For nearly five years, John A. Stokes has tried to sell city reporters on good news stories like summer meals for children and college tuition programs for D.C. high school students, as a spokesman for the state education office.
Given the level of violence among youths in some parts of the District, the agency has been criticized in the past for closing recreation centers too early or for not offering young residents enough interesting programs-- even though agency catalogues and the website boast pages of activities from dancing to football.
"They recruited me," Stokes said of his new bosses last week in his Judiciary Square office, inbetween accepting well wishes and hugs from colleagues getting an early start on his good-bye. His last day is today. (Maria Ibanez will be the new media face for reporters).
Stokes gave up a marketing job at local radio station WPGC to join the DC government. The switch came when he visited city education officials to sell them some ads, and ended up lecturing city education officials because of their faulty marketing plan. He made the sale -- and ended up with a job offer.
"Radio was fun but something inside me said it's time to give back and help. So I took the job."
Stokes said he's already worked plenty with the city parks and recreation department on education-related projects. "I can continue to assist DC residents, he said, "just from a different angle."