Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!

by One Common Unity, Inc.
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Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!
Invest in the Future of 20 New Youth Leaders!

On behalf of the youth, staff, and board of OCU, I am excited to share our Impact Report for the Third and Fourth Quarters of 2021.

Throughout the summer and as schools returned to in-person learning, our staff adapted to new ways of facilitating Fly By Light programming and therapy sessions through COVID-safe means. Returning to schools, the disparities brought on by the pandemic brought to light the immense need for our programming and services. Our talented Fly By Light facilitators rose to the occasion, expanding full-time in-school programming and out-of-school-time programming at schools throughout the District. Similarly, our school-based mental health clinicians stretched beyond their limits to manage the rising demand for therapeutic services to support our most vulnerable youth.

As an organization, we are also growing and planting seeds of change. In October, we announced the transition of OCU founder Hawah Kasat out of his role as Executive Director. We wish him all the best as he gets back to what he loves best: teaching, traveling, writing, and continuing to serve OCU in his new role as Senior Advisor! We ended the year with a powerful 'Close The Gap' campaign that helped raise awareness of the persistent disparity gaps that hold our youth back in school and in life. It launched with the premiere of our latest documentary film, 'The Melody Lingers On,' and culminated in a 21st Anniversary 'Close The Gap Virtual Benefit Concert,' emceed by Little Bacon Bear of 93.9fm WKYS.

Some highlights of our programming include:

  • Summertime with Fly By Light: Over the summer, OCU hosted our first Art and Social Justice Institute at Roosevelt Senior High School for 32 youth through our partnership with Learn24. Students were fully immersed in the Fly By Light curriculum, in which they practiced artistic expression with various media and created their own social justice campaigns centered around police brutality, climate change, and mental health. The program was offered in both English and Spanish, bringing together students from different backgrounds.  We also took students on various field trips, including a canoe trip with the Anacostia Watershed Society, an interactive art viewing at the Artechouse, a special Kennedy Center performance, and a trip to Kings Dominion! On the final day, students were given the opportunity to present their social justice campaign to Senator Bernie Sanders.

 

  • DC Summer Youth Employment: Through a partnership with Mayor Marion Barry's Summer Youth Employment program, One Common Unity was a DC Summer Youth Employment host site. Four Fly By Light youth from our various school chapters had the unique opportunity to transition from after-school program participants into robust leadership roles within the organization. Throughout the course of the program, the youth participants developed, promoted, and facilitated a virtual event for the community, focusing on how to manage stress in COVID times. They also facilitated a full day of the Fly By Light National Training, giving their unique insights on youth activism to 20+ educators and social workers from across the country. Later in the summer, the youth hosted a group of Nigerian activists visiting the U.S. through the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program and facilitated a workshop about DC youth organizing for them. The program culminated in a collaborative zine, called "A Look Through The City," about interventions to gun violence, such as community organizing, mutual aid, conflict resolution, and more.

School programming launched in-person for the 2021- 2022 school year and we once again have full-time facilitators located at several schools throughout the District including at Eliot-Hine Middle School (daily peace room, FBL facilitation, mediation); Perry Street Prep Middle School (daily Intention Room, Life Skills programming and Fly By Light classroom plug-ins) and Roosevelt Senior High School with a full offering of Fly By Light programming. To date, 302 students are involved with Fly By Light in-school programs and 67 students have completed the Life Skills 10 session program and 355 students have visited an OCU Intention room.

In addition, Through a Learn24 Out-of-School-Time (OST) grant, Fly By Light OST programming is happening all across the city. Intensive after-school programs are being offered at Perry Street Prep Middle School, LaSalle Elementary School, Stuart- Hobson Middle School, Browne Education Campus, School Without Walls High School as well as the OCU Organizing Troupe (composed of students from schools throughout the district. We will serve a minimum of 85 students this year in the critical after-school space.

OCU is offering a deep dive model at Roosevelt Senior High School, where we have a full-time Fly By Light facilitator, Mental Health Clinician, the Intention Room, and both in-school and OST Fly By Light programming. During the fall, 85 students participated in weekly lunch groups, in addition to the following special events

  • "Affirmations & Self-Love Part I" workshop at the Senior Class Meeting (122 students attended); and "Affirmations & Self-Love Part II" (122 students attended)
  • A student Lunchtime Open Mic (102 students attended)
  • 10th-grade class meeting with FBL arts and SEL activities (153 students attended)
  • A community conversation in partnership with local non-profit Just Keep Living, titled “The Importance of Giving, Gratitude Circle, & Social Justice Giving/Philanthropy" (43 students attended)

Entering the 2021–22 school year, OCU placed school-based mental health clinicians at 10 partner schools to provide consistent, accessible mental health support for students. It was a rough adjustment back to in-person learning, and our clinicians saw a drastic surge in demand for their services. In the last half of the year, our clinicians treated between 47 to 129 clients each month, closing the year with 85 clients enrolled in Tier 3 (Treatment) services, and we received 35 new client referrals during this time.

