Whirlwind to the White House: Brighter Dawns’ Trip to Washington

by Tasmiha Khan

 

When I arrived in Washington on Wednesday, July 11, the feeling was surreal. Through the grace of God, the Offices of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and of Social Innovation and Civic Participation had invited me to the White House. I would be participating in a forum to discuss the important role that faith-based social innovators play in expanding opportunity and addressing social issues.  Senior Administration officials as well as leading faith-based social innovators from around the country came together for the event.

That afternoon, I attended a series of briefings, panels, and small-and-large group discussions that explored how faith-based organizations are creating innovative models and entrepreneurial ventures to make a positive impact on our economy and our society serving our most vulnerable communities – a topic that is very important to me and my work with Brighter Dawns.  The main focus was to learn from local innovators and social entrepreneurs who work to extend opportunity and strengthen communities across the country. Our goal was two-fold: (1) to celebrate the tremendous role of faith-based innovators in creating jobs, expanding opportunity, and strengthening communities and  (2) to identify common threads and themes that can help organizations  serve their communities.

When Brighter Dawns first began in 2010, I had no idea that we would be honored to one day speak about our work at the center of US government. I met in person with advisors to President Obama from the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Mr. and the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. At this conference of 150 people, majority of whom were working professionals, Brighter Dawns stood out as one of the youngest organizations present. This goes to show that no work should be considered trivial and that the power of youth should not be taken lightly. With dedication and determination, no task is too complex.

On the behalf of the Brighter Dawns Executive Team, I want to thank you for all your past and continued support, and for believing in us.  This trip would not have been possible without the support of Amber Hacker from Interfaith Youth Core, the Board Members of National Grid, and countless others who have helped us along the way. Whether it was through your time, finances, or other resources, know that you are instrumental to our success. This journey to the White House was a momentous occasion for us all, and I would like to thank you all for making it possible. With your help, we can take Brighter Dawns to new heights.

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