Serve Your City/ Ward 6 Mutual Aid (SYC/W6MA) launched their second annual Back to School Bash fundraiser. (Courtesy Photo)

By Tyra Wilkes
Special to the AFRO

Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid (SYC/W6MA) has officially launched their second annual Back to School Bash fundraiser, providing Black and Brown students in the District with support like digital devices, school supplies, and other SYC programming.

The work of SYC began over a decade ago, serving at-risk D.C. students and providing access to opportunity and experience, educational support and other resources for advancement.

In March of 2020—the beginning of what we now know as a global pandemic that would ravage communities of color—SYC became the infrastructure hub for W6MA, the community-led effort to support D.C. residents through the pandemic. Over 70 organizations have partnered with SYC to guarantee that all of our neighbors—including the displaced—have access to the necessities (e.g., food, masks, etc.) needed to navigate what has become the new normal. For youth, this means virtual tutoring and extracurricular activities that offer a similar outlet as an in-person environment.

“These problems are not new—they are the result of years of structural and systemic injustice in the District. But we also know that the pandemic had an outsized impact on our Black and Brown students and families,” said Maurice Cook, executive director of Serve Your City and lead organizer with Ward 6 Mutual Aid. “As our communities transition back to in-person life, these inequities will persist unless we step up together to address them. There is enough love in this city to take care of everyone here. Our work is to capture that love and make sure it gets to the youth and families who need it most.”

Building on the success of 2020, which reached over 400 families, SYC has announced its second annual Back to School Bash. This year, they hope to provide for even more students and families through their Backpack Drive and other SYC programming.

This year, SYC will host an event where students and families can receive their backpacks and learn more about virtual education advancement opportunities, horseback riding, rowing, music and art lessons and trapeze classes.

“I have heard from many parents and students over the past year how crucial our support has been during the pandemic. Our tutoring program has given kids confidence in their academic abilities, and our extracurricular activities have given them an outlet to be creative,” said Miranda Mlilo, SYC/W6MA’s tutoring and extracurricular education coordinator. “Our program is shaped to be a direct reflection of what our community is asking for. We are grateful to be able to continue to work with families to make sure their kids are excited about their futures and what they are capable of by providing opportunities and resources that are long-term, sustainable, and empowering.”

If you would like to get involved with the Back to School Bash, you can:

  • Donate to the SYC fundraising campaign
  • Share social media posts on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with your network
  • Join SYC as an official sponsor
  • Volunteer to help with the Back to School Bash by emailing

Find out more at

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