like when he would encourage his classmates across our high ropes course. Other times, it was a challenge, like when he would take over a workshop with his jokes. In his school life, he struggled to find his place, to share his talents and to achieve success.

As a freshman in high school, Jason had to deal with the death of his older brother. The loss was devastating, certainly distracting and not surprisingly a major factor in his lack of motivation in the classroom. FLOC has been a part of the village that supports him and his family. Jason was motivated by basketball and the special caring relationships he’d formed with his peers and the staff at FLOC. We fought to help him recognize that he still had a path to success, that he had the capability to achieve great things if he challenged himself and remained focused. It didn’t happen overnight, but he began to heal and to grow. Jason’s senior year of high school was his strongest academically, and he graduated on time. He applied and was accepted to a community college, where he intends to get his associates degree before moving on to a 4-year institution to study psychology. We asked Jason what he believes will be his key to success. He shared that he finally realizes the power he has to be great, to make his brother proud and to help others; Jason plans to become a therapist for children who have suffered from traumatic loss. We believe in him and will support him throughout his journey.

Students at VTECH

This year, another group of twelfth graders is preparing for the next steps in their academic journey. Throughout the city, there are thousands more who have the potential to excel, but lack access to the programming that will allow them to do so. Again, the only thing that separates a student in a failing school from one in a top-tier school is opportunity. FLOC represents that opportunity for more than 600 students in the city. We need your support to reach even more students in 2016. Today, during this season of giving, we ask you to make a special gift so that more children can get the tools necessary for academic success. With your gift, FLOC’s dedicated staff and volunteers will be able to better serve even more children. With your support, even more people will hear our message that a high-quality education is the birthright of every child, that viable pathways to postsecondary success should be the bar by which any community of educators is judged.

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Thank you for your support of FLOC and the work we do, and from our family to yours, happy holidays!

Development

Corporate Partner Spotlight: Acumen Solutions

There are several businesses and partners that FLOC has been lucky enough to partner with for several years. One that particularly sticks out is Acumen Solutions.

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FLOC was introduced to Acumen Solutions in 2009 when Adam Horvath, a Senior Director, joined our Board of Directors. For five years, FLOC participated in and was a beneficiary of Acumen’s Race for a Cause, raising a total of over $55,000 for FLOC’s Neighborhood Tutoring and Scholars Programs. At this year’s Recognition Event and Empower Awards, Acumen Solutions received the Empower Partner award for going above and beyond to support the work we are doing for low-income students in DC. The award was given in recognition of the pro bono support Acumen has provided FLOC while helping our program managers build a Salesforce database to track student data. This upgrade to a central database has increased our ability to track, analyze and report on individual students’ progress as they participate in FLOC programs.

This week, Acumen Solutions has generously donated 23 laptop computers for our Scholars Program. These laptops will help us replace some of our outdated ones, as well as support our students and staff in a variety of ways.

  • 6th – 10th graders will use the laptops to complete academic assignments during Homework Help as many students do not have computers and/or internet access at home.
  • 11th graders will research postsecondary institutions and career opportunities on the new laptops.
  • Laptops will support our 12th graders in the college application process including college research, resume and personal statement composition, application completion, and financial aid searches.
  • Our local postsecondary students will be able to use laptops to complete assignments, research colleges (if they are transferring) and search for scholarships.
  • New laptops will be helpful to staff when presenting volunteer trainings and workshops.

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We extend a huge thank you to Acumen Solutions for their work in the community and for supporting FLOC and our students.

(Kate Brown is the Development Associate at FLOC.) 

Development, Events, News

Beyond the Classroom Fundraising Luncheon: Celebrating FLOC’s 50th Anniversary

On May 13th, FLOC celebrated a milestone of 50 years of service to students in the Washington, DC community. At this year’s Beyond the Classroom luncheon, FLOC shared with board members, volunteers, new and old supporters, and community partners our vision for growth in the next 3 years; a look at the work we have accomplished and what is left to be done; and a call to help raise the vitally important funds to realize this work.

