WE NEED YOU!!!!

Our Team is working hard to bring our first Annual Step Competition to the High and Middle School students of the District of Columbia.  By using the discipline and cultural facets of the expressive tradition of stepping, The Arch, Inc. will improve and develop participants by enhancing:

  • Academic Performance
  • Personal Character
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Physical Conditioning

We are a volunteer driven, youth program that uses the historical and cultural performance of STEP in order to enrich the lives of the District of Columbia youth while assisting in the development of essential skills necessary in order to become successful, productive collegiate scholars and future leaders of America.  The Arch Inc. will use the disciplinary, historic, and cultural aspects of step throughout the development of our youth.  The Arch Inc.’s mission is to inspire our youth to succeed within our program while linking students up with collegiate students and graduates in order to gear them towards pursuing a higher education.  Through the acts of community service, our youth will gain a sense of civic responsibility by venturing out into District of Columbia and assisting different organizations and areas of our community.

Our team won’t be able to do this without you!!  We need your help. If you CAN’T give your time, we still need your assistance.  Donate using the link https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/dRF1e?psid=ca58a9f5cca64d8ab616ad7deedbfe7d

Are you interested in creating a team at your school in the DC area? Are you a school in the DC area that already has a step team?  Would you like to volunteer?! Tell us your thoughts, ideas, and just let us know what you want to see!!! Complete the Contact Form Below….

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IS EDUCATION THE ESCAPE? 

By Gerod A.O. Blue

Graduation is an aspect of school that everyone looks forward to.  But, is graduating always enough?  Does it matter which middle school, high school, or college you graduate from?

The Washington Post recently published an article entitled, “Graduates from low-performing D.C. schools face tough college road”.  The article follows recent D.C. high school graduates who are concerned that they may not be good enough for college.  Johnathon Carrington, a recent graduate of the Dunbar High School asserts, “I don’t think I’m going to fail everything…but I think I’m going to be a bit behind.”

 Shocking observation, but true.  College students who have graduated from low-performing high schools find their transition into college as one shocking and ego-shattering one.  Though Carrington was able to graduate as Valedictorian, is he truly ready to take on college?  It happens to all inner-city high school graduates at several different times.  The Washington Post writes:

“For Sache Collier, it meant writing her first research paper. For Darryl Robinson, it meant realizing that professors expected original ideas, not just regurgitated facts. For Angelica Wardell, who grew up going to school almost exclusively with African American students, it meant taking classes with whites and Asians.”

Sache Collier, the 2011 valedictorian at Ballou Senior High in Southeast Washington, said the first thing she noticed when she arrived at Penn State University was how intently her fellow students paid attention during class.

Parents often want their kids to do well in school and look forward to them obtaining a college degree.   But, can distractions and low-graduation rates cause a problem, even for children who want to do well?  In D.C. nearly two-thirds of the District’s high school graduates enroll in college and of those who enroll, 38 percent earn a degree within five years.

Our problems stem from experiences in schools.  What are issues that city school officials and community leaders can address in order to fix the problem?  Is it the need for more rigorous academics?  Matthew Stuart, an AP English teacher at Dunbar, attributed students’ lack of college preparation in part to the city’s focus on annual standardized tests that demand little critical thinking or problem-solving.

What are some changes we can make in order to fix our education system?

D.C. STEP UP

We are planning to have our FIRST ANNUAL step competition here in D.C. and are looking for dedicated step teams to join the competition.  If you know of a high school in DC looking to join the step competition or if you want to begin one at a high, email us at info@thearchinc.org and we will contact you with more information.

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How Can You Help With Unemployment?

By Gerod A.O. Blue

It seems as if unemployment will always be a major problem within the country.  As the United States attempts to get a control of our economic issues, businesses (small and large) are attempting to find different ways to gain and retain their funds.  Budget cuts have

Imagebecome a staple move for businesses trying to save funds and with a lack of resources, individuals ultimately lose their jobs.

With a constant drop of the unemployment rate, Washington DC saw its first rise in unemployment from November 2012 to December 2012.  Even with more people entering the workforce, DC was able to add 1,800 more jobs.  With the addition of these jobs, DC was still seeing a rise in unemployment which comes as a shock because this was the first rise since June 2011.  With more businesses and people coming to the city, the labor force is increasing.   Unemployment rates fell in 22 states and rose in 16. Rates remained the same in 12 states.

So what can we do to help make sure that unemployment isn’t an issue within our city?  Below are a list of tips and examples to use while in search for a job. (Courtesy of monster.com)

Pick and Choose Your Targets 
When Jack Hinson was laid off in mid-2008 from his job at a large Internet content company in Austin, he prioritized his search. “It’s important to put your time and energy into opportunities that you’re the most interested in and that have the best chance of coming to fruition,” he says. “Pick a few companies you’re interested in and pursue them, whether they have current openings or not.”

