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Mar 13, 2019

Foster Grandparents Program Strategies go National

ABC News visits UPO Foster Grandparents Program
ABC News visits UPO Foster Grandparents Program

Cheryl Christmas, Project Director of UPO’s Foster Grandparents program has joined the Senior Corps Steering Committee of the Corporation for National & Community Service. This organization runs the nationwide Foster Grandparent network; the Steering Committee shapes the content of the network’s training programs. She said, “I look forward to sharing UPO’s strategies with my colleagues across the country as they tackle program issues and position themselves for future trends.”

When Washington Post reporters went to DC schools, they kept seeing UPO Foster Grandparents in their blue uniforms. Finally, they asked about our program that brings seniors into classrooms to become mentors; they were so impressed that reporter Perry Stein wrote about two of our 200+ volunteers in the main story of the Metro section on October 29th last year. We shared this article with our FGP supporters in our Giving Tuesday Program Report on November 26th last year. Immediately, several other media outlets started calling us to do their own stories about the love and wisdom of our Foster Grandparents. Here is the latest one!

Last month on Valentine’s Day, ABC News showed how children and their UPO Foster Grandparents combine love and learning in the classroom. ABC reporter Karen Travers interviewed the principal of Ludlow-Taylor Elementary and a teacher about the profound impact on students. Grandpa Raspberry, Grandma Lewis, and Grandma Bates also gain from the connections: “This brings me joy. It keeps me young,” said Bates (age 95). She was also recognized by DC Councilman Robert White for her dedication to UPO and DC Public Schools. See attached Video, which documents ABC’s visit to Ludlow-Taylor Elementary.

UPO's Foster Grandparents provide critical mentoring and tutoring services daily to DC children from birth to 21 years of age in a variety of local settings. Help is needed to cover the cost of training, materials, uniforms, and daily travel for more than 200 low-income DC senior volunteer FGPs. The program improves the long-term health and well-being of senior volunteers and circulates seventy cents of every program dollar into the local low-income DC communities that our volunteers and students reside. With a mission to Unite People with Opportunities, UPO's Foster Grandparents offer the right mix of academic acumen and nurturing and give much needed attention to over 15,000 low-income children in Washington, DC.

We have a waiting list of 100 seniors to be FGPs, 10 educational institutions seeking to join the program and every current partnering volunteer site has requested additional FGPs. Your generous donations will help the UPO Foster Grandparent Program, now nationally recognized as one of the pacesetters in the field, meet these additional needs.

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Feb 14, 2019

2018 UPO Beavers Scholarship Awards

Erica Davis graduation NYU School of Social Work
Erica Davis graduation NYU School of Social Work

At UPO’s 35th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast on Friday, January 18, 2019 at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center in Washington, DC the five 2018 UPO Beavers Scholars received their $10,000 scholarship awards. Their aspirations include plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and NC State University with career goals of becoming a materials science engineer in research and development, a physical therapist, a pilot and a zoologist/animal biologist. See the attached picture of the 2018 Beavers Scholars attached.

During the past 28 years 159 UPO Joseph A. Beavers Scholarships have been awarded to ambitious DC high school students, from low income families, who aspire to change the quality of their lives and their community. See attached list of Colleges attended by UPO Beavers Scholars during the past 28 years.

Erica Davis, a 2011 Beavers Scholar, graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016, earning her Bachelors in Social Welfare. She earned her Master’s in Social Work in 2017 from New York University. She is now a licensed Social Worker, currently employed as a Clinical Counselor at Maya Angelou Public Charter School in Washington, DC, Ward 7. As is the case with so many of our Beavers Scholars Erica is the first person from her family to graduate from college.

Erica gratefully states: “The Joseph A. Beavers Scholarship was the best thing that ever happened to me. Without the scholarship, I do not think I would have had the amazing and enriching college experience I had at the University of Kansas.  This scholarship gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone, explore and experience a world outside of the DC area. I was able to grow in ways that I could not imagine. I am now a well-rounded, culturally humble and competent individual that is hungry for equality and equity. I am determined to seek justice and empower others to also step out their comfort zones in efforts to see themselves and our community grow in ways we could not imagine.” See the picture above of Erica Davis graduating from NYU Silver School of Social Work in 2017.

Our 2019 UPO Beavers Scholarship Campaign is now underway. Please consider a generous one time gift or a generous monthly gift for the next 12 months in support of UPO’s $50,000 goal to cover the cost of the 2019 UPO Beaver Scholarships to be awarded in January 2020.


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Feb 7, 2019

Drop in the number of Homeless in DC in 2018

The record-breaking cold snap during the last week of January, which brought many US cities, including DC to a standstill, finally ended on February 2, 2019. Residents breathed a sigh of relief as temperatures rose to a “balmy” mid-40s and low 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Even better, that same day, world-famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow, which means that spring is a mere six weeks away! While Phil may have proclaimed the end of winter on Groundhog Day, weather forecasters say it's a bit premature for much of the country. Spring weather will take its time to arrive in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes, with the chance for snow as late as mid-March in Washington DC. See Phil making his prediction at link attached.

The 2018 Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness in Washington DC, see report attached, shows a drop in the number of homeless in DC of 7.6% to 6,904 persons, which is most encouraging. This is a reflection of the effort on the part of the DC government and several private agencies, including UPO, to deal effectively with the plight of the city’s homeless population and work on providing low-income housing to get the homeless population off the streets and homeless shelters into permanent housing.

UPO Shelter Hotline represents the entry point assisting homeless folks off the street, transporting them to homeless shelters and providing them with comfort items. Winter and summer over 40 dedicated UPO Shelter Hotline employees communicate with shelters to coordinate transportation services for displaced individuals and families. We are the sole provider of transportation services for the DC homeless population. Our vans are seen throughout DC distributing food, water, blankets, sleeping bags and other comfort items, funded by your generous donations in support of the homeless.  During peak seasonal temperatures Shelter Hotline drivers work 24 hours a day during the winter and summer months transporting homeless individuals to shelters, cooling stations and feeding centers. UPO Shelter Hotline helps to save lives.

Shelter Hotline Statistics during the past year:

  • 5,478 customers transported to shelters
  • 186,416 trips provided to homeless customers
  • 397,544 shelter nights utilized by homeless customers
  • 63,997 phone calls received and processed
  • 53,905 comfort items distributed

UPO's mission is Uniting People with Opportunities. As the designated Community Action Agency for DC, UPO serves the DC homeless through our educational, vocational and job training programs. The Office of Early Learning provides children of homeless families with free education and family support. UPO Workforce Institute provides free training and job placement services as we help the homeless to self-sufficiency. We believe that they deserve the decency of basic comfort items that we can take for granted.

To date Help UPO Help the DC Homeless has raised $23,298 towards our goal of $25,000 from 370 donations. We are pleased to report that during the past 12 months we raised $6,711 from 94 donations, a record average of $71 per donation. With our work far from over we have decided to raise our goal by $5,000 to $30,000. Please join us in meeting the challenge of raising an additional $6,702 by December 31, 2019!

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