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AHC Inc. Celebrates 24 High School Graduates – All First in Their Families to Go to College

(June 13, 2019 – Arlington, VA) Nearly 100 family members, friends, and supporters attended AHC Inc.’s Graduation Celebration to applaud the nonprofit organization’s Class of 2019 – 24 high school students who are all the first in their families to go to college.

The evening, a culmination of AHC’s College and Career Readiness Program (CCR), was overflowing with hope and promise, students’ sheer joy of accomplishment and proud mentors and parents.

Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey was the keynote speaker. “I find this group so inspiring,” said Dorsey. “Even though you all want to do different things in college, there is a common theme that you want to find a way to make a difference and be a change maker in the world.”

Graduate Roger Mensah-Cooley, a participant in AHC’s education programs since fourth grade, shared how the program and volunteers have helped him overcome challenges over the years.

“Our journey ahead is going to be so awesome, but it may be rough at times. However, you can’t climb to the top of a mountain if the sides are smooth. You need those rough patches to get there. AHC and its programs were like my mountain climbing gear.”

Students Earned $600K in Scholarships

AHC’s Class of 2019 earned approximately $600,000 in scholarships and gift aid. Two students also received full-tuition scholarships. Nahom Ayele is going to Bucknell through the POSSE Foundation and Esther Garcia is attending James Madison University thanks to the Centennial Scholars Program.

Many students have grown up in the program. Five students, Rene Burgos, Jessica Delgadillo, Liliana Martinez, Roger Mensah-Cooley, and Kevin Platero started attending AHC’s afterschool program in elementary school.

“I have had the privilege and honor of working with these amazing students, and it has been a wonderful journey,” said Milenka Coronel, AHC College and Career Readiness Manager. “Their hard work, dedication and commitment has paid off and we know they will do amazing things in their future.”

Mentors Are Key to Students’ Success

Each student in the CCR program has a mentor who works one-on-one with them during their senior year of high school. Their consistent dedication makes a world of difference. Some mentors have worked with individual students for several years through AHC’s Teen Tutoring program, and their personal connection has been a huge part of their success.

“AHC’s program allows for one-on-one interaction, which is essential for these students who have less available resources than their more affluent peers,” said Josh Kearns, a mentor who has known Roger Mensah-Colley since 6th grade. “My relationship with Roger has really grown. He inspires me every day.”

CCR Caps Off AHC’s Education Program

The College & Career Readiness Program is the culmination of AHC’s multi-faceted education program, which also includes an afterschool program and summer camp for elementary students plus tutoring for middle and high school teens.

For more than 10 years, 100% of the seniors in the program have successfully graduated from high school. The students’ determination helps build their commitment to succeeding in college. Eighty percent of AHC’s college students are staying in school or have graduated. This compares to just 56% of first-generation students across the country and 74% of students with college-educated parents.

AHC Inc. thanks the many volunteers, supporters and community organizations that have helped our students along their journey, including Project Discovery of Virginia, Arlington County, and the Arlington Public Schools. Together, we are making dreams come true.

AHC’s Class of 2019

Eilaf Abdelmutalb (NOVA Pathways Program), Salina Abraham (NOVA Pathways Program), Rochelle Andrade (Trinity University), Nahom Ayele (Bucknell University), Chrithian Iriarte Blanco (Virginia Tech), Rene Burgos (Virginia Commonwealth University), Jessica Delgadillo (NOVA Pathways Program), Arsema Deribe (NOVA Pathways Program), Esther Garcia (James Madison University), Alinson Hernandez (NOVA Pathways Program), Liliana Martinez (Virginia Commonwealth University), Annali Menjivar (James Madison University), Roger Mensah-Cooley (George Mason University), Fatima Mercado-Zeron (University of Mary Washington), Rozina Nigussie (Virginia Commonwealth University), Jade Northover (Kent State University), Delina Ogbe (NOVA Pathways Program), Walaa Osman (NOVA Pathways Program), Anudari Oyunbold (NOVA Pathways Program), Jose Perez (NOVA Pathways Program), Kevin Platero (NOVA Pathways Program) Yushek Sitoula (NOVA), Nuhamin Tekleselassie (NOVA Pathways Program), and Sarish Zahid (George Mason University).

