Thursday, June 18, 2009

TRW DC NonProfits (Non-Snark Edition)

So some of you out there in the interwebs think the contributors to this blog are a bunch of self-congratulatory jackasses. While that's might be true, we're also deeply committed to making this world a better place. We're do-gooders. Everyone in DC - regardless of where they come from, come here to DC because they carry a commitment to social change. Sure, we don't all vote the same way, and yeah, we might not agree on tactics. But we all have a commitment to helping others out.

So in that spirit, I offer a list of DC-centric non-profits that we hope the MTV/Bunim-Murray producers will consider as they scrounge for some nice, non-controversial internships for TRW DC cast members. In no particular order:

The Whitman Walker Clinic
"For more than three decades, the Clinic has been renowned – locally, nationally and internationally – for the high-quality, culturally sensitive care it provides. This work remains critical in an area with the highest HIV infection rate in the country."
The AIDS Walk is October 3rd. Interestingly enough, it has a birthday in common with The Real World show -- this is the 23rd 5K fundraiser walk for the Clinic, and DC will be the 23rd season of TRW. They should celebrate their 23rd year together.

DC Vote
"Founded in 1998, DC Vote is an educational and advocacy organization dedicated to securing full voting representation in Congress and full democracy for the more than half a million residents of the District of Columbia."
Absolutely nothing says District of Columbia like local disenfranchisement. An internship here would be very educational with a strong local perspective. Also the hot young things can help lobby on the Hill and actually use their hotness for good - like getting voting rights for DC residents.

V3 Campaign
The V3 campaign is part of the DC Central Kitchen, founded by Robert Egger. His vision created a nonprofit that collects food donations and trains unemployed men and women for foodservice jobs. The V3 Campaign, an offshoot, is a good teachable moment because it's effectively the voice of nonprofits for the electoral world. They say "it's simple: we are going to ask every candidate for higher office—from small town mayoral contenders to presidential nominees—to provide details about their experience with nonprofits and their plans for partnering with, and strengthening the nonprofit sector if they are elected."

Capitol Letters Writing Center
This cool nonprofit helps budding poets and literary artists in DC. "Capitol Letters Writing Center believes that within every student lives a writer. We support and challenge those writers through workshops, tutoring, and student publications that complement the classroom goals of educators in a safe and creative environment." They have some very dedicated volunteers who held one of the most creative fundraisers I've seen in a while: a Mustache-o-thon. There is no such thing as suffering too much for art, I guess. Including growing pornstar worthy facial hair.

Bread for the City
This charity has been in operation for almost forty years. "The agency began as two organizations; Zacchaeus Free Clinic began in 1974 as a volunteer-run free medical clinic, and Bread for the City was created in 1976 by a coalition of downtown churches to feed and clothe the poor." A little time with this organization would help TRWers see the other part of DC that isn't Dupont Circle.

Street Sense
The vendors are on every corner of our city. This innovative organization "was founded in August 2003 after two volunteers, Laura Thompson Osuri and Ted Henson, approached the National Coalition for the Homeless on separate occasions about starting a street newspaper in Washington, D.C." It would be a really interesting challenge to see TRWers spend a day trying to hock Street Sense on Connecticut and K St. (That or do a canvass with Greenpeace or US. PIRG. In the middle of August. Like most of us in this town did at one point or another.)

The foodie in me can't help but be excited about this program. "We reach young people through a positive approach based on one of the oldest and most universal of human traditions: food. Through listening, reading, shopping, measuring, chopping, whisking, roasting, cooling, collaborating, presenting, eating, cleaning and volunteering." Plus if they worked with this nonprofit, the castmembers would learn more about our local food and drink, and maybe even some of the myriad DC farmers markets.

Literacy Volunteers and Advocates
"Literacy Volunteers and Advocates enhances the lives of adults in the Washington, D.C., area who struggle with reading and writing." This program is part of a larger global adult literacy movement that helps people learn to read. Like other nonprofits on this list, working with this group would potentially bring a more authentic aspect to the show, as well as, you know, teach a few people to read.

Food and Friends
"Reverend Carla Gorrell founded Food & Friends in 1988 when a friend, sick at home with AIDS, needed something to eat. Along with nutrition counseling, Food & Friends prepares, packages and delivers meals and groceries to more than 1,400 people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses throughout Washington, DC," This group does amazing work, directly helping people through out DC. Similar to others on the list, this group effects change through getting food to people.

