COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT: WARD 7
While poverty is deeply entrenched throughout the District of Columbia, Ward 7 marks one of the most economically disadvantaged wards within the DC. According to DC Action for Children in 2015, 40% of the children residing in Ward 7 live at or below poverty. While DC’s Office of Employment Services reports that in 2015 the unemployment rate holds at about 13%, compared to the District average at 8%.
The graduation rates in Ward 7 are among the lowest in DC, ranging from 12% to 75% by school. According to the 2012 report: The Washington DC High School Drop Out Crisis produced by The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation states that, Wards 7 and 8 are the poorest wards in D.C. with high rates of negative social indicators, it is necessary that the youth in these wards have access to quality resources and programs to help overcome these inconsistencies.
An analysis of youth programming in the District demonstrated that while most programs are open to all youth, Ward 7 has the lowest number of programs (3 programs in total or 4% of all programs) physically located within the ward and yet is home to over 17,000 children. In comparison, Ward 2 has the highest percentage of programs located within the ward (26 programs in total or 31% of all programs) and is home to less than 5,000 children. This demonstrates a disconnect between the location of programs and the location of youth in need of programs which indicates an issue of program access.
SOUL collaborates with DC Public Schools and other community-based organizations to create programs and experiences that address issues of poverty, violence, personal health, and the achievement gap for youth residing in DC’s Ward 7. Our programs are functioning in the social hole and engage at-risk youth during critical out-of-school time hours reducing the opportunity for kids to participant in risky behaviors. The activities these youth participate in will in the program supports there mental and physical development.