Abrina Luke-Scales, Howard University News Service
Washington D.C– Ayris Scales is currently the Chief Service Officer for Washington D.C. under Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s administration. It is her job to promote and create opportunities to give back to Washington D.C. Scales has an extensive background surrounding community service. In 2013 Scales was the deputy director for The Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI).
DCPNI is located in Ward 7’s Kenilworth neighborhood. She was responsible for a budget of $28 million from the US Department of Education. The money was used to invest in schools, families, and partners to disrupt generational poverty through education. Forty percent of families in Kenilworth are living below the poverty level and the neighborhood is 98% African American.
Scales describes giving back to her community as a must.
“It takes a collective approach to give back to the community and thus leveraging the networks I have obtained help contribute to society.”
Nia Lancaster, a resident from Kenilworth recalls being involved in after-school programs funded by DCPNI.
“The after-school program allowed me to do productive things with my time. It helped me become more organized. The initiative cared about us.” Scales discussed the significance of offering in and out of school time programs for the children. “I love knowing that the kids have something constructive and positive to do with their time,” Lancaster said.
DCPNI has had a direct impact on approximately 2,600 youth, who were served by over 40 different partners that brought services to the community.
Former development director David Jannarone praised Scales.
“Ayris Scales has a really unique ability to understand the needs of the community and being an advocate for the people who need help the most in Ward 7.” Scales is a resident of Ward 7 and makes it known that the ward will not be overlooked.
Scales also serves as the president of the National Coalition for 100 Black Women D.C. Chapter. Scales has made a commitment to mentoring, raising money, and investing in local businesses. The chapter works hard to create advocating programs that close economic disparities. Under Scales’s leadership, the D.C. Chapter has been recognized as the model chapter.
Editors Note: The author Abriana Luke-Scales is related to Ayris Scales