Art Enables
"Very often people with developmental and/or mental disabilities are better able to express themselves in images than in words. Art Enables is focused on just such a group: thirty-some artists whose disabilities include but are not limited to Down syndrome, autism, traumatic brain injury, bipolar disorder. Their ages range from 24 to 72. They are African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, Arab." It would be as if the opposite of reality TV actors met people who dealt with a challenging reality. Plus check out the art, it's really inspiring.

And if the cast of TRW DC really has a issue with being under an additional lens (via blogostalking) I suggest they check out a nonprofit entirely devoted to electronic privacy rights. Center for Democracy and Technology


kasdc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kasdc said...

I'd suggest DC Central Kitchen as well.

(Edited for better grammar!)

The Realist said...

The Washington Literacy Council is only a few blocks away and is run almost entirely on the dedication of volunteers. I think they have 5 full time staff members.

TB said...

Good post. I've disagreed with just about every post on here thus far (I just get the feeling you guys are getting a little too bent out of shape), but kudos on recognizing that this is happening whether you like it or not and attempting to steer it in a positive direction.

Nerdette said...

We don't have the same type of humor, TB.

Just like a motorcade down Connecticut Ave, I think all the contributors are resigned to this happening. That doesn't mean we can't speak our mind.

TB said...

Oh, speak away. I have no problem with that, and even if I did I wouldn't expect you guys to care.

As for humor, I'm referring more to the posts complaining about the imposition on the neighborhood without consultation, which unless I'm mistaken, were not intended as humor.

juliacsmith said...

Thanks for including Capitol Letters on this list! For Real Worlders and non-Real Worlders alike, I'd mention that we have a volunteer orientation coming up on June 23. :) Check our site for details!

Annie said...

N Street Village provides 24-hour care and services to homeless and very low-income women in DC and offers group and individual volunteer opportunities.

DC()9 said...

They should check out the dc project ( - green jobs training right here in D.C. for people in poverty or the homeless. It's a great dual-issue organization, incredibly relevant to our time, and coming up fast in the new administration's sights (their leaders meet regularly with Van Jones and have met with Michelle Obama)

Courtney said...

Thanks for the shout out! DC Central Kitchen is an amazing, magical place, and I'm thrilled to be running the V3 Campaign out of it's headquarters.

xanidu22 said...

Ok this is how I see it shacking down:

During the Brooklyn season they broke from the tradition of a house job into more individual pursuits, which were more interesting because the house job never got done. So I bet they give them the individual pursuit aspect as the way they go because 7 failures is better than 1. The RW tone has changed recently to one more about humiliation than interestingness and “hot hook-ups”; they don’t even show awkward dry humping anymore.

If they do a house job, it most likely be there own little project with some national organization. Highly doubt they will work with a local concern since they can do that in any lame ass city, and the project will barely get done and will make a mockery out of the organization that “hired” them.

Abby said...

Thanks for including DC Vote - we'd love to have TRW cast members help spread the word about Taxation Without Representation!

dc365 said...

DC Central Kitchen is one of my favorite charity groups. The work that they do is holistic and it is a blast to volunteer there.

Amanda said...

Great list - happy to see arts organizations included! Maybe this show will help people see that there's more to DC than the National Mall. Or maybe this show will mostly take place inside the house where they all get drunk and angsty and make out like they do in every other city. Either way: hooray for the arts!

Sue Anne said...

Awesome post. :) And, I don't think you guys are JAs, I just think that vitriol towards people that you've never met doesn't solve anything. And, I think you are trying to do a lot of good in the world and so why not do good with these youngsters moving into the neighborhood. :) @Sue_Anne

Mira Thompson said...

Just an FYI.. Real World is no longer doing the whole job thing with the cast. I think I read that on on the RW site. I guess that gives more time for booze, sex, and fights.

K said...

I'm probably the one most vocal about you coming across as self-congratulatory jackasses.

This post almost offers some redemption. But it fails to address the overall tone of this blog, which is becoming less and less "this will make my (or my friend's) neighborhood barely livable for several months," and more and more "woe is us, we 20-somethings in DC are just way too cool for MTV and TRW, and also too cool for the millions of people who obviously will never recognize it."