Founded in 2005, Open City Advocates (OCA) provides mentoring and legal representation for children and youth in the juvenile justice system after sentencing. Their mission is twofold: helping clients prepare to reintegrate successfully into their families and communities, while also fighting for a fair and compassionate justice system. Its clients are youth that are committed to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), and are thus wards of the city, or those incarcerated. OCA’s work focuses on what happens to youth post-sentencing. OCA’s successful class action litigation ensures that youth are entitled to legal counsel for many issues that arise during their time in custody. Their advocacy and mentoring assists the youth in accessing a host of rehabilitative opportunities – to continue their education, receive job training and the behavioral and health services they’re entitled to but were otherwise unaware of. OCA has the only program that combines post-disposition legal representation with holistic advocacy and mentoring, and it collaborates with a broad range of organizations focused on achieving systemic change. Examples include the Public Defender Service for DC, School Justice Project, Free Minds Book Club, and Georgetown Law’s Juvenile Justice Initiative.
CIS is the local affiliate of the nation’s largest dropout prevention program, which has been successfully helping young people stay in school and transition to adulthood since 1977.
The CIS model addresses the social determinants that influence positive results for their students: education; health care access; and the social and community context that surround their students. It turns schools into community hubs designed to meet the needs of the whole child and family in order to support desired outcomes such as regular attendance and learning.
The Joseph’s House community provides and coordinates holistic care for homeless adults living with HIV/AIDS and terminal cancer, supporting them on their life’s journey by honoring dignity, offering companionship, and promoting justice. Since 1990, Joseph’s House, located in Adams Morgan, has provided each of their residents with free 24-hour nursing care, medical case management, personal care services, and the opportunity for rich and shared community life. Joseph’s House was originally founded for homeless men dying of AIDS. As HIV diagnoses saw longer timelines for care, Joseph’s House expanded to provide care to all gender identities and began housing homeless individuals with terminal cancer.. Support doesn’t stop when residents leave Joseph’s House, but instead continues as residents transition into community members.
Through collaborative performance and lifelong learning opportunities, ArtStream enables people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to gain the skill and confidence to engage with the world. Founded in 2005, ArtStream, Inc. is the only organization in the nation to offer a wide range of performing arts activities for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities1(IDDs), including autism. Their goal is to provide programming (theater companies, classes and workshops, and cabaret companies) that helps participants, most of whom are adults, achieve independence, self-confidence and resilience. ArtStream currently runs six theater companies throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia in which participants create and perform in original musical theater productions, both live and virtually.