I was born and raised in Southeast DC, which means I attended DC public schools my entire life – even earning my bachelor’s degree from the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). When I graduated Anacostia Senior High School in 1991, my mother made it clear to me that I could not stay in her house without contributing. She presented me with my options: get a job, go to college, or join the military – and not in that order. After working odd jobs and playing around in college, in 2002 I found my focus and applied myself to my studies. Eventually, I graduated from UDC in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Supporting my family, working full-time, and going to school all at the same time was no small challenge.
However, my greatest challenge came after I had my children. Growing up, I took the opportunities my city had to offer for granted. I wanted more for my children. I decided to use my city as a platform to allow my children to learn, explore, and gain a greater appreciation of the hidden treasures that my city had to offer. After having three children in 2004, 2007, and 2008, I realized that my struggles did not have to be theirs. When my children became school-aged, I used my own struggles to provide the best lessons for making progress. Studying sociology at UDC opened my eyes to another world of parenting and educational development. I knew my involvement in their education was essential to their success as students, which is why I wanted to become more engaged – not just in their education, but our city’s education system as a whole.
I began to get involved by attending events at my children’s schools like parent-teacher conferences, Donuts for Dads, Chat and Chews, and other parent support groups. These experiences made me more aware of the need for greater parent engagement in our education system. This inspired me to want to take a more active role in our city’s education reform. That is why I am so glad I became involved with PAVE.
As I was becoming more involved in my children’s education at Eagle Academy PCS, Ms. Josephine Mazyck encouraged me to attend PAVE’s breakfast with Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White earlier this year. From that point on, I regularly attended PAVE events and stayed informed about new advocacy opportunities and policy updates through the PAVE Post. Now, as a member of the Ward 8 PAVE PLE Board, I am looking to impact our education system in a much greater way by sharing my experience and advocating for change across the city.
By DaSean Jones, Ward 8 PAVE PLE Board Member