Category Archives: Community News and Events

Unity in the Friendship Court CommUNITY Anti-Bullying Event

Anti bully eventThe Love No Ego Group, LLC, in collaboration with Piedmont Housing Alliance, Friendship Court Community, Portico Church, Impact My Life Mentoring, LLC, and the Bridge Ministry came together on Friday, September 15 to present a much-needed motivational speaker event called Unity in Friendship Court CommUNITY.  Kids and several adults packed into the community center to hear two speakers, Freddy Jackson and Jay James share their own inspirational life experiences.

30% of U.S. students in grades six through ten are involved in moderate or frequent bullying as bullies, victims, or both, according to the results of the first national school bullying statistics and cyberbullying statistics survey. “This topic is important, very timely for the community”, said Friendship Court Community Organizer, Claudette Grant.

Freddy Jackson is the founder and president of The Love No Ego Group, LLC, an organization empowering youth through motivational speaking. It focuses on the suppression of all egotistical behaviors, while recognizing and uplifting the greatness within, and promoting honest and genuine self-reflection that allows positive and effective communication to happen. “Every person is meant to be awesome, especially our youth. That’s where it all starts. And my job is to get them to do a bit of self-reflection, and have them realize on their own exactly where they are living and operating from. Is it from a place of love or is it from a place of ego?” Freddy said.

Jay James anti bully eventJay James, assistant director of The Bridge Ministry, discussed the power of forgiving and explained how negative things happen in life, but that they should never stop you from living the best life possible. Jay encouraged the youth to do the same because he said, “there will be a time in their lives when something will not go as they would like it to, but they have to choose to make good out of a bad situation.” The Bridge Ministry works to transform the lives of troubled men and their families through a faith-based program grounded in Christianity, providing mentoring, skills, and relationships to “bridge” the gap from bondage to productive community and family life.  As Jay concluded his talk, he encouraged the kids to use a positive mantra for themselves, something like the famous lyrics of musical artist DJ Khaled, “Nothing can stop me! I’m all the way up!”

Break dancers

Some of the children recited poetry and displayed artwork focused on anti-bullying and the group enjoyed a breakdance presentation, thanks to dancers from Portico Church. Pastor Desmond Glenn from Portico Church collaborated in the organization of the event to help make it an inspirational evening.

Anti bully event reciting

 

Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Crozet Meadows/Meadowlands Apartments and Friendship Court Apartments Benefit from the 26th Annual United Way Day of Caring

Inside the colorful community center at Friendship Court, a team of volunteers got on their hands and knees and scrubbed down floors and windows to make the center shine as a vibrant, welcoming place for children and teens to hang out each day after school.

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 nearly 2,000 people participated in the United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring taking place at about 100 non-profits and schools throughout the Charlottesville area, including a clean-up project at Friendship Court and raised garden bed building at Crozet Meadows/Meadowlands Apartments.

Eight employees from Jefferson Scholars Foundation gathered early in the morning outside the Friendship Court Community Center where Claudette Grant, community organizer, shared what needed to be done to help spruce up the center.  The team spent the morning as well as part of the afternoon scrubbing the walls, floors, and windows of the center until they were spotless, doing the kind of deep cleaning that never happens often enough. Others canvassed the grounds of Friendship Court, picking up trash to beautify the community space.

United Way Day of Caring Friendship Court

United Way Day of Caring Friendship Court

Robbyn Minnis, one of the volunteers from Jefferson Scholars Foundation said, “I’ve participated in the Day of Caring four or five times now, which I personally think is just a great way to give back to the community as well as being a great team building experience.  Everyone was really excited to be participating in such an event which is in line with the values of our foundation.”

