PVCC staff kept the kids at Friendship Court busy making all sorts of colorful creations during a week-long Sculpey Clay Creations class. The class which ran from Aug 1-5 from 3-5 pm taught the kids the basics of hand sculpting, the use of sculpting tools and helped give them the skills to create their own unique designs. Polymer, or sculpey clay, was the basic material kids used to mold things from bowls to rainbows to other fun knick-knacks. After the pieces were baked, the kids were able to paint them with acrylic paints before taking them home. PVCC instructor John Haverkamp has a background in artisanal crafts and computer software instruction for youth and adults. Courtney Brown also assisted him with the class. Tory Twitty, the new Friendship Court Activity Coordinator, was on-hand to help out as was Community Outreach Assistant and Friendship Court resident, Sheri Hopper.
This Academy was the result of an ongoing partnership between Piedmont Housing Alliance and PVCC KidsCollege. During the past three years, dozens of Friendship Court students have been to PVCC for hands-on STEM and Arts Academies.
Thanks to a generous donation from BB&T, Piedmont Housing is able to provide Friendship Court’s Community Center with some updated furnishings to help give it a little face-lift.
BB&T’s Bryan Thomas and his colleagues Steve Supple and Jennifer De Gaetano planned an afternoon to bring several new pieces to the center and helped Community Organizer, Claudette Grant, set them up. One item was a new area rug to use in the classroom as well as several colorful beanbag chairs that the kids can enjoy. They also brought two benches, and badminton and volleyball sets.
Baskets for the bookcases and additional seating are forthcoming. The BB&T team spent the afternoon entertaining the youth while playing volleyball and badminton with them. The afternoon was capped off with the kids enjoying ice cream served up by Kirt of Kirt’s Homemade Ice Cream. It was a real treat for all!
“The Friendship Court community thanks BB&T and Kirt’s Homemade Ice Cream for their generous support. The children greatly appreciate and are enjoying all the items provided,” notes Claudette Grant, Community Organizer at Friendship Court.
Bryan Thomas, Market President of BB&T, said “We have had the pleasure of working with Piedmont Housing Alliance this year. Our BB&T branches and departments have continued to support our Lighthouse Projects, financially and with our personal involvement, to help our communities become stronger and better places to live.” Lighthouse Projects are community projects that bring financial resources and program support to community organizations or programs in need, such as Friendship Court. They were started six years ago by BB&T. Some other Lighthouse Projects supported in 2016 by other BB&T branches have been Claudius Crozet Park, Ready for Kids, and the Ronald MacDonald House.
Reporter Sean Tubbs published a story in yesterday’s Charlottesville Tomorrow about the latest update to the Friendship Court redevelopment process. The article covers the history of the project, which launched in the fall of 2015, and details some of the findings of the redevelopment team and Piedmont Housing Alliance as they’ve worked with residents and other stakeholders to learn the best way to approach redevelopment. Read the article.
Tamara Wright is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by her fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.
A busy mother of three, Tamara still finds ways to be involved in her community, including her service on the advisory committee. She also serves on the Urban Agricultural Collective of Charlottesville (UACC) board of directors and is a member of the Friendship Court Residents Association. UACC has been a key partner at Friendship Court for nine years. It is so important to have dedicated community members like Tamara involved in different aspects of planning Friendship Court’s future, including building on the vision for community life that Todd Neimeier (“Farmer Todd”) and UACC have developed with local residents over many years.
In addition to raising her children, as a single mother, and her community commitments, Tamara also works part-time, and has been pursuing a degree from Piedmont Virginia Community College.
We are excited to present our work to date on the Master Plan for the future of Friendship Court. The plan incorporates the work of many of you, including Friendship Court residents, City leaders and staff, our design team, and others in the community.
For the 150 families who call Friendship Court home – including more than 250 children – redevelopment means opportunity, hope for a brighter future, and uncertainty about how it will all unfold. For the larger Charlottesville community, redevelopment represents the chance to remake a large part of our downtown and to get it right, creating new housing, jobs, and infrastructure without displacing anyone. Our goals for the new Friendship Court include mixed income housing in a mixed-use community, with 150 units of Section 8 assisted housing, additional affordable and workforce housing, and a large complement of market-rate housing.
We are excited for the future of Friendship Court, and we want your feedback. Please review the Master Plan Update and let us know what you think.