We started the school year strong as our clinicians assisted with Tier 1 and 2 resources and programming with the students. In the last part of the year, surging demand for mental health services and rising COVID-19 case counts in schools and among our clinicians highlighted the multiple challenges our team faces as well the deep need for our services.

After 21 years, our vision to transform schools into spaces for healing is alive and well. It's with your support that this work is possible. Here's to the next 21 years working together to build healthy communities and inspire the next generation of change-makers!



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Bernie Sanders visits Fly By Light!
Bernie Sanders visits Fly By Light!

Thank you so much for your support! Here are some highlights from the last quarter:

  • The 2021 National Fly By Light Training was completed in July with 18 participants receiving a Fly By Light curriculum license.

 

  • Through a Learn24 Summer Strong grant, we are hosted OCU's inaugural Art and Social Justice Institute at Roosevelt Senior High School for 32  youth at Roosevelt Senior High School. The program provided an immersion into the Fly By Light curriculum with a focus on youth- led social justice campaigns, arts and media.  The program was offered in both English and Spanish and brought together students from differing backgrounds.
    •  Students took various field trips including a canoe trip with the Anacostia Watershed Society, art viewing at the Artechouse, a special Kennedy Center performance and a culminating trip to Kings Dominion.  
    • On the final day of camp students presented their art and social justice campaign presentations to a very special guest, Bernie Sanders!  The themes of the performances were centered around police brutality, climate change and mental health.
  • On August 23rd Roosevelt High School hosted OCU staff and community partner artists for a special professional development launch into the new school year, The Harambee Summit, that was attended by the entire school staff.  The day included special music and dance performances, a keynote speaker, breakout rooms and youth performances. 
  • Through a partnership with Mayor Marion Barry's Summer Youth Employment program, One Common Unity was a DC Summer Youth Employment (SYEP) host site. Four Fly By Light students from our various school chapters had the unique opportunity to transition from after-school program participants into more robust leadership roles within the organization.  Throughout the course of the program, youth:
    • Developed, planned, led outreach for, and facilitated a community digital event on ways to manage COVID-19 "reopening" stress
    • Facilitated a full day of Fly By Light National Training, giving unique insights to youth led activism to over 20 educators and social workers across the country 
    • Hosted a group of Nigerian activists visiting the U.S. through the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, and facilitated a workshop about DC youth organizing for them 
    • Collaboratively planned, developed, wrote and generated a zine "A Look Through The City" about interventions to gun violence, such as community organizing, mutual aid and more 
    • Built community, social media engagement and their own social justice media analysis.
  • School programming was launched in-person for the 2021- 2022 school year and things are just getting underway!  
    • Per the strategic plan, FBL facilitators will be offering a deep dive model at Roosevelt HS.  Additional sites with intensive in-school programming for the school year include: Perry Street Prep MS and Eliot- Hine MS.
    • OST sites for the school year include: LaSalle ES, SWW HS, Organizing Troupe and Eliot- Hine MS.
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It is my honor to share our Impact Report for the first quarter of 2021. These first few months of the new year have brought incredible highs and lows from the Capitol insurrection that still threatens our democracy to the pace of vaccinations that’s finally bringing hope and a sense of normalcy back into our lives and communities. 

Yet, we must not allow ourselves to sink back into complacency. This last year revealed how broken our system was, to begin with, and it requires us to rethink how we move forward as we begin to reopen businesses and go back to in-school learning. There’s a lot of work to be done to continue to ensure our most vulnerable youth and their families are being supported through what has been one of the most traumatic episodes in US history. 

In this report, you will learn more about our programs and how we are healing, inspiring, and building healthy and resilient communities through mental health services, arts empowerment, and peace education. 

Thanks to all of you, we have been able to expand our programming to support our youth and their families during this critical time. We are looking ahead to future in-person education and cannot wait to bring our community back together again soon. 

In the meantime, here is to rebuilding our community with a wellness mindset—a key initiative we will carry throughout this year, as we work to expand our programming and services. 

