Volunteers-of-the-Year-a-710

AHC Inc. Honors Marymount Women’s Lacrosse Team and Three Arlington Residents as Volunteers of the Year

Volunteers-of-the-Year-a

October 19, 2017 – AHC Inc. celebrated four outstanding Volunteers of the Year, including the Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team and three Arlington residents, at its recent Annual Meeting. AHC develops and preserves affordable housing and provides education programs for residents who live in its apartment communities. Each of the Volunteers of the Year have made a tremendous impact on students in the non-profit’s Resident Services education programs in Arlington.

For nearly 25 years, AHC’s Resident Services programs have provided the tools and skills residents need to build successful lives. Today the initiative has grown to an annual $2 million investment in our programs, including our multi-pronged education initiative that nurtures children from Kindergarten through high school. The comprehensive approach works. To date, all the seniors in AHC’s education program have graduated from high school and nearly all have gone on to college.

“AHC believes housing plus education equals success. Along with stable and affordable homes, our education programs provide the building blocks to help our residents create successful lives for themselves and the community,” said Walter D. Webdale, President and CEO. “Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our life-changing programs and we are truly grateful for their dedication and commitment.”

AHC celebrated the Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team along with volunteers in each component of AHC’s comprehensive education program: Jamie Usrey, After-School Program Volunteer; Tim Bellaire, Teen Tutoring Volunteer; and Marjorie Macieira, College and Career Readiness Volunteer.

Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team – Volunteer Group of the Year

Kate Athing, the Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team Coach, connected the team to AHC’s program because she believes “consistent, local service is meaningful for both our school athletes and the community.” The team has volunteered once a week for three years in the After-School Program at AHC’s Woodbury Park community center.

The consistent partnership has been rewarding for all involved. The team enjoys working one-on-one with the same student each week and developing close relationships. And the youth look forward to the team visiting them each week and having a college-aged volunteer who is there just for them. Coach Kate Athing says, “A lot of us have buddies who are related. It adds to the family atmosphere we have found at Woodbury Park. They’ve definitely welcomed us into the family.”

AHC Senior Resident Services Manager Becky Koons applauds the successful partnership, “We appreciate all that Kate and the team have done for our students. I don’t think any of us realized three years ago how impactful this relationship would be on our students and the program. It’s not just about the academic piece (which is great!); they are our buddies, and we are their biggest fans!

Coach Kate Athing and Junior Midfielder Bridgette Stacom accepted the award at the event. Both Athing and Stacom have volunteered for three years.

Jamie Usrey – After-School Program Volunteer of the Year

AHC’s After-School Program lays the groundwork for elementary students’ success. For more than 10 years, building literacy skills has been the program’s top priority. Reading on grade level is critical to students’ ability to thrive in school and beyond.

Jamie Usrey, a three-year volunteer, generously devotes two to three afternoons each week to work one-on-one with first and second graders who are behind in their reading. As a retired Reading Recovery Teacher from Arlington Public Schools, her experience is invaluable. Along with her extensive experience, Jamie also brings boundless energy and enthusiasm to the program.

“Thanks to Jamie’s dedication and commitment, struggling readers are making outstanding strides toward reading on grade level,” says Lotus Chen, AHC Resident Services Manager. “Because of their improvements, these students are better able to succeed in school and support their younger siblings as well.”

Tim Bellaire – Teen Tutoring Volunteer of the Year

AHC’s Teen Tutoring helps middle and high school students stay in school and maximize their academic skills. Tutors help youth with homework and also become mentors and sounding boards.

Tim Bellaire exemplifies why this program works so well. His natural warmth and sense of humor make teens feel comfortable and connected. The teens voted Mr. Tim as being “most likely to know or be able to find the answer to anything.” Tim has volunteered for more than two years. By sharing his own experiences of putting himself through school, earning a mechanical engineering degree, and working for the FBI for 25 years, he helps students realize that hard work and persistence can pay off.

As Grace Park, Senior Resident Services Manager, explains, “Since one student worked with Mr. Tim in both 7th and 8th grade, we have seen a huge difference in his motivation, work ethic, and overall attitude toward his schoolwork and ability to advocate for himself.”

Tim has found volunteering to be a two-way street. He says, “I get as much (or more) out of the volunteering experience as the young adults gain from me. As the saying goes, the more you give, the more you receive.”

Marjorie Macieira – College and Career Readiness Volunteer of the Year

A new component in AHC’s education initiative, the College and Career Readiness Program pairs high school seniors with adult mentors for a full year. The mentors help students every step of the way through the complicated college and career process, including applications, essays and financial aid. The hard work pays off. All of last year’s 15 seniors are now freshmen in college. The mentors were an integral part of this remarkable achievement.

