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Honoring Volunteers of the Year

volunteer-of-the-year-honoreesAHC is deeply grateful to the volunteers who make such a difference to our students. This fall we celebrated our Volunteers of the Year and honored one individual (or group) from each of our primary groups of volunteers – After-School, Teen Tutoring and Student Volunteers.

“AHC is so fortunate to have hundreds of wonderful volunteers who work one-on-one with students who benefit greatly from their close attention and encouragement,” said Jennifer Endo, AHC’s Director of Resident Services. “Each of our Volunteers of the Year have gone above and beyond. Their commitment and enthusiasm is inspiring and has made such a difference to students’ overall success.”

AHC’s 2015 honorees are:

After-School Volunteer: Marilyn Jenkinson

Marilyn Jenkinson volunteered at Woodbury Park/Frederick community center and added a special spark to the curriculum by sharing her personal interests. An avid traveler, she brought students treasures from her trips like Florida oranges, and created her own lesson plan to teach students how to read maps. She developed a scavenger hunt and taught the students how to use rulers to find their schools and other local landmarks.  She thoroughly enjoyed the students’ enthusiasm and said she “wished every child in Arlington could have the opportunity to experience an after-school program like AHC’s.”

Student Volunteer: Talia Farrell-Rosen

Talia Farrell-Rosen, a high school senior, volunteered weekly at Gates of Ballston during the school year, helping with activities and homework. “Talia was consistently patient and understanding and has been a wonderful addition to our volunteering team,” said Lotus Chen, AHC Resident Services Manager. Talia also shared a distinctive skill with the students – dancing. As a competitive dancer, she taught the children about different types of dance, the types of shoes and costumes they wear, as well as stretches and dances. She also gave them the opportunity to free-dance to pop music, which they loved.

Teen Tutoring Volunteers: Team Estephani – Anne Blacksten, Jim and Terry Burridge and Carl Dohrman

Estephani Santander graduated from high school last spring with multiple scholarships and credits her “dream team” of tutors for much of her success. Estephani’s group of dedicated tutors includes Anne Blacksten, who has worked with Estephani since 6th grade; Jim and Terry Burridge, who tutored and mentored Estephani throughout her high school career; and Carl Dohrman, the math guru of the group. The tutors in “Team Estephani” worked together to build consistency and maximize their support for Estephani. “I think the students benefit a lot from so much one-on-one assistance from caring, high-quality tutors,” says Mr. Dohrman. The consistency helps to build relationships between volunteers and students, which can be key to making a difference in the student’s attitudes towards school.”

Photo caption: From left to right: Patti Sanner, AHC Reading Specialist; Talia Farrell-Rosen, volunteer; Terry Burridge, volunteer; Carl Dohrman, volunteer; Jim Burridge, volunteer; Becky Koons, AHC Resident Services Manager; Anne Blacksten, volunteer; Elizabeth Bonner, former AHC Resident Services Manager; and Marilyn Jenkinson, volunteer.   

 

 

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Banner Year for AHC Students

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(August 15, 2015 – Arlington, VA) – AHC students had a banner year in all three of our education programs –  Teen Tutoring, After-School for elementary students and Summer Camp.

In the Teen Tutoring program, all nine of the seniors  graduated from high school and, impressively, they are all planning to go to college. Together, they earned nearly $50,000 in scholarships and grants. This marks the seventh year in a row that all of the seniors in AHC’s Teen Program successfully graduated from high school. To date, AHC has helped nearly 70 teens graduate from high school.

Many achieved this milestone while holding down jobs, overseeing younger siblings, or becoming proficient in English, a language not always spoken at home. Their hopes and dreams are impressive. Students’ goals include studying forensic science, engineering, behavioral science, medicine, and teaching. “We are so proud of all of teens,” said Jennifer Endo, AHC’s Director of Resident Services. “It really does take a village; and our village of wonderful volunteers, mentors, staff and teachers have all played a part in helping these young people reach their potential.”

The Teen Program is designed to help middle and high school students stay in school and maximize their options after high school. The program includes one-on-one tutoring, mentoring, college visits, SAT test prep, help with scholarship and financial aid applications, and a variety of enriching experiences. Sixty-four youth participated in the Teen Program during the 2014/2015 school year.

AHC’s After-School Program, which focuses on building elementary students’ literacy skills, included 115 youth in 2014/2015. Students made impressive strides. Nearly all (96%) of the students who were assessed at the beginning and end of the year improved their reading level by at least one full grade and/or are reading at or above grade level.

To help ensure struggling readers don’t get left behind, AHC employs two reading specialists to work one-on-one for 30 minutes each week with students who are not reading at grade level. The individualized program  includes games and activities that build fluency and comprehension. The personalized approach has been a real success. This year, our specialists worked with 28 struggling readers. Thanks to their help, all of the students made at least a year’s worth of progress, and six children advanced more than a year.

