This year, the D.C. Zinefest hopes to benefit, after our costs, two amazing D.C. non-profits that work on community literacy among many amazing aims–Living Wages and Our Place D.C. When you come to the (totally free) Zinefest on Saturday, please consider making a donation, which will go to these amazing organizations. You can also opt to be entered to win some cool zine-related prizes as a thank you.
Living Wages of Washington-founded in 1999 by Sister Betsy Hartson, RSCJ, and Robert Crittenden-serves in the poorest and most under-served quadrant of the District of Columbia, its primary work is to provide adult education services for those who have not completed high school. We believe that a lack of a high school diploma almost always means lives of poverty for not only the adult, but also for the next generation, and the next.
At two adult education centers, more than 150 adults are able to obtain educational services each year, and about 40 complete the requirements for a high school diploma. All participants improve their reading and writing skills, their computer skills and the job search skills. Some graduates return to volunteer, others to join AmeriCorps to work for one or two years at Living Wages, and still others become community literacy advocates through the Living Wages LEAD (Leadership, Education and Democracy) program.
For more than three hundred and fifty adults in the past ten years, Living Wages has meant a high school diploma leading to a better job, additional education and job training and a better life for their children.
In the past eleven years at Living Wages, 350 adults have completed their high school studies, received a diploma, and have contributed greatly to the education of their own children. One thousand more have increased their mastery of reading, writing and math. Many others have benefited from enrichment programs, including computer literacy training.
Of note is the fact that many graduates return to volunteer or to stay involved in some other way. There are others that enroll in college and then return for help with their studies. Living Wages also serves as the neighborhood copy center, internet cafe and library—all at no charge. On Saturday’s, parents bring their children to use computers needed for school projects, or to do research for their assignments, in many ways, Living Wages centers are truly the literate communities reaching out to the surrounding neighborhoods.
Our Place DC provides critical support services to women who are or have been incarcerated. We offer a drop-in center, case management, clothing, help with IDs, housing, employment, and legal services.
The Our Voices program of OPDC is a space for women to come together for support and creative expression. Three evening groups combine discussion-based support, therapeutic art & writing groups, and skills-based writing tutoring to promote and support women’s emotional and mental health as well as their ability to express themselves. Each program meets in the evenings at the Our Place DC offices and includes a meal as well as transportation assistance.
Financial assistance is greatly needed to provide the food and tokens that make it possible for women to attend these groups.