FBI San Diego
Media Coordinator
(858) 320-1800 | SDPublicAffairs@fbi.gov
April 19, 2024

FBI Honors Monarch School Project with National Award

WASHINGTON, DC—On Friday, April 19, 2024, FBI Director Christopher Wray presented Monarch School Project with the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for its service to children and families in San Diego. Receiving the award on behalf of Monarch School Project is Afira Arrastia-DeVries, CEO of the nonprofit. Monarch School Project provides youth and their families experiencing homelessness with academic and social growth, emotional support, and life skills designed to help them succeed.

The FBI established the DCLA in 1990 to publicly acknowledge the achievements of those working to make a difference in their communities through the promotion of education and the prevention of crime and violence. Each year, one person or organization from each of the FBI’s 56 field offices is chosen to receive this prestigious award.

“Our success as both a law enforcement and an intelligence agency hinges on our ability to foster and maintain genuine partnerships with people in all communities,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “People like this year’s Leadership Award recipients not only identify what others need, but they are willing to roll up their sleeves and provide services. They are building bridges and relationships while putting in the work to have hard conversations and find common purpose. They do it out of kindness and compassion with a sincere belief that justice – in its many forms – requires all of us to do the right thing in the right way.”

Monarch School Project, which operates the Monarch School in the Barrio Logan neighborhood, was selected for the award, recognizing its work with youth and their families. The Monarch School Project is the nation’s only K-12 public school for students experiencing homelessness. Because of the unique needs of the youth it serves, Monarch School Project’s approach focuses on helping students gain skills they need to improve their lives, develop awareness of their emotions and healthy coping skills, explore their passions, and plan for a self-sufficient life.

“Monarch School is proud of our partnership with the FBI for the time that they’ve been supporting our fifth-grade class,” said Monarch School Project CEO Afira Arrastia-DeVries. “It’s an honor to be recognized nationally among our peers for what we do to support the needs of our region and what we do in partnership with our incredible law enforcement agents to prevent the worst, and to do the best for the people we serve.”

“Our 10-year partnership with Monarch School Project has been an invaluable community connection,” said FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy. “Monarch School Project’s efforts will have a long-lasting impact on San Diego as their students continue on to echo their values of resiliency, leadership, and compassion in our community.”

Director Wray hosted the 2023 DCLA winners in a special ceremony at FBI Headquarters today, emphasizing the importance of community partnerships in keeping our shared communities safe. These partnerships—as exemplified by the breadth of the work by the DCLA recipients—have led to a host of crime prevention programs that protect the most vulnerable in our communities, educate families and businesses about cyber threats, and work to reduce violent crime in our neighborhoods. Learn more about the Director’s Community Leadership Award, San Diego Field Office, and FBI’s general outreach efforts online.

SD DCLA recipient
San Diego DCLA 2023 Director Wray