Please take a minute to read Executive Director Tim Payne and FLOC student alumnae Brittany Okafor’s remarks. Also, check out the video we debuted at the luncheon showcasing our work the past 50 years and why FLOC is an organization worth celebrating.

If you missed this year’s luncheon, please join FLOC at Come Dream With Us: The Future of FLOC on Wednesday, May 20 from 6-8pm at the WNDC. Details and RSVP at this link.

(Kate Fleischer is FLOC’s Development Assistant.)

Development, News

Board Alumni Gather to Reflect on Past and Future

On April 16th, board member, Kate Vogt opened her home for a reunion of FLOC Board Alumni to celebrate the organization’s 50 years of service. The evening was highlighted by FLOC’s Executive Director, Tim Payne, recalling the organization’s inspirational history and laying our strategic path towards 2017.

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In 1965, 25,000 people marched together from Selma to Montgomery, including Rev. Gordon Cosby. On the plane ride back to DC, Rev. Cosby wondered, “What’s our Selma?” He shared his experiences with members in his congregation, and week by week more of them were moved to act. Fred Taylor was one of them, and led the charge to close an institution for wards of the state, forming For Love of Children in the process.

Reflecting on that moment, FLOC’s Board and staff asked a year ago, “What is our Selma today, and where do we need to go?” And the answer was pretty clear.

There are more postsecondary degrees in Washington, DC than anywhere else in the country, but precious few of those degrees are going to students who were born here. Too few students in this city are ever given those opportunities. In classrooms across DC, only two in five low income students can read on grade-level, and the numbers aren’t much better in math. Only half the students in ninth grade classrooms will ever make it through to graduation. Fewer still will go on to college. For too long, this gap has been allowed to exist, and untended it grows wider and wider.

At FLOC, we still believe that every child matters. All are equally important. We see a city where every child’s potential – regardless of zip code, skin color, or family status – is realized.

We’ve demonstrated that high-quality, enhanced learning programs give students the skills and knowledge that lead to postsecondary success, and so we are working to double the number of students we serve. Starting this year, we will add new tutoring programs at partner sites and introduce new cohorts of students to our proven college access program. Next year, 150 new students will receive our support. By the 2017-2018 school year, we will open a community-based center east of the river so that traditionally underserved students can access our high-quality programs close to home. This growth will continue until at least 1,200 students are served directly by FLOC.

But that’s not enough. Meaningful and lasting solutions come from the concerted efforts of like-minded partners, and so we will work to align our resources and interests with other organizations to create a network of support reaching any family in need of educational services, ensuring that more students participate in high-quality programs all across this city.

The ultimate goal of our work is to empower the children and families we serve. We will stand side by side with our families, joining them in their call to demand the services their children need. At FLOC, we believe we can transform our communities, transform our city, by starting one young person at a time.

Those early questions asked by Rev. Cosby and FLOC’s founders 50 years ago have spurred years of tireless work to secure better outcomes for youth in this city. Today, it is in the efforts of our former board members, their commitment and leadership that have guided FLOC through the past half-century.

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In keeping with this leadership, several of our long-standing FLOC supporters and board alumni have made a special investment in FLOC to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Two very generous anonymous donors have committed to match all donations made by board alumni this year, $1 for $1, up to $50,000. They will ensure that alumni support will now have double the impact. By December 2015, we want to announce that our board alumni have contributed more than $100,000 to sustain FLOC’s efforts into its next 50 years.

FLOC is grateful for the work of its board members, past and present, and all that they have done and continue to do to strengthen the work of FLOC.

(Latoyia Allen is the Director of Development.)

Development, News

Words from FLOC’s First Executive Director and the 50th Anniversary Launch Video

Award-winning and journalist, Leon Harris and Fred Taylor, FLOC founding director.
Fred Taylor (right) FLOC’s founding executive director, visits with journalist Leon Harris (left) at the 2014 Fred Taylor Scholarship Dinner.

