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AHC Celebrates Volunteer Appreciation Month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AHC Celebrates 400 Volunteers Who Donated 6,000 Hours To Children and Families This Year, including 23 Dedicated Five- and Ten-Year Volunteers 

Contact:
Celia Slater, Communications Director, AHC Inc., 571-228-5948 or celia.slater@ahcinc.org

As a nonprofit community organization, AHC Inc. is immensely grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who contribute to the success of our residents and programs. During Volunteer Appreciation Month, we celebrate 400 volunteers who provided more than 6,000 hours this year to AHC’s education and social services programs in our affordable apartment communities. That includes 23 dedicated individuals who have volunteered for more than five years and 68 volunteers from 20+ different businesses and groups.

“Our volunteers are special, generous individuals who are critical to the success of the students, families and senior citizens we serve,” said Laura Jackson, AHC’s Volunteer Coordinator. “From tutoring teens and helping students get into college to delivering backpacks and helping at our annual Thanksgiving feasts, we couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers’ commitment.”

Many children start AHC’s education programs in elementary school and continue through 12th grade. The multi-year program’s consistency and stability help level the playing field. “Education can transcend so many barriers, so I want to be a part of that, even if in a small way,” said Bernie Piper, who has worked with AHC students for more than 10 years. “An ability and desire to learn are the keys to our success both as individuals and a society.”

Thanks to dedicated volunteers and staff, AHC’s students are beating the odds and building stronger futures.  For more than 10 years, 100% of the students in AHC’s program have graduated from high school and most have gone on to college – often the first in their families to achieve that milestone.

AHC’s volunteers also provide safe spaces and a sense of family that lasts for years. Many volunteers work with the same student year after year and celebrate their achievements as they grow and change. “Working with the kids is the best,” said Terron Sims, who has volunteered with AHC students for 14 years. “Assisting them with their homework and helping to build their self-esteem and confidence is a great joy.” The long-time relationships build a sense of community for both students and volunteers. “Since I’ve been at Harvey Hall since 2006, I feel as though I am part of that community because I am at a point where I have tutored the older siblings and a parent of some of my current kids.”

Celebrating Five and Ten-Year Volunteers

Creating personal connections and making a difference are key to many volunteers’ long-time commitment. “When kids graduate and are happy about their own accomplishments and achievements, which they didn’t see coming, that makes me feel our time together was a great investment,” said Marjorie Macieira, a five-year volunteer who still keeps touch with one of her students who is now in her junior year of college.

Emily Lorenz, who has also volunteered for five years, is also enjoying the personal connection she has developed working with the same student for two years. Although volunteering weekly seemed like a big commitment, she has found that “it fills her up more than it takes away.”  “I look forward to coming each week and adore the student I’m working with,” said Lorenz.

This year we celebrate 23 wonderful individuals who have volunteered with AHC for more than five years, including seven who have participated for 10 years or more. We are grateful for their dedication and immeasurable contributions to our residents’ success.

Ten-year Volunteers

Jim Burridge, Terry Burridge, Santosh Chokhani, Hanh Nguyen, Bernie Piper, Alison Sheahan, and Terron Sims

Five-year Volunteers

Kate Athing and the Marymount Women’s Lacrosse Team, Tim Bellaire, Lisa Blake, Anne Blacksten, Charles Cope, Adrienne Eng, Greg Frey, Coral Harris, Evan Heit, Emily Lorenz, Marjorie Macieira, Ty Mitchell, Laura Noble, and Maria Woolverton.

Visit AHC’s Instagram at @AHC_Inc for individual portraits of many of our long-time volunteers.

To learn more about volunteering with AHC, please email volunteer@ahcinc.org or visit https://www.ahcinc.org/get-involved/volunteers/.

About AHC Inc.

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 7,500 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. For more information, visit www.ahcinc.org

Overcoming the Odds: Rosie Riveters Works With Amazon and AHC Inc to Deliver At-Home STEM Learning Kits to Children in Need

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Overcoming the Odds: Rosie Riveters Works With Amazon and AHC Inc to Deliver At-Home STEM Learning Kits to Children in Need

Contact:
Celia Slater, Communications Director, AHC Inc., 571-228-5948 or celia.slater@ahcinc.org
Brittany Greer, Executive Director and Founder, Rosie Riveters, 703-364-9389 or Brittany.Greer@RosieRiveters.com

Rosie Riveters, a nonprofit dedicated to engaging and inspiring girls ages 4 to 14 in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), is working with Amazon and local affordable housing non-profit AHC Inc to deliver curated STEM kits for girls to participate in hands-on STEM learning from home. Each Rosie Riveters’ STEM kit includes the materials to complete six different hands-on STEM projects; access to online lessons to support each project as well as additional learning materials and resources like notebooks, rulers, pencils, markers, glue and tape. Amazon donated gift cards and supplies for Rosie Riveters to assemble the STEM kits and helped safely deliver the kits to an AHC Inc facility.

