For 22 years, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration (TSPPPA) has partnered with the Anacostia Public High School in Washington, D.C., to tutor and mentor high school students who have an interest in public service, leadership, community development, and politics. This year, master of public policy students Ana Jara and Rachel Evans are spearheading the volunteer efforts of the Anacostia Public Service Program, an outgrowth of the partnership with the school.
“These are amazing kids who have so much potential to make a difference in their communities,” said Evans. “The Anacostia Public Service Program gives us, as graduate students, an opportunity to help these students realize their potential.”
As participants in the program, TSPPPA students build relationships with Anacostia High School through in-classroom support, service-learning projects to encourage public service, and actively addressing youth policy and education issues, such as literacy, in the D.C. community.
"Our work at Anacostia Senior High is first about service," said TSPPPA Director Kathy Newcomer. "We provide a small service to a part of metro D.C. in need of help. It's also provides the students who participate with an opportunity get an on-the-ground look at education policy and develop fulfilling mentoring relationships with urban youth."
“Helping the students improve their literacy skills has been very rewarding,” added Claudia Quintero, MPA ’13.
The program also exposes the Anacostia students to potential college and career paths through their TSPPPA mentors, while providing their mentors with first-hand knowledge of the urban education system.
Jara encourages other students to join the Anacostia Public Service Program. “I participate because I believe it is my responsibility to ‘pay it forward’ to the younger generations,” said Jara.
“I want to help these kids succeed,” added Garrett Jackson, MPP ’13. “They respect you and are very receptive when you try to connect with them.”