Tag Archives: Shelley Murphy

Girls at Friendship Court Enjoy Creative Writing Program This Summer

Sonia MontalvoEach Thursday, several girls from the Friendship Court community come together for a creative writing program taught by Sonia Montalvo. Sonia, program staff at the Boys and Girls Club says, “I want to help the girls think differently about things through the creative writing process. Kids are so imaginative, if you can just give them the platform and space, it’s amazing what they can come up with!”

Girls are Alwrite

Sonia has led the girls in “The Girls are Alwrite” reading and writing program, working on activities to help their imaginations flourish.  They started with the idea of how to find beauty in themselves by finding the beauty in stories.  Sonia says, “Sometimes African American girls feel ostracized which makes it hard for them to find their voice.”  During their sessions together, Sonia plans some physical activity which she says helps the girls connect and get their creative juices flowing.

By the end of the seven sessions, the girls will have written one, possibly two stories that they will share with each other.  When they go back to school, Sonia hopes the girls will be able to draw on their experience and be more creative in their schoolwork. 

Sonia and kids

Sonia has help with her newly-formed business from her sister, Tracie Jamison, who acts as treasurer. With a recent grant from Equity Institute in the amount of $3,700, Sonia’s business is officially incorporated and she is working on becoming a 501(c)(3). Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Shelley Murphy connected Sonia to Friendship Court after meeting her through the Dream Builders Academy Business Development Class. During Sonia’s pitch on culmination night, Shelley offered to sponsor five girls from Friendship Court in her workshop and after meeting and discussing the idea with Community Organizer, Claudette Grant, they decided it would be a great fit!

Girls are AlwriteSonia says, “One of my long term goals is to incorporate my program into the local school systems, prominently into those with large African American and Latino populations. I’m working on getting my teaching certificate so that I might be able to do that.”

She added that she has had fun connecting so far with the girls and she says those connections seem to help the girls be more creative. Sonia says, “Creative writing can take a girl’s soul far!”

If you would like to learn more about Sonia’s workshops or The Girls Are Alwrite, feel free to contact her via email at sonia.montalvo11@gmail.com or by phone at 434-981-9998.

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.