Work by Critical Exposure students are on display at the Mayer Brown D.C. office.

A campaign aimed at addressing educational needs for D.C. youth launched, Sept. 23, at the D.C. office of global law firm, Mayer Brown. “Making the Case for Kids,” is the firm’s initiative to highlight existing partnerships and further expand community engagement and pro bono services to several local non-profit organizations. “There’s really nothing that I can think of that’s more important than addressing the educational needs of the children in our community,” Dan Masur, managing partner at Mayer Brown, told the AFRO, Sept 25. “It’s not only dear to me but to many of my partners.”

For years, the firm has worked with organizations like Higher Achievement, which provides afterschool and summer programs that offer demanding academic work, mentoring, skill-building, individual student achievement plans, and personal encouragement for 5th through 8th graders.


Work by Critical Exposure students are on display at the Mayer Brown D.C. office.

“Middle School is really where we lose children and they drop out, and we can’t let that happen,” said Masur.  “One of the important things about Higher Achievement is while it’s serving six hundred children in the District of Columbia in some of the poorest wards in D.C., it’s set up in such a way that not only does it impact the children that they serve, but it impacts the other children in the same schools – so it’s a ripple effect that goes beyond even the children in the program.”


Work by Critical Exposure students are on display at the Mayer Brown D.C. office.

The kickoff reception featured photography from participants of Critical Exposure, an organization that trains D.C. high school students to use photography and advocacy to make changes in their schools and communities. “The photography is just extraordinary and it’s not just pretty pictures, it’s really photography designed to make a point,” said Masur. The Critical Exposure exhibit will remain at the firm’s D.C. office through Oct. 10.

The campaign will link similar organizations that have previously not worked together. Participants of Critical Exposure, for instance, may be connected to youth at HigherAchievement and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy to teach photography and provide mentorship. Other organizations under the campaign include First Book DC, Children’s Law Center, DC Appleseed, LAYC Career Academy, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) and Malini Foundation.

Masur sees the campaign as a way to also build office camaraderie on a deeper level. “One of the things we’re trying to do is build a sense of community among the people in the firm and have something that they can all support,” said Masur. “So there needs to be the opportunity for the people in the firm to actually get involved with the children as part of the program.”