Students in AHC’s Summer Camp program also made strides. Research shows that low-income students can lose more than two months of reading and math skills during the summer. AHC’s Summer Camp, which combines learning and fun, aims to prevent that learning loss. The six-week program is making a difference.

During the 2014 camp, 92% of the students tested showed no loss or some gain in reading levels and 83% maintained math skills. This year’s theme, Careers in the Arts, combines technology and performance opportunities with creative activities, lots of learning  and cultural experiences like field trips.

Along with students’ hard work, our hundreds of volunteers are integral to the program’s success. We are grateful to the many volunteers and more than 30 community partners who generously give their time and effort. Last year, 266 volunteers worked 4,537 hours with our students!

Two long-time tutors are making a particularly generous impact on our students. In 2013, Joanna Miller and Roger Brown started a four-year scholarship exclusively for AHC Teen Tutoring participants. This year’s scholarship was awarded to Estefani Santander. The Wakefield graduate, who has been in AHC’s education program for 10 years, hopes to attend Northern Virginia Community College to study education. For more information on how to contribute to the Joy Rambert AHC Inc. scholarship to benefit our hard-working graduates, visit the Arlington Community Foundation website.

For more details on AHC’s education programs and student activities, click here for the Resident Services 2014-2015 Report Card.

Photo left to right: Angel Lara, center, with AHC staff members Elizabeth Bonner (left) and Triny Lemus (right) has been in AHC’s education programs since 3rd grade. Angel graduated in 2015 and is planning to attend Northern Virginia Community College to study Photography and Forensic Science. 

HAND Honors Walter D. Webdale with Lifetime Achievement Award

HAND Honors Walter D. Webdale with Lifetime Achievement Award

Walter Webdale

June 23, 2015 – Arlington, VA) – The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) today presented AHC Inc.’s President and CEO Walter D. Webdale with the prestigious President’s Choice Award, which honors lifetime achievement in the affordable housing industry. The award was announced during HAND’s Annual Meeting that gathered together more than 1,000 affordable housing professionals and advocates from the Washington, DC, metro region.

Mr. Webdale has been in the affordable housing business for more than 50 years. He was just 22 when he and his brother, with capital borrowed from their grandmother, purchased and redeveloped an old stone barn into three townhouses in western New York. A few years later he landed his first housing job when he was named Director of Urban Renewal and Director of the Housing Authority in Batavia, NY.  A pioneer in the field of urban renewal, Mr. Webdale directed the redevelopment of the Glen Cove, NY business district as well as the revitalization of the Hudson riverfront in Yonkers, NY.  In 1971, he joined the New York State Urban Development Corporation as Director of Projects for the Westchester County Office.

In 1974, Mr. Webdale moved his young family to Reston, Virginia where he became the first director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development, a position he held until 1999. During his tenure, the agency won national recognition as a leader and innovator in affordable housing, earning more than 40 awards for project design, community development, property management and affordable housing finance.

He became President and CEO of AHC Inc. in 1999. Under his leadership, AHC has more than quadrupled its multifamily housing portfolio from 1,600 units at 13 properties in 1999 to more than 6,500 units at 50 properties today.  In 2001, Mr. Webdale developed AHC’s first multifamily property outside of Arlington.  Today, AHC has 22 multifamily properties outside of Arlington, including eight in the Baltimore area and six in Montgomery County.  During his tenure, AHC opened an office in Baltimore, established its own property management company, and more than doubled the Resident Services community outreach programs.

Prior to joining AHC, Mr. Webdale was Director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development for 25 years.  During his tenure, the agency won national recognition as a leader and innovator in affordable housing, earning more than 40 awards for project design, community development, property management and affordable housing finance.

“Walter has been a true and long-standing supporter of our organization and our cause,” said Michelle Krocker, Executive Director, Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance. “His well-regarded leadership and support for affordable housing have made a lasting impact on housing opportunities for low- and-moderate income families throughout Northern Virginia.”

Mr. Webdale is a past board member of the National Housing Conference, a past president and past board member of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) and the National Association of County, Community and Economic Development Associations (NACCED). He also served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Housing and Development Reporter.

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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 6,500 apartment units in 50 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.

 

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AHC Renames Gates of Ballston Community Center to Honor the Rinkers

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(June 5, 2015 – Arlington, VA) – AHC Inc. today dedicated the Gates of Ballston Community Center to Charlie and Lora Rinker to honor their 40+ years of working tirelessly for social justice in Arlington. Thanks to their efforts, countless Arlingtonians live in affordable homes and those needing emergency shelter can find a warm bed and decent meal in a clean, safe place.

