Transforming & Empowering the Lives of Inner City Youth by Meeting Physical & Spiritual Needs
The House DC’s vision is to transform and empower the lives of inner-city youth and their families through Christ by giving them hope, a productive future, and a changed community. The House is located in the Anacostia area of Southeast, Washington, DC, on a street formerly known as “Murder Row. These former buildings that were once used as a “crack” house is now a catalyst for youth to develop healthy relationships and experience changes of heart.
“It’s meant to be an urban oasis where teens get encouragement, praise, and the kind of stable relationships with adults that are often missing in their lives.” The Washington Post
The idea for House DC grew out of conversations among two groups of men— one Black, one white—from Southeast Bible Fellowship in the District of Columbia (under the leadership of Rickey Bolden, former NFL athlete), McLean Bible Church in suburban Virginia (under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Lon Solomon), and The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (under the leadership of Steve Fitzhugh, former NFL athlete). The men met together for more than a year, seeking ways to achieve racial healing within the church. As a result of their conversations, they decided that a ministry of outreach to the poorest and most vulnerable teens in the District of Columbia would be their most effective witness. It was decided to reach out to teenagers since many programs target young children but few exist for teenagers. At the same time, teenagers are a group in desperate need and are still at an age capable of responding and developing healthy, productive lives. In 1999, an initial banquet generated the funds to purchase our first building. The House became an affiliate and was organized under Ministry Alliance (formerly known as, Faith In The Family International). We first opened our doors in November 1999 at 1606 17th St. SE, in a building that had been part of a block of “crack houses” on a street known by local police as “Murder Row.” Thus began the work of transforming lives for teenagers and their families in the Anacostia neighborhood we serve.
Miracle on 17th Street SE
After-school programs at The House DC provide additional resources that students do not receive at school or, all too often, at home. We serve a family-style, home-cooked meal every evening, beginning with prayer, as staff members and students eat together and enjoy a time of sharing and conversation. We offer challenging programs, field trips, and retreats, interacting with students in a family atmosphere while expanding their horizons. We are able to mentor students individually and we walk side-by-side with them, helping them to effectively navigate through whatever challenges they face. As we do, students learn to face and overcome challenges and begin to set goals—a critical step for those whose goals were often limited to just getting through the day. As a result of our involvement with the students in the Anacostia community, the success rate for student achievement in school and in life is close to 100%. We are blessed to have witnessed the transformation of so many young lives. A number of students who attended The House have gotten married and are raising families of their own—some even got married to students they were dating at The House DC. This is significant for students who came from single-parent households and didn’t have many or any examples of committed marital relationships. The healthy male and female role models at The House DC were often the closest examples for the students to glean from.