Friendship Court Athletic Club Takes Field Trip to Ragged Mountain Running Shop

PHA Ragged Mountain Running Shop FCAC fittingThe Friendship Court Athletic Club (FCAC) visited Ragged Mountain Running Shop to get outfitted with running shoes and socks as they prepare to run the Big Brothers Big Sisters Jingle Bell Relay 2 x 1 mile race on Saturday, December 17. Ten kids, ranging from seven to 11 years old, have been training for the last six weeks, working diligently with their volunteer coaches, Nick Berry and Laura Roller, from Investure LLC. Tory Twitty, activity coordinator at Friendship Court has also been assisting the youth to train for the race. The team quickly grew from six participants to 10 as word spread about the training program. The team recently participated in the Buzz-by-Belmont: Clark 5K race to help them prepare for the Jingle Bell Relay. Friendship Court Community Organizer, Claudette Grant said, “It is exciting to watch the boys grow and take ownership as they participate in this running program. Their energy is contagious.”

PHA Mark Lorenzoni Ragged Mountain Running Shop Fitting

Initial guidance and ongoing support comes from Mark Lorenzoni and his team at Ragged Mountain Running Shop. The purchase of the running shoes and socks was made possible through support from Piedmont Housing Alliance and Ragged Mountain. “We loved having the FCAC boys come to the shop and more importantly we love being included in what is quickly becoming a special experience.  Thank you again for making Ragged feel like a part of your family and thank you for all you are doing to put smiles on these boys faces,” said Lorenzoni. Mark Lorenzoni and his wife Cynthia have been promoting distance running and fitness in the community since opening their running shop in 1982.  They have organized over 500 races for charity including the popular Women’s Four Miler event.

We would like to thank our partners at Investure and Ragged Mountain Running Shop for their support of this program. Come out and help cheer on the kids on December 17!

PHA Ragged Mountain Running Shop FCAC fitting boys

Meet Emilee Martin, Member of the Youth Leadership Team

PHA Emilee Martin Youth Leadership Team Friendship Court

Emilee Martin is one of eight Friendship Court residents on the Youth Leadership Team. The team has been meeting regularly after school since September at the Friendship Court Community Center and is learning many skills to help better their community. The Youth Leadership Program is part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement process for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. The goal is to equip resident youth leaders with the skills to provide input for the redevelopment with particular focus on activity areas, green space, and programming. Youth participants gain valuable skills, experiences, and academic and professional networks that will create educational and career opportunities.

Emilee, 12, loves to eat enchiladas and is a pop music lover. She says that she is learning how to evaluate and do research while being a member of the youth leadership team.

Emilee is interested in being a member of the team so that she can be aware of what is going to happen with the redevelopment in order to be more prepared.

Meet Addy Martin, Member of the Youth Leadership Team

PHA Addison Martin Youth Leadership Team Friendship Court

Angel (Addy) Martin is one of eight Friendship Court residents on the Youth Leadership Team. The team has been meeting regularly after school since September at the Friendship Court Community Center and is learning many skills to help better their community. The Youth Leadership Program is part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement process for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. The goal is to equip resident youth leaders with the skills to provide input for the redevelopment with particular focus on activity areas, green space, and programming. Youth participants gain valuable skills, experiences, and academic and professional networks that will create educational and career opportunities.

Addy, 16, is the oldest of six children and is a junior at Charlottesville High School. Addy enjoys drawing and loves the color navy blue. He is learning a lot more about the neighborhood, the community garden, and how to conduct an interview, to name a few things.

Addy’s interest in being a member of the Youth Leadership Team came from wanting to learn more about what is going on with the redevelopment of Friendship Court.  Addy is interested in having a voice in the changes to come.

Friendship Court Residents are Shaping the Future

PHA Friendship Court Resident Shaping the Future Youth Leadership Team Advisory Committee

Throughout 2016, residents of Friendship Court of all ages have been engaged in conversations about redevelopment. Two leadership groups have emerged from this effort, the Friendship Court Advisory Committee, a team of seven residents elected by their neighbors and six members of the at-large community, and the Youth Leadership Program.

The Advisory Committee was integral in the door-to-door effort to gather feedback on the redevelopment Master Plan from each and every Friendship Court resident. Upcoming efforts will focus on gaining quality of life improvements for the community, the plan for an early childhood education center, workforce development and phase one design including architect selection.

