AHC Students Start School In Style Thanks to Amazon’s Back-To-School Shop

Students from 26 Virginia-based AHC properties recently participated in Amazon’s free Back-to-School Shop at Harvey Hall Apartments. Nearly 500 students, along with their parents, hand-picked their own clothing, shoes, school supplies, and other items to help them start the school year on equal footing with their peers.     

Amazon’s Back-to-School Shop was a part of Amazon’s inaugural Global Month of Volunteering, an initiative dedicated to driving meaningful impact in the communities where Amazon employees live and work. The successful event hosted more than 250 families with the help of 90-plus volunteers from Amazon.   

The fun shopping experience started with a guided online shopping experience for up to $150 worth of clothing and personal items for each student. Next, each child walked over to choose from four walls stocked with various school supplies – water bottles, notebooks, erasers, mechanical pencils and more. The young scholars ended their experience with a fun visit to the sticker room. 

After touring the Back-to-School Shop, the grateful students left with a bag full of school supplies and smiles from ear-to-ear. Special thanks to our dedicated resident services team for ensuring that the heartwarming event ran smoothly. 

AHC Greater Baltimore Selected for 2022 Thome Aging Well Grant

Thome Aging Well Program; EnterpriseAHC Greater Baltimore (AHC-GB) recently received a 2022 Thome Aging Well grant to support the expansion of physical and mental health services at MonteVerde, a 300-apartment community for residents 55+ and people who are disabled. The $250,000 grant focuses on treating substance misuse and high emergency room use, reflecting the disproportionate impact of COVID and lack of access to healthcare among black and minority older adults.

The Thome Aging Well program is a four-year, $19 million initiative from Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) to help older adults living in affordable communities age safely and securely at home.

“We appreciate this partnership with Enterprise and the Thome funding that will help more than 300 seniors, a rich part of our communities,” says Paul Bernard, President & CEO of AHC Inc. “The life-changing services afforded through this grant exemplify what AHC can provide in addition to housing. Linking people to the opportunity for services ensures we treat and respect the whole person.”

Funded by the Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation, Bank of America trustee, the program awarded $4 million in grants this year to scale aging-in-place initiatives with a track record of success by 16 housing operators and public housing authorities in Maryland and Michigan.

In total, the 2022 Thome Aging Well grants will provide essential support to over 4,000 older adults to help enhance wellbeing, reduce isolation and allow them to age with dignity in their homes. Best practices learned from the grantees will be shared across the field of affordable and public housing providers serving older adults.

“Far too many adults, especially those with lower incomes, do not have the resources and support they need to continue living comfortably in their homes as they grow older,” said Stephany De Scisciolo, vice president, Impact, Evaluation & Population Health, Enterprise. “The programs supported through the Thome Aging Well grants have proved successful at improving the health and wellbeing of older adults and will make an enormous impact on the lives of thousands in Maryland and Michigan. We are honored to partner with such remarkable organizations.”


Media Contact: Jennifer Smith, Director of Communications, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org

Summer Campers Take a PAUSE For Art

Recently, 1st-5th graders and counselors from AHC’s Gates of Ballston summer camp had a hands-on modern art experience. They visited Gallery 3700, home to Studio Pause’s newest exhibition, We PAUSED! Unbound.   

Studio PAUSE is an Arlington-based art studio created by award-winning artist Sushmita Mazumdar. The 9-year-old art studio is a safe space to explore creativity & celebrate community through art.  

The excited group of summer campers experienced Studio PAUSE’s newest exhibit, We PAUSED! Unbound and their first installation titled The Water Still Churns. The year-long art exhibit is a response to Studio PAUSE’s project We PAUSED! A Handmade Book for Gates of Ballston – where the summer campers live. Studio PAUSE turned the book into a display to chronicle a year of the COVID-19 pandemic to help create a space for all voices.  

After touring the exhibit, the campers created prints that described their emotions after learning more about art. Ken Krafchek, retired director of the MFA community arts program at the Maryland Institute College of Art, walked the eager students through the process of creating their timeless monoprints. Krafchek and Mazumdar were impressed with the level of detail in the camp attendees’ art. 

AHC Celebrates Largest-Ever Graduating Class

On June 9, family, friends and mentors celebrated the 42 graduates of AHC’s College & Career Readiness (CCR) program. This was the highest number of graduating students since the program began. The CCR program also saw the largest number of overall participants this year, with 69 juniors and seniors from area high schools.

This year’s graduating students included a POSSE scholar, several students with full rides to college – and even two juniors who graduated early! Read more about the students heading to college.

As always, mentors played important roles in the success of the students. Their dedication and connection to the students was a game-changer. Ludwin Alvarez has worked with long-time mentor Marjorie Macieira since sixth grade, and she supported him through Teen Tutoring and CCR. In fact, Ludwin has been in AHC’s educational programs since first grade.

The keynote speaker at the event was Flor Caceres Godoy, a 2018 CCR alumni, Posse scholar and recent graduate from Lafayette College. Along with her valuable insights and advice for the graduates, she shared, “I know my number one fear going into college and high school, because both of them were predominantly white students, faculty and staff, was ‘am I going to fit in?’ The answer is no. You are not supposed to. You are meant to stand out. You are meant to shine brighter than ever before.”

Thank you to all of our mentors, volunteers, community partners, and supporters for helping AHC’s graduates shine bright!