Concentrate on Growth Industries 
Brent Berger, a Las Vegas-based scenario planning and strategy consultant, suggests focusing on growth industries and areas. “Look at energy,” he says. “With oil costs where they are, the need for cheap fuel and cheap heat is ever-mounting. And any job that alleviates pain is recession-proof. Similarly, the National Guard, Border Patrol, homeland security and the defense industry in general will continue to thrive as the next stage in the war on terror continues.”

Work Your Network 
Hinson’s new gig came from an old connection. “I’d spoken to the company’s founders about a year ago and stayed in touch,” he says. “Then I ran into one of them at a networking function.” So flip through your Rolodex or business social media contacts and let them know you’re looking.

Sell Yourself 
San Francisco PR account executive Samantha Rubenstein launched a job search just as the economy began to flag. After three months, she got a great offer from Atomic PR. She attributes her success to doing more than learning about the company. “Preparation [includes] learning how to talk about yourself in a meaningful and powerful way,” she says. “I created a list of potential interview questions and typed up bulleted answers to create speaking points.”

Consider Freelancing
Russ Carr, a designer and writer in St. Louis, has twice had a line on a job only to see it slip away when the employer lost a key account or decided to distribute the duties among current employees. To keep some money coming in, Carr started freelancing. “I haven’t stopped trying to shop myself for a full-time gig again, but freelancing certainly has kept food on the table,” he says. “If you’re in a field that supports it, don’t think twice — just do it.”

Take a Temporary Position 
If freelancing isn’t practical, try temping. “Consider interim staffing to fill a temporary slot for work that needs to be done despite the economy,” advises Ronald Torch, president and CEO of the Torch Group, a marketing staffing firm in Cleveland. Or temp with a company that interests you. “Many of these options pay well and can carry the burden of bill-paying until a permanent position comes along,” he says.

Sweat the Small Stuff 
“Don’t forget the personal touches,” counsels Felicia Miller, assistant director of career services at the Art Institute of Las Vegas. “Don’t use a template cover letter — make sure each letter addresses specific skills or qualities the company is looking for. And always send a thank-you note or email after the interview. Use this correspondence as an opportunity to revisit weak areas of your interview.”

Stay Positive 
The most important thing when searching for a job in tough economic times is to retain a positive attitude, says Carol Vecchio, founder and executive director of Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal in Seattle. “Even in a job market with 10 percent unemployment, there’s 90 percent employment,” she says. “There is an average of over 3 million jobs available in the US per month — and each job seeker is looking for one. Those are pretty good odds.”

Homelessness Rising In DC

By Gerod A.O. Blue

As the years progress, the constant fluctuation of economic stability within the District of Columbia has created issues in all aspects of community development and family stability.  The major problem plaguing our nation’s capitol is the rising rate of homelessness.  Seeing individuals walking and sleeping amongst the streets of DC, one has to wonder how much is being done to provide shelter and other assistance to these individuals.  Furthermore, the question of how homelessness affects our other aspects of living arises.

Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, a legal group committed to representing low and no income individuals, has just completed a study showing that it is difficult for families and individuals to find shelter during the winter.  With standards set by the District Homeless Services Reform Act, the District of Columbia is already in violation of many of its standards.  One standard DC is in violation of includes providing shelter to homeless families and individuals during the severe weather.  Though Mayor Vincent Gray has decided to commit $100 million dollars to affordable housing programs, will this help to prevent the issues that homelessness has caused throughout the communities?

With changes and promises devoted to fixing the issue of homelessness, we have to look at how this major dilemma has created other issues for the District of Columbia.

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One major aspect affected by homelessness includes education.  DC has had constant issues with education and low test scores.  Education Week published its 17th edition of Education Week’s Quality Counts, which ranks the schools in the United States on the basis of policy and performance, ranked the District of Columbia’s education at 45 of the 51 states.

It has been proven that high poverty communities show low test scores in the schools.  With homelessness affecting the education rates of our community, educated parents have to decide whether to send their children to the public schools while low- and no-income families often have to settle with sending their children to the substandard schools.

So, how do we fix these issues?  What can we do as individuals to help solve the issue of homelessness and low test scores?  We at the Arch Inc. have decided to slowly assist these individuals with a clothing drive.  As weather becomes more severe, having clothing is essential to making sure you are as warm as possible.  If you would like to donate any old clothing to our cause, please send clothing to The Arch Inc, 3358 Dean Drive, Suite C, Hyattsville, MD 20782.