Newspapers and Magazines

Newspapers and Magazines - 2017

Senior Safety and Self-Defense Symposium, Bladensburg, Maryland, August 22, 2017

  • Senior Safety and Self-Defense Symposium, Bladensburg, Maryland, August 22, 2017

Media Coverage of the Symposium

Andrews Gazette's September 1 print e-edition online is found at this link and as seen in the print edition at this link (page 1) and this link (page 5). The article and photos are by photojournalist Bobby Jones.

The Senior Beacon, Washington edition, published an article about the symposium in its October 2017 newspaper. The article, written by Alexis Bentz, is online at this link (on pages 11 and 12).

Our Symposium

We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems, in partnership with the M-NCPPC and the Bladensburg Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative, provided a senior safety and self-defense symposium for seasoned citizens age 55 and better at Bladensburg Community Center in Bladensburg, Maryland, on Tuesday, August 22. This symposium was a free community event focusing on basic safety and self-defense in many situations faced by and of interest to seniors. Dr. Thomas and his students, with the participation of audience members, demonstrated a few simple self-defense methods and performed some everyday "street smarts" skits with props. The attendees received important legislative updates from Senator Joanne C. Benson, Delegate Jazz Lewis, Malcom Augustine (WMATA Board member), and Pokuaa Owusu-Acheaw (representing Senator Chris Van Hollen); financial and prevalent scam information from State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks; and police and fire safety tips from Chief Elliott W. Gibson, Jr. (District Heights Police Department) and Michael Ruggier (Bladensburg Fire Department). The symposium offered so much good information that the audience was left wanting more, especially of the interactive self-defense moves taught by Dr. Thomas and his entertaining safety skits. Dr. Thomas thanks his guest speakers for taking time out of their busy schedules to come out for the symposium. He also thanks the local Subway Restaurant (6731 Annapolis Road) for the lunch enjoyed by everyone after the symposium and for their contribution of free dessert. Special thanks goes to his adult students H. Jenifer and S. McCutchen and youth students A. Hernandez, E. Hernandez, D. Jenifer and D. Jenifer (brothers), and E. Martinez, who not only performed but were instrumental in the planning, set-up, food service, and clean-up. You can always count on the Rambler family! Dr. Thomas also thanks reporters from the Andrews Gazette and The Senior Beacon for coming out to cover the symposium. Positive news for the community is so rare these days!

Newspapers and Magazines - 2016

Andrews Gazette Photojournalist Accepts Leading By Example Award, November 5, 2016

Mr. Bobby Jones was presented with our Leading By Example Award on Saturday, November 5. He is a highly-respected photojournalist at the Andrews Gazette and a true leader in our community. Mr. Jones has written several articles about We Lead By Example, Inc., underscoring our positive news of interest to the local community--bullying and child abuse prevention; senior safety and self-defense; award presentations to law enforcement, elected, and other public officials in the DMV and in Prince George's County; and students who have attained high academic achievement. We very much appreciate his work and the Andrews Gazette, a news source that publishes stories that are both fit to print and informative for its readers. Read the November 10 online article that appeared in the Andrews Gazette here and in the print edition on page three at this link (scroll to the bottom of the page). Photos by editor Hannah Troyer.

Law Enforcement and Community Leaders Receive Leading By Example Awards, August 27, 2016

Dr. Clifford Thomas presented Leading By Example Awards and Rambler tee shirts to several law enforcement and other community leaders on Saturday, August 27, on behalf of We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems. These awards were given to individuals who have led by example by working tirelessly to keep our communities safe. He also acknowledged WMATA and the Metro Transit Police Department who are working diligently to improve Metro and make it safer for passengers. As an organization concerned with personal safety and self-defense and community safety, We Lead By Example, Inc., wanted to show our appreciation for all the contributions by these individuals because they are often criticized and their positiive efforts are not sufficiently praised. The most important part of this awards ceremony was to recognize the over 25 of our organization's students who made the honor roll all four advisories during the 2015 - 2016 school year. They are our future leaders and their accomplishments should be noted. Our organization is concerned with developing leadership skills and this begins with the children. We thank the following award recipients ( and guests (in alphabetical order):

--Malcolm Augustine (member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board), who accepted the award on behalf ofRonald A. Pavlik, Jr., (Chief, Metro Transit Police Department).