The Youth Leadership Program consists of eight resident teens who will meet regularly over two years’ time, developing skills and offering insights for the community’s redevelopment. Sessions will focus on land use planning, community engagement, and related job skills training. In the last few months the teens have gone on a field trip to Charlottesville City Hall and learned interview and research skills from University of Virginia graduate students.

Piedmont Housing Alliance is committed to deepening and expanding meaningful relationships and leadership opportunities within the Friendship Court community to better serve the residents that live there.

 

Friendship Court Youth Leadership Continues to Learn and Grow to Better the Community

PHA Friendship Court UVA Youth Leadership TeamPiedmont Housing Alliance remains committed to helping the Youth Leadership Team of Friendship Court effectively provide input for the redevelopment of their community. This team of highly motivated and engaged youth is embracing the challenges in front of them aided by Piedmont Housing and a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.

Already this fall, there have been two events involving the Youth Leadership Team and their quest to learn how to effect positive changes where they live. The youth team is participating in several sessions with students from the University of Virginia’s Curry School as part of the Curry School Youth-Nex initiative to promote effective youth development. The most recent meeting was spent learning about Youth Participatory Evaluation (YPE)—how to effectively evaluate proposed changes to the community and to assess how and to what extent current programs are working. The goal is for the youth to learn how to be informed evaluators as they work with their community and gather input regarding certain aspects of the redevelopment.pha-friendship-court-uva-youth-leadership-team-2

DuriPHA Friendship Court UVA Youth Leadership TeamPHA Friendship Court UVA Youth Leadership Team with Mark Yung a recent session, the youth and the graduate students discussed their current understanding of research and evaluation. Mark Yu, one of the graduate students involved said, “Rarely do we see youth included in discussions of community issues and change. This is unfortunate given that youth are probably the most affected by changes in their community. My goal is to support and empower youth at Friendship Court to be part of the process of change in their community. Using a Youth Participatory Evaluation framework, my hope is to engender leadership, build trust, and inspire learning among the youth residents at Friendship Court.”

PHA Todd Niemeir UACC Community Garden and Youth Leadership TeamThe second event involving the Youth Leadership Team dealt directly with the physical environment of Friendship Court. The resident youth met in their backyard with Todd Niemeier the director of the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville. “Farmer Todd” heads the community garden project at Friendship Court. He led the team on a tour around the terraced garden walls and they talked about the importance of the garden to the community. They also discussed the next harvest (Swiss chard) which will be available to residents during Market Day at Friendship Court on November 18.

PHA Swiss Chard UACC Community Garden and Youth Leadership Team

As part of their time in the garden with Farmer Todd, the youth had time to reflect on their hopes for the future of the garden and to sketch some of those ideas for future discussion.

 

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For more information on Youth-Nex, please visit: http://curry.virginia.edu/research/centers/youth-nex?utm_source=youth-nex&utm_medium=general&utm_campaign=youth%2Bnex.

For more information on the Partnership with U.Va. under the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, visit: http://piedmonthousingalliance.org/2016/03/08/jessie-ball-dupont-fund/.

For more about Farmer Todd and the Urban Agriculture Collective, visit https://uaccville.wordpress.com.

Piedmont Housing Alliance Launches the Friendship Court Athletic Club for Boys

PHA-FCAC-Friendship Court Boys Running Program Training with Nick Berry

Piedmont Housing Alliance is offering a running program for boys ages 9-12 at Friendship Court.  The youth in the Friendship Court Athletic Club (FCAC) will work on athletic training through running activities and obstacle courses to build not only their stamina but also their self-confidence. The group kicked off its first meeting on Tuesday, October 25th and will train every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. until a culminating one mile race in December.

Tory Twitty, Friendship Court’s activity coordinator, and community organizer, Claudette Grant, have worked together with several community partners to bring the FCAC program to life.  Mark Lorenzoni, the owner of Ragged Mountain Running Shop, developed the running program.  Mark and his wife, Cynthia, are long-time Charlottesville residents who have been promoting distance running and fitness in the community since opening their running shop in 1982.  They have organized over 500 races for charity including the popular Women’s Four Miler event.

PHA FCAC Boys Running Program Friendship Court Boys Running

Nick Berry of Investure is one of the coaches who will be working with the FCAC boys. Nick, who coached last year through the Let Me Run program, will be helped by Madison House volunteers.

