Washingtonians for Children 2014 Youth Celebration
On June 26 Fedcap leadership, funders, partners and a host of distinguished guests gathered at the Willard Office Building, 1455 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C to celebrate the success of Washingtonians for Children and the youth that it serves.
WFC, a division of Fedcap’s Education Practice Area, provides an array of interventions and services to help youth who have spent time in foster care or are transitioning out of the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, complete high school, enter college and graduate. Seventeen youth were honored at the event.
“Thank you so much for joining our celebration of youth who are entering college and graduating,” said Christine McMahon, Fedcap President and CEO. “Tonight is all about our youth, and I want to congratulate each one of you.”
Guests at the event included congressional staff and executives from major foundations, philanthropies and community groups, as well as prominent judges, attorneys and leaders of child welfare organizations.
Fedcap’s Chief Strategy Officer, Lorrie Lutz, offered a heartfelt thanks to the Freddie Mac Foundation, which provided the initial funding for the launch of WFC. Renette Oklewicz, a founder of the Freddie Mac Foundation and its longtime Director of Programs – and one of the nation’s most effective advocates for youth in care and foster parents - was honored at the event. Ms. Oklewicz thanked Fedcap for the recognition, and for its commitment to helping foster parents create college pathways for youth in care.
“Being a funder is a big responsibility,” Ms. Oklewicz said. “It was not very hard to invest in the great idea behind Washingtonians for Children, especially with the brilliant staff of Fedcap behind it.”
Dr. Roque Gerald, former Director of Washington D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) and current Fedcap Senior Vice President, Education Practice Area, acknowledged members of the WFC Advisory Board, business partners and funders including the Deerbrook Foundation, CFSA, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region – and Fedcap’s Board of Directors, for making the agency’s work possible.
He also thanked WFC staff members Jamal Stith and Phyllis Willis –WFC employees who were both formerly in foster care and graduated from college – and the youth honorees.
“These extraordinary youth showed so much courage and character in overcoming the odds, graduating from high school, applying to and getting into college,” he said. “Their hard work and persistence proves beyond a doubt that the story continues to change for youth in care.”
Chanelle Brawner, one of the youth honorees, will begin her junior year at Cheyney University in the fall. A gifted math student who is considering a career in either criminology or social work, Chanelle thanked Fedcap for providing tutoring services and an internship in foodservice at the Smithsonian Institute.
“Washingtonians for Children gave me a great opportunity and is always there to help when I need it,” she said
Goldie Brown, 22, an emancipated young adult of 22, is an information technology major at the University of the District of Columbia, where he is on the Dean’s List. “Washingtonians for Children made me feel like a vital part of their team,” he said. “No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, you never give up.”