So What Else helps DC-area children Pay It Forward to their communities

- An extraordinary program is helping under-served children in the D.C. area to strengthen their communities through service-learning enrichment.

So What Else is a nonprofit that was started by Dave Silbert and Bob Schless and it aims to help children and their communities through after school and summer school programming.

It provides 40-plus hours of after-school programs across the region, connecting 1,000 volunteers with nearly 60 projects, all with the hope that the children will go on to Pay It Forward themselves.

“The name is actually a little bit of a joke, an inside joke between us,” Schless explained. “When we started we really didn’t know where we were going to focus so we’d call other organizations in the area and ask ‘What can we do to help?’ And it just kind of stuck.”

So What Else takes an innovative and holistic approach to its programming, teaching children skills while improving their communities. One project involved children building a park bench out of recyclables and trash they helped to collect at a park, while another included the children making art for sick children in the hospital.

“I really think that all kids are in need and some are in desperation. Our programming is set up so that it’s free so we like to go after the kids who need it the most,” Silbert described. “We are humanitarians and activists by nature so we want to go to the areas where kids are dealing with parents working incredible hours and trauma in some of the communities.”

FOX 5 and Easterns Automotive Group teamed up to help Pay It Forward to So What Else by presenting Silbert and Schless with a $1,500 check, which will send help five children to their camp, plus yoga mats, plenty of snacks and $200 for a Christmas pizza party.

To learn more about So What Else and their mission, click here.

If you know someone who should be featured on Pay It Forward, you can nominate them here. In your email, be sure to include who they are and why they deserve to be recognized.

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