 

 

Lauren volunteering at United Way Day of Caring CrozetIn Crozet, four more volunteers from PRA Health Sciences were carrying large 6×6 posts to form raised garden beds for the Crozet Meadows/Meadowlands Apartment communities. Despite the heat of the day, they measured and drilled holes with Maintenance Technician, Nathan Smoot and Chief Operating Officer, Karen Reifenberger. By the end of the afternoon, they had built two beautiful raised garden beds, fulfilling residents’ interest in having a place to gather to garden and build community. Crozet Meadows and the Meadowlands Apartments provide 96 affordable homes to low-income seniors. PRA Health Science employee Lauren Haberland said, “We so enjoyed our day with Karen and Nathan, and we cannot wait to see the garden bed full of fresh veggies!”United Way Day of Caring Crozet Meadows

Crozet Meadows United Way Day of Caring

Day of Caring Coordinator, Megan Borishansky added, “I feel fortunate to be part of such a caring community, and to have the opportunity to play a role in bringing people together for a constructive cause. The Day of Caring honors the individuals volunteering their time, helps them build relationships as teams, and connects them with the missions of non-profits and schools that they might not come into contact with otherwise. This is what I love about the Day: each project serves as a piece of the greater puzzle dedicated to building community and honoring the best in each other.”

The United Way Day of Caring in the Charlottesville area was established in 1992 by the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area to promote the spirit and value of volunteerism, increase the awareness of local human service agencies and schools, and demonstrate what people working together for the community’s good can accomplish.

Resident Safety Meetings to be held Thursday, August 24

Dear Residents:

The recent events in Charlottesville have been very upsetting for us all. As we move forward and heal as a community, we would welcome an opportunity to have a conversation with you, our residents, regarding your thoughts and concerns about your safety, the safety of the community, and how we work together to improve our community.

The owners, along with management and the Charlottesville Police will be at the property on Thursday August 24 to meet and talk with residents.  We are planning to hold two sessions (one at noon and another at 4:00pm) to allow for a smaller personal setting for residents to express their concerns and thoughts.

Please call or stop by the rental office and let the onsite staff know which meeting you would like to attend as refreshments will be provided.

We welcome you to come and share your thoughts and concerns with us.  We look forward to having this opportunity to addressing your safety concerns.

Sincerely,

Linda Newlen
Regional Property Manager
NHT-Enterprise

Portico Church and Piedmont Housing Alliance Sponsor 3rd Annual Love the Court Event at Friendship Court

Kids and adults came out for the 3rd Annual “Love the Court” community event at Friendship Court on Wednesday, August 9. The successful event, sponsored by Portico Church and Piedmont Housing Alliance, is a way to bring together people from the community to enjoy a night of fun before kids get ready to go back to school.Studio 360

Several partners like the City of Charlottesville and PVCC’s adult career and education center were there to spread the word about programs in the community with the residents of Friendship Court. Several local barbershops, like Studio 360 and A Cut Above the Rest, were on site to offer free haircuts to kids. Leslie Brown of LLC Hair Studios was also on hand to provide styling services.  Food was flowing and kids were bouncing from the dunking station, to the face painting, back to the basketball court, and to the bounce house. Desmond and ClaudetteBig KahunaDesmond Glenn, Pastor of Community & Discipleship at Portico, said their goal is to keep bringing people together.  “It’s all about creating relationships and loving our neighbors. We also try to make sure we are proactively seeking racial reconciliation,” Desmond says.

Each year, the event seems to bring more and more people together.  Multi cultural photo

 

For more information, see www.porticocville.org. Coverage by CBS19 news

 

Friendship Court Youth Participate in PVCC’s Summer KidsCollege

Musahar Ali enjoys sculpting during the Sculpey Clay Creations workshop

During summer break, kids and parents look for ways kids to keep busy and their minds stimulated.  That is why PVCC offers KidsCollege, with over 100 enriching, fun, and educational hands-on morning and afternoon STEM and arts workshops.  This July, several fourth- and fifth- graders from Friendship Court stayed busy participating in three different week-long Summer Academies offered by PVCC called Minecraft Designers Academy, Sculpey Clay Creations Academy, and Drones: Flying, Exploration, & Competition Academy.

