More than 30 youth wrote essays about their futures, their thoughts on education, technology, and community engagement as part of the annual essay competition.

The youth worked as interns for at least six weeks as part of the District of Columbia Housing Authority Do Your Best and Mayor Marion Barry’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

“The fact that you are sitting here right now, participating in this program tells me you are successful people,” said Interim Executive Director Nathan Bovelle at the awards ceremony. “One of the most important things you do in life to be successful is to believe that you will be successful.”

Bovelle listed the Wright Brothers, tennis stars the Williams’ sisters, and basketball player Spud Webb as people who against all odds believed in themselves, failed, and continued trying until they became the success they always believed they would be.

“These people didn’t let their mind or others limit their reaching for the stars and achieving it,” Bovelle said.

He told them to overcome obstacles, but understand their personal limitations. "Once you create a plan and identify your goals, stick to them and ignore the doubts of others. Surround yourself with positive people who have similar goals and plans," Bovelle said.

“Don’t let fear consume you or take you off that path,” he said. “If you take control of your mind, you control your destiny and your success.”

Charnetta Walker won first place in the essay contest, earning $150 in prizes for her essay on the cellphone as “an indispensable multi-tool wonder” that is an “excellent learning resource” that encourages responsible use of technology.

“We miss out if we fail to take advantage of the educational power of the cell phone,” she wrote. “All in all, cell phones improve communication, provide learning resources, and encourage appropriate use of technology.”

Destine Freeman won second place for his essay entitled, “Experience: My Guidance to Higher Heights.” His essay detailed the experience he has gained from his four summers in the internship program at DCHA.

“In essence, my work experience as an employee of both the DYB (Do Your Best) program and as a worker in the department of Support Services will be beneficial to my future success because it has shaped me into a man with experience, something that is not given but earned through hours of hard work in the hopes of gaining not only monetary value, but knowledge in and of the workforce,” he wrote. “This experience has shaped me into a tenacious and prepared, college-ready professional.”

In addition to being assigned to every department within the agency, the youth also attended workshops that gave them tips on job readiness, projecting confidence, respectful behavior, character building, presentation skills, and more.

“Your smiles are bigger than they were at orientation, so we must have done something right,” said Deputy Director of Human Resources Sabrina Hayes. “You have gained so much work experience.”

The top 10 essay contest winners received $100 in prizes. Each entrant received a $50 gift card.

DCHA would like to thank the essay competition’s sponsorsf Tag Associates, Inc.; William C. Smith & Company; Regan Associates, Chartered; and Preservation of Affordable Housing. 



Essay Contest Winner Charnetta Walker and Interim Executive Director Nathan Bovelle
Last modified: 8/17/2017 2:37:43 PM