AHC 2018/2019 Mentors

Terry Burridge, Laura Cialone, Tara Claeys, Jean Falvey, Aisha Farooq, Evan Heit, Joshua Kearns, Stephanie Lee, Marjorie Macieiran Lemeka Magee, Zaynab Malik, Laurie Mittenthal, Laura Mulieri, Shawn Pham, Hunter Rheaume, Jonathan Roose, Sharon Showalter, Jeanne Sweeney, Ann Symonds, Gary Usrey, Adrienne Wichard-Edds, Kristine Wood, and Maria Woolverton.

Event Photos and Program

News Coverage

Volunteer

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Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing 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 50+ properties in Virginia,  Maryland and Washington, DC. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities.

 

AHC Inc. Chosen by Amazon for Employee Match Campaign

 

(June 11, 2019 – Arlington, VA) AHC Inc. has been selected by Amazon as a nonprofit partner to participate in a $5 million company employee match campaign. AHC is one of 10 housing and homelessness nonprofits chosen in the Northern Virginia/Washington, DC region to receive the donations. Amazon also identified 10 nonprofit organizations in the Seattle area to participate in the campaign. Amazon will match employee donations one-for-one, up to $5 million, through September 30, 2019.

“AHC Inc. is honored to be selected by Amazon as a local nonprofit partner,” said AHC President & CEO Walter D. Webdale. “We are grateful the organization supports our mission to provide affordable housing and educational programs to help low- and moderate-income residents build more stable and successful lives in our community.”

The employee matching campaign was announced along with an $8 million donation to two nonprofits based in the company’s headquarters regions – $3 million to the Arlington Community Foundation in Arlington, VA and $5 million to Plymouth Housing in Seattle, WA. The gifts will support both nonprofits in their missions to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable residents by increasing access to housing for families, veterans, and single adults experiencing chronic homelessness or in need of affordable housing.

Learn more about AHC’s Housing + Education = Success initiatives.

Donate to AHC Inc.’s education and social services programs.

Provide much-needed education tools for AHC’s youth. Check out our “Wish List” on Amazon Smile. 

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Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing 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 50+ properties in Virginia,  Maryland and Washington, DC. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities.

 

24 High School Seniors Announce College Choices at AHC College Signing Day

(May 16, 2018 – Arlington, VA) Wearing brand new college t-shirts and big smiles, AHC Inc.’s high school seniors announced their college decisions at the nonprofit organization’s annual “College Signing Day.” The 24 students, participants in AHC’s College and Career Readiness Program, are the first in their families to continue their education and attend college.

AHC Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Arlington, VA, provides a variety of onsite educational and social services for residents, including education programs for youth.

Initiated in 2016, AHC’s College & Career Readiness Program helps high school seniors successfully transition to the next step. The program pairs students with adult mentors who help teens succeed academically and also navigate the challenges of college applications and scholarship opportunities.

“It’s wonderful to watch the students shine and to see how proud the volunteers are of their students,” explained Milenka Coronel, AHC’s Senior College and Career Readiness Manager. “College Signing Day was as exciting for the mentors as it was for the students.”

Celebrating with the teens were volunteer mentors, parents, representatives from Arlington Public Schools and leaders from Project Discovery of Virginia, a statewide program that provides resources and tools to help students stay in school and successfully access post-secondary education.

Speakers included James Sample, Equity & Excellence Coordinator, Washington-Lee High School and Monique O’Grady, School Board Member, Arlington Public Schools.

“As a first generation student, you are the first person in your family to pursue higher education and will be part of the 33% of freshmen who are first-generation students in the United States,” said Monique O’Grady, Arlington County School Board member. “We are here to celebrate your hard work and commitment. I know your future is bright and full of hope.”

The students are planning to attend a variety of schools, including George Mason University, James Madison University, Kent State University, Northern Virginia Community College, University of Mary Washington, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech.

Youth are considering a wide range of careers, including criminal justice, architecture, mechanical engineering, animation, veterinary medicine, environmental science, law, economics, hospitality management, cyber security, international relations and nursing.