Marjorie Macieira approached the program with boundless energy and commitment. She regularly goes above and beyond. Not only did she help her high school senior go through the whole college process, she also attended her school counselor meetings, choir recitals, scholarship ceremonies and graduation.

One of Marjorie’s proudest moments was when her student won 2nd place in an essay competition. The student nearly didn’t participate and Marjorie encouraged her to keep going. They were both thrilled with the successful outcome.

Marjorie’s enthusiasm is driven by the close relationship she developed with her teen. “I found out that the program is more than just helping with homework,” says Marjorie. “You connect with a young person and become important in their life. You both learn about friendship, trust and being there for each other.”

To Learn More About Volunteering

For questions and volunteer information, please email Cindy Rozon at rozon@ahcinc.org or click here to volunteer now!

Photo from left to right: Jamie Usrey, After-School Program Volunteer; Marjorie Macieira, College and Career Readiness Volunteer; Tim Bellaire, Teen Tutoring Volunteer;  Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team Coach Kate Athing, and Bridgette Stacom, Marymount University Lacrosse Team member.

##

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,000 apartment units in 53 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,500 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.

 

 

Sharon-and-Bibho-710

Tutors Build Relationships and Futures

AHC Faces

Sharon-and-Bibho

AHC’s Teen Tutoring program has been pairing volunteers with middle and high school students for more than 20 years. The program has helped over 100 youth successfully graduate from high school and generated countless long-lasting relationships.

Recently AHC recognized volunteers who have worked with our students for five years or more. The common thread that keeps them coming back: the rewarding connections with the students.

One of these volunteers, Sharon, was paired with a very young middle school student, Bibho, after she started volunteering. Today he is a junior in high school. “I have literally watched him grow up and we have become good friends,” says Sharon. “He has grown from a struggling student into a confident young man with improved grades and a willingness to try new things. I am very proud of him!”

Bibho also values their relationship. “I’ve learned new perspectives about college and jobs, and she also helped me catch up in math,” he says. “I enjoy getting my homework done and also learning more about life.”

The connection between tutors and students goes way beyond academics. “The program encourages tutors to work with the same student week after week, allowing us to get to know our student’s strengths and weaknesses and to build a trusting relationship,” explains Sharon. That trust, along with the sharing of different perspectives and experiences, is the foundation for the program’s – and the students’ – long-term success.

Photo: Sharon (left) has developed a rewarding connection with Bibho during the five years they have worked together in AHC’s Teen Tutoring program. The opportunity has been a positive experience for them both.  

 

 

Kids---710

AHC Students Win Essay and Art Contests

AHC Faces

Kids

As part of AHC’s 40th Anniversary, students in our youth program were invited to participate in Essay and Artwork contests and describe how they feel about being a part of AHC communities. Elementary students were asked to create a piece of artwork with the theme “The Place I Call Home.” Middle and high school students wrote essays that described  ”How AHC’s Community Centers Affected My Life.”  The winning students were recognized at AHC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.

“We are delighted to highlight the achievements of some amazing children and teens,” said Ginger Briggs Brown, former AHC Inc. Board member, who presented the artwork awards.  ”The youngsters who live in AHC’s communities are the heart and soul of our programs. It is their futures we are working so hard to strengthen.”

The artwork winners were: Michelle Orellana, a nine-year-old Harvey Hall resident (First Place), Angel Barrera, an 11-year-old Woodbury Park resident (Second Place) and Loren Bonilla a seven-year-old Virginia Gardens resident (Third Place).

Jennifer Endo, AHC’s Director of Resident Services, presented the awards to the teenagers who won the essay contest. “I am proud to say our Resident Services team has watched some of these amazing young adults grow up in our program, and was delighted to read how much the program has encouraged their personal growth and academic success.”

The essay winners were: Jennifer Arvalo, 12th grade, Berkeley Apartments (First Place); Sara Berhe, 7th grade, Gates of Ballston (Second Place); and Jennifer Rivera, 9th grade, Berkeley Apartments (Third Place).

Winning Essay Excerpts and Artwork. 

Photo: AHC students received awards for winning Essay and Artwork contests at AHC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration. Front row, left to right: Angel Barrera and Michelle Orellana. Back row, left to right: Jennifer Endo, Resident Services Director, AHC Inc., Jennifer Rivera; Jennifer Arevalo; Sara Berhe; and Ginger Briggs Brown, former AHC Inc. Board member.

 

AHC-Board---710

AHC Inc. Elects Five Board Members at 40th Anniversary Celebration

AHC Faces

AHC-Board

AHC Inc. is delighted to announce the election of five Board members during the organization’s 40th Anniversary Celebration in September.

