News, Staff, Staff Perspectives

FLOC Deputy Director Robyn Lingo Testifies Before DC City Council – 3/6/15

Testimony of Robyn Lingo
For Love of Children (FLOC)
To the City Council Committee on Education
OSSE & SBE Performance Oversight Hearing March 5, 2015

Chairman Grosso and members of the Committee on Education:

My name is Robyn Lingo and I am the Deputy Director at For Love of Children (FLOC). Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of For Love of Children.

Last year, our nation reached a profound milestone — 80 percent of our students now graduate high school. Within the District of Columbia, however, we struggle to graduate even 64 percent of our students. Our city boasts the highest proportion of young adults with college degrees, yet only 10 percent of our city’s own high school students will attain postsecondary degrees.

OSSE’s mission to remove barriers and ensure children receive a great education, coupled with SBE’s policy leadership, advocacy, and oversight will help our city move closer towards a city where every student has a viable path to a postsecondary degree. Similarly, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s stated goal is to ensure that every child have equal access to learning resources.

As the Deputy Director of For Love of Children, I know we can bring this educational justice to our city. I know that out of school time programs play critical roles in ensuring every student’s successful path. A nationwide study by the Afterschool Alliance showed that DC has the highest after school participation rate in the U.S., yet we ranked 49th in the percentage of low-income children enrolled in an afterschool program.

Over the past 50 years, FLOC has served more than 10,000 children, turning disparity into opportunity. Currently, 100 percent of our seniors graduate high school and over 70% have graduated from postsecondary or are persisting towards a degree. FLOC sparks community transformation one young person at a time by ensuring access to quality afterschool services that lead to postsecondary success. FLOC programming focuses on youth empowerment by building critical thinking, leadership, and advocacy skills that dramatically increase readiness for postsecondary education. Through our signature Neighborhood Tutoring and Scholars Programs, we intervene early and expose students to educational opportunities and career experiences that lead to proven success.


With more than 100 local and national partners, FLOC provides critical access to free afterschool services — from first grade through college and career — for youth throughout the city. Furthermore, by partnering with our students and families, we are organizing a community call for wider access to quality out of school time programming.

We understand the exceptionally powerful role partnership plays in academic success. We’re here today to recommend that OSSE & SBE increase their data sharing partnership with out of school time programs serving elementary and middle school youth. With this access to student-level data, FLOC and our peer organizations could improve the educational supports we provide our students and better prepare them for the next step in their educational journey.

We also recommend OSE & SBE more actively engage highly effective out of school time programs broadly in strategic discussions about raising postsecondary readiness rates for our community’s most vulnerable youth. As we know, students spend over 300 hours a year in out of school time programs. Our data-driven programs have measureable success guiding students toward postsecondary degrees.


These are tangible, achievable steps we can take together to move closer to our vision: a city in which every child’s potential — regardless of zip code, skin color, or socioeconomic status — is unlocked with a postsecondary degree, opening the doors to success in life.

Thank you, again, for the opportunity to testify. I look forward to working with you this year.

(Robyn Lingo is FLOC’s Deputy Director.)


Meet Our New Recruitment & Outreach Staff!

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know our new year-long staff these last few weeks.  To finish up the series, allow me to introduce the two new members of our Recruitment and Outreach team, who are working this year to connect the community to FLOC and to support both the Neighborhood Tutoring Program and the Scholars Program by ensuring enough students and volunteers to have full, active, and thriving programs.

Jackie2Jaqueline Castaneda (Bilingual Recruitment & Outreach Associate) was born and raised right here in Washington, DC.  She attended Michigan State University (#GoGreen) where she majored in psychology and worked as a preschool teacher.  After graduating last winter, she wanted to move back to DC to be near family and pursue graduate school, and that step brought her to FLOC this year as part of Public Allies.  Jackie is most excited to see programs in action after working behind the scenes her first month with FLOC to recruit and onboard lots and lots of new and returning students and volunteers.  She’s excited to see what all that hard work produces!

VanessaVanessa Hanible (Recruitment & Outreach Associate) joins us here in DC after growing up in New Boston, Michigan.  She attended Tennessee State University where she majored in public health.  She moved to DC after college to be near family and to move forward in her career.  Most recently, she worked as a Community Outreach Representative for Health Services for Children with Special Needs.  Vanessa also comes to FLOC as a Public Ally, and she’s most excited to watch the tutors and students interact in NTP this year.

