Category Archives: Cause

Guest Post: Parents & Kids Can Get Involved in Moms Demand Action Together


[Note: This is a Guest Post contributed by Rachel Usdan, the DC Chapter Leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. And I did not make her write that first line. 🙂 ]

I am a big fan of the KidFriendly DC blog, reading it regularly since my children were born to plan out our weekly adventures in the DC area. I have always tried to teach my children about current events in a kid-friendly way, too, and to include them in civic-minded activities like taking them in the voting booth with me to help press the buttons and get their “I voted” sticker.

Two years ago, when I learned that my then 3-year-old was enduring active shooter drills in his pre-K classroom, I realized that he already knew more about gun violence than I had hoped. So, I have also involved my children in gun violence prevention activism since I started volunteering for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. It’s actually not surprising that a movement started by moms (but open to dads, grandmas, and everyone else, too!) is in fact very kid-friendly.

Are you interested in getting involved in Moms Demand Action with your children? Here are a few activities that parents and kids of all ages can have fun doing together:

Wear Orange Picnic
Wear Orange is National Gun Violence Awareness weekend. The community building event takes place in June every year. Last month DC Moms Demand Action came together for a family-friendly picnic in Anacostia Park with a survivor speaker, a voter registration table, food, face painting, kites, giant Jenga, and Frisbees.

Tabling at Community Events
We do tabling for a variety of reasons. It’s a great way to talk to people in the community about gun violence prevention, educate them on the Be Smart program, describe ways that they can get involved with Moms Demand Action, and even directly help them register to vote. We had a table at the Garfield Community Day block party in Ward 8 last week, where we talked to parents, grandparents, and community leaders about the gun violence affecting their lives. I brought my 6-year-old with me, convincing him that he could be my helper and that there might be a popsicle in it for him at the end. Not only was he excellent at applying temporary tattoos to other kids’ arms, he also had a total blast playing Frisbee with a police officer, getting soaked in the huge stream of water from a fire hose, and gobbling up a quickly melting popsicle.

Moms Demand Action is going to do tabling at the H Street Festival on September 15. We are also planning to do tabling several other times this fall specifically to register voters. You can Like or Follow the Moms Demand Action – DC Facebook Page and Text READY to 64433 to stay posted on upcoming events.

Canvassing for Gun Sense Political Candidates
We started young with our children and took them on daytrips to nearby Virginia to canvass when they were infants. With preschoolers, we made sure to pack lots of snacks and mapped out a playground pitstop to get some of their (and our) wiggles out in between door knocking. I’ll never forget when my then 5-year-old son decided to impersonate Hillary Clinton while he knocked on doors (“Knock, knock, this is Hillary Clinton at your door!”). With older children, tweens, and teens, the motivation might not be a playground or a snack, but they would be old enough to make a fun game out of seeing which parent/child team can get through the door-knocking list first.

The DC chapter of Moms Demand Action will be joining up with the chapter in neighboring Virginia to help with their canvassing events throughout the fall to help elect gun sense candidates — because a safer VA is a safer DC. We may also work with chapters in nearby Maryland and Pennsylvania depending on candidate needs and volunteer capacity.

Activities that parents can do with teens:

DC Chapter Meetings
We typically hold meetings once a month. Our next one is taking place Sunday, July 15, 4-6pm, at We Act Radio (1918 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE). We will hear from Ron Moten, an Urban Violence Prevention Specialist and DC Community Organizer. RSVP and read more about it here!

Gun Sense Action Network
Are you and your teens looking for the most effective way for DC residents to influence gun sense legislation? Join the Gun Sense Action Network, a phone calling program that you can do from the convenience of your home. Our chapter is also planning to hold several phonebanking parties in the upcoming months to help elect gun sense candidates in the midterm elections. Again, you can Like/Follow the Moms Demand Action – DC Facebook Page and text READY to 64433 to stay up to date as we finalize these events.

Attending Hearings on the Hill
We are uniquely positioned here in the nation’s capital such that when the House or the Senate holds a hearing on a piece of gun safety legislation, the DC, VA, and MD chapters of Moms Demand Action throw on our red shirts and head to the Hill to let our lawmakers know we are following how they vote on these lifesaving laws. I think older kids would be fine attending hearings. They can be long and boring, but a child could bring coloring or another quiet activity. I’ve seen young children as well, but most are usually being entertained by an iPad with earphones (just FYI).

