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Relaunch of our newsletter, Committed to Excellence

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Welcome to the relaunch of our newsletter, Committed to Excellence. We will share agency program information, highlights, and upcoming events with each edition. I am also pleased to share that DYRS has strategically outlined five key areas of focus that will drive the Agency’s success for the next three years. This plan ensures that our work stays focused on prioritizing the needs of the young people and families we serve. If you have not had the opportunity to view the plan and provide feedback, click here and send suggestions or comments to [email protected] by November 11th

We cannot achieve our goals without your invaluable support—thank you for helping drive the work we do.

In this season of gratitude, I continue to be encouraged by the resiliency and strength of our communities. As the calendar year comes to an end, DYRS will continue providing high-quality services that meet the needs of our young people, families, and community with commitment, thoughtfulness, and care. Wishing everyone an enjoyable holiday season! 



VOLT Vocational Opportunities, Learning & Training

Volt Image

The DYRS Achievement Centers offer multiple educational and enrichment programs for DYRS youth and community youth throughout the District. VOLT Academy, one of our many programs, provides youth ages 14-17 with free cycles of employment programming where they can thrive professionally.  Our agency strives to give youth the tools and experience to excel in vocational fields despite their financial or educational circumstances. Our most recent cohort graduated on September 29th and trained in tattoo artistry and culinary arts.  

Having a love for art, Destiny Brown decided to join this cohort and become one of our eight VOLT Academy graduates. She viewed this opportunity as a gateway to a viable career in art. Being a visual learner, Tattoo artist Daryl-Moore Stone’s hands-on approach to teaching students helped Destiny in finetuning her skillset. “Throughout these programs, staff at DYRS strive to create the best experiences for youth to learn,” Destiny shared.

In addition to learning various tattoo artistry techniques, such as line sculpting, Destiny also appreciated the opportunity to learn life skills. “They give you a whole bunch of tips and skills for real life. They check on your mental health,” she shared. 

VOLT Academy provides students with a holistic experience by teaching valuable social skills that transcend a vocation.  For Destiny, patience helped her to perfect her craft and landed her a position as an Apprentice at Topp Dogg Tattoos. Now, she is studying and working under her former teacher, Daryl-Moore Stone.  

“I feel like I have a career now,” Destiny shared. 

Our next VOLT Academy program, beginning November 14th, is an afterschool opportunity for youth ages 14-17. This new program focuses on app and code development during a six-week course. Students will receive community service for their participation. Click here to register; space is limited. For more information concerning VOLT Academy, please contact Phyllis Powell at (202)251-5847 or Elaine Russell at (202)315-6864. 

CM 2023 Event

The Credible Messenger initiative is an instrumental program that serves youth connected to DYRS and surrounding communities by offering mentorship and life coaching. This initiative represents DYRS’s dedication to connecting with youth by pairing them with someone who has shared lived experiences.

Credible Messengers are not only mentors but serve as peacemakers and mediators for families and youth. Many are charged with aiding youth whose needs transcend traditional mentorship or confidence building. They work tirelessly to benefit the lives of youth through restorative justice and preparation for success. This year marks the seventh year of the initiative.  

To kick off fiscal year 2023, DYRS hosted a Credible Messenger event at THEARC Theater in Washington, D.C., where the leadership of the initiative shared their excitement about continuing to partner with Credible Messengers and encouragement for the year to come.  Along with inspiring the staff to strive for greater results, attendees had the opportunity to participate in engaging activities, make new connections, and fellowship with one another.   

Recent interest in the Credible messenger initiative has made it to national media. Take a look at the following article that captured the work of some of our Credible Messengers in the news. 

With all the excitement, we are looking forward to this fiscal year and working with our inCredible Messengers who make all the difference.

Pictured: Program Manager Norman Brown, Chief Program Manager Diamond Vann and Deputy Director Michelle Farr  


Overcoming Gun Violence 

This summer, DYRS partnered with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, and the Office of Victims Services and Justice Grants to launch 202 for Peace, a city-wide campaign for a safer, stronger summer.   

As a grassroots collaborative effort, 202 for Peace brought agencies together across the city to build community-based support to prevent gun violence and other violent crime through educational events, service projects, and activities. These community re-engagement efforts include weekly Peace Walks and Community Resource Pop-Up Fairs in the District. All activities were designed to promote peace, end gun violence, identify service needs, and connect necessary resources to residents. 

For more information and to get involved in helping to create safer communities, visit

                                                     Join the Movement!  

Family Orientation

DYRS is committed to creating a bridge and maintaining relationships with the families of our youth. From the start, we strive to maintain that connection through a family orientation at the start of a youth's stint with us. During family orientation, families engage with a DYRS Family Engagement Specialist and learn more about various placements for youth and there rights as  guardians during their child's commitment.  As our team respects families’ roles and experiences with their children, we strive to include everyone in creating a strategic care plan.

A DYRS Care Coordinator partners with the family during a Team Decision Meeting to create a tailored Individual Success Plan  for each youth based on their specific needs throughout the program. During this process, our Care Coordinators gain insight on a family's dynamic and what plan would serve the youth best. Throughout a youth's stint with us, our Care Coordinators and team members remain in frequent contact with family members and are readily available to assist them along this journey. To learn more information concerning family orientation click here. 

                                                          Upcoming Events?

 Please let us know about your community events/meetings so we can be sure DYRS attends. Share the info by emailing us at [email protected].


Email [email protected] with questions or feedback.