(Elizabeth Metz is the Recruitment and Outreach Manager at FLOC.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Staff

Meet Our New NTP Staff!

Last month, the Neighborhood Tutoring Program welcomed three new AmeriCorps members to the team. They will serve as the site coordinators for our programs for the school year. Here is a little bit more about each of them and what brought them to FLOC.

FeliseFelise Ortiz
(Tuesday reading at WNDC, Thursday math at FLOC)

Felise comes to us from New Jersey, where she graduated from Rutgers with degrees in Political Science and Gender Studies, with a minor in Spanish. After graduation, she looked into AmeriCorps programs because she wanted service experience to help her find her passion and direction for pursuing higher education. During her time studying Political Science, she developed an interest in educational justice, which brought her to FLOC (via Notre Dame Mission Volunteers AmeriCorps). She is excited to learn about non-profits and how they run. However, she is most looking forward to seeing the growth of the students over the course of the school year. Outside of FLOC, she is getting used to life in Washington, DC and wants to learn about all the different neighborhoods that DC has. She also wouldn’t mind a Barack Obama sighting.

TamaraeTamarae Hildebrandt

(Wednesday math at Tyler Elementary, Saturday math and reading at FLOC)

Tamarae is originally from Faribault, MN (about an hour south of Minneapolis-St. Paul) and graduated from Carleton College with degrees in German and Linguistics. This is her second year doing AmeriCorps; she spent last year working with the Minnesota Reading Corps. She is hoping to pursue an advanced degree in Linguistics next year so she has enjoyed having these gap years to learn more about different organizations. For her second year, she wanted to explore a new city and to take on more of a manager role with volunteers and students, which is what brought her to FLOC (also via Notre Dame Mission Volunteers AmeriCorps). She is most excited to meet all of the students and volunteers and see how all the different personalities come together. Outside of FLOC, she is looking forward to taking advantage of all the Smithsonian museums, specifically the Air and Space Museum.

Brandon2Brandon Scates

(Tuesday reading at FLOC, Thursday reading at Tubman Elementary, Saturday reading at SE Tennis and Learning Center)

Brandon joins us from Chicago, Illinois, where he graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in African American Studies. He focused his studies on Civil Rights organizations and leaders as well as Black Panther Party Survival programs. He is in second year with AmeriCorps, having spent last year with City Year at Kelly Miller Middle School in Northeast DC. During his first year of service he realized that he has a passion for helping develop and mentor youth, so he decided to spend another year learning more about organizational development and coordinating programs for an education non-profit. This brought him to FLOC (via Public Allies). He is looking forward to learning more about the ins and outs of non-profit work; he hopes to one day run his own. He is eager to meet the students and volunteers and is excited to develop relationships with the members of his programs. Outside of FLOC, you can find him spending his time at Busboys and Poets or the MLK Library in Chinatown.

(Lauren Phipps is the NTP Curriculum Coordinator and site supervisor for our program on Tuesday nights at the WNDC.)

Scholars Program, Staff

Meet Our New Scholars Staff!

Every year, FLOC welcomes staff members from a variety of different programs, in a variety of different positions, for a year of service.  Today, we’re excited to introduce the new staff members in our Scholars Program.

kaylaKayla Blau is the Program Instructor for 6th and 9th Grade Scholars and is from Seattle, Washington.  She attended Seattle University and comes to FLOC through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.  Kayla is excited about getting to know FLOC Scholars and helping them organize around issues they care about.


Jasmine Cornell is the Program Instructor for the 8th and 10th Grade Scholars and is from Los Angeles, California.  She attended Spelman College and comes to FLOC through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps.  Jasmine is excited to get to know her Scholars.


Kurt Guenther is the Program Instructor for 7th and 11th Grade Scholars and is from Phoenix, Arizona.  He attended Gonzaga University and also comes to FLOC through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.  Kurt is excited to see the growth of his Scholars throughout the school year.

ianIan McPherson is the Program Instructor for 12th Grade Scholars and is from
Whiteville, North Carolina.  He attended Campbell University and Saint Louis University and comes to FLOC through Discipleship Year.  Ian is excited to celebrate postsecondary acceptance letters.