“Beer & Welding sandwiches in Dupont is closed. I stopped by today, the Oasis Market guy said that they were “undergoing a change in management” or something to that effect and could re-open in a few months. It didn’t seem promising.”
I have been working with children with autism for 20 years and am currently the principal at a nonpublic special education school in Maryland, which is a school for children with special needs. As the principal, I directly oversee the autism program which has students between the ages of 5-21. While the various special needs school programs are incredible, I have witnessed time and again the difficulties my students face after aging out of the school system. They are wonderful people who I know could and would be valuable contributors to society if given the opportunity, but the lack of vocational training is limiting opportunities and preventing them from realizing their potential.
Through Independent Grounds, I hope to address this need by providing vocational training in a nurturing and tolerant environment (similar to what I’ve been able to create in my school). My ultimate goal is to help people with special needs obtain the support and training they need to lead successful and fulfilling lives after aging out of the school system. I also hope we will raise public awareness of these challenges and help overcoming stigmas associated with people with special needs.”
“Independent Grounds Coffee House will enroll students in a program that provides a structured training curriculum. This program will cater towards the vocational and social skills required for finding and keeping long-term employment. Independent Grounds will be a fully functioning coffee shop, and is created specifically to be a vocational work-study program for adolescents with developmental disabilities living in Washington, DC and the surrounding areas. Students will have an opportunity to come in for 2-hour work shifts several days a week as a part of their high school vocational training. Work training programs will be developed based on the needs of each student.”
If you’d like to learn more and/or get involved you can do so here. Updates when they find a space.
Person First Project is a photo blog that seeks to give those currently or formerly experiencing homelessness in D.C. the chance to share their stories. In doing this, we hope to reduce the barriers that separate people in D.C. and spark a dialogue. The Person First Project aims to connect us – and to make us all feel a bit more human.
“By the time I got to D.C., I had been homeless for nearly a year and I was a lot sicker than I was when I first became homeless. I was really becoming what you think of when you think of a stereotypical homeless person – dirty clothes, scraggly beard, greasy hair, smell vaguely of urine, sitting on a park bench talking to invisible people. We see people like that all the time, especially in big cities, and we’ll think to ourselves, “That’s a darn shame, somebody should do something about that!” but that somebody is never us. I think we really have a tendency to write those people off. Nobody deserves to be written off. Every single one of those people is just like me. They just need some help and haven’t gotten it yet.
And I didn’t get it – I spent over a year just sitting on a park bench on Pennsylvania Avenue day and night, basically waiting to die. And I think a lot of people in that situation, chronically homeless people, have given up. Folks think they’re lazy. It’s not that they’re lazy, they’re lost. They’ve tried to get off the streets over and over again and they’ve failed over and over again and everyone’s given up on them so they just give up on themselves.
I’d probably still be out there or I’d be dead if it wasn’t for the fact that I got lucky and got arrested. It doesn’t sound very lucky, and it isn’t usually for homeless people. Homeless people usually get arrested for these little quality of life crimes – you might get fined or locked up, and then when you get out you’re back to being homeless again, but now you have a record so it’s even harder to get a job, or services, or housing. But for me it was lucky because they were out of public defenders so they gave me a private attorney that knew the judge and the prosecutor. He said “This guy’s not a criminal, he just needs some help.” So they released me with some conditions: One was I had to go to a shelter. The other stipulation was that I had to see someone about my mental illness. I ended up at Green Door – Independence for People with Mental Illness, which is a private provider here in D.C., but you can use the money the district would be spending on you at the department of mental health. That was in November of 2006, and I’ve been with them ever since.
My biggest fear is that I get as sick as I used to be, because that’s not just losing your home, that’s losing yourself. All of the work I do at Green Door, with all of the therapy and the medications, I always say that my biggest goal is just to stay out of the hospital. My biggest goal is just to not become that person again. Because I know that that person is just waiting to take over again.
“The former Localat space – Hans Pedr Kaffe. Done. Spoke with the owner just a few minutes ago. Sign on Door cryptically reads Closed -Thanks for Coming. I happen to be walking by when someone was leaving. She is engaged in the depressing process of cleaning things up and out.”
You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or celebrate things about daily life in DC.
I was walking home from dinner with friends Wednesday night in Columbia Heights around 10:30pm when I was robbed about one block from the Columbia Heights metro. The incident occurred by the metro bus stop right by the intersection of 13th and Irving. I passed the CVS on 14th on Irving and noticed a group of teenagers. After passing them I heard whispering and had the feeling I was being followed by the group. I stopped hearing footsteps half way down the block and figured I was ok until I was grabbed by my jacket and forced at gun point to hand over my valuables.
I know it’s a long shot but if anyone comes across a red Michael Kors Purse, a pink wallet (containing credit cards, DC license,etc.) and most importantly car keys with a keyless entry remote at the top (both sets were in my purse) in the neighborhood it would be great if they could let me know. Replacing my car keys is going to cost me quite a bit of money so it would be great if I could get at least one set back.
I really want people that live in the neighborhood to make sure they are being alert because it happened right by the intersection of 13th and irving (a busy road and people were around).”
“Five apps that are a must have if you live and work in DC?”
And I thought that was a great question so wanted to give it a separate thread where more could see it. But I’m also curious about your favorite apps in general – bonus for the free ones! So maybe a three parter – favorite – DC specific app? Favorite app in general? Favorite free app?
Ed. Note: I’m mainly interested in IPhone/Android apps but since I know some will say it – you can tell me your favorite appetizers too