March 19, 2014

Nearly 30 middle school students enrolled in the DPR Foundation-supported Maryland Multicultural Youth Center (MMYC) enjoyed a day touring the American University (AU) campus and watching college hoops Saturday, March 1. The students, along with DPR employees, their families and AmeriCorps staff who serve as mentors to MMYC, came together to watch AU take on Bucknell University, tour the campus and goof off together.

The excursion represented a chance for the middle-schoolers to travel out of their own neighborhoods, some for the first time, and visit a top-ranked college campus located right in their own city, according to Diane Petitt, DPR Foundation liaison for the Washington, D.C. office.

“Some of these kids don’t get out of their own neighborhoods much. Just going across town and out onto a college campus is a really great opportunity for them,” Petitt said.

“This was a purely fun event,” she added. “We got everyone food and drinks, and had the chance to just hang out together. Everyone had a great time. There was a lot of enthusiasm, shouting and cheering, and the game was close to the very end. It was a chance for them to just be kids.”

The event marks the second year DPR has sponsored a basketball outing for the students using DPR Foundation funds as well as tickets donated by American University. It was designed as an afternoon of fun for the youth who are part of MMYC, the youth organization that DPR Foundation supports in the Washington, D.C. area. MMYC provides educational support and tutoring, cultural enrichment, nutrition, summer programs and physical activities to middle school youth and is a member of the Latin American Youth Center family of organizations.

While much of the educational and mentor-based work that DPR supports with MMYC takes place after school on campus, DPR strives to host off-site events whenever possible. Upcoming events include an excursion to the Baltimore Aquarium later this year and a summer camp weekend with the children in July, according to Petitt.

MMYC is one of 15 youth organizations nationally awarded $900,000 in grants by the DPR Foundation in December 2013. Over the past six years, the Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million to 22 different organizations focused on providing community support to grade school and high school-aged children.