--Jason L. Fisher (Captain, City of Seat Pleasant Police Department).

--Elliott W. Gibson, Sr. (Chief, City of District Heights Police Department) and Jack C. Sims (Mayor of District Heights).

--Kisha D. James (First Lady, Town of Bladensburg) and Walter James (Mayor, Town of Bladensburg).

--Jimmy Rhee (Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs)who accepted the awards on behalf of Governor Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford. 

--(Chief, Prince George's County Police Department).

--Lt. Tracy D. Stone (Acting Chief, Town of Bladensburg Police Department), who also accepted the award on behalf ofChief Charles L. Owens (ret.).

--Paul J. Wiedefeld(President and CEO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority).

An article about this big event was published in the September 2 Andrews Gazette article by Bobby Jones. For the print edition, on page 8, go to this link, and for the e-edition, go to this link where Mr. Jones' photos can be viewed. 

Global Health and Education Projects (GHEP), Inc., Second Annual Health Fair, May 14, 2016

We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems participated for the second year in the GHEP annual health fair on Saturday, May 14. The Ramblers performed an exciting show of basic techniques, open-hand katas, weapons katas, and board-breaking by several students. We certainly drew a crowd! We join the GHEP in its commitment in addressing health and education issues in Prince George's County and bring our own longstanding commitment to county (and statewide) residents to the table by providing safety and self-defense for children and adults of all ages. Read all about it in Bobby Jones' article in the May 20 Andrews Gazette; the e-edition (with additional photos) can be found at this link

Newspapers and Magazines - 2015

Pre-Event Coverage of Ramblers' Walk and Rally for National Bullying Prevention Month, Bladensburg, Maryland, September 25, 2015

Online and Print Newspaper Coverage: The September 25 Andrews Gazette online article is at this link and on the front page of the print edition at this link.

On Saturday, October 3, Dr. Clifford Thomas (We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems) invites the community to participate in a walk and rally for National Bullying Prevention Month in conjunction with the PACER organization (more information at this link and our event listed at this link) and other national events taking place the same day or during the month of October. We are committed to bringing the fight against bullying to the community and working for the active participation of people of all ages in our efforts to mitigate bullying behavior. 

Senior Safety and Self-Defense Workshop, Bladensburg, Maryland, June 8, 2015

On Monday, June 8, Dr. Clifford Thomas (We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems) held Senior Safety and Self-Defense Workshop at Bladensburg Community Center. Approximately 25 people attended, including local police representatives. We become more vulnerable as we grow older and often face increasing difficulties relative to our age and decreasing physical abilities. Dr. Thomas is a world-renown safety and self-defense expert who takes these factors into account and works extensively with seniors to teach them street smarts so they will become more confident and feel more comfortable in their daily interactions and activities. With audience participation, he showed several simple self-defense techniques--how to escape from a chokehold, defend yourself from a knife being held at your throat, break free from someone who grabs your wrists, and use a cane to defend yourself--as well as performed skits with one of his adult students and an audience member about abduction and scam/theft situations, for example, in the parking lot at a grocery store or at a gas station. The Bladensburg (POFC David Calloway, Officer Garcia, and Ms. Dana Duncan) and District II (Officer Krystal Culbreth) police representatives briefly described the services they provide for seniors and distributed safety and crime-reporting materials. Participants left wanting to learn more about how they can empower themselves so they will feel more safe as they go about their very active lives.

Online and Print Newspaper Coverage: The June 12 Andrews Gazette first-published article is featured online in All About Martial Arts news at this link and on page 5 of the Andrews Gazette print edition at this link. A pdf document can be downloaded here. Story and photos are by photojournalist Bobby Jones.

Protecting the Young and Innocent: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Workshop, Bladensburg, Maryland, April 4, 2015

  • Protecting the Young and Innocent: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Workshop, Bladensburg, Maryland