Rosie Riveters is proud to work with Amazon and AHC Inc to bring fun and engaging STEM kits and essential learning materials to children in need.” says Brittany Greer, Executive Director of Rosie Riveters. “Now more than ever enrichment opportunities like these are vitally important. We can not thank Amazon enough for helping to provide the resources and logistics needed to allow Rosie Riveters to continue our mission to engage and inspire girls aged 4-14 in STEM.”

With physical schools closed, the importance of structured yet independent learning opportunities are more important than ever. Rosie Riveters strives as an organization to ensure that its STEM programs are not only available but accessible to the community and these times are no exception.

AHC Inc. is grateful to work with Rosie Riveters and Amazon to provide hands-on learning opportunities for children in our affordable apartment communities. With schools closed and our afterschool programs limited to virtual interactions, it’s more important than ever to keep students engaged,” said Susan Davidson, AHC’s Resident Services Director. “The Rosie Riveters’ at-home kits are a wonderful way for children to explore new ideas and stay excited about learning, particularly in the critical science and technology fields.”

Amazon is donating thousands of high-need items to ten nonprofits in the Washington, D.C. area, including Rosie Riveters and AHC Inc. Items include hygiene and cleaning products, shelf-stable food, school supplies and activities, and other supplies. To learn more about what Amazon is doing to support its HQ communities, you can read more here.

About AHC Inc.

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 7,500 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.

About Rosie Riveters
Rosie Riveters provides a fun space for girls ages 4­-14 to imagine, create, and play while developing their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The organization instills a growth mindset – in STEM and beyond – by teaching girls to delete the words “I can’t” from their vocabulary and inspiring them to always be confident enough to try. Because even if they don’t get it right, they will always learn.

Founded in 2015 in Arlington, Virginia, Rosie Riveters has served more than 900 girls across Arlington and Fairfax counties via interactive STEM programs that are completely free of charge. Programs are in extremely high demand; there are 270 children on the organization’s waitlist in Arlington county alone. Given the program’s exit data, this is not a surprise: 97% of participants enjoyed attending Rosie Riveters’ programs, 86% were inspired to further explore STEM, and100% of participants’ parents would recommend the program. Currently, women only make up 28% of the science and engineering workforce in the U.S. Rosie Riveters is changing that statistic. For more information, please visit www.RosieRiveters.com.

AHC Greater Baltimore Health & Wellness Program Wins Innovation Award

(November 2019 – Baltimore, MD) AHC Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Arlington, VA, is proud to announce that its subsidiary AHC Greater Baltimore has won the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition’s 2019 Innovation Award for its Health & Wellness Program at MonteVerde Apartments.

MonteVerde Apartments provides 300+ apartments for senior citizens. The Resident Services team created a comprehensive on-site network to help elderly residents improve access to health care services and decrease social isolation.

Increasing accessibility and providing a variety of recreational and educational activities has significantly improved health outcomes and the overall quality of life for residents.

Positive outcomes include:

  • In a recent survey of 18 residents who regularly saw the nurse practitioner, 15 or 83% reported their health improved. This included a reduction in emergency room visits.
  • Through the regular cancer screenings, 4 residents in the past 5 years have received an early detection and diagnosis of cancer that enabled early, life-saving treatment.
  • The Medicare Insurance Navigator helped 32 residents better understand insurance options and select appropriate plans.
  • 122 residents have participated in the healthy food discussions and cooking classes.
  • 62 residents have participated in fitness classes designed specifically for seniors.
  • 132 residents participate in the Maryland Food Bank program.

Pictured above: Nichole Doye Battle (left), who serves on both the AHC Greater Baltimore Board of Directors and the MAHC Board, presented the Innovation Award to AHC Greater Baltimore’s Resident Services Assistant Director Tiffany Smith (center) and AHC Greater Baltimore Director Mary Claire Davis.

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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 7,500 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 Greater Baltimore opened in 2004 to address the need for more affordable housing in the Baltimore region. Since then, AHC Greater Baltimore has developed eight properties with more than 1,200 affordable apartments. AHC Greater Baltimore is a subsidiary of AHC Inc. 

 

Local Professionals Share Job and Education Experience with AHC Teens

AHC’s Fall Career Fair was loud, fast-paced and really interactive – the perfect recipe for a successful learning experience. More than 30 teens “speed networked” with professionals from a wide variety of fields – journalism, health and fitness, finance, accounting, government, education, engineering, FBI, fire department, and immigration law – and learned about their education experience and career path.