Zanijsha Rodgers having fun designing games

Edwin Perkins participates in the Drones: Flying, Exploration, & Competition Academy

All of the classes ran the week of July 24th from 1:00-4:15 p.m. each day. Jessica Eldridge, Friendship Court community center coordinator said, “It’s wonderful that PVCC has created this great opportunity for community students. The academies have taught the kids to build drones, design Minecraft worlds, and to sculpt clay into figures from their imagination. Not only does it teach them about the different sides of science by allowing them the hands-on experience, but it also gives them visual insight into the world of post-secondary education. I think that is very important to experience as a young person. This program is of great benefit to the lives of our students, and I hope KidsCollege@PVCC will continue to grow.”

Adam Glymph is one of the instructors of Minecraft Designers Academy

This Academy was the result of an ongoing partnership between Piedmont Housing Alliance and PVCC KidsCollege, with funding support from Verizon. During the past few years, dozens of Friendship Court students have been able to take advantage of this PVCC program that offers unique, high-quality educational experiences.

 

UACC Kicks Off the Season with Market Days

UACC pano
The community garden at Friendship Court is just about to pop with summer fruits and vegetables.  This community garden, as well as several others around Charlottesville, are managed by the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville (UACC), a grassroots organization that promotes social equity through collective gardening and produce distribution. UACC is the continuation of an urban agriculture project called QCC Farms, started by the Quality Community Council (QCC). The idea for QCC Farms began with a group of residents at Friendship Court and 6th Street who were looking for a way to bridge the social barriers between their communities. The project started with a series of community conversations which culminated in breaking ground at the Friendship Court Garden in May of 2007 and the 6th Street garden in June. When QCC disbanded in 2011, committed local residents and volunteers formed UACC to continue the valuable work of bringing community members together through urban agriculture.Toni at UACC garden at Friendship Court

Toni Eubanks is one of several board members of the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville and has been volunteering her time to work in the garden for many years now.  Toni says she became interested in learning what was happening in her new backyard, and that’s when she approached Todd Niemeier, better known as “Farmer Todd,” to see how she could get involved. Toni adds, “Throughout the year, the garden helps engage the community and provide fresh produce to those that can’t afford it. People get to learn about plants and gardening, but it’s also a way to bring our diverse community together.”

UACC conducts many programs to help teach people about community collaboration and leadership, but a big part of what they do is distribute produce free of charge using a time-based, alternative currency called farm tokens. When someone volunteers in one of the UACC gardens, they earn a wooden farm token for every half hour of service. Volunteers can then use theirs farm tokens or share them with neighbors. Farm tokens are exchanged for garden produce at weekly, volunteer-operated distribution events called market days. During each growing season, UACC conducts 20 to 24 market days all held in community centers or on lawns in the Friendship Court, Crescent Halls, 6th Street, and South 1st Street communities. Depending on the time of year, one farm token is worth a bag of vegetables that would cost roughly $15 to $30 in the grocery store. Market days also serve as a place where people can share information and make connections. Guest chefs offer cooking demos and share recipes made with the weekly harvest. Other community organizations come from time to time as well to share information about upcoming events and happenings in the neighborhood.

Anyone in the neighborhood can volunteer in the community gardens which helps promote neighborhood engagement. With over 600 volunteers, comprised of both adults and youth, the gardens provide a great way to grow and share healthful food together, along while creating a strong foundation upon which to build a healthier community.  The Youth Leadership Team worked together with Farmer Todd last fall over several sessions to learn more about the Friendship Court Community Garden and envision and sketch what the new garden could look like after the redevelopment process.  While he doesn’t know exactly what form the garden will take in the future, Todd says he has started doing some research around the idea of creating rooftop gardens and that feasibility for the Friendship Court Community. While keeping affordable housing at the forefront, he still hopes that through careful research and open dialogue, the future garden will start to take shape.

UACC garden

For more information or to volunteer at one of the gardens, see UACC’s website.

And here is a detailed map of the Friendship Court Community Orchard.

The next market day is this Friday, June 16th at Friendship Court at 4PM.

