DC nonprofit aims to keep kids in school, find resources during pandemic

This article was written by Ashlie Rodriguez and originally posted on on December 3, 2022.​

WASHINGTON D.C. (7News) — 7News is reporting an uptick in conflict in the classroom in the DMV. Students are resorting to fighting and violence to resolve their issues -- but Boys Town Washington DC is aiming to change that.

Boys Town Washington DC is partially funded through the city, to prevent truancy.

It partners with schools and child and family services to reach out to absent students and their families, going into their homes to reduce any barriers they have to get to school. The program also offers a behavioral health clinic for students who are having issues at schools, fighting with other students, and making it tough for teachers in the classroom.

Executive Director Kichelle Coleman says the program has changed the way the community cares for troubled kids, about 6,000 each year.

"One of the services we do provide is having a staff person inside that school building," said Coleman. "Instead of kids being pulled out the classroom and sitting in the office for a few hours and just going back to class without any intervention, we are able to have that kid come out, work with them on some problem solving, go over some social skills with them, we have a social skills group, we have them role play those things. We help them understand the rationale and why it's important to them to improve these behaviors, not for someone else but for them. And that's where we see our most success in getting out into the community, meeting them where they are and helping to support teachers."

Students still socially recovering from the pandemic need this program more than ever, as do parents, who are unable to pay rent and provide stable housing -- a main reason behind truancy.

Boys Town is going to provide rental assistance but they need additional funding. It's why they're inviting the public to come out to the Annual Tree Lighting fundraiser on Sunday to learn about the program and donate.

Their goal is to raise $100,000. 7News' Ashlie Rodriguez will be there, hosting the event.

The event will start at their campus Sunday at 5 p.m. at 4801 Sargent Road NE. There will be a chili cookoff, auction, Christmas carols, the Corvette Club and more.