MVK Program Brings Joy to DJS Youth and Staff

Staff at the Redskins game

The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) is thankful to have amazing and valuable partnerships with many organizations in the community. A great example of this is with Most Valuable Kids, Inc. (MVK), a nonprofit organization out of Washington, D.C. For two years, MVK has consistently created opportunities for DJS youth to experience live entertainment and sporting events in the Baltimore and D.C. communities. These experiences are used as rewards and incentives for our young people; each event provides a moment of joy and excitement that they would not otherwise experience. It creates a childhood memory that will undoubtedly be remembered throughout his or her life. As a result of the DJS/MVK partnership, the youth have had the opportunity to attend Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins games, Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles games, and Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics games. In addition, some youth experienced the Ringling Bros Circus and went to a sold-out Taylor Swift concert. There have been so many opportunities, so many memories, and all priceless.

In the last two years, DJS has received 1811 tickets which have a total value of $27,402.17. In 2015 alone, the agency has received 704 tickets from MVK which have a value of $10,186.54.

In addition to the sporting and live events, The MVK partnership has also allowed DJS youth to attend educational events. MVK and PWC sponsored approximately 100 students for a two-day workshop on financial literacy and personal branding. Of the 100 youth that attended, 50 were from DJS. The group was taught lessons on credit and debt, budgeting and how to create a personal brand to stand out from the crowd. The youth also had the opportunity to get on the basketball court at the Verizon Center and practice skills and drills, as well as, hear from a former Washington Wizard. When asked for their comments about the program, one DJS youth who attended stated, "This program made me think a lot about myself and my future because I didn't really think much about my personality and how I carry myself. They helped with my future because they made me see that there is more than one way to go through life than just not doing anything."

MVK's mission is to offer children's organizations access to professional and collegiate sports and entertainment events through ticket donation and reward system. MVK serves nonprofit, the military and their families, as well as children in low income and underserved households. All groups that would not otherwise be able to experience a live event because of the high cost associated with tickets.

According their website, "MVK overcomes the financial obstacles associated with live events by distributing unused tickets to children that would enjoy the opportunity to go to an event, but would otherwise not be able to because of the high costs associated with tickets. These tickets are distributed to boys and girls, 18 and under, through the numerous organizations that focus on children in low-income and under-served households."

"Having the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services as a part of Most Valuable Kids has been so rewarding for our staff and organization," says MVK Program Director Rachel Southall. "We are so thrilled to continue to reward and recognize those who truly deserve the opportunity!"

DJS would like to thank Most Valuable Kids, Inc. for making possible these awesome first time experiences for our DJS youth. After each event, the youth get a chance to express their gratitude to MVK by writing thank you letters. Below is a letter from DJS Staff attending a game with youth.

Most Valuable Kids Program,

We struggle to express our thanks for the generosity you extended with the baseball tickets for our youth. It was powerful to see them so elated and "kid-like" at the National's game. They were in the right place; young men at a baseball game, having a great time with people whom they are safe with and who care about them. We wish we could see that side of them more often. Moreover, we hope they can see that side of the world and that side of themselves more often. Too commonly our youth are trapped in negative, disheartening environments. For a short while, we saw them lifted from that place, and we saw them dreaming, exposed to possibilities in their own futures. It was a beautiful thing. With your help, we hope to see that again soon. Thank you!

Thank you again,
DJS Staff

MVK Events Photo Album