Announcing OCU’s New Executive Director

One Common Unity is thrilled to welcome Kim Y. Jones as its next Executive Director following a unanimous vote by the Board of Directors. Jones, an experienced nonprofit leader and advocate for children and families, will begin her new role on November 1st.

“Kim’s leadership and vision to elevate One Common Unity’s innovative programming as a national model for youth healing and violence prevention will take our organization to new heights,” said Sheherazade Jafari, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Her career success building community organizations and decades of dedication to the youth of Washington, DC will steer our next chapter.” 

Jones joins One Common Unity at a pivotal time. As education systems nationwide grapple with pandemic-related learning loss, teaching shortages, and increased demand for mental health services, One Common Unity offers a proven model for arts education, violence prevention, youth leadership, and mental wellness. 84% of the program’s youth leaders graduate high school, outpacing the 69% average across DC.

“As a native Washingtonian raised in Ward 7, I know the value that supportive community programs bring to young people and the schools that serve them,” said Jones. “Our children deserve boundless opportunities to succeed. It is an honor to take the helm of an organization poised to close gaps in access to mental healthcare and provide positive pathways for youth development.”

Jones follows Hawah Kasat, OCU’s founding Executive Director, who began the organization in 2000. Jeffery Franco served as Interim Executive Director from November 2021 to October 2022.

About Kim Y. Jones

Kim Y. Jones is an experienced nonprofit executive and an attorney focused on public interest law. In her most recent role as Executive Director of the Washington School of Psychiatry and the Eugene Meyer Treatment Center, she streamlined operations in the 86-year-old organization providing professional education, training, and a wide range of mental health services. 

Jones served as Executive Director of the Advocacy Center of Louisiana, and Executive Director of Advocates for Justice and Education, which she founded in 1996. She has been involved in the conceptualization and founding of several other nonprofits, including School Talk, the DC Alliance for Youth Advocates, Asian American LEAD, the Columbia Heights Family Support Collaborative, Friends of the Anacostia Public Library, and countless other initiatives.

Jones serves on the Board of Directors of the McClendon Center, which provides wraparound services that address primary care needs and social issues, and Cybertorial, an organization that provides awareness and education on cybersecurity to underrepresented groups. Her impact on the local community has been recognized by the Exponent Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership, conferred by the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and the Advocate Justice Award, conferred by the David A. Clark School of Law. 

She is passionate about nonprofit leadership development and has been coordinating the Black Female Executives of Washington, DC since 2020, an organization supporting the professional development of Black Female nonprofit leaders.

Jones holds a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University and a Juris Doctorate from the District of Columbia School of Law, now the David A. Clark School of Law at UDC. She is a member of the DC Bar. Jones is the mother of two, including a school-aged daughter. 

About One Common Unity

For more than 20 years, One Common Unity’s (OCU) high-impact, holistic programming has engaged over 35,000 youth, families, and educators in the DC area to lead a shift away from violence through in-school and after-school programs, mental health services, citywide campaigns, teacher trainings, family engagement sessions, community concerts, and art showcases.

One Common Unity builds compassionate, healthy communities through the transformative power of music, arts, and peace education. The organization places highly skilled artist-facilitators and mental health therapists in DC schools to improve students’ behavioral health outcomes and provide trauma-informed care.

One Common Unity’s flagship prevention program, Fly By Light, trains the next generation of youth leaders in social-emotional literacy and non-violent communication. Intention Rooms, the organization’s innovative model for restorative justice, offers an effective strategy to prevent in- and out-of-school suspensions and break the school-to-prison pipeline.

Founded in 2000 out of concern for the epidemic of violence in Washington, DC, and the United States, today One Common Unity’s arts education and strengths-based youth programming has evolved to offer mental wellness, conflict resolution, leadership development, and community engagement opportunities in safe, culturally appropriate settings.

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