For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (June 19, 2019) – On the Juneteenth commemoration, Pepco and Living Classrooms, celebrated a ribbon cutting ceremony to open a Community Center at the newly restored James C. Dent House in southwest, Washington, D.C. The Community Center will deliver hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education, workforce development programming and other enrichment activities serving families and residents of all ages residing in Ward 6. As part of Pepco's efforts to support the communities it serves, the company restored the house and will support Living Classrooms' youth and adult education programming serving members of the community.
"Pepco has powered economies, connected communities, and worked toward securing a safe and brighter future for our customers for more than 120 years," said Dave Velazquez, president and CEO, Pepco Holdings. "Knowing the historical significance of the James C. Dent House, it was important for us to find a way to again make it a central part of the community. This historic landmark represents not just a flashback to late-19th and early-20th century living in the District, but also that spirit of resiliency, which was ever present in its original owner James C. Dent and now lives on through our partnership with Living Classrooms in this community-based center to serve families residing in Ward 6."
Initially, the Dent House will offer a workforce training program, STEAM and Robotics programming for middle school youth, and a music program where youth can learn about music production while writing and recording their own music. Based on community input, anticipated offerings include after school and summer academic enrichment programs for youth, adult job training and education, mentoring, and other programming developed in partnership with the community.
"We are very grateful to Pepco for this opportunity to serve the DC community and families residing in southwest DC," said James Piper Bond, president and CEO of Living Classrooms Foundation. "We are committed to honoring the spirit of James C. Dent by providing hands-on education and job training for the children, youth, and adults who live here – ultimately helping contribute to a safer, stronger, and healthier community."
The James C. Dent House was built in 1906 as the home and parsonage of Rev. James Clinton Dent. Born into slavery in 1855 and later becoming a farm laborer, Rev. Dent was also second pastor of the Mount Moriah Baptist Church after making his way to southwest D.C. In 2010, the house was designated a Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places as a symbol of progress and testament to the heroic contributions of James C. Dent to improve life and foster faith in his community. Additionally, in the house, is an original wooden plank from the original Dent House porch signed by the builder himself in 1907.
Pepco today also announced a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Anacostia Community Museum, to host a satellite version of "A Right to the City – Southwest DC, powered by Pepco", now on display in the Dent House. This special exhibit is part of the museum's exhibition to highlight the history of six neighborhoods across the District and tells the story of how ordinary residents helped shape and reshape their neighborhoods in extraordinary ways. As Pepco went through the process of remodeling the Dent House, Pepco wanted to incorporate the rich legacy of the Southwest DC neighborhood and the house itself within the updated design.
The James C. Dent House is a historic building located near Pepco's Waterfront substation. In late 2017, Pepco energized its Waterfront substation, located in the Buzzard Point neighborhood of the District of Columbia. This two-level substation, which provides essential power to the Buzzard Point, the Southwest Waterfront, and the Navy Yard areas of the District, is among the largest indoor substations ever built with provisions for six high-voltage transmission feeders and 72 electric distribution circuits. The substation design incorporated extensive community input and includes multiple features that help activate the surrounding community.
Pepco's restoration and the transformation of the James C. Dent House is part of the company's commitment to powering communities and being a good corporate citizen for the areas where its employees live and work. In 2018, Pepco contributed more than $3.18 million to local nonprofits, while its employees volunteered nearly 9,000 hours to help hundreds of organizations across the company's service area.
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