DJ Wolff: Bringing the Volunteer Spirit to TMA

Thurgood Marshall Academy counts on its passionate volunteers throughout the community to make its innovative law-based programs a reality. Since 2011, we have been fortunate to have DJ Wolff, an attorney at Crowell & Moring LLP, as one of our most dedicated supporters.

DJ WolffDJ first connected to Thurgood Marshall Academy as a Law Firm Tutor with Crowell & Moring LLP. Law Firm Tutoring, an annual program for all 11th graders, acquaints students with both a professional work environment and individuals who have succeeded personally and professionally by completing higher education. DJ eventually assumed leadership of program at Crowell & Moring LLP as the firm’s Law Firm Tutoring Coordinator. He also joined Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Advocates Council – a network of socially conscious young professionals dedicated to volunteerism and fundraising in support of the school’s programs – as one of its founding members in the 2013-14 school year. DJ served at the Chair of the Advocates Council in its first year, helping form the group and bring its goals to fruition.

DJ believes strongly in the value of the Law Firm Tutoring program – not just for the students, but for the tutors themselves. At Crowell & Moring, Law Firm Tutors represent “a wide range of experiences; we have volunteers that include 60-year-old lawyers to 20-something paralegals. Most of us the firm did not grow up in the same environment as the students we tutor and yet, we recognize that these students could be sitting in the same undergrad or law school classrooms that we sat in. Eight years later, they might be us.” DJ also notes that tutors benefit from the experience because they see the tangible way, over the course of a year, that they can positively impact their future neighbors and colleagues.

In his experience as a tutor, DJ finds that students benefit from the program beyond the academic support they receive during each session. It is often the personal connections they build with their tutors that they carry with them beyond their junior year. “Students enjoy knowing you can be a successful professional without necessarily having to remember everything you learned in chemistry class. They also see that being a professional is something that you earn, not something you are born into. It’s attainable for anybody.” As a tutor, DJ says that it’s not uncommon to see a student undergo “two to three years of maturation in one year,” leaving the Law Firm Tutoring program ready to take on the college application process.

DJ involvement with Thurgood Marshall Academy is just another extension of his long-term commitment to volunteerism and community service. As an undergraduate student at Dartmouth University, DJ served as the Student Director of Cross Cultural Education and Service Program, coordinating and attending service trips to the Appalachia region and throughout the Caribbean, and the Student Director of the Tucker Foundation, a Dartmouth-based organization with a mission to educate Dartmouth students for lives of purpose and ethical leadership, rooted in service, spirituality, and social justice.

On behalf of the Thurgood Marshall Academy community, we extend our deepest appreciation for DJ, and his commitment and service to our school. We benefit tremendously from the passion you bring to supporting Thurgood Marshall Academy students and youth from Ward 8!