Meet our team


With thirteen other East of the River residents, Charles co-founded the River East Emerging Leaders ( in 2008. This past September Charles was elected as president of the Ward 8 Democrats. The Ward 8 Democrats is the leading political organization in Ward 8 commissioned to engage democratic voters on political issues impacting our community. Charles looks forward to providing a basis of history of the organization for the incoming board as they explore new avenues of growth and excitement.
Eleasah Banks has been a resident of Historic Anacostia since 2009. She joined R.E.E.L to lead a focused effort on engaging the families in the community more in events, meetings, and gatherings. Professionally, you will find Eleasah each day working for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Rockville, MD. When not working she’ll likely be catching up with friends, participating in family activities, playing dodge ball, running a teen kickball league, supporting her daughters in their extracurricular activities, and looking for local adventures for the fam.
A resident of Congress Height, Erik joined the R.E.E.L. leadership team in hopes of finding ways to make a positive impact within the community. Erik brings a unique skill set to the organization as he has more than a decade of non-profit organization experience on projects focusing on youth development, community building and special events. In addition to his volunteer work with YMCA Youth and Family Services, Erik works as a HR Manager in Arlington, VA. On the weekend you might find him exploring wildlife, painting, or swimming.
Jessica G. Smith is a third generation Washingtonian and in 2015 she became a homeowner in the River East community of Deanwood. She is passionate about creating greater economic opportunity through equitable development and having resources that allow residents east of the river to live in healthy and vibrant communities. With all of the changes happening in DC, Jessica believes it is so important for native and long term residents to be included in the conversations that shape the communities. Her hope is for REEL to be a catalyst for inclusive economic growth through programming and place-making
A Ward 8 resident and small business owner, Kia fell in love with Anacostia in 2010. She knew she wanted to live and work in the community, but needed to engage and make a positive impact as well. Joining R.E.E.L allowed her to do just that. Kia is the President of Determined by Design an Interior Design firm that focuses on elevating that standard of interior design in economically challenged communities.
Meche is a Michigan native who upon arriving in DC fell in love with the history, culture and architecture - which led her East of the River. She and her boyfriend, Kay, are proud to be homeowners in Anacostia and are thrilled to be part of a great community. Meche is a licensed DC Realtor and is honored to work with the phenomenal team at City Chic Real Estate. She is a lover of all things DIY and HGTV, taking long walks at the Anacostia River Park with her pup Goose, reading and trying new restaurants. She is a proud member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and the co-founder of the East of the River Social Club.