Danielle Veira, President, Washington Women in PR

Article written by Danielle Veira, WWPR 2018 President, Senior Manager of PR & Advocacy Communications, American Diabetes Association
Twitter: @DaniV7101

Adorable mini ballerinas-in-training, smiling kids playing drum solos, teens telling stories through film and live musical theater. What’s not to love about WWPR’s new pro bono client, Sitar Arts Center (Sitar)? We’re still scratching the surface, but we’re pretty sure this is a match made in heaven.

For 25 years, WWPR has been supporting local non-profit organizations that serve women and children through its pro bono program. In 2018 and 2019, we’ll be bringing the talents of our impressive pro bono committee, led by co-chairs Bonnie Piper and Carrie Johnson, to Sitar. Our mission: to make sure everyone knows about the transformative work that this organization has been doing to provide high-quality arts programming to local children and teens and help low-income families thrive in a rapidly changing Washington, DC.

In addition to communications assistance, Sitar will receive the funds we raise from our annual PR Woman of the Year luncheon raffle, and donations collected during our annual holiday party. As the 2018 President of WWPR, I can barely contain my excitement about this chance to make a tangible impact on the lives of DC families (I’m also a little tempted to get out my ballet slippers and join those ridiculously adorable girls…they really are super cute, as you can see for yourself)!

To whet your appetite and get you excited about our next community service opportunity with Sitar, here are a few things you should know about our new client:

  1. Sitar sets aside 80 percent of its enrollment for students from households making 50 percent or less of area median income, a critical benchmark for a city in which the income gap has widened rapidly in recent years. More than 120 talented artists volunteer their time weekly to teach and inspire Sitar’s more than 900 children and young adults in a state-of-the-art facility. Sitar is a local neighborhood arts institution that draws kids citywide. For more information about Sitar’s programming and its impact, click here.
  2. Since its founding in 1998, Sitar has worked to develop unique coursework and opportunities alongside partners like The Washington Ballet, National Symphony Orchestra, the DC Jazz Festival and Meridian Hill Productions. These partnerships enable Sitar to offer arts education to low-income families who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
  3. Sitar has been honored for its nonprofit management and afterschool programming with numerous awards including the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Arts Education, the most prestigious honor conferred by the District of Columbia to individual artists, teachers and arts organizations; the 2009 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for afterschool and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs which celebrates the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities; and the 2015 Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management from the Washington Post for its outstanding organizational management, including fiscal management and use of technology.
  4. Sitar’s unique contribution is its creative youth development that allows students to discover themselves. These children will build confidence and stage presence through physical acting, playwriting and vocal classes, or learning to play a musical instrument. They’ll explore digital arts and master skills that will make them more attractive to employers once they graduate. Sitar helps students find their true passion and pursue their dreams for a brighter future.
  5. The Sitar Arts Center is in Ward 1, which has the highest concentration of children living in poverty in any ward west of the Anacostia River. In February, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser visited Sitar to announce the launch of Learn24, a network of afterschool and summertime opportunities supported by the Bowser Administration to ensure children and youth in the District have equitable access to educational and enrichment activities beyond the school day.


I am so excited to have Sitar Arts Center as our pro bono client for 2018-2019.  Let the partnership begin!