Sunday, October 10, 2010

Overnighter to DC 2010

I went to Washington D.C. on Thursday morning and came back on Friday night.  I was there to meet with fellow grantees from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.  It was a much different experience from 6 1/2 years ago when I went to DC.  Very nice, unseasonably warm weather.  I stayed near Georgetown so I was able to walk there for dinner. There was a Trader Joe's there that I walked inside just to check it out.  No problems with parking as I would expect from Trader Joe's because there isn't any.  Everyone there looked like a young professional, no shopping carts, everyone had a hand-basket for their things--I guess everyone lives within walking distance.  I walked over a mile looking for a place to get a good healthy salad and never found anything.  I ended up at a fancy Indian restaurant for some so-so Indian food. 

On Friday morning, two fellow grantees and I, shared a cab over to the Barbara Bush Foundation's office for their Grantee Training for the 2010-2011 grantees.  We were able to meet the other grantees from around the country.  Our Little Tokyo Service Center Family Literacy program was 1 of 9 (and the only one from the West Coast) from across the country that was awarded this year!

We were each asked to make a 10 minute presentation of our program, so I put together a Powerpoint to describe all the various aspects of our Family Literacy program.  After lunch, we were able to break up into small groups to talk about things like Recruitment, Retention, Sustainability, Curriculum, Program Design and Assessments.

It was very cool to learn about and meet (mostly) women who run these inspiring Family Literacy programs from urban neighborhoods in places like Chicago and Miami, to very rural communities like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Northern Michigan, and the Dakotas.

Our meeting finished relatively early so with my map (and my rolling suitcase) I walked over to the White House.  I wanted to see if I could see Michelle Obama's organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn.  I was able to see it, but from a pretty far distance (it's behind me to my right at the corner of the photo).  I went to the White House Visitor's Center eager to find info about the First (Black) Family in the White House-- but was disappointed to find that it is really an outdated historical display with no sign or mention of the Obama's.  The most recent stuff I saw was from the Eisenhower years.  Lots of stuff about the building and gardens in the early days.  I was able to find some Obama stuff for my daughter Maiya at a t-shirt vendor parked a few blocks from the White House--an Obama family postcard and key chain for $1.25.  I also went over to Lafayette Park and found Conchita still there--she has been the White House's closest resident since 1981.  Same signs and photos from my first trip in 2004.

It was a long commute trip for just one night.  But all in all, a productive trip to D.C.

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