Highlights from the first quarter of 2021 include:

    • OCU Programs: One Common Unity has continued with virtual programming this quarter expanding our reach to the community. 
      • Fly By Light Programming: Fly By Light facilitators have implemented weekly after-school programming to 116 youth in virtual spaces. The program sites include Organizing Troupe, Performance Troupe, Washington Institute of Dance, School Without Walls HS, Perry Street Prep MS and Roosevelt HS. Additionally, FBL facilitators have implemented weekly in-school programmingto 49 youth at Perry Street Prep MS and Roosevelt HS. 
      • One Common Unity facilitators are wrapping up various cohorts of the evidence-based LifeSkills curriculum and other environmental strategies through the SAMHSA grant administering LifeSkills to 86 youth at Browne Education Campus, PAUL PCS HS, Roosevelt HS, Stuart- Hobson MS, and Perry Street Prep PCS. 
      • Fly By Light Online: Throughout the fall, facilitators hosted community virtual FBL events: “Mindful Art” with Tyler Grigsby and “Drop Everything and Dance” with Johnee Wilson continued, reaching over 300 community members across 75 hours of online programming, participants of all ages and from across the country tuned in for these special events.
  • Professional Development for Teachers: Facilitators work closely with the administration at Roosevelt High School to plan and provide SEL-focused PD opportunities, reaching close to 100 staff members at each session. Most recently with a healing circle focused on compassion, gratitude, resiliency, and enchantment on January 29th that was attended by 120 Roosevelt staff members.
    • Fly By Light National Training: The final session of the 2020 National Fly By Light Training was on October 30th, with 20 participants completing the full 40+hour training and 28 participants completing over 20 hours of the training. 
    • Mental Health Programming: In Quarter 1 - OCU clinicians provided  311 therapeutic sessions for a total of 259.25 hours of direct therapy.  In addition, our licensed therapists provided 479 consultation sessions at their respective school sites. These sessions incorporated Tier 1 and Tier 2 services.

In addition, we’re excited to spend the winter on some of the following exciting initiatives: 

    • Parenting By Light: Facilitators continue to host monthly workshops focused on various topics to equip parents with SEL skills. The workshops are delivered in both English and Spanish, and the most recent workshops have highlighted Healthy Communication (2/9) and Relieving Covid created Parental Guilt & Stress Through Self-Awareness (3/31).
  • Community Conversations: We launched a monthly community conversations series aimed at raising awareness about important issues to our community.  The inaugural conversation in the series will be HERstory: Processing Life Experiences Through The Lens of Black Women and Teens. Stay tuned for our next conversation, open to all. 

On behalf of our youth and staff, thank you for your support of One Common Unity. Because of you, we are able to continue building healthy, safe, and resilient communities through the transformative power of education and the arts. We couldn't do any of this without you, and we are so grateful for your support!

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We hope you've found moments of grace and space for peace in these last few months. During this time, our program facilitators, schools, students, and communities have shown incredible resilience, creativity, and strength in the face of uncertainty. It's because of your support that we can fund and deliver the kinds of programs that are essential to our students and communities' health and well-being right now. We are so thankful for you today, and every day. 

Our programs have continued online throughout the fall and winter, reaching hundreds of students, teachers, and community members through our Fly By Light and Mental Health programming, now serving 15 schools throughout Washington, D.C.

Highlights from the fourth quarter of 2020 include:

  • OCU Programs: One Common Unity has continued with virtual programming this quarter expanding our reach to the community. 
    • Fly By Light Programming: Fly By Light facilitators have implemented weekly after-school programming to 116 youth in virtual spaces. The program sites include Organizing Troupe, Performance Troupe, Washington Institute of Dance, School Without Walls HS, Perry Street Prep MS and Roosevelt HS. Additionally, FBL facilitators have implemented weekly in-school programmingto 31 youth at Perry Street Prep MS and Roosevelt HS. 
    • Fly By Light Online: Throughout the fall, facilitators hosted community virtual FBL events: “Mindful Art” with Tyler Grigsby and “Drop Everything and Dance” with Johnee Wilson continued, reaching over 100 community members across 75 hours of online programming, participants of all ages and from across the country tuned in for these special events.
    • Fly By Light National Training: The final session of the 2020 National Fly By Light Training was on October 30th, with 20 participants completing the full 40+hour training and 28 participants completing over 20 hours of the training. 
    • Mental Health Programming: In Quarter 4 - OCU clinicians provided  564 therapeutic sessions for a total of 537.25 hours of direct therapy.  In addition, our licensed therapists provided 356 consultation sessions at their respective school sites. These sessions incorporated Tier 1 and Tier 2 services. 
  • Funding Update: This quarter, we were so honored to receive grants from SoundExchange and Pepco in partnership with Rock Creek Conservancy.  In addition, we raised $1,263 during a special Election Night Vigil on November 2nd. 

