Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!

by Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso (FAN)
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!
Launch DC's First Youth Peer Support Center!

Dear FANmily,

 Thank you for being an essential part of the FAN community. 

 Over the next few months, we’re going to be more intentional in how we structure and center our work and communications, and this “FANmail” newsletter is a part of that. Our hope is to provide monthly updates on FAN’s work, share photos from recent programs and trips, and highlight the team members, partners, and youth who make it all possible. 

 We want our “FANmail” to be reflective of our community–that includes you! This isn’t just a space for you to receive information, but also for you to engage. Be sure to send any upcoming events, important community news, or other information you’d like us to lift up to

Fall Programming Starts September 19!

We are looking forward to kicking off exciting events in this upcoming season! Some of our upcoming events include:

  • After School Programs: We are excited to bring back our afterschool programs from September 19th-June 14! Apply by using our enrollment form here 
  • FANmily Game Night Fundraiser: Join us for a fun and exciting night with your FANmily, filled with games, laughter, and friendly competition on September 22nd, at 6:30 p.m. RSVP here.

Trip to STAND Foundation

Last month, 24 FAN participants visited The STAND Foundation, a program that teaches young people how horses can heal. Youth participants learned all about horses, and more about themselves! “I promise to do everything in my ability to keep myself safe, my peers safe, and the animals safe.” Each morning our FANtastic youth began the day with a safety pledge and a daily routine of feeding the horses, cleaning up manure, grooming the horses, and then learning how to ride them. It was a true lesson in conquering your fears and learning how to keep yourself balanced and calm. Participants were able to practice breathwork, and by the end of their time, those who were hesitant in the beginning, took a lap around the field and made new friends with our horse pals, Blue & Jazz.


We're Live! Visiting WAMU

This summer, FAN participants visited WAMU radio station, where they got the full behind-the-scenes experience on a live radio show. Youth from FAN experimented with the equipment, recorded their own soundbites, and even met radio personality hosts Geri Mitchell and Jenn White! They also took part in a discussion about the benefits of news media and why it’s important. So many of our youth have a natural talent for radio! 

Thank You for Your Support

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who supported our summer programming. If you stand with our mission to create a youth-centered community of safe places and linked hearts, consider donating.

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Braiding Workshop
Braiding Workshop

Happy New Year, Black History, & Women's History Months! We've been off to an amazing start to 2023 and we couldn't do it without you! Thank you so much for your time, support, and genuine interest in what we do! Take a look at what's been going on!

In January, in celebration of Dr. King's vision, we took 12 of our young men to tour a local private high school in partnership with Families4Families St. Albans club! The boys had a blast and were excited to learn the historical context of St. Albans, have lunch with older guys who were able to drive themselves, all while learning the importance of trust and brotherhood. It was amazing to see them have such a wonderful time together! 

While the guys were learning about future educational prospects, 11 of our young ladies were interested in learning about braiding styles so in February, we honored Madame CJ Walker by teaching our young ladies the spirit of entrepreneurship! We hosted a 2 day braiding class where our young ladies learned how to complete the newest braiding trends such as knotless, feed-ins, and cross stitches. They had a blast and since then 2 of our young ladies are learning how to turn this skill into a business, with her first two customers being none other than our own Executive Director and Program Director! 

In addition to all the fun we're having implementing programs, we also recognize the importance of developing an external community so we established an Advisory Board! The Advisory exists to serve as a pipeline for informed and qualified individuals to the organization’s board of directors and provide independent advice to the Board of Directors through Committee service and counsel as non-board members. Advisory Board members are ambassadors for FAN and will pledge to make introductions and connections to potential partners, donors, and strategic relationships, offer recommendations and counsel as needed, and serve as champions of FAN’s work and community.

We're so grateful that you're a part of our community and can't wait to update you on what happens next!

Thank you for supporting our mission! We couldn't provide safe, nurturing spaces without you! 

Peace & Blessings.

St. Albans school tour
St. Albans school tour
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Thank you so much for your continued support.

Last FY Year at FAN

Together we did the following:

        474   Individuals served
          64   Youth Participants in Summer & After-school 
          10   Alumni supported by FANmily Fund, preventing 3 evictions 

            1   Radical Wellness: Ward Ate Market connecting 120 community members with wellness resources,                         access to healthy foods, community vendors, and alternate healing/coping modalities
         78    Community members linked to services

        136   Naloxone kits distributed, 1 overturned overdose

 >31,000 meals served in our community pantry

    100%  Participants report feelings of safety

    83.2% Participants report experiencing/trying something new.

