Our Mission

Hands on DC is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that organizes projects to improve the physical condition of Washington, DC public schools. We also encourage greater community involvement in the public schools. Hands on DC is volunteer-founded and volunteer-led; we have no paid staff.

Hands on DC conducts two types of events. Our public events that are free to all volunteers and typically occur on a Saturday during the school year. Our private events are for corporate or non-profit sponsors and occur at various times throughout the year.

Our History

Hands on DC was founded in the fall of 1994 by a half-dozen friends who wanted to improve life in Washington. They were particularly concerned by a series of reports that described the poor condition of the District’s public schools, and so the group dedicated itself to helping local students get a better education.

Board of Directors:

Kristen Alsop, President
Kristen first volunteered for Hands on DC with her DC Kickball team in 2011. She first served as a Site Coordinator and Volunteer Management Co-Chair. After hearing powerful stories from the founders during the 20th anniversary celebration, Kristen was inspired to lead the organization as Co-Director in 2015 and 2016; and now as the President. She is a native Northern Virginian and enjoys staying active by running, hiking and traveling as much as possible. During the day, Kristen supports the FAA’s Corporate Communication office.

Shawn Bucholtz, Treasurer
Shawn has been involved in Hands on DC since 2003. He helps with logistics, estimating project needs and ordering supplies. During the day, Shawn is the Chief Data Officer at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Priya Bapet, Treasurer
Priya first joined Hands on DC in 2009 as a Site Coordinator and Fundraising Committee member. After a few years away, she rejoined Hands on DC as the Volunteer Chair and co-directed the organization for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 event years. Outside of Hands on DC, Priya is a global development consultant and exploring her newfound hobbies of beekeeping and drumming.

Réco Thomas, Director
Réco has been involved in Hands on DC since 2003. She helps with volunteer management and email marketing. She always brings the high energy and fun spirit to Hands on DC.

Executive Committee:

Mario Lento
Mario works as an aerospace engineer at the Johns Hopkins University – Applied Physics Laboratory, conducting research to develop and apply space science, engineering, and technology for space exploration. Since moving to the District in late 2014 he has been attending Hands on DC events and in 2018 he joined the Executive Committee as the logistics co-chair. In this role, Mario will help manage supplies and logistical requirements for events. In addition to working with Hands on DC, Mario runs a scholarship fund for students at his alma mater. He is an avid hockey fan, closely following the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers.

Kate Knorr
By day, Kate manages a communications and program management team in support of the Federal Aviation Administration. She first volunteered with Hands on DC as a business student at American University and is happy to be able to use prior work experience in volunteer management to work for the organization. In her spare time, Kate loves to cook, read, and travel – all as often as possible.

Catherine Iszard
Catherine has been involved in Hands on DC since 2019 helping with public relations. During the day, Catherine is a business development specialist for Boston Consulting Group.