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Wesley Housing has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. This year, Wesley Housing has committed 100% of donations to benefiting our Holiday Help program for children, teens, individuals with special needs, and seniors to enjoy the spirit of holiday magic.
#GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together.
“Service to others is the rent your pay for your room here on earth” – Muhammad Ali
During this time of giving, it’s important to remember the reason for the holidays. For many of these kids and individuals, this will be the only gift they receive for the holidays. Show our low-income residents the hope and love they deserve.
Join Wesley Housing for our #GivingTuesday initiative can visit http://bit.ly/givingtuesdaywesley.
For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org), and follow the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media.
Meet our first resident to celebrate her 100th birthday at Wesley Housing! Maxine resides at Quarry Station in Manassas, Virginia and has been there since its opening in July of 2002. She was born September 15th, 1917 in Iowa and has two children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
While this significant milestone is important, she might be most famous around Quarry for her fudge. We hear people stand in line for it. Maxine also loves socializing with the other residents over coffee time and then taking long strolls around the property. As an avid cook and baker, she thoroughly enjoys gardening with her daughter and will often use ingredients from the garden to cook.
In honor of Maxine's birthday, Wesley threw a luau. Manassas Mayor, Harry Parrish, was there to celebrate as well. The residents got together, danced, and shared wonderful stories about her warming personality, sense of humor, and positive spirit. Afterall, Maxine once joked that her secret to a long life was eating pinecones.
Brenda, our Senior Services Coordinator, said afterward, “The party was great. We had so much fun. She is such a wonderful person and great role model for others.”
Moving from place to place becomes a norm when you've been shuffled between various relatives growing up.
Until two years ago, this is how Bob, a 61-year-old homeless vet had lived in and around DC. But through all the heartache and pain, Bob found a place to call home and job to call a career.
With a bit of a southern drawl, Bob is originally from South Carolina, but he has lived in the area since the age of 15. Bob was given the opportunity to join the military, which allowed him to travel the country and gain experience. Sadly, after leaving the military, Bob struggled with homelessness due to former substance abuse and other disabilities. This also contributed to his difficulties in finding and keeping employment.
However, he found his way to Wesley Housing, and after roughly ten years of being unemployed, Bob moved to Colonial Village Apartments and was referred to our employment specialist, Nathan, who helped strengthen his resume. “Specifically, I wanted to highlight the vast experience he has working in different fields. Bob’s a one man show,” Nathan said as they both laughed at this.
Bob stressed the difficulty of finding a job that provides a livable wage in Virginia due to the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. But they kept working together. After roughly three months Bob attended a job fair in Alexandria.
At that fair, he met with the Willard Intercontinental Hotel’s human resources department, and a week later was given an interview for a steward position, assisting in the hotel kitchen. Bob felt good about the interview and was excited at the opportunity to work someplace with so much history and allure.
A couple of weeks later, Bob used the library to access the internet where he opened an email saying he was hired. “I was very excited when I found out,” Bob said with genuine enthusiasm.
His enthusiasm continued as he described the position, people, and culture of the Willard. “They're so positive with all they do. They ask how you're doing and they’re ready to help whenever you need it. They always ask if I’m ok and they're very caring and supportive.”
Sitting down with Bob, I discovered how analytical he is. His interest in understanding the Willard, its operations, and vast history, showed his passion for the position. He was committed to learning the ins and outs of every aspect.
Bob also stressed the camaraderie among his colleagues, and especially his supervisor. But what was truly heartwarming was how his new position brought nostalgia. Dish washing was Bob’s very first job when he was a teenager. Now, because of his grandmother, he enjoys cooking at home and walked me through the various technicalities of the kitchen.
“It makes me feel good to work with everyone. And with a dish washing machine instead of everything by hand, like the first time,” Bob said. “Through the years everything eventually tied together.”
