Category Archives: In the News

Youth Leadership Team Tours the Architecture School at UVa and Makes Their Own 3-D Models

YLT Group picture at Architecture school

This past spring, the Youth Leadership Team was invited by the National Organization of Minority Architects local chapter to tour UVa’s School of Architecture. Professor Elgin Cleckley organized and led the tour with several of his students. Elgin is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design Thinking at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture and teaches Design Thinking studios and foundation courses at the School of Architecture, with appointment in the Curry School of Education and the School of Nursing.

Tyquan and Elgin working on model

YLT tours A School

One of Professor Cleckley’s architecture school students began the tour with an introduction and overview of the school and its programs, providing the youth with insight into the work that goes on there.  Once inside, they were led through the current art exhibit of UVa alumnus, Carlton Abbott, viewing a collection of drawings that were created during his career which has spanned over fifty years.  The drawings depicted a range of subjects from housing to large urban projects.  Then, the youth explored downstairs starting with a tour of the wood shop. With lots of end of the year projects being completed, they were able to see some students’ work being finalized in time for May’s graduation.  Then, the students were introduced to printing and toured the CNC Lab where they learned the different ways one can print using a CNC machine. There, they saw how 3-D models really begin to take shape.  These fabrication facilities are called the SARC Shops which are in a consortium with the Arts Grounds Shops that include the Scene Shops at the Drama Department and the Shops at McIntire Department of Art. The students learned they are laboratories for thinking through making both in the analog and the digital realm.

3-D printing YLT

After a quick view of one of the computer facilities, the final part of the tour took the youth through the architecture school studios.  At UVa’s School of Architecture this place is located on and encompasses most of the third and fourth floors of Campbell Hall.  It consists of very open and collaborative spaces where students can discuss ideas together and help formulate the ultimate design work they produce.  Several architecture students shared their projects with the youth and explained their 3-D modelling systems.  The youth leaders showed much interest in these 3-D models and just a few short weeks later, were invited back by Professor Cleckley and his students to enjoy a more hands-on experience.  During that second visit, the Friendship Court youth members put their creative minds to work, creating their very own 3-D models working together in the studios and getting a glimpse into the life of a UVA architecture student. They all seemed to really enjoy the hands-on experience of getting to use tools and create their own models.

Thank you to Professor Barbara Brown Wilson for her support and commitment in making sure the tour and hands-on experience happened for the youth leaders.

PHA YLT models collage

Youth from Friendship Court Participate in PVCC’s KidsCollege Spring Break Academies

Kids College Spring Break Academies John with girlSpring break means sometimes kids are at home searching for ways to keep themselves busy during their time off from school.  However, several third- through sixth- graders from Friendship Court stayed busy participating in a week-long Spring Break Academy offered by PVCC called 3D Terrain Explorations.

John Haverkamp, who has a background in artisanal crafts and computer software instruction for youth and adults, kept the Friendship Court kids busy for the week. The class ran from April 3-7 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. each day and taught the kids how to create a 3-D world.  The kids explored a variety of 3-D programs such as World Machine, Unity and Autodesk 123D to learn about 3-D computer terrain creations. Through a step-by-step process, the youth generated a 3-D computer walk-through in the Unity Game engine and also built real cardboard topographic dioramas of their terrain. While creating these worlds, the youth learned about the processes of geological and ecosystem simulation models. Tory Twitty, Friendship Court Activity Coordinator, was on hand to help John out.

Kids College Spring Break Academies John with group

This Academy was the result of an ongoing partnership between Piedmont Housing Alliance and PVCC KidsCollege. During the past several years, dozens of Friendship Court students have been able to take advantage of this program that PVCC offers.

Thanks to Piedmont Virginia Community College for their continued partnership and work with the Friendship Court youth who seemed to have a blast.

We also thank Verizon for their $10,000 grant in support of STEM programming which serves to close the technology gap, provide high-quality educational opportunities, improve school readiness, and build community for the families who live at Friendship Court Apartments.

Kids College Spring Break Academies kid1 Kids College Spring Break Academies kid group

Meet Tyquan Mayo, Member of the Youth Leadership Team

PHA Tyquan Mayo Youth Leadership Team Friendship Court

Tyquan Mayo is one of seven Friendship Court residents on the Youth Leadership Team. The team has been meeting regularly since September at the Friendship Court Community Center and is an important part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement in 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.

