From the CEO

Most APA members are aware of the good work the association has done at the national and international levels — contributing to Haiti earthquake relief efforts, for example, and coordinating the 2,500 psychologists in the Disaster Relief Network to help people whenever and wherever tragedy strikes. But you probably aren’t as aware of the work APA does to be a good citizen at the local level, in our home town.

Here in Washington, D.C., APA employs 545 people. By building two office buildings in a previously underdeveloped neighborhood near Union Station, we contributed to the revitalization of the “north of Massachusetts Avenue” business district. Recently, we added a “green roof” to our office building at 10 G St., N.E., to reduce our impact on the city’s sewer system by lessening rainwater runoff. Open to the general public, the green roof features a garden and a labyrinth for quiet reflection and meditation. We also contribute to the local economy by hosting APA’s Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., generating up to $19 million for local businesses every three years.

In addition to being a good corporate citizen, APA is involved in many volunteer efforts. To name a few:

  • Since 2007, APA has made donations and APA staff have volunteered hundreds of hours of work to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. In September, for example, 18 APA staffers volunteered at a Habitat “work day,” digging foundations, and building stairs, window frames and shelves to provide affordable homes for D.C. residents.

  • In collaboration with the District of Columbia Bar, the D.C. Superior Court and Argosy University, APA supported a program in which psychologists provide free parenting coordinator services to local residents involved in child custody disputes who can’t afford these services. The parenting coordinators help reduce conflict between parents and teach them to put the children’s needs first. In 2009, the D.C. court adopted this program as the nation’s first official, psychology-based, court parenting coordination program for low-income families.

  • In addition, APA’s lawyers are involved in a wide variety of local volunteer work, ranging from service as leaders in the D.C. Bar governance to pro bono service to local residents and the courts.

  • APA hires local residents through Green Door, a Washington, D.C.-based mental health services agency that helps people with serious mental illness find employment and housing.

  • Every month, a dozen APA staff members volunteer at So Others Might Eat, serving breakfast to the homeless and poor. APA staff also donated 350 pounds of toiletries to So Others Might Eat last year.

  • APA participates each year in the Capital Area Food Bank food drive. In 2010, staff contributed 681 pounds of nonperishable food.

  • In 2010, APA staff donated school supplies including science kits, paper and books to Randle Highlands Elementary School — a school in a low-income neighborhood about three miles southeast of APA headquarters.

  • APA has donated hundreds of used and refurbished computers to local schools, police stations and community centers.

I’m very proud of APA’s contributions to our own backyard. I’m especially invigorated by our staff and members’ generous donations — of money, daily necessities and, most of all, their time. As we work to benefit society and improve people’s lives through the advancement and application of psychological knowledge, we can’t forget: Charity begins at home.