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.
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.
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.
Piedmont 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.
During 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.”
The 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.
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.
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 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.
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.