“After Charlie’s death, AHC decided to honor Charlie and Lora in a more permanent way, and we felt there was no better place to do that than here at The Gates of Ballston,” said AHC President and CEO Walter D. Webdale.  ”Charlie was instrumental in saving this beautiful 17-acre property from redevelopment so that it could remain affordable to young singles, families with children, and retirees.  He devoted his life to advocating for affordable housing for low-income families and individuals. Lora, too, believed in stable and decent housing and she focused her energies on establishing and running a shelter for the homeless and providing needed services for those in greatest need.”

Charlie was committed to preserving affordable housing in Arlington and co-founded AHC Inc. (Arlington Housing Corporation) in 1975.  He later co-founded A-HOME (Affordable Homeownership for Everyone), and BRAVO (Buyers and Renters Arlington Voice) to give low-income residents more housing choices and a public voice.  Charlie was instrumental in saving The Gates of Ballston from conversion to market rate housing in 2001, making it possible for AHC Inc. to purchase the property in 2002 and preserve it as affordable housing.

Lora shared Charlie’s passion for social change.  While raising her young family, she co-directed the Center for New Creation, a peace and justice center.  She began to focus on hunger and homelessness in the 1980s, handing out food to those in need from her front porch.  In 1991 she co-founded A-SPAN (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network) and served as its first Executive Director until 2007.  During those years, she also created Arlington’s first emergency winter shelter for the homeless.

Attendees included community activists, local leaders and members of the Rinker family who described how important social justice was to Lora and Charlie. “Both my parents were very much role models,” said Jeremy Rinker. “They exemplified the philosophy that one person could make a real difference.”

Also on hand at the ceremony were County Board members Mary Hynes, Jay Fisette, Walter Tejada and Libby Garvey, along with state Sen. Barbara Favola and former Virginia Del. Karen Darner.

Many of the same attendees had gathered at the Gates of Ballston in December when Senator Favola presented the Rinkers with Joint Resolutions from the Virginia General Assembly for their “leadership and devotion to the community.”

Photo left to right: Walter D. Webdale, Matthew Rinker, Natalie Rose, Lora Rinker, Jeremy Rinker and State Sen. Barbara Favola. 

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AHC Inc. Opens 83 New Affordable Apartments on Columbia Pike

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Dozens of supporters, community residents and local officials celebrated the grand opening of The Shell on May 14 in Arlington, VA.

AHC’s newest building provides 83 affordable new homes along Columbia Pike for individuals and families earning between 50% and 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

The six-story apartment building includes 5 three-bedroom apartments, 63 two-bedrooms, 10 one-bedrooms and 5 efficiencies. Nine of the apartments are handicap accessible and six are part of the permanent supportive housing program of Arlington County.

The demand for affordable housing in Arlington continues to grow. Since 2000, Arlington County has lost 13,500 market affordable apartments. Reflecting the ongoing need, The Shell’s waiting list quickly grew to more than 650 individuals and families before AHC stopped accepting additional applications.

Planning for The Shell began when AHC discovered a gas station at the corner of Columbia Pike and South Greenbrier Street in Arlington was available for sale. Always on the lookout for potential building sites, AHC began exploring the idea of combining the gas station property with undeveloped land that it owned next door and adjacent to its Harvey Hall Apartments. Several years later, that idea became a reality.

Today, the building features an 800-square-foot community room, a fitness room, ample underground parking and a plant-filled central courtyard.

AHC also incorporated several green features at The Shell to reduce electricity consumption and water usage. The building has a green roof as well as Energy Star appliances, energy efficient heating and air conditioning, and WaterSense faucets, showerheads, and toilets. An on-site storm water filtration system was installed to reduce runoff and improve the quality of rain water draining into local waters such as the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.

“AHC is committed to developing top-quality buildings that not only provide welcoming homes for working families, but also include architectural elements and energy-efficient features that improve our residents’ quality of life, enhance the community and stand the test of time,” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC President and CEO.

Located at a busy corner along Columbia Pike, the Shell also includes 6,600 square feet of retail space. The building was the first project to receive approval under Arlington’s innovative Form Based Code, which encourages a blend of housing and commercial spaces to create a lively, walkable community.

“As Columbia Pike redevelops, the County is working to ensure that the Pike continues to be a vibrant place for people at all ages, stages and incomes,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes.  “We’re proud that, by partnering with AHC using our affordable housing loan program (AHIF), our public-private partnership at The Shell will provide affordable housing AND retail for its residents and the greater neighborhood.”

Financing for the $32 million project included loans from Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF), Capital One, Virginia Housing Development Authority, AHC Inc., and 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity from Hudson Housing Capital. Other partners include NeighborWorks America and EarthCraft Virginia.

The Shell was designed by Cunningham l Quill Architects and built by Harkins Builders Inc.

View More Grand Opening Event Photos

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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 6,500 apartment units in 49 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.