By Andria Hollis
My name is Rachel and I am currently a college intern at Kid Power. In high school I volunteered with Kid Power through the mentoring/tutoring program that pairs Kid Power students with students from local private schools (I went to Sidwell Friends). Along with Sidwell Friends, Kid Power has spearheaded Public-Private School Network with Georgetown Day School and Edmund Burke. By partnering underserved youth in DC with students from local private schools, Kid Power seeks to bridge the socioeconomic gap in DC. In doing so, many students from the aforementioned private schools, who might not have been aware of the educational and socioeconomic inequalities that persist in DC, are made aware of the issue. Through this experience with Kid Power, some of these students have gone on to pursue careers focused on addressing such inequalities. This experience in high school sparked my interest in the non-profit sector and the relationships I formed with mentees made a lasting impression on me and helped me to feel stronger ties to my own DC community.
When I first started working at Watkins Camp this summer, I thought Maria (pictured left) looked remarkably familiar. After we talked a bit, I learned that Maria was actually a Kid Power alumna and had come to Sidwell as a Kid Power student! One of Kid Power’s biggest accomplishments – and I think one of its coolest aspects as an organization – is maintaining student involvement after they graduate from Kid Power’s after-school and summer programs. Maria started attending Kid Power’s programs when she went to Tubman Elementary School. Now Maria, about to enter high school, works with Kid Power through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and uses her past experiences with the program to help her work more effectively with the current students and form a mentor/mentee relationship with them.
Reuniting with Maria this summer truly made my Kid Power experience come full circle. Both Maria and I were able to use our past experience with Kid Power to provide current Kid Power students with more insightful mentor relationships and better understanding of their needs and interests. I believe it is these lasting interpersonal connections are what make the Kid Power experience so unique!