Students Demand Action
If you have a teen aged 14+ who is motivated to be involved on their own and with their friends, invite them to join the DC chapter of Students Demand Action! Many tweens and teens have begun to take this movement to the next level by forming chapters of Students Demand Action in cities and states across the US. Here in DC, high school students from across the city had their very first DC Students Demand Action meeting in June. They have jumped right in and have already created a Facebook Page and an Instagram account. They will be involved when the March for Our Lives Road to Change Bus Tour stops in DC on August 5, and are starting to plan other actions specifically for local students. Students can join by texting STUDENTS to 64433.

You can also help some of their efforts by donating to a GoFundMe campaign created by Lauryn Renford, an amazing DC Students Demand Action leader. She is raising money for a mural to memorialize DC youth who have been killed by gun violence, including her boyfriend, Zaire Kelly. She has already commissioned artists, found a wall, and received permission from the city. All she needs is enough money.

You can also help support the efforts of the Moms Demand Action DC Chapter, by making a contribution. Funds help support our work on the Hill and in the local community. We are a 501(c)3 organization.

To learn more about the gun violence epidemic in America visit Everytown for Gun Safety.

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Rachel Usdan is the DC Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She lives in DC with her children and husband. When she isn’t being an engineer or a volunteer, she likes to do arts & crafts projects and eat dark chocolate.

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Wear Orange & Help Prevent Gun Violence at Moms Demand Action’s Annual Event


As I share information about Moms Demand Action’s upcoming Wear Orange picnic, I want to note that this post was planned well before the tragic school shooting in Texas last week. I’m noting this to stress that my post — and more importantly, this event — isn’t a reaction to a single incident. It’s a response to a multitude of them and a culture of gun violence that is becoming all too pervasive in our society and in our children’s lives.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a national grassroots organization that advocates for common sense gun legislation on every level of political engagement. Among their efforts, and one of their biggest campaigns, is Wear Orange Day. This gun violence prevention awareness campaign was inspired by friends of Hadiya Pendleton, a high school student killed by gunfire in 2012. They decided to honor her life by wearing orange on her birthday — it’s the color worn by hunters in the woods to protect themselves and others from gunfire. For the 4th year, Moms Demand Action will commemorate gun violence victims by hosting Wear Orange events all over the country.

The DC Chapter is hosting a picnic at Anacostia Park on Saturday, June 2, from 11am – 1pm. The community is invited and encouraged to join the free event that include survivor speakers along with food, games, and friendship. RSVP here to let them know you’ll be going!

And for more about the Moms Demand Action and how to get involved, read this post about my first chapter meeting.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, Cause, DC, Free, Outdoor, Special Event, Spring, Weekend

Support Local Youth and Have a Blast at the BEST Kids, Inc. Superhero 5K & Fun Run (+ KFDC Discount)!



On April 21st, BEST Kids, Inc., a one-on-one mentoring program contracted under CFSA for 150 youth in DC’s foster care system, is hosting its 6th annual Superhero 5K/Fun Run at Hains Point! The race celebrates the heroic supporters that positively impact the lives of the DC’s youth and raises money to support the year-round mentoring program.

Be prepared to enjoy the scenic waterfront area while running along a flat, stroller-friendly course that is suitable for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. Prizes will be awarded to top finishers for adults and youth, as well as for top fundraisers and best costumes. Roads will close promptly at 7:45am as the 5K race begins at 8am. The 1⁄2 mile kids’ Fun Run will begin at 9am and family activities will be taking place throughout the morning.

Registration is $45, but KFDC readers can get a special discount of $30 using the code KIDFRIENDLY2018sign up here!

And visit the BEST Kids website to learn more about their organization and mentoring programs.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, Cause, Competition, DC, Discount, Fundraiser, Outdoor, Special Event, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: March 23-25

Marching for these two and ALL kids this weekend



Get ready for a big weekend in DC! And, as always, Happy Weekend!

March For Our Lives
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-12th St NW | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 12pm
Admission: Free

On Saturday, kids, families, and supporters of the movement to end gun violence will take to the streets in communities across the country to demand that their lives and safety become a priority. The March For Our Lives here in DC is the main event — student speakers, musical performers, guest speakers, and video tributes are part of the day’s schedule. This is an important event — it’s about our kids, and their future — and I encourage all to attend! This post has information to help plan for it, and there have been updates since I first posted it, so be sure to see what’s new.

