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

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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.

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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 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.

 

 

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Volunteers Needed to Help Students in AHC’s Education Programs

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Become an AHC volunteer and change a student’s life! By joining our team, you become part of a network of enthusiastic citizens helping our community’s youth succeed.

How You Can Help

AHC’s education programs help youth from kindergarten through 12th grade build the academic skills they need to succeed. Our 25-year-old program really works. 100% of our seniors graduate from high school, most go to college, and elementary students significantly improve reading and math skills.

If you are willing to devote just one hour a week to our future leaders, we can find the perfect place for you in our program, no matter what career or background you have. Together, we can continue to help motivated students thrive!

Three Ways to Volunteer

After-School: Work with elementary students to build literacy and math skills. Volunteers are particularly needed for homework help. Join us for one hour once a week between 4:00 and 6:00 pm.

Teen Tutoring: Foster both academic and life skills to help teens graduate from high school and maximize their potential. Tutors are paired with one student during the school year for one hour once a week between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

College and Career Readiness: Help our teens study for standardized tests, apply for financial aid and scholarships and write essays. Flexible volunteer scheduling.

Information Sessions

  • September 14 – Teen Tutoring Orientation, 6:00 to 7:30 pm at Gates of Ballston, 4108 4th Street, North, Arlington, VA. MAP

Starting Dates

AHC’s After-School program starts on September 18 and the Teen Tutoring program begins the first week of October.

Volunteer Locations

Fort Henry Community Center
2470 S. Lowell St., Arlington, VA. Map
Tuesday – Thursday, 7:00 to 8:00 pm

Gates of Ballston Rinker Community Center
4108 4th Street North, Arlington, VA. Map

Harvey Hall Community Center
1710 S. Greenbrier St., Arlington, VA. Map

Virginia Gardens Community Center
1710 S. Taylor St., Arlington, VA. Map

Woodbury Park Community Center
2335 North 11th Street, Arlington, VA. Map

For More Information

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

 

 

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2017 Summer Camp Focuses on Creativity

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The AHC Summer Camp provides fun, outdoor exercise and field trips while maintaining students’ literacy and math skills learned during the school year. The 2017 theme is “Creating”, which will give students the opportunity to be artists, inventors and scientists while stretching their imaginations.

The combination of fun and learning really works. More than 9o% of the students tested during last year’s camp showed no loss or some gain in their reading level. And a full quarter of campers returned to school in September reading at a higher level than in June.

Research shows that low-income students can lose more than two months of reading and math skills during the summer. AHC’s program is changing that equation.

As Patti, one of AHC’s Reading Specialists, says: “The Summer Camp Program provides experiences which bridge the end of the school year to the beginning of the next school year. Without making new discoveries and connecting with community, many children start all over again when the school year arrives.”

A stable community and year-round help with education is changing AHC students’ lives. Volunteers and/or donations are most welcome to help support the program.

Click here to volunteer.

Click here to donate.

 

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AHC Inc. Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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More than 300 supporters joined AHC Inc. to celebrate its 40th Anniversary this fall. The event highlighted the organization’s growth and achievements, honored five new Housing Hall of Fame members, celebrated student winners who submitted winning essays and art work, and elected AHC Board members. “Our 40th Anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate all those who have helped AHC over the years – our supporters, donors, volunteers, community partners and advocates – preserve and build affordable, stable homes for those in most need, ” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO. “We’re thrilled to direct the event proceeds to our Resident Services program, which serves more than 2,000 youth, senior citizens and families each year.”

Since its founding in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,000 quality affordable apartments; touched thousands of children, families and senior citizens through its Resident Services programs; and expanded beyond its Arlington roots to also serve communities in Alexandria, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Baltimore and Washington, DC. AHC Milestones.

To commemorate the event, AHC named four individuals and an organization to its Housing Hall of Fame. Founded in 2001, AHC’s Housing Hall of Fame honors individuals and organizations for their vision, dedication and advocacy on behalf of affordable housing.

