The UPDATE | July 27 | Addressing the Summer Program Gap and Amplifying Youth Voices

The UPDATE | July 27 | Addressing the Summer Program Gap and Amplifying Youth Voices

Despite Parks and Rec Expansion, Two-thirds of Students Lack Access to Summer Camp

District children and youth need ways to occupy and enrich their time with one month to go before school starts. Unfortunately, there are not enough publicly funded summer program spaces for every family that wants one. According to the DC Policy Center, “the existing seat capacity in summer programs can serve 23 percent of students enrolled at elementary and secondary schools (as of 2022).” This count includes programs provided by community-based organizations, schools, and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). DPR received millions of dollars more in local funding for 2023 and increased the seats offered by at least half (the exact number is unknown, given DPR’s limited and inconsistent data reporting). Despite that expansion, the District has no publicly funded seats for more than two of three public elementary and middle school students.  



District Youth Speak Honestly about Mental Health, Public Safety, and More

DC Action believes that when youth use their voices, they build their power. During much of the past school year, DC Action collaborated with American University’s Humanities Truck to allow young people to share their opinions on important issues of the day, including mental health and public safety. Through this Youth Voices Youth Power Project, we are working to amplify young people’s stories to help channel and build their power within local communities.


We are grateful to our partner organizations who participated in this project: Black Swan Academy, Community Enrichment Project, Critical Exposure, Healthy Babies Project, 

LAYC, Mikva Challenge, One Common Unity, Project Create, Sitar Arts Center, and SMYAL.


Check out the videos on or DC Action’s YouTube Channel.  


Welcome Audrey Pittman, DC Action’s new Under 3 DC Policy Analyst

Audrey brings her experience in federal education policy and preschool administration to the Early Childhood team. She has worked in DC and federal education policy advocating for high-quality education on all levels, from early childhood to higher education. Audrey’s passion for early education led her to work with a DC preschool where she partnered with early educators, families, and young children to support child development. Audrey is dedicated to increasing access to early education for all DC children.


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About DC Action

DC Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, multi-issue advocacy organization making the District of Columbia a place where all kids grow up safe, resilient, powerful and heard. DC Action uses research, data, and a racial equity lens to break down barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential. We are home to DC Kids CountUnder 3 DCDC Out-of-School Time Coalition, Youth Voices Youth Power Project, the DC Home Visiting Council and the Youth Economic Justice and Housing Coalition. Our collaborative advocacy campaigns bring the power of young people and all residents to raise their voices to create change.

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