By Veda Rasheed
As a DC native and Ward 7 resident, I am truly invested in what is happening in my community. Particularly as a parent, I want to make sure that my boys are afforded opportunities that lead them to become successful men.
I started to get involved in my sons' education by becoming a member of KIPP Parents of Purpose, which meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to our campuses, solutions to resolve them, and how to improve the relationship with the community at-large. I learned very quickly that I had to be heavily involved in my children’s education because a parent’s involvement is directly related to their student’s success in school. As an advocate for my children, I share this mantra with other parents so they may equip themselves with the right tools to advocate for their children.
From this experience, I grew as a community organizer and organized the 2nd Annual Benning Road Peace Rally in Ward 7 earlier this year. The Peace Rally brought out over 300 families and community members to promote neighborhood safety, build community, and stand up against destructive behaviors in our neighborhood as one.
On August 12th, I organized the 2017 Ridge Road Community Center Back to School Carnival, which was a special opportunity for me to ensure that students in my community were going back to school with the supplies they needed to be successful. Our kids already face so many things they can't control, so this event was a way to make sure that they were going back to school ready to learn. To build community, we also offered free food, music, community resources and services, and fun activities!
When I was introduced to PAVE, I found an organization that could help me become a stronger parent advocate. PAVE helped me prepare my testimony in front of the DC Council, gave me the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray, and has connected me to incredible training and networking opportunities, like the Innovate Public Schools Parent Leader Institute in California, to become a more effective leader in my community. PAVE uplifts community members such as myself, and gives parent leaders the opportunity to be at the table and improve our education system.