Making Friends and Giving Back

The DC Ladies: Making Friends & Giving BackSo, you’ve made the post-grad decision to up and move to a new city to pursue your dreams. You’ve found a roommate, an apartment, you’ve settled in and are ready to begin your first “real-world,” post-college job. Everything is going as planned, but then the slight loneliness begins to set in. Your co-workers are great, but you know you need a good work-life balance. You need to get out and meet new people. Lucky for us newly graduated, young professional transplants to the DC area, the nation’s capital has much to offer.

I started with things I was familiar with: my sorority alumni group and my college alumni organization based in DC. After emailing a few people, I was quickly welcomed into both groups and met tons of new people at monthly happy hours. This was a comfort zone and I think the best way to get adjusted to my new life in a new city. You don’t want to be completely overwhelmed, so definitely start with something you’re familiar with.

Now, you’ve made some friends that were involved in your sorority and some that went to the same college as you. Something is still lacking. Then I thought, community service. An avid participant in the community service groups at NYU and of course my sorority, I knew I wanted to continue giving back even after graduation. Through my various Google searches and speaking with people acquainted to DC, I found some great organizations where you can meet like-minded people and give back to the community at the same time!

CASA DC : Court-Appointed Special Advocate for Child of D.C.

This organization instantly caught my attention. For one, it has to do with the Court system and the law, and as a future JD student and lawyer, this was one way to see one side of the law. Secondly, it is for a great cause. CASA DC gathers volunteers and trains them to speak up for children within the D.C. foster system. You go through an application process, interview, and then a two-week training program. You can become a CASA or a mentor. The CASA role encompasses the mentor role, but also has another aspect to it – attending court hearings every few months to speak on behalf of your assigned foster child. You work with the child’s team of social workers, attorneys, relatives, and most importantly the judge to insure the child’s wishes are met – whether it be to find a safe and loving adoptive home or be reunited with their parents.

Junior League of Washington

The Junior League is an organization of women committed to volunteerism and promoting literacy. Upon attending an open house and meeting the women already involved, I knew it was something I definitely wanted a chance to be a part of. All the women are intelligent, motivated, friendly, and dedicated to community service. This too has an application process and orientation sessions to attend. Once you pass both tests, your application gets entered into a lottery and the first 300 women to be picked will form the new class. New members and old members have different requirements and responsibilities. This organization has more rigid requirements, but it is completely manageable with a full-time job. You do have member dues, but those too, are affordable.

But maybe these two organizations are too much responsibility? The great about the nation’s capital is that there is something for everyone. Do you have specific interests in politics, foreign affairs, art, ballet, history? There are organizations out there for you too!

Washington Ballet Jete Society:

Love the ballet? This is the group to be a part of. You can find yourself among a group of young professionals aged 21 to 45 all about supporting the ballet and having a great time. There are different membership levels, so you have the freedom to be as involved as you want.

Corcoran 1869 Society:

Is art your thing? Join this unique organization and meet sophisticated professionals with the same love of art. Meet new people at networking events, while enjoying all the galleries the Corcoran has to offer.

United Nations Association for Young Professionals:

Has working for the UN been a dream of yours? This is the program to be a part of and meet some of the most intelligent and driven young professionals in the D.C. area. It was one of the first things I signed up for and have attended a few of the networking events. For a small membership fee, you get access to so many different events and programs dealing with the UN. You can join a committee as well and become a part of planning the events you want to see happen!

Looking for something leisurely and fun? D.C. has countless leagues to join. Meet new people in a fun, relaxed, and social environment. Here are some options I’ve come across during my searches.

DC Kickball:

Depending on your purpose (serious player or cheerleader and occasional team player), there are different leagues to join. Everyone always has a great time playing a game and then hitting the bars to unwind and have some beers.

Blondes vs. Brunettes:

As it is named, it is a powderpuff fundraising organization that gathers the capital’s blondes and brunettes for a few weeks of training and then the ultimate powderpuff game that raises money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Upon signing up, you will get all the details. Each team has male coaches and you are responsible to raise $300 before Game Day. It sounds like a ton of fun, a great way to meet women, and also raise money for a great cause.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, there is something to do for everyone. So don’t make excuses and don’t feel lonely – get out in this new city and find something you like to do!

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Ruma Maz

Ruma unexpectedly found herself having to uproot her life and move to a new city after graduating and is now immersed in the most powerful city in the nation as a young professional. Hoping to one day become an entertainment lawyer, she tries to take advantage of everything her paralegal job has to offer. When she’s not working, she is usually exploring the city, brunching, shopping, and enjoying the nightlife D.C. has to offer. She enjoys cooking up new Pinterest inspired recipes, reading a good mystery novel, compiling a playlist of music for every mood and activity she does, and volunteering.

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