We are in the midst of another transformative year of youth empowerment, education, artistic expression, and peace building. This past quarter, we were proud to have launched our Mental Health Campaign and continue our programming and mental health services virtually. Despite the uncertainty of the times we live in, we remain committed to our work, our communities, and spreading our light.
Highlights from the second quarter of 2020 include:
OCU Programs: In response to COVID-19, One Common Unity has shifted our programming, embracing online platforms, so that we can continue supporting our students, families, and wider community in the most meaningful and impactful ways. Our Program Facilitators continue to engage in-school and after-school Fly By Light chapters through virtual means. In addition to meeting with their Fly By Light chapters, facilitators are also offering weekly virtual Fly By Light programming to the wider OCU community. Additionally, our clinicians are now providing mental health services to the wider community around and across Washington, DC. One Common Unity’s licensed mental health clinicians have expanded services to provide telehealth therapy and outpatient support to students at our schools and other clients throughout DC. In addition, this quarter we were excited to host the following virtual programs for our students and community:
Virtual Summer Showcase: OCU was proud to host our first virtual showcase on May 27, 2020. It was an evening of healing, hope, and connection, featuring local artists such as Alixa Garcia, John Johnson, and Kanikki J, as well as the talent, artwork, and voices of our Fly By Light students, and reaching over 3,000 people around the world!. Special shout out to our host, Princess Best, aka “the HipHop Momma”, our talented youth artists, and our special guests.
Fly By Light Online: In addition to our virtual work with students, our Fly By Light Facilitators have expanded programming to include the wider community. We’re proud to have hosted the following programs, many of which will continue through the summer (to join us, stay tuned on ourInstagram):
Music Mondays: Hosted by HipHop Momma Princess Best- live music cyphers and community raps are constructed via Instagram live. Special FBL alumni guests Samaria, SneakyBarShar, Dougie D, and NateSkywalker have all co-facilitated.
Tune In Tuesdays: Hosted by FBL facilitator Princess Best, Tune In Tuesdays is a moment to slow down and tap into our inner peace, collectively through meditation and meaningful discussion regarding current events.
Wellness Wednesday: Led by FBL facilitator Tyler Grigsby, Wellness Wednesdays is a short 30-minute workshop of mindfulness & art activities. Join us to get present in the moment, and create something inspiring while social distancing.
Parenting By Light Thursday: Led by FBL facilitator Princess Best, Parenting by Light is for parents stressed from homeschooling & teleworking. Parenting is HARD; and parenting in COVID seems impossible for many. Princess offers a dynamic space for thoughtful reflection, catharsis, and tips/tools for parenting in a pandemic.
Dance By Light: Led by facilitator Johneé Wilson, our weekly Fly By Light dance party gives your body a beautiful opportunity to move, release and connect! Johneé gives a brief tutorial every week on a dance such as the cha-cha slide or cupid shuffle. Participants dance together, at a distance! One of our favorite Dance By Light Fridays was a dance party in honor of Black Lives Matter!
Funding Update: This quarter, we were so honored to receive grants from Capitol Hill Community Foundation and The Rotary Club of Washington D.C. In addition, we have been touched by the outpouring of support from the community through our online fundraiser, which has currently raised $7,751. To learn more or support, click here.
COVID-19 Emergency Mental Health Services Campaign: One Common Unity has opened our mental health services to anyone in Washington, DC struggling with the profound emotional and psychological impact of this COVID-19 crisis. While there has been a collective push to ensure that people have access to foundational needs such as food, shelter, and safety, there has been relatively little mention of a wide-spread effort to address the pandemic’s devastating impact on mental health. Our efforts will ensure that our community, and most importantly, our children, can receive the vital mental health care needed to combat the unprecedented emotional distress of the COVID-19 crisis.
In addition, we’re excited to spend the summer on some of the following exciting initiatives:
Fly By Light National Training: Join us in July for part one of our second Fly By Light National Training! Building off of the success of our first year, we are thrilled to offer this initiative expanding our programming to include a national training which will certify teachers all over the country to lead Fly By Light chapters in their communities. 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. This summer, educators, artists, and activists around the country who are passionate about building the next generations of changemakers and bring Fly By Light to your school or city! The second part of the training runs until October for flexible scheduling for participants.
The Soul Of A Crisis: Join us for a virtual candlelight vigil and meditation led by our Executive Director, Hawah Kasat every Monday evening from 9pm - 10pm EDT. Learn more and register HERE.
Celebrating 20 year history: August 17th, 2020 marks OCU’s 20th year anniversary! Stay tuned for our calendar of Fall events celebrating this exciting time
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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