New year, same resolution…

Editor's Note: Welcome to the newest member of the DC Action team, Sumeira Kashim!

As the new year begins and I get settled into my new role as senior policy analyst at DC Action for Children, my resolution remains the same: I hope to contribute to the improvement of the lives of children, youth and families living in the District. I aim to do this through my community-based work and legislative experience.

Being a child of immigrant parents, I have always been taught how important education is -- “No matter what happens in life, no one can take your education away from you!” That is something I have never lost sight of: the importance of a quality education. I think that’s something we have been depriving students in the District of for way too long. It’s not just about having access to an education, but a quality one.

Through my past work at DC VOICE, a nonprofit education advocacy organization in the District, I met passionate community members from all over the city who wanted to restore quality education for our youth through community action research. I recall a trip DC VOICE organized, taking a group of students and parents to an Arlington, Virginia, community school (a school where services were coordinated and the majority of parents were engaged in school activities). After about ten minutes of walking through the beautiful lobby featuring a student-painted mural, meeting the school’s full-time parent coordinator, passing the health clinic and touring the school’s credit union that promotes family financial literacy, one parent asked, “Why can’t our kids in D.C. have this?” Why indeed.

I begin at DC Action with a strong will to uphold the organization’s ability to advocate through policy and research and creating vital partnerships throughout the city. Having worked in the District on public education issues, I remain optimistic that the entire city demands change for young people.

My background in social work has allowed me to work with diverse populations and appreciate the uniqueness of our city. I recently published an article in the Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal addressing the difficulties children, youth, and families face when they are served in isolation. There is a growing need for accurate and transparent data, reflective of community needs, to influence policy in the District, and my goal is to help ensure that DC Action remains a trusted source of information about what works.

I appreciate all of the work being done across the District and it will be through the important connections I make with you all that I can begin to achieve my resolution of improving the lives of the city’s children, youth and families. I am thrilled to join DC Action for Children and hope to honor the commitment they have upheld for almost two decades to serving this same mission.

If you have any questions for me, or would simply like to introduce yourself, please email me at skashim@dckids.org.

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