Dedication, resolve, and commitment. These are words we often use to describe community leaders who work tirelessly to better the community. Nowhere do those words ring more true than at Jubilee Enterprise of Greater Washington.
Now in its 14th year JEGW provides affordable rental housing in the District of Columbia and offers programs to tenants to improve their quality of life. To date, they have renovated over 1,300 rental units for low and very low- income residents residing in the neighborhoods of southeast, Washington DC. Beyond providing shelter, JEGW offers a variety of other programs- such as after-school, computer training, and a six-week summer camp.
LISC recently joined forces with JEGW by providing a $15,000 grant to support their Community Services Division. This grant will support the ACCESS after-school program and the annual summer camp that runs six weeks in July and August.
Both programs combine academic, cultural and recreation components to create a balanced learning experience for youth. Tutors coordinate with local area schools and parents to keep students accountable. “This is a quality program for kids- not just low-income kids- any kid would benefit,” says Kristi Cunningham, Executive Director of JEGW, “We have service projects for the children, such as feeding the homeless, which teaches them a community service ethic and shows that they have something they can contribute to the community.”
The summer camp is a focal point of JEGW’s work with children. When asked what they learned at camp, some of the children enrolled gave answers that might surprise you. “We learned Spanish, Swahili, and sign language,” said a young camper. A girl responded “I learned how to have fun and learn at the same time”. A young boy stated that he “learned not to look down on people who are different- because you never know what is going on at home.”
One camper spoke of making posters to “remind people not to steal cars, litter, break windows or drink alcohol”- a stark reminder of the realities that far too many of our city’s youth face. The 2004 camp ran eight hours a day for six straight weeks with over 140 children attending.
We look forward to investing in the housing and community service activities of JEGW.