PRSA-NCC Chair Sultana Ali and JR Nexus Russ, communications and development manager at DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, at the announcement of the new relationship.
Falls Church, Va. — The Public Relations Society of America – National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) revealed that its new pro bono client will be the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA). The announcement was made at PRSA-NCC’s Annual Membership Rally and Networking Event held this week.
Founded in 2004, DCAYA is a coalition of youth-engaged organizations, youth and concerned residents formed to ensure that all children and youth in the District of Columbia have access to high-quality and affordable developmental opportunities. The organization accomplishes this mission by crafting policy recommendations, providing structured advocacy opportunities for their members and allies, and by networking and empowering youth. DCAYA is currently comprised of 120 members who are nonprofit organizations that provide direct services such as health/nutritional support, housing and shelter, workforce development, education, and other services.
Currently, at-risk students make up about half of the more than 45,000 pre-K-through-12th grade students in DC Public Schools, according to an Office of the State Superintendent of Education FY15 Enrollment Audit. DCAYA’s work has helped to combat some of the most challenging statistics facing disconnected youth. Last year, DCAYA successfully advocated for the restoration of $2 million in funding for after school programs. The organization led the advocacy charge that resulted in the Ending Youth Homelessness Amendment Act, which added new prevention services, additional housing capacity, street outreach, and drop in centers for at-risk youth. In addition, the organization played a key role in the passage of the Sex Trafficking of Minors Prevention Amendment Act of 2014.
“The National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s goal through this pro bono effort is to give back to our community through our shared knowledge and experience in public relations. We are delighted to assist a D.C.-based organization that works specifically with underprivileged youth and could benefit from professional communications services,” said Sultana Ali, president, PRSA-NCC. “By providing branding, marketing, and public relations expertise, we hope to elevate the visibility of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates in order to make an even bigger impact in the lives of children in our nation’s capital and guide them toward educational and professional success.”
Beginning in January of this year, PRSA-NCC conducted an extensive application process seeking pro bono communications counsel and services for the next two years. PRSA-NCC’s pro bono committee reviewed and scored the applications based on a number of criteria and ultimately narrowed the applicants to two final interviews.
“DCAYA’s work to significantly improve the opportunities and outcomes for D.C. children and youth is heavily reliant on our communications and public relations capacity. Every facet of our operations — from running awareness raising campaigns, to community engagement or fundraising — relies on our ability to message our work and ‘our ask’ in a clear and polished manner to a variety of audiences,” said Maggie Riden, executive director, DC Alliance of Youth Advocates. “With the support of PRSA-NCC, we will strengthen our internal capacity and ultimately be more effective in our work to ensure all young people in the District of Columbia make the successful transition to stable adulthood. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them and deeply appreciate their commitment to make a difference in the local community.”
About the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates
At DCAYA, we envision a District of Columbia where no young person is considered to be “at-risk”. Where all children and youth are respected as valued members of their communities, and where our city’s leaders actively represent the interests of young people. For more information, visit http://www.dc-aya.org/