Dear Mrs. Obama: Please Look at Your Own DC Neighborhood When You Focus on Children during Your Second Term

Dear Mrs. Obama:

At DC Action for Children, we were excited to read in the New York Times that you want to focus on children as part of your second-term agenda. We are writing to encourage you to put some of that focus on children in your own neighborhood in Northwest DC!

Although the White House lies technically outside of the boundaries of DC’s official neighborhoods, it does border on three:

•    West End/Foggy Bottom/GWU
•    Dupont Circle/Connecticut Avenue/K Street
•    Downtown/Chinatown/Penn Quarter/Mount Vernon Square/North Capitol Street

Together, these neighborhoods are home to 2,100 children. They are also among the neighborhoods where the under-five population is growing the fastest.

As you know, children grow up (and families live) in specific places: neighborhoods. How well these neighborhoods are doing affects how well the children in them are doing and will do.

So what are the neighborhoods around the White House like? Just steps from the White House, child well-being and neighborhood assets can vary tremendously:

•    Child poverty rate ranges from 10% in the West End/Foggy Bottom to 24% in Dupont Circle to 61% in Downtown/Chinatown.
•    Each of these neighborhoods has at least one grocery store, but one (Dupont Circle) does not have a library and another (West End/Foggy Bottom) does not have a recreation center.
•    The share of children in all grades who can read at grade-level ranges from 30% in Downtown/Chinatown to 40% in Dupont Circle to 75% in Foggy Bottom/West End.

We invite you to spend time with our DC KIDS COUNT neighborhood-level data to learn more. We would also be delighted to brief you and your staff about local neighborhoods and the assets and challenges they present to DC children.

Our prosperity – as a city and a nation – rests on the shoulders of our children. They are the next generation of citizens, workers, teachers, parents and leaders. How well they do is critical to our future. We hope you will come out into our DC neighborhoods and help us nurture, teach and support them!

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