Monday, June 11, 2012

Capitol Hill Staff and Corporations Support DC Charity, Horton’s Kids, at Nationals Park to Empower Youth

Organization to appear on Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible with First Lady Michelle Obama on June 13

Washington, D.C. – On May 30, 2012, more than twenty members of Congress, 100 congressional staffers and their families took to the field at Nationals Park as part of the fourth annual “Home Runs for Horton’s Kids” event that supports youth from Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8. Youth and their families participated in batting practice and other activities to benefit Horton’s Kids, which offers a wide range of services to 300 children and 100 families. The event featured a buffet of traditional park eats and gourmet dishes, a silent auction, take-home photo opportunities and face painting and crafts for kids. Approximately one third of the organization’s yearly program budget was raised, with all proceeds going to Horton’s Kids programs.

Horton’s Kids came about 23 years ago when previous Capitol Hill staffer and Horton’s Kids Founder, Karin Walser, was approached at a gas station by young children offering to pump gas for change. Touched by the children’s stories, Walser along with her friends began tutoring the children and taking them on outings. Ever since, Horton’s Kids has been providing fundamental services like reading and nutrition programs to children from the Ward 8 community in Anacostia. Additionally, Horton’s Kids joins forces with many health professionals in the DC area to address children’s basic needs such as nutritious food, clothing, and health care.

In 2010, a community resource center was built in Ward 8 so that staff and volunteers could be available on-site to provide services needed by the neighborhood, which is the most impoverished area of the nation’s capital. Thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama and the Food Network’s chef Robert Irvine, the center has undergone renovations, which will be featured on Restaurant: Impossible on June 13.

Horton’s Kids’ corporate sponsors were crucial in making the renovation happen. “The support we have received from Microsoft and The Home Depot is incredible,” said Horton’s Kids Executive Director, Brenda Chamberlain. “It’s because of them that we are able to continue enriching the lives of children and their families in Anacostia.”

As a part of the community center renovation, Microsoft donated equipment and software for a state-of-the-art computer lab to support the children served by Horton’s Kids at their Community Resource Center. The donation included 10 new computers, 16 computer monitors, and 29 Acer Tablets as well as other computer equipment, all uploaded with the most current software. This equipment will not only help the children become more adept at using technology but will also help neighborhood parents – who are able to take advantage of the community center – create resumes, search for jobs online, and communicate with potential employers via email. Microsoft also donated a server and two Xbox 360s gaming consoles equipped with their popular technology Kinect, which allows the children to exercise in a safe, secure, and fun environment.

“There is a definite opportunity divide in Anacostia and that keeps too many children from realizing their full potential,” said Microsoft Vice President for U.S. Government Affairs Fred Humphries. “We are honored to help contribute to the advancement of these children’s education and future careers.”

U.S. Rep. Henry "Hank" Johnson Jr. (GA-4) with Screech, the Nationals mascot, and youth at the event.

The Home Depot was also invaluable during the renovation and donated building supplies and appliances for the kitchen, in which Horton’s Kids holds healthy cooking classes for children and their families. Since Restaurant: Impossible, Home Depot has continued its commitment to the community by holding a job fair at the center where more than 70 residents interviewed for 30 job openings in several local Home Depot stores.

“The Community Resource Center is going to have a huge impact on the lives of the children that Horton’s Kids helps,” stated Home Depot Vice President of Government Relations, Kent Knutson. “We are very proud to be a part of this project and community, and we’re excited about continuing to support the important work Horton’s Kids does.” Other sponsors of Horton’s Kids include Alpha Natural Resources, DirectTV, Nuclear Energy Institute, and Walmart.

Horton’s Kids received the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management in 2012 and was voted ‘Best Non-Profit’ by readers of the Washington City Paper.   Visit  to learn more.

Top photo credit: A Horton's Kids Family attends the "Home Runs for Horton's Kids" event at Nationals Park.

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