KIPP DC is proud to celebrate the contributions of our parents in the community with the KIPP DC Parents of Purpose spotlight. This month we’re spotlighting Crystal Gray, parent of a KIPPster at KIPP DC Discover Academy and member of their KIPP Parent Organization (KPO). This school year is her first as a KIPP DC parent, and she quickly became involved in her campus community joining Discover’s KPO in October of last year.
“As parents, it’s important to be engaged throughout the entire educational journey and this is where it starts. It’s for my child, and it’s for my community. I want to ensure my child is developing well and I also want to create avenues for partnership between the school and my community.”
One such avenue has been helping introduce the Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative (FSFSC) to KIPP DC Discover Academy parents. FSFSC offers financial advice, parenting tips, housing advice, and educational opportunities, as well as community engagement opportunities, to Ward 8 families. She also came up with an idea for a project the Discover KPO took on before Winter Break where each student received a free shirt before leaving for the holidays.
These projects and partnerships are what help KPOs bridge the gap between what’s being taught at home to what’s taught in school by offering an avenue for parents to raise ideas, voice concerns, and become involved in the day-to-day happenings at school.
Beyond her work with Discover’s KPO and FSFSC, Crystal has also volunteered with the YMCA to help feed more than 500 families within the past three years and has volunteered with Ella’s Kids, an organization that helps deliver toys and gifts to families during the holiday season.
Outside of her volunteer work, Crystal is currently studying business management at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and will be graduating in May with her bachelors. She will be studying abroad in West Africa this summer and looks forward to returning to UDC in the fall to pursue her master’s in public administration.