It's electric.

On this episode of the DCFYI Digest, we spoke with Peggy Aulino about her involvement with DCFYI and the Establishing Roots fundraiser.

DCFYI: Can you just introduce yourself and share how you found DCFYI?

Peggy: My name is Peggy and I found DCFYI when I was volunteering with a different organization that involved youth in DC. So, I was already kind of tied up being a volunteer. But, right away, I was intrigued by the by the organization because of how it's designed. I think it's really a cool way to get teens involved with adults either as just role models or people who might be interested in adoption and things like that.

DCFYI: What would you say the fundraiser means to you, or what's the most impactful part of the event?

Peggy: What it means to me as someone who hasn't volunteered and been through the training is, it's a nice way for someone who's kind of busy elsewhere to support the organization without having to sign up for hours on the calendar, which when I first learned about the organization, I definitely couldn't do. The thing I really like about going to the fundraiser is and it almost feels kind of selfish because I feel like I get to go and see all the achievements and all that. I understand I'm contributing financially, and I understand that's important, but I’m more of a doer. And so, it's always kind of a treat. It's like getting instant gratification to just show up and see these success stories. So, it feels a little, I guess, indulgent in that way. But yeah, I always like the programing. You hear these success stories and, you know what young people have been able to achieve.

DCFYI: Do you have a favorite year of attendance? And why?

Peggy: Probably the first one. I couldn't even tell you what year it was. Apologies, but just the first time being exposed to the excitement and the giddiness as one of the youth will have to speak in front of a group of adults. And I imagine that's going to be daunting. It's like electric. It is a little nervousness running around. So that's kind of really fun to see. I guess I had already been to some events, DCFYI overlapped with some of the work I was doing. And so, I had already been aware of how the group functions. The whole thing that kind of blows me away is that everybody knows Ms. Susan and she knows everybody. You know, she's almost more like on the level of the ground floor or social worker and it's just nice to see how much of an influence she's had and how clearly she's committed to this. She's like a kid magnet just in terms of the young people looking up to her. It’s just good to see that she's clearly made a huge impact on a lot of lives. I think the ripple effect will continue for a long time. I say that because I was mentoring a youth who wasn't involved in the program. She was very helpful and bouncing ideas and generous with her time. I've called her for advice on a number of occasions and so yeah, she's a real champ.

DCFYI: If someone was wondering if they should come to the event come, what would you say to try to convince them to come to Establishing Roots?

Peggy: Establishing Roots is a lot of fun. It's casual. There are games involved. I mean, when people hear bring your checkbook, that can be a turn off. But, you know, there's wonderful things donated. And as I mentioned earlier, just listening to the teens, it really just inspires continued support, in my opinion. Lots of interesting people. People mingle very freely. So, if you're outgoing, it's a good time to just chat with people and hear life stories. The food's always good. I think it's an enjoyable night and certainly for a very good cause.

DCFYI: Would you mind sharing why you continue to sponsor or support DCFYI in that way?

Peggy: I've felt very privileged to be part of the life of young people who really have had lousy hands dealt to them as children. And as we know, early childhood education, nutrition, there's all kinds of ways that a child can be potentially limited in life if they don't get certain breaks that some of us take for granted. To that extent, I see it as an investment in my community, helping the helpers who are guardian angels for children who have kind of different sorts of needs in life certainly than what I was raised with. The other thing is, I mean, the more you give, the more you do get. And so, I feel like having a little bit of extra money is a some good karma I can throw out into the world.

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