Together the 2019 grads have earned approximately $600,000 in scholarships and aid. Several students earned significant individual scholarships.

Nahom Ayele, for instance, earned a POSSE Foundation Scholarship, a four-year, full-tuition leadership merit scholarship that also includes mentoring, leadership training, and career preparation. Nahom will be attending Bucknell University in the fall.

Esther Garcia received the James Madison University Centennial Scholars Program, a full, four-year scholarship, which also provides financial assistance and academic support.

Three students also received generous scholarships from the Arlington Community Foundation, a combined $13,500 per year.

The College & Career Readiness Program is the culmination of AHC’s multi-faceted education program, which also includes an afterschool program and summer camp for elementary students plus tutoring for middle and high school teens.

Many students have grown up in the program. Five students, Rene Burgos, Jessica Delgadillo, Liliana Martinez, Roger Mensah-Cooley, and Kevin Platero started attending AHC’s afterschool program in elementary school.

“It is such a privilege to be a part of our students’ lives over the years and help their dreams come true,” said Coronel. We are so proud of all they have accomplished and their determination to succeed.”

For more than 10 years, 100% of the seniors in the program have successfully graduated from high school. The students’ determination helps build their commitment to succeeding in college. Eighty percent of AHC’s college students are staying in school or have graduated. This compares to just 56% of the first-generation students across the country and 74% of the students with college-educated parents.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities with AHC Inc. 

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Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing 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 50+ properties in Virginia,  Maryland and Washington, DC. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities.

 

AHC Inc. Celebrates 15 Five-Year Volunteers

(April 26, 2019 – Arlington, VA) As part of National Volunteer Month, AHC Inc. honored 15 individuals who have volunteered with the Arlington-based nonprofit’s education programs for five years. The April 26 celebration included special guest Tannia Talento, Vice Chair of the Arlington School Board.

About 240 people volunteer each year with AHC Inc., which provides onsite education programs at five community centers in its affordable apartment communities in Arlington. Many of AHC’s students grow up in the education programs, which include afterschool programs for elementary students, Teen Tutoring for middle and high schoolers, and College and Career Readiness that pairs mentors with juniors and seniors to help them navigate the college application process.

Volunteers are the heartbeat of AHC’s education programs and a key reason why 100% of the seniors in AHC’s program have graduated from high school. Nearly all AHC’s graduates have continued to college. The majority are the first in their families to achieve that milestone.

“A volunteer is a guide who shows where hope lies – someone who shows a child that no matter what situation they are in, there is the possibility of changing it for the better,” said Tannia Talento, Arlington School Board Vice Chair. “By being a volunteer you provide a light that will stay with that child for the rest of their life.”

AHC’s 2019 five-year volunteers are: Karen Bailey, Bruce Clarke, Rachel Cosgray, Jean Falvey, Jamie Garzia, Kathy Killion, Liz Liang, Nancy Limprecht, Nykolas Lotocky, Gail Markulin, Lisa Martin, Laurie Mcmanus, Steven Rentz, Radha Sambasvian and Jamie Usrey.

AHC’s Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Jackson, thanked the volunteers for their ongoing commitment. “It is because of all of you that so many girls and boys, middle schoolers, and teenagers call their time at our community centers their ‘home away from home,’” said Jackson. “Thanks to you, we are impacting the lives of more than 200 youth through our educational programs this year!”

Photo caption – From left to right: AHC Inc. five-year volunteers Gail Marlukin, Nyk Lotocky, Liz Liang, Tannia Talento (Arlington School Board Vice Chair), Jamie Usrey, Nancy Limprecht, Jean Falvey, and Laurie McManus.

Volunteer

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Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing 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 50+ properties in Virginia,  Maryland and Washington, DC. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities.

 

AHC Celebrates 20 High School Grads – All First in Family to Attend College

In early June, AHC Inc. honored 20 high school graduates during a special celebration with families, mentors, education leaders, and much applause. School Board member Tannia Talento was the keynote speaker.

AHC’s Class of 2018’s achievements are remarkable. Perhaps most life-changing, ALL of the students are the first in their families to attend college.