Looking back on FLOC’s past 50 years is exciting for several reasons, one being that a handful of those who helped to start the organization are still active in the organization today, whether by supporting FLOC monetarily or sharing their talents by volunteering. One of them is our founding Executive Director, Fred Taylor. I was able to get some of Fred’s thoughts on FLOC’s first 50 years as an organization. Fred writes:

As I celebrate FLOC’s first 50 years, three things stand out for me as truly inspiring:

1) the vision and energy with which FLOC began during the rising tide of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and FLOC’s capacity to persist and thrive even as the energy of that great national movement waned;

2) the vision and courage of the FLOC Board in 2003-05 (after my retirement) to risk the huge change from primary financial dependence on DC government contracting to become totally self-supporting through fundraising, and to shift from multiple service programing to concentrate on equipping and empowering DC youth with limited support and prospects to get a 21st century-worthy education with the interior discipline and vision to match through out-of-school programming (catch up, stay in school, graduate high school, gain acceptance, graduate from college, get a job with a future); and

3) the wisdom and boldness of the 2013-14 FLOC Board to revisit the vision that drives the organization by undertaking and adopting a daunting comprehensive five-year strategic plan. This plan envisions FLOC once again as a catalyst for systemic change for left-out and left-behind children and youth in this potentially great city. It commits FLOC to approximately doubling in size and outreach in order to model and nurture the kind of widely shared citywide effort required for achieving educational justice for the young. It dares to believe that a single organization operating from the margins of the city educational system can succeed as a catalyst for system change, provided it functions as a team player for a much larger goal than its self-glorification.  Lastly, as I look back over what I have written I think “Wow! This still developing history is worth celebrating, and I am so grateful to still be a part of it.” 

Keeping in mind Fred’s words, take a look at the video that highlights some of our students and their experiences at FLOC:

(Kate Fleischer is FLOC’s Development Associate.)

Development, News

Celebrating 50 Years as an Organization

raftingFLOC is celebrating a milestone this year: fifty years of serving disenfranchised youth in Washington, DC. This is a milestone that few organizations reach and FLOC owes much of this success to those who came before us and our own community. Our students and families have always been on the forefront of what we do.

Gordon Cosby was instrumental in the founding of FLOC.
Gordon Cosby was instrumental in the founding of FLOC.

When Reverend Gordon Cosby came back from the march in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, he asked his congregation the difficult question: “What will be our Selma?” In FLOC’s beginnings, they gathered support of their churches and the community to shut down Junior Village, a warehouse for 900 abandoned children. FLOC and its partners arranged viable schooling and living alternatives for these children, and shut Junior Village down in 1973. FLOC’s early leaders also founded DC’s first Child Advocacy Center and co-founded the Consortium for Child Welfare, a city-wide collaborative of 16 foster care and adoption agencies.

From the mid-1970s through the 1990s, FLOC continued to embrace a variety of child and family services and served as an incubator for developing programs.
One of these was Hope and a Home, a transitional housing program that helped parents create nurturing and stable homes within the caring and loving support of a community.  In 2005, Hope and a Home incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) agency.  FLOC also was one of the founding members of the Healthy Families Initiative, and its program remains a strong part of Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care.

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As other nonprofit collaborations and public agencies emerged to address the community’s needs, FLOC asked those we served what they needed for the community to thrive. FLOC reevaluated its mission and decided, in 2005-2006, to focus on educational programming as the most effective way to help young people achieve a positive future.  While the refocused mission is relatively young, FLOC’s educational programs have deep roots.  The Neighborhood Tutoring Program was founded in 1997, the Outdoor Education Center in 1971, and the forerunner of FLOC’s Scholars Program in 1999.

One of the civil rights movement’s earliest initiatives was challenging inequality in educational opportunities for African-Americans. Today, the majority of low-income children of color do not receive the quality education they deserve. One wonders what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would say about this. As a man of hope, he would probably speak optimistically about our youth and rebuke the idea that some children lack the capacity to learn.  Every student can learn. The primary goal of FLOC is to ensure that all students — regardless of race, ethnicity, or neighborhood — receive the support they need to achieve their dreams.

doors for familiesFifty years is a long time in the life of an organization. This city has changed a lot in that time. But through it all, FLOC remains focused on one thing: all the children of our community are equally important. Yet too many young people are left struggling to find opportunities to unlock their potential. We can’t stop at the 600 students we serve today. We have to reach more students and teach them these vital skills. We have to organize and empower all of our stakeholders to harness the strength of the communities we
serve. With them, we believe we can transform this city.