The 2016 honorees include Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Arlington; Patricia McGrady, decades-long affordable housing activist and volunteer; Rick Nelson, former Director of Montgomery County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs; J. Walter Tejada, former Arlington County Board member; and Harkins Builders, long-time AHC Inc. business partner and supporter.

“AHC is proud to celebrate such an exemplary group of visionaries and supporters,” said Justin Oliver, AHC Board Chair. “It truly takes a village to provide affordable housing. Our honorees represent the community partners, volunteers, local government, elected officials, and business partners that are all critical to bringing affordable housing to life. Your commitment is what enables AHC to successfully continue building homes and futures. We are truly grateful for your support and honored to include you in our Housing Hall of Fame.”

The event also highlighted six students who submitted winning essays and artwork based on the themes of “How AHC’s Community Centers Affected My Life” and “The Place I Call Home.”

“The youngsters who live in AHC’s communities are the heart and soul of our programs,” explained Ginger Briggs Brown, former AHC Inc. Board member, who presented the children’s awards. “It is their futures we are working so hard to strengthen. Tonight we applaud their creative achievements.”

The Essay Contest winners include Jennifer Arevalo (First Place), Sara Berhe (Second Place) and Jennifer Rivera (Third Place). Art Contest winners are: Michelle Orellana (First Place), Angel Barrera (Second Place) and Loren Bonilla (Third Place). Read more. 

During the event, attendees also re-elected four AHC Board members, David Barsky, Jason Dalley, Justin Oliver and John Snyder. C.C. Jenkins, a long-time AHC supporter and prior Board member, was elected to return to the Board. Gladis Bourdouane, who joined the AHC Board in 2011, retired from the Board and was celebrated for her service and commitment. Read more. 

Read more stories, stats and history from AHC’s 40th Anniversary.

Photo: AHC Inc. celebrates 2016 Housing Hall of Fame honorees at 40th Anniversary Celebration. Front row, left to right:  Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr.; Patricia McGrady; J. Walter Tejada; and Rick Nelson. Back row, left to right: Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO; Mike Ebrahimi, Harkins Builders; Dick Lombardo, Harkins Builders; Mike Mallow, Harkins Builders; Gary Garofalo, Harkins Builders; and Justin Oliver, AHC Inc. Board Chair. 

 

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AHC Partners With Community to Open Little Free Library

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(October 27, 2015) – Arlington’s newest Little Free Library opened today at 1723 North Veitch Street. The new mini library, which offers free books to share from a free-standing wooden box, is the result of a collaboration between a community member and a local nonprofit affordable housing organization, AHC Inc.

“Colonial Village West has been a great neighbor. I thought a Little Free Library would be a great way to continue to build our community while supporting literacy and love of books,” explains Lynn Borton, the library’s steward and founder. “We are hoping to engage students attending Key, Arlington Science Focus School, as well as middle and high schoolers, Lyon Village residents, families living in AHC’s Colonial Village West apartments and the many passersby on our busy street. It’s already brought wonderful connectivity – everyone is taking part. The school crossing guard has been handing out fliers and stickers and someone put some donated books in the library even before we opened!”

The neighborhood-sponsored, curbside libraries encourage community members to “take a book, return a book.” Contributions can be any kind of book — from children’s books to cookbooks to novels.

“We are delighted to partner with Lynn Borton to share the joy of reading,” said Jennifer Endo, AHC’s Director of Resident Services. “Literacy is one of the top goals of our education program and we love the idea of encouraging community members to find a book and then leave another one for someone else to enjoy.”

Little Free Libraries started in 2009 in Wisconsin when Todd Bol built a small model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. Today, there are more than 32,000 Little Free Library book exchanges around the world, bringing curbside literacy home and sharing more than one million books annually.

In the last several years, at least 20 Little Free Libraries have popped up around Arlington. Although many have been installed by individuals in their front yards, several have also been created as Girl Scout projects or school-based programs.

For more information on starting your own Little Free Library, contact the Arlington Public Library, which provides kits, instructions and registration materials.

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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.