Our Community Resource Centers (CRCs) make real differences in the lives of Wesley youth. Whitefield Commons CRC Director Brian Porter shared his experience with two students:
Since the beginning of the 2016/2017 school year, two of my older students, Dave and Joshua, have really made great strides. After a rocky start last summer with some behavioral issues, not only has their conduct improved, but they have even demonstrated new leadership skills after participating in team-building activities and feeling involved in the CRC's activities. Now, with very few behavior incidents, I have been able to rely on them to help lead activities for the other youth as well as model appropriate behavior for others. I have really enjoyed having them at the CRC, and I am looking forward to what they can do in the future.
BY THE NUMBERS illustrates how hard we work to help residents increase self-sufficiency. Through our Housing Stability Initiative, we make adult programs a priority. Financial literacy, adult education, workforce preparation, and job search assistance are our focus. At our Community Resource Centers, we offer free training including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), computer literacy, and resume writing. We also offer the services of an Employment Specialist, plus Personal Care Aide (PCA) certification and college credit courses presented by Northern Virginia Community College.
In 2016, our services were accessed over 3,000 times. As numbers continue to rise in 2017, we are proud of all our partners, sponsors, donors, and volunteers who make our work possible. Thank you for being a part of our success.
Twenty seniors and residents with special needs had an exciting day studying dinosaur bones and the origins of mankind on their recent trip to the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. With transportation and lunch provided for them, residents were able to relax, socialize, and peruse the exhibits with friends.
“Several of our residents don’t have their own transportation or the ability to get out and about on their own,” said Kayleigh Walker, Resident Programs Coordinator at Coppermine Place I & II, two Herndon communities specifically designed for older adults and individuals with special needs. “It’s important to not only have these field trips, but on-site services as well, because they give residents a reason to come out of their apartments and initiate interactions with neighbors. A lot of friendships have developed through these programs.”
More than one hundred individuals reside in the two Coppermine buildings who enjoy the multitude of free activities available to them – arts and crafts, tea party Tuesdays, yoga, bread distribution sponsored by Panera Bread, potlucks, health screenings, and the mutually beneficial All Ages Read Together program, where residents read with preschool children and serve as mentors.
According to this Huffington Post article, it is.
"Homework is for rich kids. It’s for kids who have things that many families take for granted, but hundreds of thousands of kids don’t have."
Imagine when a child's home life doesn't include a quiet table to work at or parents who are able to be home at night to help with a science project. Many children simply do not have time - between being brought along on errands to parents' workplaces because there is no money for a babysitter at home. In some households, children cannot control their evenings' time to include homework.
"Asking a 12-year-old girl who’s watching three kids from 4-11 p.m. to also do a book report is setting her up for failure."
Wesley's Community Resource Centers provide supportive environments, homework supplies, Internet access, and computers that many of our students don't have at home. Without our after-school programs, many of our students would fall behind in class through no fault of their own.
This fall, we were able to supply 280 children with school supplies, many of whom are able to keep the supplies at home thanks to free supplies at their schools. Through the generosity of our donors, we were able to stock our Community Resource Centers with extra supplies as well.
Visit our Volunteer page for ways you can help Wesley youth keep up with their homework and more.
A big THANK YOU to all of our generous donors for the backpacks, school supplies, and financial contributions that made our Back to School Supplies for Success drive a success. Because of you, we exceeded our goal and were able to provide 280 education kits to the children at our properties. Now that they have the tools they need to learn, Wesley youth are on track for success this school year!
Wesley students love their daily STEM class at Summer Camp, where they enjoy constructing straw "rockets," building robots, and improving their math skills, all with the help of college engineering students.
On Thursday, August 18, our Summer Camp took a field trip to CADD Microsystems to show our youth how STEM applies to the real world. By building mock cities, CADD engineers taught our kids that STEM learning is fun, and that they can do more than construct buildings – they can build communities!
Our students were fascinated by the activities and speakers. "It was so neat!" said one camper. "We got to build with the engineers and compete in teams."
"We saw blueprints, ate pizza, and got to speak to real-life engineers!" said another. "We were on the top floor and got to see all the D.C. monuments too!"