Starting this year, we will add new tutoring programs at partner sites and introduce new cohorts of students to our proven college access program. Next year, 150 new students will receive our support. By the 2017-2018 school year, we will open a community-based center east of the river so that traditionally underserved students can access our high-quality programs close to home. This growth will continue until at least 1,200 students are served directly by FLOC. But that’s not enough.

graduateWe know that meaningful and lasting solutions come from the concerted efforts
of like-minded partners. We will work to align our resources and interests with other organizations to take collective action, to create a network of support reaching any family in need of educational services. Not only will more students participate in our programs; more students will participate in more high-quality programs all across this city.

We recognize that the ultimate goal of our work is to empower the children and families we serve. We will stand side by side with our families, joining them in their call to demand the services their children need. We will work tirelessly with them to transform our community.

IMG_9876_croppedOver the next three years, we intend to raise two and half million dollars in additional financial support. We will leverage this capital to accomplish four major goals: investing in the Fred Taylor Scholarship Fund, allowing us to financially invest in FLOC students working to secure a postsecondary degree; second, ensuring our continued vitality and health by creating a reserve fund; in addition, devoting the capacity building resources necessary to support our growth; and most importantly, funding the program expansion, partnerships, and community organizing work that will bridge the persistent opportunity gap in our city.

We hope you will join FLOC in its efforts to expand, grow and serve more youth on their path to postsecondary success.

(Kate Fleischer is FLOC’s Development Associate.)

Development

FLOC Welcomes Two New Board Members

Introducing FLOC’s Newest Board of Director’s Members!

Peter_Nothsteinkate vogtFLOC is eager and excited to share that we have two new members on our Board of Directors: Peter Nothstein and Kate Vogt. Peter is an associate at Willkie Farr and Gallagher and Kate is an interior decorator and retired CFA. Kate has served as a member of the Fred Taylor Scholarship Fund Board for the past four years. They took the time to answer some questions about why they got involved with FLOC and advice to young professionals looking to give back to their community.

  1. Why did you get involved with FLOC?

Kate: As a resident of DC, it’s hard not to see the unequal access that children in the city have to a stable, high quality education. Providing support and programs to those in need is fundamental in helping kids succeed throughout their school years and beyond. I’ve been involved with FLOC for the past four years as a member of the Fred Taylor Scholarship Fund Board, and am thrilled to be joining the full board.

Peter: I got involved with FLOC because I believe passionately in the mission; I think all kids have potential and deserve the support to help them succeed.

  1. Is this your first time serving on a nonprofit board?

Kate: This is my first time serving on the full board of a non-profit organization, but FTSF was my first real experience.

Peter: This is my first time on a non-profit board (except for a Bar association).

  1. What are your goals/what do you hope to accomplish as a board member?

Kate: As a board member, I would like to start by helping with development efforts, cultivating more donors by spreading the word throughout the community about FLOC’s successful programs and the large number of children it serves.

Peter: I hope to be able to help FLOC achieve its new goals of growing the program and reaching more kids.

  1. Do you have any advice for those young professionals looking to give back to their community?

Kate: Find a cause you are passionate about and get involved – at any level!  There are so many connections to make and wonderful people to meet in the process. You will feel good about your contribution to the community while having fun at the same time.

Peter: I think I’d tell someone looking to give back to learn about and be involved with something you’re passionate about.  It will end up making you feel energized and fulfilled.

FLOC is grateful for Kate and Peter’s leadership and eagerness to get involved and be a part of the Board of Directors. We look forward to all that we can accomplish together!

(Kate Fleischer is the Development Assistant at FLOC.)