You can provide your feedback by contacting Claudette Grant, Community Organizer, at the community center, at 295-9794, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also welcome to provide your feedback through this quick survey below. Please be sure to click “done” after the three questions. Thanks!
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Sarah McLean, a Director of the Adiuvans Relief Fund and the Adiuvans Foundation, a local philanthropy, is a member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee will provide guidance to the Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.
In her work with Adiuvans, Sarah focuses on early intervention for young children and on a wide range of projects in the areas of health care, affordable housing, and food insecurity in the greater Charlottesville area. Through this work, Sarah has had the opportunity to learn about and support Piedmont Housing Alliance’s affordable housing efforts. Sarah is passionate about meeting the needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents, especially its families. She sees the redevelopment of Friendship Court as a unique opportunity to design affordable housing with an eye to accessibility, education, community health, and family support.
Sarah has a deep interest in public health, which she puts into practice as a volunteer nurse at the Greene County Free Clinic. She also serves on the board of The Arbor, a Charlottesville not-for-profit that provides a residential recovery program for survivors of human trafficking. She is a member of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Early Education Task Force, exploring the provision of accessible, high-quality pre-K for at-risk children in our community. Sarah received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Virginia. She lives in Free Union with her husband and four children.
Zafar Khan is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by his fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee.
The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life. “The people that . . . know Friendship Court are the people that live there,” Frank Grosch, Piedmont Housing’s CEO, has said. The redevelopment process is intended to “pair up the experts at Friendship Court, the people who live there, with city planners and a world-class team of designers to build a beautiful and vibrant community.”
Originally from Afghanistan, Zafar has a professional background in establishing peace, and organizing workshops and conferences. For eleven years, he worked with the United Nations. Zafar is currently a student at Piedmont Virginia Community College, and has also worked for the International Rescue Committee as an interpreter on a volunteer basis, since coming to Charlottesville. He hopes to bring his skills and experience working with a wide variety of people to the advisory committee.
Yolonda Ross is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by her fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.
Yolonda has been a resident of Friendship Court for five years, and her daughter attends Clark Elementary school. She has a particular interest in representing the perspective of community residents who are working, and are interested in better local employment opportunities.
She is a graduate of Fluvanna County High School, and of National College (formerly, National Business College) where she received training as a medical office specialist.
The design team returned to Charlottesville again this May to meet with stakeholders, Piedmont Housing Alliance staff and residents of all ages at Friendship Court Apartments. A variety of meetings were held also with the City of Charlottesville and other SIA participants to further collaborate on the redevelopment plan for Friendship Court.
One of the highlights of the trip was the resident dinner held at the community center on Thursday, May 12. Moe’s Original BBQ was set up outside providing a tasty meal while Piedmont Housing Alliance’s CEO, Frank Grosch, made a presentation on the current status of the redevelopment with several illustrations and potential renderings of the new site. After dinner, as people trickled in and out of the center to grab dessert from the Sweet Tooth ice cream truck, the design team members made themselves available for kids and adults alike to respond to questions and to hear first-hand exactly what they are working on. Karen Reifenberger, Piedmont Housing Alliance’s COO added, “It was such a great opportunity for the residents to get out and be able to see real renderings of what’s to come and for them to be able to ask concrete questions about the redevelopment.”
Claudette Grant, Community Organizer at Friendship Court who was present for the teen workshop with Liz Ogbu said, “Teens were very excited to see the renderings of the potential apartments. They could not believe it!” One young teen in the workshop commented, “It looks like a place where rich people live.”
June 20, 21, 22 marks the final visit by the design team who plan to unveil the master plan which will really give everyone great insight into the final plans for a brighter future after 2018.
Crystal Johnson is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by her fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.
Crystal is a mother of six children. Her school-aged children attend Charlottesville City Schools, and her family has lived at Friendship Court for a total of ten years. A domestic violence survivor, Crystal says she is interested in being part of the positive changes she sees happening in her Friendship Court community, and has gotten to know other families who feel the same way. She wishes to be a part of a more unified neighborhood and community, and is interested to learn about what her neighbors think and care about through her work on the Advisory Committee.
Crystal is a member of First Baptist Church, where she has volunteered as a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teaching assistant. She will be graduating from Piedmont Virginia Community College this spring, and plans to continue her studies at Mary Baldwin College.