On Saturday, April 4, Dr. Clifford Thomas (We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems), in partnership with Mrs. Sharron Dansby (Maximizing God's Woman, Inc.) and the People for Change Coalition's Public Safety Committee, held the Protecting the Young and Innocent: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Workshop at Bladensburg Community Center. People for Change Coalition Public Safety Committee members who participated, in addition to Dr. Thomas, Mrs. Dansby, Major Victoria Brock, and Ms. Susan McCutchen (workshop subcommittee members), were Sylvester Jones (committee chair) and Chauncey Brewer. A free event providing interactional activities and information for the entire family, this workshop was convened to mark April 2015's Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The participants learned how to prevent, detect, and mitigate the effects of child abuse. They were treated to Rambler student Nathaniel Potts opening the program with an excellent rendition of the national anthem. The program began with "Know the Facts and Break the Cycle" (Maximizing God's Woman, Inc.), which featured posters made by children that presented statistics about child sexual abuse. Narrated by Dr. Thomas, Rambler students performed skits, including the use of various props--police, fireman, and sports "hats," and a priest's collar--to demonstrate that the roles people play do not necessarily reflect their character and that they, too, can be child abusers. Students also demonstrated simple self-defense moves that children can remember, as well as "street smarts," such as the use of family safety code words. The afternoon featured "Enough is Enough: NO Excuse for Child Abuse," a session for adults, facilitated by Maximizing God's Woman, which provided information, generated discussion, and featured representatives from the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, law enforcement representatives, and a video and slide presentation. Dignitaries (Bladensburg Mayor Walter James and Council Members Walter Ficklin and Beverly Hall, and Jimmy Tarlau, representing District 47), Major Brock and Bladensburg and other police representatives, and activists who came out to support the workshop made brief remarks to underscore the importance of community events such as these.

Online and Print Newspaper Coverage: The April 10 Andrews Gazette article with photos can be downloaded here and is featured on page 3 of the print edition at this link. Story and photos are by photojournalist Bobby Jones.

Dr. Thomas thanks Bladensburg Community Center's Christy Irving, Byron Jones, and staff for hosting and assisting with the workshop arrangements. He was pleased that some of his Rambler students and families came out to show their support, and particularly acknowledges adults Harry Jenifer, Andrea Seemangal, and Yulanda Swindell, and youths Darion Jenifer and Adrian Seemangal, for going above and beyond in their assistance. We also thank Wegmans at Woodmore Town Centre for providing partial financial support for the afternoon snacks.

Newspapers and Magazines - 2014

Ramblers' National Bullying Prevention Month Workshop for the Community, Bladensburg, Maryland, October 11, 2014

Dr. Thomas thanks the Rambler students, families, and friends who came out to support the Rambler organization in hosting its free National Bullying Prevention Month Workshop. This free workshop was convened in partnership with Hyper Bully Defense, a martial arts oranization based in California, which has formed an international consortium of professional martial arts organizations with a goal to empower 1 million people to end bullying (Hyper 1 Million). These organizations took part in three webinars to prepare to hold workshops worldwide, on either October 11 or October 25, 2014. The Ramblers are proud to have participated in this effort, in our case also showing unity with October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities and one of its Bladensburg-based partner organizations, the Seniors against Stalking and Domestic Violence Support Group, for which nonperishable food items were collected at the workshop to be donated for its monthly free food distribution to the community at the Bladensburg Community Center. About 150 people attended the Rambler event, which was held at the Bladensburg Community Center, as part of the instructional curriculum for Rambler students. Participants engaged in floor exercises on the gym mats and learned or reinforced safety tips and basic escape methods. They also engaged in interactive skits using props (a school, houses, a car, and a school bus) showing how to deal with untenable or threatening situations. They learned how being a bully is not something positive in either their lives or in the lives of other people, and how much better it is to become friends with schoolmates and work together.

Newspapers and Magazines - 2013

Prince George's County Police Department's Senior Self Awareness Seminar Pre-Event News Coverage, September 26, 2013

Dr. Thomas' role in the Saturday, September 28, Senior Self Awareness Seminar hosted by the Prince George's County Police Department Community Services Division in partnership with him was described in an article in the Prince George's Gazette on September 26.

Dr. Thomas Named One of Top 125 Leaders in Prince George's County, August 2013

Dr. Thomas was named as one of the top 125 leaders in Prince George's County by Prince George's Suite Magazine in its Summer 2013 issue appearing in August 2013. Rushern L. Baker, III, County Executive, commented in the magazine that "Prince George's County is home to some of the region's most dynamic leaders across nearly every discipline and industry" and that those honorees selected are "125 incredible people who are doing incredible things." He added his "congratulations to the 2013 Who's Who honorees and thank you for serving as a source of inspiration for the people of Prince George's County and the Washington Metropolitan Region." Dr. Thomas' entry (#113 alphabetically and appearing on page 87 of the issue) reads as follows:

Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, President and CEO, We Lead By Example, Inc., and Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems
Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, recipient of the Town of Bladensburg’s Distinguished African American Award, links martial arts instruction and community volunteerism through his Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems and his nonprofit organization, We Lead By Example, Inc. His bullying prevention program was featured on ABC’s Harris’ Heroes in August 2012. He teaches seniors practical self defense through his Saving the Seniors program. Thomas brings his specialized skills to enhance the community safety programs of law enforcement departments and he is developing a domestic violence prevention and safety program. A member of several community organizations, he actively supports Maryland Senator Joanne Benson’s Route 202 Coalition, the Maryland Triad/SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Network, the District III Coffee Circle, and the People for Change Coalition.

Newspapers and Magazines - 2011

Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence Support Group, Bladensburg, Maryland, October 27, 2011

In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Bladensburg-based Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence Support Group invited experts in bullying, which can lead to stalking and domestic violence, to speak about these issues. Mr. Baron Howard, CEO of Entrepreneurs Success Business Network, gave a PowerPoint presentation that highlighted what constitutes bullying and possible ways to respond, and invited candid discussion. He emphasized that boys and girls and men and women who have been hurt in some manner (whether through what they have been taught or have observed, or from their own negative or unhappy experiences) often seek to hurt other people to achieve at least a short period of satisfaction from their ability to control another individual. After that presentation, Dr. Thomas gave a demonstration about practical ways to defend oneself against bullying and dangerous predators who seek to control those they feel are weak. He also spoke about and demonstrated common scams that constitute a different type of bullying approach. The support group enthusiastically invited Dr. Thomas to continue to work with them and support their efforts to empower seniors and help them feel safe and in control of their own lives.

Gazette.Net
Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seniors gain skills, confidence to stand against bullying
by Daniel Gross, Staff Writer

To stand against abuse and bullying toward seniors and equip residents with confidence, a Bladensburg support group held a motivational and instructional event for seniors Oct. 10 at the Bladensburg Community Center.

The Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence Support group brought Washington, D.C.-based motivational speaker Baron Howard and martial arts instructor Clifford Thomas to speak to a group of local seniors about ways to protect themselves and encouraged them to stand up against those who abuse senior citizens.

“The event was great. We had two fantastic speakers,” said Barbara Givens, executive director of the group. “We plan to do this again because both professionals were very good.”

Thomas, a Bladensburg resident, speaks to schools and organizations about bullying problems and regularly teaches Tae Kwon Do classes at the Bladensburg Community Center. He said the bullying prevention event was a great success.

“A lot of these seniors are locked up in their houses because they’re afraid to come out,” he said. “I think they gained sense of confidence. They learned from it. There was a lot of positive input.”

Thomas said bullying against seniors has been a growing problem in today’s society. He said the younger generation does not have the same respect toward seniors as they used to years ago.

During the event, seniors were specifically taught how to best use their cane or walker as a defense weapon and how to best avoid an attack or abusive situation.

Seniors gain skills, confidence to stand against bullying, October 27, 2011

By Daniel Gross, Staff Writer

To stand against abuse and bullying toward seniors and equip residents with confidence, a Bladensburg support group held a motivational and instructional event for seniors Oct. 10 at the Bladensburg Community Center.

The Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence Support group brought Washington, D.C.-based motivational speaker Baron Howard and martial arts instructor Clifford Thomas to speak to a group of local seniors about ways to protect themselves and encouraged them to stand up against those who abuse senior citizens.

During the event, seniors were specifically taught how to best use their cane or walker as a defense weapon and how to best avoid an attack or abusive situation.

Thomas said bullying against seniors has been a growing problem in today’s society. He said the younger generation does not have the same respect toward seniors as they used to years ago.

Thomas, a Bladensburg resident, speaks to schools and organizations about bullying problems and regularly teaches Tae Kwon Do classes at the Bladensburg Community Center. He said the bullying prevention event was a great success.

“The event was great. We had two fantastic speakers,” said Barbara Givens, executive director of the group. “We plan to do this again because both professionals were very good.”

“A lot of these seniors are locked up in their houses because they’re afraid to come out,” he said. “I think they gained sense of confidence. They learned from it. There was a lot of positive input.”