In addition, we’re excited to spend the winter on some of the following exciting initiatives: 

  • Parenting By Light: Facilitators continue to host monthly workshops focused on various topics to equip parents with SEL skills. The workshops are delivered in both English and Spanish, and so far discussions have been on self-care, mindfulness, and holiday gift giving and cultural traditions. 
  • Community Conversations: We launched a monthly community conversations series aimed at raising awareness about important issues to our community.  The inaugural conversation in the series will be HERstory: Processing Life Experiences Through The Lens of Black Women and Teens. Stay tuned for our next conversation, open to all.  
  • 2021 National Fly By Light Training: Join us this summer for our National Fly By Light training. New dates are June 21-24 2021 as well as on consecutive Fridays between July 9-30 2021. Our award-winning program model and curriculum includes after-school and in-school workshops, overnight nature immersion retreats, annual city-wide showcases, professional development for teachers, parents, and other school administrators, and youth-led social justice campaigns.

On behalf of our youth and staff, thank you for your support of One Common Unity. Because of you, we are able to continue building healthy, safe, and resilient communities through the transformative power of education and the arts. We couldn't do any of this without you, and we are so grateful for your support!

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As we continue into fall - working in 15 schools through both our Fly By Light program and Mental Health program! - we’re proud to look back on a summer full of peace education, artistic expression, and community building.

 

Highlights from the third quarter of 2020 include:

 

  • OCU Programs: One Common Unity has continued with virtual programming this quarter expanding our reach to the community. 
    • Fly By Light Online: Throughout the summer, facilitators hosted community virtual FBL events: including a weekly “Music Monday” session with Princess Best, “Tune-In Tuesday” with Princess Best, “Mindful Art” with Tyler Grigsby, “Parenting by Light” with Princess Best and “Drop Everything and Dance” with Johnee Wilson. Over 300 community members across 65 hours of online programming, participants of all ages and from across the country tuned in for these special events. 
    • Fly By Light National Training: During the week of July 20th-24th Session One which involved 20 hours of dynamic virtual training was completed.  Session Two which is an additional 20 hours of training is currently being held in October. We’re so grateful for the laughter, honesty, humility, courage and openness this cohort has brought us and their communities across the world. 
    • Summer Social Justice Zine Workshops: Through four virtual workshops in August, nine students collaborated to create a Zine that brought awareness to a variety of topics. The Zine was composed of photojournalism, graphic designs to promote self-care practices during the pandemic, and also many poems whose themes revolved around domestic violence, managing emotions, new life, LGBTQ+ and self-care.
    • Fly By Light: Five Years Later: On August 21st, OCU hosted the world premiere screening of Fly By Light: Five Years Later. We had the phenomenal youth showcased in our original documentary do a live Q&A post screening w/ special current FBL youth performances! 
    • Mental Health Programming: In Quarter 3 - OCU clinicians provided  471 therapeutic sessions for a total of 353 hours of direct therapy.  In addition, our licensed therapists provided128 consultation sessions at their respective school sites. These sessions incorporated Tier 1 and Tier 2 services for a total 64 hours. 
    • Funding Update: This quarter, we were so honored to receive grants from Philip L. Graham, Hattie M. Strong, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. OCU was also chosen by Rising Appalachia Music to be one of their non-profit partners for their Patreon campaign!  In addition, our online Mental Health Campaign fundraiser raised $9,661.  
  • Celebrating 20 year history: To commemorate OCU’s years of service we are sharing 20 of our favorite stories that celebrate our first 20 years. Each story highlights a unique aspect of OCU’s programming, history, and impact. You can check out the stories shared so far here; #20Stories20Years campaign.

 

In addition, we’re excited to spend the fall on some of the following exciting initiatives: 

  • Self-Care is The Best Care: A Virtual Experience for DCPS Parents presented by Fly By Light Facilitators. This is a monthly parent engagement event series dedicated to the wellness and support of parents in the DC Public School System.
  • Mindful Art: Every Wednesday is a time to relax, unwind, and follow a calming guided art prompt. This is an all ages FREE community event open to anyone who registers up by emailing tyler@onecommonunity.org, this is drop in after you have registered once and been provided the link. 
  • Dance By Light: Beginning in November, we will be hosting a weekly Friday dance party. This is an all ages FREE community event open to anyone who registers up by emailing johnee@onecommonunity.org, this is drop in after you have registered once and been provided the link. 

 

On behalf of our youth and staff, thank you for your support of One Common Unity. Because of you, we are able to continue building healthy, safe, and resilient communities through the transformative power of education and the arts. We couldn't do any of this without you, and we are so grateful for your support!

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Organization Information

One Common Unity, Inc.

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @OneCommonUnity
Project Leader:
Hawah Kasat
Washington, DC United States
$52,021 raised of $65,000 goal
 
1,531 donations
$12,979 to go
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