Trapeze School Staff Showcase
Where: Trapeze School of New York (DC) | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 8pm
Admission: $7

Start off the weekend with some high flying thrills! Trapeze School of New York (DC) is having their student and staff showcase on Friday evening. All ages will love seeing the flying trapeze, aerial silks, Spanish web, and more! Tickets are available here — select March 23 from the dropdown menu and ‘IFW Show’ from the options. Doors open at 7:30pm, and the show is approximately 1.5 hours long.

Bloomia Field of Tulips
Where: The Park at CityCenterDC | Downtown DC
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

Spring into the season with DC’s very own Tulip Festival! For two days only, The Park at CityCenter will be filled with more than 40,000 tulips per day. Entry into the garden is free, and you can take a piece of spring home with you for $1/stem. Every purchase made supports DC Central Kitchen.

Cherry Blossom Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get Cherry Blossom season started at this celebration of Japanese culture. A taiko drumming performance will kick off the day, followed by Japanese music and a US premiere of Okinawa’s NS Ryukyu Ballet Company — their adventurous style interweaves classical dance with modern ballet and martial arts, highlighting cultural traditions of the region. Also enjoy face painting, make cherry blossom crafts, and go on a spring-themed scavenger hunt. Meet the 2018 Official Festival Artist Maggie O’Neill, local DC artist, designer, and creative entrepreneur, and join her for a hands-on workshop in our Luce Foundation Center.

Egg-Cellent Celebrations
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by event

Egg hunts, bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season are happening all around the area. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs for your whole gang. Enjoy loads of festivities at Ticonderoga Farm or Butler’s Orchard. Find a great nature-themed activity at NoVa Parks. Take a special Bunny Train Ride. Fill a basket at an Eggstravagnza. Or find another egg-cellent event where you can celebrate here.

DC Baby Show
Where: Washington Convention Center | Mount Vernon, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $20/person, $30/family (see discount below)

Explore all of your favorite baby and children’s brands all in one place; connect with beloved influencers from the world of parenting and pregnancy; see, touch and feel the very products you’ve read about on blogs, liked on Instagram, or pinned on Pinterest. Planned with you in mind, the DC Baby Show is a family-friendly, mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler from over 200 top brands, to trusted parenting and pregnancy influencers, to exceptional fun, bonding and support. Register using promo code KIDFRIENDLY50 and save 50% on tickets!

Spirit Riding Free Launch Party
Where: Woodland Horse Center | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 12-2pm
Admission: Free

Giddy Up! Join a party to celebrate the Season 4 launch of Spirit Riding Free which started March 16. Enjoy an afternoon full of complimentary horseback riding lessons, barn tours, face painting, treats, giveaways, and more.
Guests must be at least ages 5 and up for the horseback riding lessons. Rain or shine!

Refuge System Birthday Bash
Where: National Wildlife Visitors Center | Laurel, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the work of 566 wildlife refuges across the US and its territories at the annual Refuge System Birthday Bash. This year’s theme is Awareness & Action, and the Refuge will be sharing ways to help wildlife through crafts, games, educational activities, and Environmental Film Festival. The National Wildlife Visitor Center is located at 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop in Laurel, MD.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: March 24, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship, such as the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan to the US. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Show Time
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is still on stage at Adventure Theatre
* Reserve free tickets for Bright Star Theatre’s The Velveteen Rabbit, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance
* The Kennedy Center presents Waves, all that Glows Sees
* Ease on down the road to Ford’s Theatre for The Wiz
* Little ones will love Balloonacy at Imagination Stage
* Catch a fairytale classic as The Puppet Co. presents Beauty and the Beast
* And Mother Goose Caboose is the Tiny Tots performance for littles there on Saturday

Peter and the Wolf
Where: THEARC | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $30+

The children’s orchestral classic comes to life in an engaging artistic collaboration with The Washington Ballet Studio Company and the DC Youth Orchestra Program. Best known as a children’s introduction to music and instruments, the addition of dance enriches the story as the tale of Peter comes to life in a tantalizing visual and musical tale that will inspire and enchant those of all ages. The program will also include a performance by The Washington Ballet @THEARC Performance Ensemble.