Piedmont Housing Alliance and ReadyKids – Benefits Your Family Can Take Home

ReadyKids logo

ReadySteps session at Friendship Court

Shannon Banks, ReadySteps Program Manager, and Kelsey Lehman, CCQ Educator at Friendship Court Community Center

It all happens at the Friendship Court Apartments Community Center. Some call it pre-school for the whole family. It’s called ReadyKids, where children (birth through five years) and their caregivers (parent, grandparent, child care provider, etc.) get together for fun, learning, and bonding.

Shannon Banks of ReadyKids with Friendship Court kids

Together, children and adults participate in activities that include everything from math and music to reading, art, and just plain play. The Program Educator and Family Coordinator work together to provide a program that promotes mutual understanding and opportunities to socially mingle with other kids and caregivers, which is what connecting with the community is all about.

This is a rare benefit for caregivers, who can learn first-hand how their child is growing and developing. And kids learn that their caring adults can be supportive and fun. The overall goal is to extend this concept and experience from the community center into the home. The program includes developmental and other support services by trained professionals, such as counseling and intervention, finding a dance class for your three-year-old, or helping to locate adult education classes.

Kudos to Shannon Banks, program manager, Eleanor Hoppe, program educator, and Laura Somel, family coordinator, for their energetic and committed work. The big news right now is that they will be adding a second educator early in the New Year!

Call (434) 296-4118 to learn about more programs and services in support of early childhood education or parenting.  And don’t miss the ReadyKids website at www.readykidscville.org, which will explain the mission, goals, and strategies behind the many programs ReadyKids promotes. ReadyKids is a proud partner of the Piedmont Housing Alliance, who supports local families with its mission to create housing opportunities and build community, and who is working with Friendship Court families on the transformational redevelopment of their community.

ACAC Coordinates Holiday Gift Drive for Friendship Court Families

PHA Friendship Court ACAC Holiday Gift Drive

The countdown has begun—just a few more days until Christmas is here. Kids here in Charlottesville join with those around the world teeming with excitement awaiting the holiday tradition of gift giving. Christmas is a special time when family and friends come together and remember the good things they have. Children especially get excited because it’s also a time to give and receive presents! Some families, however, are not able to give as much to their children as they would like around the holidays. Thanks to ACAC Downtown, families at Friendship Court are receiving gifts through a special gift drive organized by the local athletic center to help bring joy to neighborhood children.

PHA Tory Twitty Friendship Court Activity Coordinator Holiday Gift

Interested families at Friendship Court were able to sign up for the Christmas gift drive with ACAC. The drive, organized by Assistant General Manager Paul Kyriacopoulos, has been going on for several consecutive years. Claudette Grant, Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Community Organizer at Friendship Court, provided Paul with the names of 100 children. ACAC put each of these names on its own ornament that hung on a Christmas tree in the foyer of the club. Guests could pick an ornament containing a wish list from the child whose name was on the ornament. Patrons returned the gifts to ACAC and the staff there coordinated gift-wrapping and delivery to Friendship Court. There, families are picking up the gifts just in time for Christmas!

PHA Friendship Court Family receiving gifts

In addition to these generous community gifts offered through ACAC members, two neighboring businesses helped three additional Friendship Court families, and Piedmont Housing Alliance assisted by providing gifts for six more Friendship Court children not on the ACAC list.

acac logo

We thank our downtown neighbors and partners, ACAC, Downtown Family Health Care, b:core methods, and MADabolic, for their support in helping bring Christmas joy to families at Friendship Court.

Happy Holidays to all!

PHA Tory Twitty Claudette Grant Sheri Hopper Friendship Court Gift Drive

Tory Twitty, Claudette Grant and Sheri Hopper

Meet Daemond Nowlin, Member of the Youth Leadership Team

PHA Daemond Nowlin Youth Leadership Team Friendship Court

Daemond Nowlin 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.

Daemond, 14, attends Charlottesville High School. He is a dedicated football player and is hoping to become an NFL player when he is older. His favorite color is blue and when asked what he would do with a large gift of money, Daemond says he would buy a house and a reliable car. Daemond says he is learning a lot about being a leader while in the program.

Daemond was interested in becoming a member of the Youth Leadership Team because he wants to make a difference in his community.

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.