| By Taylor Hartz |
When the school bells ring in Anacostia, hundreds of kids pour out from playgrounds and school yards and onto the cracking sidewalks. A sea of school uniforms creates an echo of giggles and shouts down Martin Luther King Ave., in the heart of one of Washington’s poorest wards.
Instead of heading toward their homes, most of the children file into various buildings along the avenue that offer after school services ranging from playtime to tutoring. With over 80 percent of households being led by single mothers, there is often no one home at the end of the school day, nor any extra funds for private daycare.
Although Wards 7 and 8 contain less than half the number of businesses and non-profits as D.C.’s other wards, there is no shortage of space for kids after school.
Whether they need help with homework, a snack to tide them over until dinner, or simply someone to keep an eye on them, volunteers and non-profit staff spend hours each afternoon making sure no child heads home to an empty house or on an empty stomach.