2022 Graduating Students

  • Abigia Mulugeta
  • Afrin Akhtar
  • Alishaba Hayat
  • Amelia Castro
  • Anand Tselmeg
  • Andy Garcia
  • Anwar El Gattari
  • Ayman Adam
  • Azucena Moreno
  • Betel Bereket
  • Carla Bacerra
  • Carolina Soto
  • Cecilia Fosso
  • Claudia Andrade
  • Daisy Cabrera
  • Davis Orellana
  • Franklin Garcia
  • Fraol Gurmu
  • Gabriel Lara
  • Gabriella Perla
  • Hermon Gebreezgi
  • Iyar Soliman
  • Joanna Viruez Guzman
  • Joel Jonathan Escobar
  • Juhud Abdulkhadir
  • Karen Gonzales Cifuentes
  • Laetitia Noutcha
  • Logan Salinas
  • Ludwin Alvarez
  • Maha Bouchareb
  • Margad Enkhbat
  • Margot Rodriguez
  • Mia Henry
  • Nichole Escobar-Rojas
  • Nicolas Lopez
  • Nirusma Dahal
  • Simon Kahsay
  • Petros Kebede
  • Sahara Sania
  • Sara Berhe Abraha
  • Williz Zamorio

List of all the mentors

  • Ashly Winfield
  • Eric Hannon
  • Evan Heit
  • Sydney Gang
  • Susan Leland
  • Rick Carter
  • Pascale Pierre
  • Soonho Kwon
  • Sarah Kolk
  • Peter C. Pfieffer
  • Sharon Showalter
  • Chelsea Jones
  • Mariah Creech
  • Janet Bickel
  • CJ Park
  • Laurel Holmes
  • Adrienne Eng
  • Lizzie Utset
  • Greg Frey
  • Marjorie Macieira
  • Chelsea Legendre
  • Elsy Lopez
  • Katherine Swanson
  • Cindy Santner
  • Emily Kane
  • Jeanne Sweeney
  • Charles Barbour
  • Tara Claeys


Media Contact: Jennifer K. Smith, Director of Communications, 703-486‑0626 x1118

Students Announce College Choices on AHC’s Signing Day

Photos of students

(Front row, left to right) Carla Bacerra, Karen Gonzales Cifuentes, Abigia Mulugeta, Iyar Soliman. Sara Berhe Abraha, Margot Rodriguez, Alishaba Hayat, Anwar Elgattari (Back row, left to right) Claudia Andrade, Nichole Escobar, Betel Bereket, Laetitia Noutcha, Amelia Castro, Xiomara Amaya, Dayana Cespedes, Anand Tselmeg, Nicolas Lopez, Ayman Adam, Hermon Gebreezgi, Fraol Gurmu

Students in AHC Inc.’s College and Career Readiness (CCR) program on May 6 gathered for college signing day – where they announced their college plans and donned new t-shirts for their chosen colleges.

This year, the CCR program included 42 high school seniors from lower income homes. And these remarkable students earned more than $6.5 Million in scholarships and grants. Most of the students are the first generation in their family to reach this educational milestone.

Since its official launch in 2016, CCR has served 169 students. Tutors and mentors, key players in the program, also joined the celebration of achievement.

For CCR Manager Gabriela Segovia, it was also a special day. “This is the first class of seniors I have supported from beginning to end,” she commented. “You are all standing here, because 30 years ago, AHC made a commitment to its residents by providing them with services to help them succeed, and what better way to do this than to increase access to education.”

About Some of the Students

Joel Escobar is attending the University of Rochester this fall. Joel is a Posse Scholar and received a full ride to the University of Rochester. He is planning to study Education Policy, and his goal is to become a teacher. Ultimately, Joel hopes to take his teaching experience to work for the school board and apply his expertise to enact change. Joel also hopes to inspire his little brother in middle school. “I want to share my experience with my family. I’m excited to be the first person in our family to go to college, but I don’t want to be the only one.”

Alishaba Hayat, a Yorktown High School student, is planning to study engineering at the University of Virginia in the coming year. She joined the CCR program the summer before her junior year. “I didn’t know anything about FAFSA or applying to college. The program gave me insight into the whole process, a year in advance, so when it came to apply, I was ready,” said Alishaba.

Sara Abraha has lived nearly all her life in Arlington and is heading across the country to attend Pomona in the fall, majoring in sociology. Throughout high school, she’s been active with Key Club and Mentor Connect, and Generation Ratify, a youth-led group that advocates for ratifying the equal rights amendment. “I want to use what I learn to help others – especially people in marginalized communities,” says Sara. Her older sister was also in CCR. “[CCR] helped me navigate some of the confusing areas of applying for schools and looked out for opportunities regarding my interests. They had workshops on things like FAFSA that were really helpful,” says Sara.”

Karen Cifuentes attends Washington Liberty High School and received a full ride to attend Carnegie Mellon University this fall. She’s planning a career in the tech field, and her dream is to represent Latina women in STEM and inspire other young Latina women. “I am majoring in information systems and am excited to focus on my passion. Karen joined CCR early in her junior year. “As a first-gen student, I didn’t have my parents to rely on, so I had to look for outside resources, and CCR made it easy to find those resources.”

About the College and Career Readiness Program

CCR provides students living in AHC’s affordable apartment communities with the tools and support to successfully graduate from high school and go to college or develop a career path. High school juniors and seniors work one-on-one with a mentor who helps them navigate the challenges of applying for financial support, scholarships, and identifying educational and career options.

Where They’re Headed This Fall

  • Virginia Commonwealth Univ.
  • George Mason Univ.
  • Univ. of Virginia
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • U.S. Marines
  • Notre Dame
  • Univ. of Rochester
  • Marymount Univ.
  • Carnegie Mellon Univ.
  • James Madison Univ.
  • Virginia Tech
  • Pomona College
  • Yale Univ.
  • Gap Year

Interested in Mentoring or Tutoring?

Contact Laura Jackson at volunteer@ahcinc.org.