A positive force in our community—and beyond.

Since our founding in 2000, One Common Unity has directly impacted the lives of youth throughout Washington, DC, and inspired countless others across the country. This is our impact to date:

  • 35,000+ youth and families served
  • 12,000+ teachers trained
  • 85 concerts, festivals and arts showcases hosted
  • 19 films, PSAs and music videos produced
  • 52 DC schools with Fly By Light programs

Measuring Impact

Our five-year impact study, completed in 2015, indicates that 84% of our students graduated from high school and 0% of our participants served time in juvenile detention, jail, or prison. 71.4% of our graduates reported holding the same job for more than six months, and 83% reported taking on more leadership roles than before participating in the program.

FBL Youth Testimonial

“Fly By Light has helped me go to college and express myself. The program has helped me open up to people.

— Fly By Light Alum

Awards & Recognition

  • In 2014, the National Park Service named Fly By Light "America's Best Idea."
  • In 2016, OCU received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in the Humanities, one of the most prestigious honors granted to a non-profit organization operating in Washington, DC.
  • “Fly By Light,” a documentary film about our unique program, has traveled to 16 international film festivals including South By Southwest (SXSW), has been viewed by tens of thousands of people and received several awards, including the audience choice award at the Boulder Life International Film Festival.
  • National news outlets CNN and Al Jazeera, and local news outlets CBS, ABC, and FOX News recognized and covered OCU for our innovative community development initiatives and youth programming.
  • Since 2000, our youth, in collaboration with our artistic staff, have professionally produced five musical CDs and three documentary films.
  • In 2018—and every year thereafter—the Catalogue for Philanthropy has selected OCU as “one of the best” non-profit organizations in DC.
  • In 2018, One Common Unity was awarded the National SHIFT Award for their pioneering work in integrating the healing arts and social-emotional learning with environmental stewardship.
  • In 2019, Georgetown University awarded our co-founder and Executive Director, Hawah Kasat, the “John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award” in recognition of our work continuing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to service and transformational change.
  • In 2021, OCU’s latest documentary film, The Melody Lingers On, premiered at the International Social Change Film Festival, and was awarded “Best Documentary Short Film” at the Hamilton Black Film Festival

Stories of Impact

STORY #20 – The Melody Lingers On

November 4, 2021

In early 2015, a colleague invited me to see “Fly By Light,” a new film premiering at a local community spot in Washington, DC. Once I saw the movie trailer, I jumped at the opportunity to see it.

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STORY #18: OCU’s “DC-Deep” Model

July 29, 2021

“It is so thrilling to start with a small idea or concept, then to come together and combine our strengths and resources to create something bigger and more beautiful than we could have imagined.”~ Michele, OCU School-Based Mental Health Clinician One Common Unity (OCU) and DCPS’ Perry Street Preparatory (PSP) Public Charter School began a…

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We are Celebrating 20 Years of Service with 20 Stories of Impact

August 7, 2020

When I contemplate telling 20 stories about One Common Unity (OCU) that span over the past 20 years, I think: we have to know our history. We have to remember, always, why we started this work and why we continue this work. When we are grounded in our history, we make sure we keep learning,…

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