Explorations Unlimited, Greenbelt, Maryland, September 16, 2011

Dr. Thomas was invited again to Explorations Unlimited in Greenbelt, which is a series of informational seminars for seniors. His seminar was the first in a series of senior self-defense classes he will hold occasionally for the seniors at the Greenbelt Community Center. For the press coverage of his appearance, see page three, column two, at Greenbelt News Review, September 15, 2011.

Explorations Unlimited, Greenbelt, Maryland, January 21, 2011

Explorations Unlimited is a series of informational seminars for seniors held on Fridays at the Greenbelt Community Center. Dr. Thomas was invited to share his knowledge about self defense with a group of about 20 seniors on January 21. They represented well the name of the series, as they paid close attention to his demonstration of simple self-defense techniques and scams. They explored myriad aspects of both physical and mental self defense with their probing questions during the discussion portion of the seminar. They asked Dr. Thomas to return with some of his students to conduct interactive training classes because they want to be able to use what they have learned to their best advantage should they encounter people who would wish them harm. An instructional video, entitled Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems presents Saving the Seniors, was produced and will be shown on local Greenbelt television, as well as made available in the Ask the Expert archive video section, the video entitled Saving the Seniors. For the press coverage of his appearance, see page three, column four, at Greenbelt News Review, January 13, 2011.

Newspapers and Magazines - 2007

National Night Out, Coffield Community Center, Silver Spring, and Bladensburg's National Night Out, Bladensburg, Maryland, August 7, 2007

Dr. Clifford Thomas was a special guest at one of the Silver Spring (Montgomery County) National Nights Out. He underscored his commitment to the betterment of our local communities by demonstrating simple self-defense techniques and offering potentially life-saving tips to encourage citizens to be proactive should they be attacked by those intending to harm them. The large, enthusiastic crowd was reluctant to let him leave the stage in the main activity room of the Coffield Community Center. After the demonstration, Dr. Thomas was surprised and honored by Ms. Patricia Tyson, the program coordinator, who presented him with a special acknowledgment to mark the importance of his tireless community work. He was thanked for making "this an enjoyable evening to celebrate the absence of crime and the simple rules of safety for our protection and well being." He was also a guest at Bladensburg's National Night Out.

Click on this link for the full report of Bladensburg's 2007 National Night Out

"Instructing All Ages in Self Defense and More", March 2, 2007

From The Senior Beacon Newspaper

Volunteers & Careers

by Daniel Groner

For Dr. Clifford Thomas, martial arts teaches not just self defense, but a way of life. Thomas, 52, has studied both judo and tae kwon do since an early age, garnering awards, recognition and even black belt status. But his greatest honor, he says, stems from working with others -- from schoolchildren to seniors -- to show them how martial arts can improve their lives.

For the rest of the story, access the pdf file.

Newspapers and Magazines - 2006

"Pied Piper of Martial Arts Keeps Giving Back", August 5, 2006

From East of the River Magazine

Meet Your Neighbor: Dr. Clifford Thomas

by Michelle Phipps-Evans

When it comes to giving back to the community, Dr. Clifford Thomas is extraordinary. Despite his high profile and stellar accomplishments, the 52-year-old black belt martialartist has been active in the community using his skills to teach everyone, old and young. He has found a unique way of combining the various martial arts that he teaches to young people and seniors with skills that come in handy every day. He does not just offer pure self-defense classes, but he relates them to other facets of one’s life.

For the rest of the story, access the pdf file.

"Martial Arts Teacher Offers His Best to Community", May 18, 2006

  • "Martial Arts Teacher Offers His Best to Community"

From Port Towns Gazette

By Jeffrey K. Lyles, Staff Writer

Whether it’s thrusting a punch in self-defense or providing alternatives to violence for area youth, Clifford Thomas understands the importance of giving back. Thomas spends most of his time teaching self-defense classes at the Bladensburg and the West Lanham community centers. ‘‘I’ve probably been there for about 15 years,” Thomas said. ‘‘I’m just doing the thing I love doing. I love working with the kids and trying to make a difference in the community.”