 

Piedmont Housing Alliance Leads Bus Tour to Early Childhood Education Centers

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Alex Ikefuna, Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services; Gail Esterman, ReadyKids; Ron Enders, PHA board member; Frank Grosch, PHA CEO; Ramona Chapman, PHA board member; Cathy Train, United Way; Sheri Hopper, PHA Advisory Committee member; Stephanie Massie, ReadyKids; Claudette Grant, PHA Community Organizer at Friendship Court; Myrtle Houchens, PHA Advisory Committee member; Erika Viccellio, United Way; Beth Kennan, PHA Project Manager; Sarah McLean, PHA Advisory Committee member; and Karen Reifenberger, PHA COO

On Tuesday, September 20, Piedmont Housing Alliance led a bus tour to explore exceptional early childhood education centers in both Norfolk and Richmond. The tour included Piedmont Housing staff, several board members, Friendship Court Advisory Committee members, and community representatives from the United Way, ReadyKids and the City of Charlottesville.

The group toured two schools: The New E3 School in Norfolk, and the Weinstein JCC in Richmond.   The schools were selected because they represent two ends of a spectrum in early childhood education philosophy. The New E3 School is based on a curriculum developed by the University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning. The Weinstein JCC program is based around the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education.

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The purpose of the trip is to gain information about early childhood centers that have successfully attracted a mixed income population, with an eye toward the creation of an early childhood center at Friendship Court, as an element of that community’s redevelopment, beginning in 2019.

While on the tour, participants were able to visit classrooms and play areas, talk with staff, learn about school philosophies and visions, as well as methods of operations. Key learnings from the operations help inform how multiple levels of income and tuition can be accommodated and attract a truly diverse population.

The team will compile their findings and continue the discussion with area early childhood education stakeholders, as plans for Friendship Court continue to evolve.

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Youth Leadership Team at Friendship Court Visits City Hall

pha-youth-leadership-team-outside-of-city-hallThe new Youth Leadership Team at Friendship Court is quick to jump in and start learning. The eight-member team spent part of their day on Monday, September 26, downtown at Charlottesville City Hall.

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The youth were given a tour of the building’s offices and the chambers where City Council meetings are held the first and third Mondays of each month at 7:00 p.m. The youth leaders sat in the City Councilors’ chairs, asked and answered questions, and imagined what it’s like to lead one of those meetings.

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The group was joined by Claudette Grant, Community Organizer at Friendship Court as well as Toni Eubanks, Youth Leadership Program Coordinator at Friendship Court.

This was one of many opportunities these youth leaders will have to learn more about their community and develop additional leadership skills. They will continue to meet on a weekly basis as a team, a part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement process for the redevelopment of Friendship Court.

Youth Leadership Program at Friendship Court Gets Under Way

pha-youth-leadership-team-liz-ogbuOn Tuesday, September 13th, several teenagers met after school to celebrate their participation in the Youth Leadership Program at Friendship Court. Part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement process for the redevelopment of Friendship Court, the Youth Leadership Program equips resident youth leaders to provide input for the redevelopment, with particular focus on activity areas, green space, and programming. It is also a program through which the youth will gain valuable skills, experiences, and academic and professional networks that will create educational and career opportunities.

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The kids welcomed to the meeting Liz Ogbu, architect and founder of Studio O, who has been the lead designer for the master plan process and has led several teen focus groups over the past six months. Liz talked with the teens about the latest design plan and the next steps for the redevelopment.  The kids also presented Liz with a cake as a thank you for all of her hard work and dedication to the planning process and the community’s future. Community Organizer Claudette Grant said, “Liz talked with the kids about what it’s like to work as an architect and left them excited to be a part of the redevelopment of their community.”pha-youth-leadership-team-cake-for-liz

The Youth Leadership Team will meet on a weekly basis for a period of two years.

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Welcome to Toni Eubanks, Youth Leadership Program Coordinator at Friendship Court

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Toni Eubanks is Piedmont Housing Alliance’s new Youth Leadership Program Coordinator at Friendship Court. Toni’s specific role will be working with Claudette Grant, Community Organizer, to help recruit for, plan, schedule and implement activities, including events, meeting and field trips for the Youth Leadership Program for the redevelopment of Friendship Court.  Toni has experience working with kids through her work at Sojourners Church where she has been the Nursery Director for almost 3 years.  Toni is currently working on getting her associate’s degree taking online classes at PVCC. Toni brings energy and experience to her role and says “I’m looking forward to pushing students towards an innovative and broader way of thinking.”

We are excited to welcome Toni to our team.