Big Apple Circus
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Through April 1
Tickets: $25-59 (look for a discount)

The Big Apple Circus is in town and celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season, featuring stunts never before seen under the big top. Known for its one-ring, artistic, European-style, no seat is more than 50 feet from the performers. That’s perfect for viewing some first-ever feats for the Circus along with fan favorites. Hire wire acts, contortionists, bicycle acrobatics, hilarious clowns, and doggie dances are some of thrills and fun you can expect. Read a review of one of our past experiences at a Big Apple Circus show.

Celebrate La Francophonie
Where: Bonjour Mama | Kensington, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: $9

March is the month of the Francophonie! Join Bonjour Mama for a celebration as teacher and musician Achille Ango plays and sings songs and stories in French from his native Cameroon. Music will be followed by a light snack and theme-related craft/activity. Ideal for children ages 1-6.  Advance purchase of tickets is required.

Muppet Babies Play Date
Where: Arundel Mills | Hanover, MD
When: Saturday, 12pm
Admission: Free

Arundel Mills invites the community to a “Muppet Babies”-themed Disney Junior Play Date event to celebrate the premiere of Disney Junior’s reimagined “Muppet Babies” on March 23. Families can enjoy a variety of activities including a Color Bingo Game, craft projects and face painting. The fun starts at noon in the Center Court at Neighborhood 4. This event does not include live character appearances.

Blacks in Wax
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: Free

Iconic figures will be brought to life through performances by the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center (SETLC) tennis youth scholars for the 12th Annual Blacks in Wax. This creative production of vignettes educates and entertains all ages through dance, music, and drama. Each year young performers breathe new life into American heroes from the worlds of sports, entertainment, activism, politics and literature. This year’s theme, “The Power of One,” shines a spotlight on individuals who spoke truth to power and ignited a movement; a celebration of those who with their words and actions took a stand for others.

Make Room for Matzah
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC | Downtown DC
When: 10:30 am – 12pm
Admission: $10/family by 3/23, $15/family at door

Join DCJCC for hands-on Passover activities including crafts, cooking, stories, and doing a mitzvah (good deed) project. It’s a perfect morning for Jewish and interfaith families with children ages 3 and older. Sign up by March 23, and it’s just $10 for your family. All registrations after March 23 will be $15/family and can be paid at the door.

John Wilmerding Community Celebration of American Art
Where: National Galery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 11am to 6pm
Admission: Free

What’s your American story? Join the National Gallery of Art on Sunday for a celebration of American art and storytelling. Highlights include an original “Story Chorus” performance designed and lead by DC artist Holly Bass, a collaborative “sidewalk” project that asks participants to draw and write together, and engaging pop-up experiences with local educators and artists.

DIY Zone Workshop
Where: Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center | Hyattsville, MD
When: Sunday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Anyone can make a zine: all you need is some paper, a writing utensil, copy machine, and a desire to create. Meet the artists from not too high, not too low and learn how to get started designing your very own self-published, no rules art piece. Join DC’s long tradition of DIY, counterculture art at this free, walk-in workshop open to all ages.

Happy Nappy Storytelling & Kids Yoga
Where: Sankofa Video & Books | Shaw, DC
Whne: Sunday, 2-4
Admission: Free

Sankofa Video & Books invites children to strengthen their minds, bodies, and imaginations at Happy Nappy Storytelling! Kids can unwind with an age-appropriate yoga class sponsored by Twist and Turns Body Fitness, followed by an engaging story hour that features characters from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Yoga mats are provided. Yoga begins at 2 p.m. and storytelling starts at 3.  Recommended for ages 4-6.

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

If you want to get out of the crowded city and get a dose of nature, hit the trail! See spring buds getting ready to bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and savor the time outdoors. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods with the kids.

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Sakura Yume // Cherry Blossom Dream, the newest installation at ARETCHOUSE is sold out this weekend, a good indication that you should reserve tickets for future dates!
* A Kickstarter just launched for This & That Lunch Kit by Lunch Squares, a product that will invite and excite kids to actively participate in preparing their school lunch and making it healthy and fun. And it was started by a local mom!
* Looking for a tween read for your middle schooler? Owen (6th grade) recently read this book for school and really enjoyed it.
* The RBG documentary coming out in May looks like a must-see.
* So does the one about Mr. Rogers opening in June. (Warning: Even the trailer requires tissues.)

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, Art, Cause, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend