Testimony to the Committee on Education
April 18, 2016
Testifying: Ana Hageage, Director of External Partnerships, Latin American Youth Center
RE: OSSE Budget Oversight Hearing
Good morning council members, council staff, and Committee Chair Grosso. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Ana Hageage and I am the Director of External Partnerships for the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Columbia Heights. LAYC is a long-standing multi-service youth organization with deep ties to immigrant and minority communities in the District. My testimony today is intended to share some budget requests that would increase the efficacy of our work, as well as suggest changes for the coming fiscal year that would benefit youth that are the direct recipients of these grants.
LAYC currently receives $950,000 in OSSE grants and has been able to provide 900 youth with the following services:
- LAYC Community Schools, serving over 500 disconnected youth enrolled in Youthbuild PCS, Next Step PCS, The LAYC Career Academy, and LAYC’s WISE Program
- Cardozo Community Schools, serving over 125 high-risk youth enrolled in Cardozo’s education Campus
- After School Programs for 100 TANF recipients at Cardozo, Powell, and Raymond Elementary and Middle Schools
- 21st Century Learning serving 110 High school students at Cardozo and Roosevelt High School through academic, STEM, and enrichment activities
- Physical Activity for 100 youth at Roosevelt and Wilson High schools
- Sexual Wellness Advocacy Training program (SWAT), by providing funds for STI, STD and pregnancy testing to 300 youth
First, we would like to thank the Mayor for continued funding for existing Community Schools programs in FY17 and commend the council for their allocation of resources to develop an evaluation tool. As well, we are grateful for OSSE’s leadership in establishing a city-wide Advisory Council who will assist grantees with some common challenges.
In order to build on this momentum, we would also like to request that the council fund the following:
- At least one FTE staff person at the Mayor’s office dedicated to Community Schools Oversight
- Funds for technical assistance for Community Schools grantees
- Increased funding for rigorous and timely evaluation
Second, LAYC like other non-profits, are heavily reliant on these grant funds to operate on a day to day basis. We provide the most valuable services but current grant payment structures necessitate that we pay for expenditures up front, sometimes having to absorb costs that are denied by OSSE. With grants from OSSE totaling close to a million dollars, this makes it difficult to operate.
We recommend that OSSE provide a portion of administrative funds up front so that LAYC and similar organizations can, at minimum, pay for the staff that operate these programs. As well, we recommend that OSSE expand the breadth of allowable expenditures to cover items such as food for youth that are necessary for robust programming.
And lastly we would second DC-AYA’s recommendation that OSSE invest an additional $950,000, via an expansion of the kids ride free program, to support transportation to and from programming for youth ages 21-24.
We greatly appreciate the opportunities that OSSE affords our youth and we know that the council values the work that LAYC does with youth in the District. Thank you for listening to my testimony and please feel free to contact me with further questions at email@example.com.
Director, External Partnerships & Community Schools
Latin American Youth Center