Tyquan, 13, is in the 8th grade at Buford Middle School.  He has a special love of hamsters and cheese sticks. He is interested in meteorology and hopes to become a meteorologist one day after possibly attending Michigan State University.  His favorite color is bright pink and he likes listening to the Beatles.  When asked where he would like to go on vacation, Tyquan said Dubai because he thinks it looks like a really beautiful place.  Tyquan says he is learning about managing money along with becoming a leader.

Tyquan was interested in becoming a member of the Youth Leadership Team because he wants to learn more about what is going on with the redevelopment.  He is interested in finding out what it’s going to look like, especially the green spaces.

Mark your calendars to watch Terri Allard’s, Charlottesville Inside Out on March 23rd where she features Tyquan in a segment dedicated to the work Piedmont Housing Alliance does throughout the community.

Emma Johnson, One of the First Friendship Court Residents, Looks Forward to the Redevelopment

Emma Johnson has lived in Charlottesville for a long time, mostly as a resident at Friendship Court Apartments.  Originally from Nelson County, Emma moved back to the area after living in Ohio for much of her life.  Emma said she knew she wanted to retire to this area where she spent her early years.  She decided to move to Friendship Court after her youngest daughter started college at the University of Virginia because it was affordable and new. Emma, mother to six children, moved into the community after she had been living on Anderson Street, in the 10th and Page neighborhood in Charlottesville.  At the time, Emma said they were still finishing the construction of Friendship Court. There was a church on the property where people would go for service on Sundays.  Emma said she had her own church, but sometimes she would go to the one at Friendship Court and has fond memories of it.

When she was in her early thirties, Emma came to work in Charlottesville as a textile worker, not far from Friendship Court, at the historic IX building. Emma recalls Frank Ix fondly, saying she would ask him what he planned to do after he retired.  She claims he would say simply, “Oh, I don’t know, Emma, I suppose I will just go home and do nothing.”  At the time, she says, she always knew she could talk to Mr. Ix about any troubles she had and he would help straighten things out.

Emma leads a busy lifestyle for a 90-year-old. She opens her door often to any one of her 15 grandchildren and she likes to get out and do most of her own shopping.  She enjoys reading and sewing and taking care of her home.  Emma, who has lived at Friendship Court now for close to 40 years, said she is excited about the changes to come.  “I think it’s going to be really nice. I like the idea of changes around here.” She likes the idea of being able to take an elevator up and down so she doesn’t have to take the stairs. Emma approves of the “hop-scotch” phasing approach to the redevelopment so that no one is displaced.  She says it “all sounds just great!”

The neighbors take care of Ms. Johnson at Friendship Court. She said I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated and that’s just what she does, “I am nice to people and they are nice back to me.  That’s how to be a good neighbor.  I was brought up the right way.”

Emma said she has always been treated well at Friendship Court.  Piedmont Housing Alliance looks forward to continuing to treat her well and to starting the positive changes at Friendship Court soon.

Meet Justin Jackson, Member of the Youth Leadership Team

PHA Justin Jackson Youth Leadership Team Friendship Cour

Justin Jackson is one of seven Friendship Court residents on the Youth Leadership Team. The team has been meeting regularly since September at the Friendship Court Community Center and is an important part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement in 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.

Justin, 13, is in the 8th grade at Buford Middle School where he says there are some pretty cool teachers.  He enjoys video games and is interested in becoming a video game designer. His favorite color is violet.  When asked where he would like to go on vacation, Justin said Dubai because he thinks it looks beautiful.  Justin enjoyed getting to see the movie Hidden Figures recently with other members of the Youth Leadership Team, and he commented that the movie portrayed great examples of leadership.

Justin was interested in becoming a member of the Youth Leadership Team because he wants to help make the community even better than it already is.

Meet Javisha Jackson, Member of the Youth Leadership Team

PHA Javisha Jackson Youth Leadership Team Friendship Court

Javisha Jackson is one of seven Friendship Court residents on the Youth Leadership Team. The team has been meeting regularly since September at the Friendship Court Community Center and is an important part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement in 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.

