A note from Eshauna Smith about Urban Alliance D.C.’s expanded partnership with Martha’s Table:
Urban Alliance was born at Anacostia Senior High School over 20 years ago, and though we’ve since expanded to Baltimore, Chicago, and Northern Virginia, we still consider Washington, D.C. to be our hometown. We’re delighted to share that we’ve launched a new partnership to expand our commitment to our hometown and to the students who inspired our mission back in 1996.
Urban Alliance has joined forces with Martha’s Table, another organization with deep roots in the city, to reduce barriers to success for youth from Wards 7 and 8 in southeast D.C. In the course of our work, we have gotten to know thousands of youth from this community, and all are talented, hard-working, and deserving of success. However, they lack the same opportunities put that talent to work as their peers in other parts of the city. Our expanded partnership will start youth on a path toward economic success early – training them in essential job skills, giving them early exposure to professional workplaces, and helping them plan for lifelong economic self-sufficiency.
The initiative starts in students’ freshman year of high school, and increases in intensity, culminating in a senior-year internship at a local business through our flagship High School Internship Program. Combining Martha’s Table’s long-time efforts to support local youth’s full arc of development with Urban Alliance’s history of strong college and career outcomes for older youth, our new initiative will provide more than 1200 young people in the District with increased access to economic opportunity over the next five years.
In recent years, we’ve recognized the need to connect with youth earlier in their high school careers as part of a broader strategy to prevent disengagement from successful career or college pathways among low-income students in the most vulnerable communities where the organization operates. After successfully piloting and fine-tuning similar early workforce development programs in Northern Virginia and the South Side of Chicago, we’re launching our most expansive early training program to date, working with high school freshmen for the first time in Urban Alliance history.
This new partnership will work with young people at a pivotal time in their development when they’re just starting to think seriously about their future. While they’re making plans and dreaming of what adulthood will be, we believe that they shouldn’t be limited by where they came from or what they look like or who they know. By opening that first door for them, we are helping them realize that they belong at the table.
As always, thank you for your partnership in this mission.