Over the last few years, one of my favorite holiday-season events has become the “Magic & Miracles” fundraiser for a local organization called Ready, Willing, and Working. Better known as the “Men in Blue,” RWW is the program behind the always-friendly group of men who keep the commercial areas of Capitol Hill (and more recently, Adams Morgan and Capital Riverfront) clean, maintain the tree boxes and gardens, and do general maintenance.
But what not everyone who encounters them knows, is that participants in RWW are working their way back from addiction and incarceration in a supportive — and incredibly successful — program. (More than 70% of RWW alums remain clean, sober, and employed after three years.) The expression I’ve heard used for RWW is that it’s “a hand up, not a hand out.”
Each year the Magic & Miracles event features a presentation from one of the Men in Blue, talking about how the program has helped them, and watching this year’s speaker, Damon Robinson, beam with pride as he talked about learning to be a good dad to his daughter reminded everyone in attendance that RWW doesn’t just change one life — it changes families.
And though the 2014 event was last night, I know they’re still fundraising, as all charities are this time of year. So, if you’re looking for a worthy cause for some of your year-end giving, I am sure RWW would appreciate the contribution.
In the interest of transparency, I will mention that I know the founder/executive director of RWW, and am friends with one of the board members, but I’m not talking it up at their request. In fact, they won’t know I’ve done this until after it’s already live.