Javisha, 17, is in the 11th grade at Charlottesville High School.  She has four brothers. Javisha is learning a lot about credit and savings through the Youth Leadership Program.  Her favorite color is blue and she likes listening to R&B and hip-hop music. Javisha would love to travel to Paris or Barcelona because they both look so beautiful. She is thinking of becoming an obstetrician when she gets older.

Javisha was interested in becoming a member of the Youth Leadership Team because it gives her the chance to help other kids out at Friendship Court. She also thinks this will help her learn about the redevelopment in a way for her to share with others.

Youth Leadership Team Learns About Financial Management from Piedmont Housing Alliance

PHA Friendship Court Youth Leadership Team Money Management Class

The Friendship Court Youth Leadership Team has kicked off the new year with a two-part series of classes on financial management, taught by Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Shelley Murphy.

PHA Friendship Court Money Management Shelley Murphy Youth Leadership Team part IIShelley, a housing counselor at Piedmont Housing, has more than 12 years of experience teaching a variety of classes ranging from financial budgeting to home ownership. In her first session, Shelley covered basic money management and discussed how to create a budget. They participated in several activities to help them start thinking more in-depth about money management. In one activity, the team talked about leaders and how a leader might make decisions about money.  Shelley also split the team into two groups, and asked them to explain how they might teach a group of 5th graders about money management and budgeting. This gave them an opportunity to share what they had learned.

During her second session, Shelley explained credit and how to come up with a manageable spending plan.  The team members learned the difference between a charge card and a credit card and also just what credit is.

PHA Friendship Court Money Management Shelley Murphy Youth Leadership TeamKnowing how to deal with one’s finances is a critical life skill. Since the youth receive a stipend for participating in the youth leadership program, and have or will soon have jobs, offering them an opportunity to learn about the importance of money management and good credit is a very valuable experience. Claudette Grant, Friendship Court’s community organizer said, “You are never too young to learn these skills.”

The Youth Leadership Program equips resident youth leaders with valuable skills, experiences, and networks to both provide input for the redevelopment and to create educational and career opportunities. 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.

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.

Meet Antonio Clore, Member of the Youth Leadership Team

PHA Antonio Clore Youth Leadership Team Friendship Court

Antonio Clore 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.

Antonio, 13, is in the 8th grade at Buford Middle School. He loves to run and be active as well as listen to rap music. He plays basketball and hopes to become an NBA player when he is older after attending college. His favorite color is green because it has a good vibe and also because it is his mom’s favorite color. When asked if he could change anything in the world, Antonio says he would work to improve gun violence. Antonio says he is learning how to become a better person while in the program.

Antonio was interested in becoming a member of the Youth Leadership Team because he wants to help out his community and make it a safer place.

Beth Kennan Helps Lead Friendship Court to Next Stage of the Redevelopment

PHA Beth Kennan Project Manager Friendship Court

Beth Kennan, a Charlottesville native, is Piedmont Housing Alliance’s project manager for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. Beth comes to Piedmont Housing Alliance with over 10 years of real estate project development and construction management experience. She earned a Masters of Professional Studies in Real Estate from Georgetown University and has overseen projects totaling more than 920,000 square feet. Beth plays a central role in moving the redevelopment plan forward, working with residents, the Friendship Court Advisory Committee, community stakeholders, engineers, and architects.

Beth’s current focus is on the important predevelopment work (civil engineering, legal, and preliminary architectural work) necessary to gain site plan approval for the first phase of redevelopment, which is funded by a substantial grant from the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).

PHA Friendship Court redevelopment rendering

One of the exciting features of the redevelopment plan incorporates an early education center at Friendship Court. In September, Beth organized a tour for of two innovative early childhood centers in Virginia, The New E3 School in Norfolk and the Weinstein JCC School in Richmond. This gave members of the board, the advisory committee, and other community partners an opportunity to experience and learn about other successful centers in the region. Another tour of early childhood centers in southwest Virginia is being planned for January.

Beth is a member of the Urban Land Institute and is keenly interested in the redevelopment and the positive effects she believes it will bring to the urban landscape in Charlottesville’s downtown. She continues to stay involved with other community organizations. When asked about the project, she said, “Most importantly, you have to work as team in any community partnership and value everyone’s opinion. No one is better than anyone else. Everyone has something to bring to the table and you have to value that.”

The master plan is complete and will be available to the public in January.