The Community Services Agency's Building Futures construction pre-apprenticeship program was recognized Tuesday night with the "Justice in the Community" award from the Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) at their annual "Celebrating Community Partners for Justice" reception at Howard University's Blackburn Auditorium. The award was presented to CSA for achieving "lasting, tangible improvements to the lives of low-income DC residents." NLSP, whose mission is to provide high quality client-centered civil legal services to low-income DC residents to aid in moving them out of poverty, is a partner with CSA on the Building Futures program, and provides assistance and resolution for the students of the Building Futures program on an array of family, child support, motor vehicle and other legal problems, enabling them to move on to productive employment without these barriers to success. "Our partnership with NLSP is part of the reason our Building Futures program has been a success for 10 years," said CSA Executive Director Kathleen McKirchy. "Another big reason is our fabulous staff who go above and beyond to provide professional, caring and effective services to our students," she continued, introducing Job Developer Tia Watkins and Case Manager Jennifer Gajdosik. Their explanation -- including real-life examples -- of how the NLSP staff helps the Building Futures students from the beginning of each 6-week class prompted presenter Maya Sheppard, NLSP's Barriers to Employment Managing Attorney to say that "You explained what we do so clearly; thank you!" McKirchy says that "CSA is very grateful for the partnership and for the recognition of our job-training and placement program," adding that "our partnership with NLSP has made a huge difference in our students' ability to confidently address their background issues during a job interview."
photo: NLSP's Maya Sheppard (second from left) with (l-r) CSA's Jennifer Gajdosik, Kathleen McKirchy and Tia Watkins