Four current members were re-elected to serve additional three-year terms and one previous member was nominated to return to the Board. The elected Board members include:

David Barsky. Mr. Barsky is a partner with Krooth and Altman LLP in Washington, DC where he specializes in FHA-insured multifamily housing and healthcare mortgage loan transactions. He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from George Washington University. A native of New Jersey, he and his wife have lived in Arlington since 1986. Mr. Barsky is the Secretary of AHC’s Board.

Jason Dalley. Mr. Dalley works in land acquisition for the national home builder NVR. He is on the finance committee of Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corporation and also on the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Building Association. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he has been an Arlington resident since 2004.

C.C. Jenkins.  Mr. Jenkins, one of AHC’s long-time supporters and a previous Board member, was elected to return to the Board. He is a retired member of the U.S. Capitol Police Force. An Arlington resident since 1980, he is President of the U.S. Capitol Police Retired Officers’ Association; a Board member of the Congressional Federal Credit Union; President of Our Lady Queen of Peace Arlington Credit Union; and a Board Member of the Nauck Community Development Corporation. Mr. Jenkins is serving as the Treasurer of AHC’s Board.

Justin Oliver. Mr. Oliver is President and CEO of Oliver Properties, a real estate investment, development, and asset management company based in Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary, an MBA from Tulane University, and is a member of the Leadership Arlington Class of 2016. He has been an Arlington resident since 2008 and remains an active volunteer with his children’s schools and youth sports teams. Mr. Oliver is the Chair of AHC’s Board.

John Snyder. Mr. Snyder is Senior Counsel for Bechtel Global Corporation. A resident of Arlington since 1985, he is president of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) board, has held numerous community leadership positions, including President of the Douglas Park Civic Association, and has served on the Affiliate Boards of several AHC properties. Mr. Snyder is serving as the Vice Chair of AHC’s Board.

Gladis Bourdouane, a retiring Board member, was thanked for her service and commitment. A Board member since 2011, she is the Communications Coordinator for the Arlington Public Schools. She has lived in Arlington for over 30 years, and she and her husband have three children. Ms. Bourdouane is a member of the National School Public Relations Association and a 2011 graduate of Leadership Arlington.

Full list of AHC Board members.

Photo: AHC Inc. Board members attended the 40th Anniversary Celebration. Front row, from left to right: Walter D. Webdale, Justin Oliver, Jacqueline Coachman, and David Barsky. Back row, from left to right: C.C. Jenkins, John Snyder, Tom Klanderman, Robert Bushkoff, and Jason Dalley. Not pictured: Scott Ritter.

 

Rosa-Byrd-710

Three Generations Living in Alexandria Neighborhood

AHC Faces

Rosa-Byrd

Affordable Housing Helps Family Maintain Neighborhood Roots

Rosa Byrd has lived in Alexandria’s Lynhaven neighborhood for more than 50 years. Many of her family live nearby, including her 25-year-old granddaughter, Chanel Yancey, who recently moved into AHC’s Jackson Crossing apartment community. “I like the convenient location and it’s nice to be close to family,” says Chanel, who works for the Alexandria City Public Schools.

Chanel’s mother, Patricia Yancey, grew up in the neighborhood and attended the nearby Cora Kelly Elementary School. Today, she lives a few blocks from her mother, Rosa, and commutes to work with her daughter.  “I love that. I see her every day,” says Patricia. “If she had to live somewhere else, it would have changed the dynamics of our family.”

Rosa believes Jackson Crossing provides much-needed housing options in the neighborhood. “I have a lot of friends who have had to relocate out of Alexandria,” she says. “Their hearts are here, but they have to live outside the community because of the cost of living. This is a great way to help people stay in the city because it’s gotten so expensive. I’m grateful my granddaughter is living here. She was looking for a place where she could live on her own.”

Along with deep roots in Lynhaven, both Rosa and Patricia have served in a wide variety of local leadership roles, including the PTA, civic association and election board. “I honestly believe no matter where you live, you should be part of the community,” says Rosa. In 2012, the mother/daughter team was honored by the Senior Services of Alexandria for their legacy of service. That legacy continues through the third generation; Chanel also serves as an election official like her mother and grandmother.

Rosa’s long-time community involvement has been widely recognized. In 2013, she was named a Living Legend of Alexandria, and Alexandria News honored her as Alexandrian of the Year in 2014.

Rosa, who retired after 30 years with the Alexandria City Public School System, and her husband, Jack, who worked with the Metro Bus System for nearly 40 years, thoroughly enjoy living so close to family in Lynhaven. Together, they have six siblings who live within several blocks. Over the years, more than 20 children in the family have attended Cora Kelly School.

“My family is the crown jewel of my life,” says Byrd. “One of my blessings is that when they grew up, they wanted to come back to live in Alexandria.”

Photo: Three generations of the Byrd family live in Alexandria’s Lynhaven neighborhood. From left to right: Patricia Yancey, Rosa Byrd and Chanel Yancey.