Three times a week, Georgetown students use CSJ vans to picked up ASK participants from a D.C. Superior Court building on Capitol Hill at 4:30 p.m. The participants are brought to campus where they have dinner at Leo’s, then meet in a classroom where they work with their mentors on academic enrichment and engage in group activities that build their sense of identity (e.g., self-worth, belonging and membership, responsibility and self-awareness) and strengthen their abilities (e.g., intellectual, social, civic, cultural). The Georgetown students then drive participants to their homes around 8 p.m. ASK supplements the twice-weekly activities on campus with field trips such as college tours, museum visits, sporting events and other ventures to expand the participants’ normal range of acitvities and expose them to experiences they wouldn’t ordinarily have.
The ASK Program is funded through a contract with D.C. Superior Courts. Probation Officers in Court Social Services and judges with D.C. Superior Courts refer participants to the ASK Program as part of their probation. Once they are referred, ASK conducts home visits to introduce the program to the participants and his/her guardian. Rules and expectations of the program are reviewed and both the participants and his/her guardian sign a “contract” to demonstrate their commitment to the program.
The program is designed to assist youth to successfully complete his/her probation by:
- Providing a caring adult who mentors participants through modeling and instilling the skills and attitudes necessary to successfully transition to adulthood
- Improving participants’ educational standing by providing academic tutoring
- Exposing youth to opportunities that engage them in positive activities rather than destructive behaviors
- Strengthening interpersonal and communication skills to elevate self-respect and encourage respect for others
The ASK program serves more than 100 youth each year and has received numerous awards throughout its history.