Excerpted from "Campaign Trail Leads to Bladensburg’s Home for Seniors", April 20, 2006

From Port Towns Gazette

by Jeffrey K. Lyles, Staff Writer

Bladensburg's Emerson House senior residents had a demonstration from Dr. Clifford Thomas as part of Bladensburg Mayor Walter James' monthly breakfast. The breakfast was also attended by Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, Del. Victor Ramirez (D-Dist.47), and Jolene Ivy, candidate for one of the four District-47 delegate seats. Dr. Thomas spoke to the seniors about his ‘‘Saving the Seniors” street smarts program and demonstrated how seniors could use items they regularly keep on them, such as a cane or walker, to better protect themselves while out in the community. ‘‘Another way to keep our neighborhood safe is for you to be able to care of yourselves,” Thomas said. ‘‘I want to bring my talents to you.” Mayor James commended Dr. Thomas for his work with the seniors, citing the program as another example of the town’s proactive approach to improving the community.

Newspapers and Magazines - 2004

D.C. Residents Offered Services, Awareness and a Live Concert, September 25, 2004

  • D.C. Residents Offered Services, Awareness and a Live Concert
Photo by Roy Lewis

By Nancee Lyons, Washington Informer Contributing Writer

The District hosted its second “Bet You Didn’t Know” Information Fair Saturday, September 25, 2004. The block party-styled event offered some 300 residents free health and dental screenings, information and giveaways from a variety of government, private and faith-based organizations. Residents also had a chance to enter a raffle to win a free color TV set or a backpack filled with school supplies.

“We’re bringing our business to you to serve you better,” said Yvonne Gilchrist, Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS), the lead agency for this event. Gilchrist joined Neil Albert, the Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth, Families and Elders as well as other agency heads within the DC Government Human Services Cluster at the event. “We know that connecting residents to the services and information you need will make a positive impact on our community.”

Recording artist Sugar Bear and his Go-Go band “EU” performed a live concert for the crowd, which rocked to the sound of the homegrown rhythm.

Children and adults were exposed to a variety of workshops and demonstrations. A major attraction was the Tae Kwon Doe Ramblers, a 34-year old martial arts youth group headed by Dr. Cliff Thomas. The Ramblers is a holistic program that teaches D.C. youth the art of self-defense, as well as discipline, safety, self-esteem and more.

“Everybody thinks martial arts is violent but it’s not,” said Dr. Thomas, a black belt with martial arts PhD degrees from Oxford University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan. Thomas coached a team that went onto win an Olympic medal in 1989. “We teach children how to protect themselves but we also teach anger management, peer pressure and child safety to make them aware of molestation and kidnapping.”

Dr. Thomas holds his program at the Kenilworth Recreation Center in Southeast, an area of D.C. that for years has been riddled with violence and drugs. He wanted the program to be a positive force in the community and didn’t back down when drug dealers tried to run the program out of the community, he said. In fact, soon, they were enrolling their children into his program. In 2002, Thomas was honored by a presidential award, which was announced by a personal telephone call from President George and Laura Bush.

Community information fairs have become a critical and widely used vehicle in the District as sometimes they are only way to get information and services out to the communities that need them most.

“We recognize that some of the most vulnerable population falls within our agency but many are not taking advantage of services they are qualified for because they feel disenfranchised,” said Rufus Mayfield, coordinator of the DHS Community Outreach Division, which heads up the coordination of the fairs.

The first information fair, held at Edgewood Terrace in Northeast attracted more than 800 people, although Mayfield noted that he was hoping to see more than 1,000. The Benning Terrace fair was expected to draw a smaller crowd, made all the smaller because the event competed against the WKYS “Back to School Jam” held in nearby PG County. He hopes to have an impressive turnout for the remaining affairs and was able to get the D.C. Department ofTransportation to offer free baby car seats to eligible residents who attend the fairs.

“When you talk to residents you can see a great hope in some,” said Mayfield who said the fairs’ greatest accomplishment has been the ability to bring so many agencies underone umbrella. “ Many of the residents are glad to see us here paying some specialized attention to them. But then you can see the despair and hopelessness in others.”

The final fair will be held on October 16th at the Marie Reed Learning Center (2200 Champlain Street, NW) from 10am-3pm.

The Human Services Cluster agencies include the Department of Human Services, the D.C. Public Library, the Child and Family Services agency, the Department of Health, the Department ofMental Health, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Office on Human Rights, and theOffice on Aging. 

Scores of businesses and community groups also participated in the event including Chartered Health Plan, Inc., Healthy Babies, the Community Preservation and Development Corporation,Benning Terrace Resident Council, East of the River Clergy, Amerigroup, The Alliance of Concerned Men and the US Attorney’s Office.