WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- The District has the third highest poverty rate in the country, according to the Census Bureau in 2011. A non-profit organzation dedicates itself to breaking the cycle of poverty by educating youngsters living in some of the poorest parts of the city.
The Perry School Community Service Center is a supplemental learning center in the heart of the North Capital area. The Perry Center focuses on youth development and preventing chronic poverty in the Washington Area.
"It was our first job, our first camp experience, we have so many firsts at Perry School," said sisters Alexandra and Jasmine Williams, as they reminisce about there time at Perry Center.
"Perry school on the outside is a structured tall building. It's a place where you can not only be yourself, but also learn more about yourself. Being around people you become who you are here," Jasmine Williams said.
The school was founded 21 years ago to help children get a well-rounded education, despite living in some of the most impoverished areas in our District.
"Through our programs, we try to empower kids through our different skill sets, so that they can get themselves out of poverty. Get skills so they can get better jobs, go to college, trade schools," said Corey V. Poole, Director of Youth Development for the Perry Center.
Omar Carrington has been coming to Perry Center since he was 5. He loves art, and appreciates the work of past peace leaders in American history.
"Ms. MJ teaches about people that help with peace, non violence, and ceasefire. She tells us of the different peace makers such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Rosa Park, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman," said Carrington.
Although the Perry Center has had a tremendous impact in the North Capital area, the fight against poverty in the District is far from over.
"There is even more poverty and more separation in that regard because, now we have a community where developments are for half a million dollars but we have folks who are living way below the poverty level," said Poole.
NOTE: JC Hayward serves on the Board of Perry School Community Service, Inc. Gannett Foundation has given a donation to the non-profit organization.
Written/Produced by: Elizabeth Jia
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