DCLY Fall Ball

Photo credit Beki M. Gangi of DC Lawyers for Youth. Full gallery here.

Washington lawyers let loose and traded suits for cocktail attire at last week’s first annual DCLY Fall Ball, held at the spunky Wooly Mammoth Theater downtown.

DC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY) seeks to improve the DC juvenile justice system by advocating for reforms that promote positive youth development, effective legal representation, and supportive relationships between the community and DC’s youth. DCLY was founded by alumni of the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Clinic in 2007. Since then, the Board has expanded to include lawyers, teachers, social workers, mentors and non-profit managers.

Each guest was given an orange wristband emblazoned with “Join the Movement for Youth Justice,” echoing the mission of DCLY. Swilling drinks from the open bar and enjoying a wide array of canapes, including adorable DCLY-customized Georgetown Cupcakes, supporters of DCLY bid on silent auction items ranging from experiences to getaways to luxury goods, with all proceeds benefiting DC Lawyers for Youth. The organization has several initiatives to assist juveniles and their parents, including the DCLY’s Parent Handbook; Youth Justice Project; Every Student, Every Day Coalition; Direct Representation; and Youth Justice Awareness Campaigns.

R. Daniel Okonkwo, Executive Director of DCLY, delivered remarks with some surprising statistics: DC taxpayers spend about $1000 to arrest an individual youth, which is the same cost of one month of public education for a student of the same age,  one year of high quality mentoring to a student that age, or one week of housing for a homeless family. This was just one example Daniel cited in the importance–both as a community and for our budget–of facilitating youth development within the district.

To learn more about DCLY, and to contribute to their endeavors, click here.

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