 We also underwent our first organizational Audit, which was successful and will help with future fundraising efforts!

                    1    HAPPY FANmily!

 This was all possible because of the generosity of our foundation and individual donors! We thank you so much! 

Dis-connecting in Vermont! Summer Tings

This summer, we were able to hire 3 summer youth employment participants to support our trauma informed summer program. We also curated safe spaces for 31 youth participants. The highlight of our summer was taking 17 of those participants on a weeklong trip to Vermont to disconnect and learn how to be one with nature! During this trip, we learned how to identify plants for food and medicine, pitch tents, build a fire pit, and start a fire. We were also able to ride horses and learn about land cultivation and stewardship! We were able to come together as a community and our youth participants learned how to give compliments by participating in an appreciation circle. 


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Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our programs. We wouldn't be able to do this work without you!

We're excited for all the fun that spring will bring us! 

In this season, we're focused on strenghtening our Alumni programming. We've gotten feedback from all stakeholders and received a mini-grant from the Far Southeast Strengthening Collaborative to support this work.

Over the next 4 months, we will host a series of workshops that allows them to focus on identifying their triggers and building their wellness tool kits. In addition, they will be organizing community service projects, starting off with an essential item drive and distribution. We kicked off the series with brunch at Bus Boys & Poets, a local restaurant & bookstore that helps to revitalize neighborhoods. Here, participants signed off on their committment forms to themselves, received their journals, calendars, and had the opporunity to be connected with their peers. 

Alumni participants are excited about learning and growing with us. One of them stated, "It feels like I'm attending FAN all over again and I'm excited to reconnect with my friends." 

We're happy to provide this safe, nurturing space and the work wouldn't happen without you! 

Keep you posted on how it all goes! 

Thanks for your continued support!

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Thanks to your genrous support, we were finally able to purchase a new van!! Our youth had trouble deciding between naming it Big Blu, FANmily Transporter, or FAN Van 2, so we took to social media to help.  With a total of 114 votes, the winning name is BIG BLU!!!!

Again, we appreciate you taking the time to donate, share our story with your network, and help us choose a name. We're excited about all the places we'll go in Big Blu and its all thanks to you!

Keep reading if you want to know more about what we've been up to! 


In-Person After-school
After a successful summer and a brief break, we're back and even more excited than usual! Our youth participants are working hard in our after school program, and this year, its all about healing! Youth participants are learning about healing modalities and additional wellness techniques to add to their wellness toolkits. Our first month has been focused on how fitness routines impact your mental health! Next month, we will learn about reiki and yoga! Stay tuned as we get fit, holistically! 


Support our Alumni Resiliency Fund! 

This year our end of year giving campaign funds will go directly into our FANmily Resiliency Fund. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to get funds directly in the hands of our Alumni participants in case of emergencies or large up front payments that they otherwise wouldn't be able to pay. 

The FANmily Fund was developed to give direct financial support to our Alumni participants in the event of an emergency. An emergency is defined as an unforeseen combination of circumstances that calls for immediate action. Examples of emergencies include transportation issues, rental & utility assistance, last-minute childcare expenses, hospital co-pays, etc.

Our goal is to make sure every participant can access emergency support from the FANmily Fund when they need it most.

Support the FANmily Resiliency Fund, today. 

 Most young adults rely on family support as they grow into their full selves. For many of our Alumni participants, who grew up in the foster care system, FAN serves as that FANmily. Many members in our community do not benefit from the generational wealth and as we work to break generational cycles, support the FANmily Resiliency Fund to help our young people get ahead.


Volunteers Needed

 As we continue to grow, an important part of the work is evaluation, planning, and execution. FAN recently did some  pro bono work with the Compass group, a consultant firm dedicated to working with non-profits ot help identify areas of organizational growth and development. During this time, we identified the need for assistance in communications, data entry, and evaluation. FAN is looking for an IT professional to help us with systems integration and building staff capacity in this area. 

If you or anyone you know may be interested in volunteering some time, please contact me at 


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Organization Information

Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso (FAN)

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @fanlinkedhearts
Project Leader:
Josephine Mazyck
Washington , DC United States
$12,168 raised of $20,000 goal
381 donations
$7,832 to go
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