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This spring, ICJA alum Eliana Block (’12) was thrilled to announce she and her Impact team at WUSA9, the CBS-affiliate in Washington, D.C., won a regional Emmy Award for their documentary IMPACT: Feeding Our Children. She says, “Humbled, honored and still pinching myself. Thank you to my WUSA 9 Impact team for including me on this journey. I would never have thought that 23-year-old me would ever receive an Emmy Award.”

As part of the team, Eliana produces and reports for their fact-check segment ‘Verify.’ She joined the IMPACT team in June 2017 after graduating from University of Maryland. The IMPACT team is a group of reporters who want to go beyond just reporting about problems but working with the community to solve a problem and make a lasting impact. Journalists work with the community to solve issues and make a lasting impact. It’s part of WUSA9’s commitment to inform, inspire and impact the DC area. The IMPACT: Feeding Our Children team is a five-member team.

Eliana says: The documentary focuses on a pocket of poverty in the one of the country’s wealthiest neighborhoods, Alexandria, Virginia. Our team saw a big problem: in Alexandria, 60 percent of public school children rely on free and reduced breakfasts and lunches. Without them, many go hungry. At Francis C. Hammond Middle School, the need is great. As summer approached, at a time when many children should be bouncing out of their chairs excited for the end of schoolwork, many children would face the reality of not being provided proper meals for weeks. Inevitably, many would go hungry in this pocket of poverty surrounded by wealth.

Using our megaphone, in a matter of weeks our team partnered with community leaders to help feed ALL the children of Francis C. Hammond for the entire summer, by packing backpack meals—meals children could make for themselves independently. Through viewers’ generosity we made sure those meals could continue through the school year.

To watch the full documentary, click here. (Eliana speaks at 11:44-12:36.)

Click here to read more of the story.

Eliana wrote last year on this blog about the 70 rejection letters she received before landing her first job. Photo credit: Francis Abbey.

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