Learning what it means to be an advocate for children

Editor's Note: DC Action is delighted to welcome Rasheeda Bean as our intern this summer. Rasheeda is a D.C. native and student. She is helping us with a little bit of everything, from stuffing envelopes to getting our office organized, all the while learning what it means to be an advocate.

I consider myself an aspiring teacher who believes in the rights of children. I grew up in the Ward 8 community, where most young children and youth have to struggle against difficult odds. I was raised by my grandmother for a short time and with her disciplinary tactics and inspiration, have always promised myself I would never become a product of my environment. At 19 years of age I have my high school diploma, currently attending college to obtain a degree in elementary education, and have recently come across a wonderful intern position with DC Action for Children.

I met the Executive Director Hyesook Chung at a job fair in my community. I attended a workshop where Ms. Chung was speaking on issues in the community revolving around the changes the mayor is making to TANF. The TANF issue alone is a big deal to me because most people in the D.C area alone receive some type of government assistance for various reasons, and weakening this critical safety net program is wrong to me because that’s basically leaving individuals to fend for themselves with no help. I believe I intrigued Ms. Chung with my testimony and very blunt manner. I never would have thought in a million years I would be interning and advocating for kids and my community.

I take this opportunity to heart because this has somewhat been a part of my dream and she has given me the opportunity to pursue it. I am interested in learning everything about advocacy -- from the policy process to how to effectively communicate and inspire positive change for D.C.'s children and youth.