“We spoke to high school junior, senior and college students in the program about our own career paths, what skills are needed for certain careers and the how-tos of succeeding at a job. We received thoughtful questions and it was fun to hear the students’ plans for their future,” said Betsy Sharon of Chain Bridge Bank. After the Career Fair, two students reached out to Sharon about informational interviews.  She was able to set them up to talk with someone at the Bank about possible careers in investing and the stock market.

“The opportunity to meet and connect with different professionals is an invaluable experience for our students,”  said Milenka Coronel, Senior College and Career Readiness Manager. “Several of our teens have already set up informational interviews, job shadowing opportunities and internships after talking with some of the volunteers.”

Students, who ranged from 10th grade to college freshmen, also found it helpful to hear that career paths often evolve over time and it’s okay not to know exactly what they want to do right now.

Bernie Piper, who works with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, echoed the idea that career exploration is a journey. “What was most important to me was to convey that evolving career goals is a lifelong experience. This journey requires discovering your talents and passions, but at the same time, embracing a sober understanding of job markets.”

Huge shout out to our speakers for inspiring our students! Thank you to Austin Achenbach (Harkins Builders), Tim Bellaire (retired FBI), Natalie Brandmueller (EYP Architecture and Engineering), Orlando James (Orlando James Fitness LLC), Megan Mack (Vera Institute of Justice), Monique O’Grady (Arlington County School Board), Greg Pearson (Harkins Builders), Bernie Piper (Federal Housing Finance Agency), Catherine Sadaat (Aronson LLC), Betsy Sharon (Chain Bridge Bank), Terron Sims (Warrior Centric Healthcare Foundation), Tannia Talento (Arlington County School Board), Justin Tirelli (Arlington County Fire Department), and Debbie Truong (Washington Post).

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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 7,500 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.

 

Extinguishing Eviction

The United States is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. No state has an adequate supply of affordable rental housing for the lowest income renters. To afford a basic two-bedroom apartment in the U.S., renters need to earn an average of $20.30 per hour. With minimum wage just $7.25 per hour, a renter would need to work 112 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom rental. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that evictions are frequently happening across the country. In fact, sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute.

AHC Inc. seeks to build, preserve and provide high-quality affordable housing to lower income families and individuals and provides housing for more than 18,000 families and individuals in the mid-Atlantic region. Twenty-five of those communities are just outside the nation’s capital in Arlington, Virginia, a county with some of the highest cost of living in the nation.

In 2017, AHC joined forces with Citi Community Development, a founding corporate supporter, and with NeighborWorks America, a nationwide organization dedicated to affordable housing and community development, to develop an eviction prevention program for residents of AHC’s affordable housing communities.

Through the program, on-site staff members provide intensive case management to prevent eviction and enhance financial stability. This includes financial coaching that introduces residents to credit building as well as online financial tools such as automated payments. In addition, AHC helps connect residents with workforce training to help residents secure better paying jobs. Staff members are culturally competent and trained financial coaches—essential ingredients when working with the diverse populations who live in the area.

“It is essential to find ways to help ensure that even the most financially vulnerable individuals have access to stable housing,” said Robert Burns, Citi Community Development. “This vital program helps keep people in their homes, which is absolutely critical to preventing displacement and preserving inclusive communities.”

This work has dramatically increased the housing stability and well-being of individual residents. To date, these efforts have helped stabilize 644 families. In many cases, the tools residents learn through these programs dramatically change their lives.

One example is Beth [name changed], a resident in her late 50s living on disability income. Health concerns had previously limited her ability to work. Last year, she was hospitalized for an extended period and her roommate, fearful she would not return, moved out of the unit. While Beth was in the hospital, she accumulated a past due rent total of $8,955.

When Beth got out of the hospital, she had no way to pay either the past due rent or an ongoing rental payment without the assistance of a roommate. AHC’s staff worked tirelessly with many partner organizations to secure financial assistance to pay off the rental balance and then helped her secure a new apartment that met her financial constraints. After the move, AHC continued to provide ongoing supportive services and connect her to vital community resources.

Because of one on one case management and participating in onsite workshops, she now wants to continue her education to better her chances for future financial success. She remains stably housed in an affordable community that meets her unique needs and is dedicated to helping her overcome obstacles and enhance the quality of her life. Most importantly – she never had to endure homelessness.

In sum, through providing affordable housing, actively engaging our residents in coaching as well as self-advocacy, and providing onsite Resident Services support, AHC is helping vulnerable residents maintain housing stability and build more successful lives for themselves and their families.

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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.