Their future hopes and dreams are wide-ranging, including cyber security, film and media studies, special education, mechanical engineering, criminal justice, auto mechanics, architecture, social work, animation, civil engineering, pre-med, international relations and psychology.

Together, the group earned more than $613,000 in scholarships. Two students received full-tuition scholarships. Flor Caceres is attending Lafayette College through the POSSE Foundation. And, Ruth Mengesha is going to James Madison University through the Centennial Scholars Program.

The students are participants in AHC’s College & Career Readiness Program, a component of AHC’s overall education initiative that provides after-school, teen, and summer camp programs in the affordable apartment communities where students live. Many of the graduates have grown up in AHC’s programs. Three of this year’s class started in Kindergarten.

Lydia Abraha, who has participated in AHC’s programs since she was six, believes the program has helped her become who she is today. “I’ve built many relationships with staff members and tutors that have influenced my life,” says Abraha. “I can’t imagine my life without the memories and positive impact AHC has provided me.” A dedicated student, Abraha was accepted into eight colleges. She chose Virginia Tech because she received the Virginia Tech Inclusive Student Excellence Scholarship and plans to study mechanical engineering.

Along with students’ hard work, the College and Career Planning program succeeds thanks to mentors who work one-on-one with students throughout their senior year. Volunteers help students keep up their grades and navigate college and scholarship applications. Their commitment produces real results. This year, students applied to 93 colleges and universities and were accepted into 65.

Over the years, many of the students and mentors have developed lasting relationships. “We will definitely stay in touch,” said Undrakh Tsend, who is attending the College of William and Mary, and has worked with tutor Lisa Martin since 8th grade. “She is my mentor and my best friend, too,” said Tsend.

Mentor Alex Payne also hopes to keep in touch with Victor Orellana, who is enrolled in the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Pathways Program. “The mentoring program has been rewarding and productive for both of us,” says Payne. “We’ll definitely keep in touch and I hope he keeps me updated when he registers for classes.” Orellana, who hopes to be a graphic designer or animator, agrees. “I hope we stay friends forever,” he says.

AHC’s College & Career Readiness Program is part of AHC’s comprehensive commitment to “Housing + Education = Success.” The organization’s goal is to provide educational opportunities and social services to help individuals and families build stable lives, put down roots and become strong community members.

Many thanks to Project Discovery Virginia and Arlington Public Schools for their support of our students and our programs.

AHC Class of 2018 Students

Umniya Abdu (Virginia Commonwealth University), Lydia Abraha (Virginia Tech), Dayana Albarado (George Mason University), Sharon Albarado (George Mason University), Flor Caceres (Lafayette College), Flavia Dominguez (George Mason University), Kiana Flores (Northern Virginia Community College), Christopher Lozano (Northern Virginia Community College), Katelyn Ly (James Madison University), Ruth Mengesha (James Madison University), Carlos Orellana (Northern Virginia Community College), Victor Orellana (Northern Virginia Community College), Bibho Prasai (Northern Virginia Community College), Daniel Rodriguez (Northern Virginia Community College), Bryan Sanchez (Northern Virginia Community College), Ainood Soliman (George Mason University), Carlos Soliz (Northern Virginia Community College), Undrakh Tsend (College of William and Mary), Minjin Uranbayar (James Madison University) and Katerin Villegas (Northern Virginia Community College).

2017/2018 Mentors

Tim Bellaire, Jim Burridge, Terry Burridge, Rachel Cosgray, Christina Ann Dietrich, Jean Falvey, Evan Heit, Cindy Kaang, Alexandra Lucas, Christine Mader, Lisa Martin, Katie Masterson, Judy Palmore, Alex Payne, Jonathan Roose, Kathryn Sheehan, Sharon Showalter, David Slater, Ann Symonds, Jennifer Ukegbu, Gary Usrey and Maria Woolverton.

Photos from the graduation celebration.

For volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.ahcinc.org/get-involved/volunteers/

Photo: From left to right: Flor Caceres (Lafayette College), Bibho Prasai (Northern Virginia Community College) and Undrakh Tsend (College of William and Mary) participated in AHC’s education programs at Woodbury Park/Frederick Community Center.

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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 50+ properties in Virginia,  Maryland and Washington, DC. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.