Harriet Tubman inspires me because she escaped her master and went back to save over 200 slaves. The reason why I look up to her is because she was a big risk-taker. She had one slave that said “I want to go back,” but she said “no.” He could have been forced to tell and she could have gotten into big trouble. I think she should have gotten the Nobel Prize.
The Xenas Group provides a positive environment for young ladies like BookwormPanda, below, to grow together. Through Xenas, girls build relationships with fellow members of their community and learn skills that will help them succeed socially, in school, in careers, and more.
Staff and volunteers maintain a supportive environment where participants engage in positive conversations while doing fun activities such as DIY craft projects.
Relaxed discussions cover a variety of important topics helping girls develop confidence and positive self-image. “They truly enjoy and look forward to meeting on Tuesdays for Xenas Night,” said the Resident Services Coordinator at Wexford Manor.
Students in the After School Homework Help program at our Community Resource Centers read, write, and participate in group and individualized activities to help develop their language skills. Wesley Housing promotes literacy by encouraging families to read together.
Wesley Housing Community Resource Centers, April 2015
This National Poetry Month, we're celebrating young poets living in Wesley Housing communities, like the sixth grade girl who penned this haiku about spring:
Wesley Housing hosted Darden Smith and The Be An Artist program in five communities to help residents discover and apply creativity in their lives. Smith worked with residents of all ages, from children to older adults. During each workshop, participants collaborated with Smith to write and record original songs.
During one workshop, residents shared how moving to Northern Virginia from places like New York, New Jersey, Pakistan, and Bangladesh has impacted their lifestyle. They titled their song “Starting Over.” Starting over meant, as one resident described it, “an easier life”— a life filled with plenty of educational and employment possibilities. Click here to listen to “Starting Over.”
Each community wrote lyrics unique to their own experiences. Our youngest group of residents helped Smith write “Summer,” an upbeat song about their favorite time of year. By using songwriting to help students realize their innate creativity, Smith encouraged participants to be proud of who they are and pursue their dreams. He encouraged kids and teens to follow their passion when determining their career path, saying that the best part of his job was that it makes him happy.
Taking these critical steps toward leading happier, more creative lives will help foster positive development in our communities.
Herndon Senior Center, March 16, 2015
Some of our youngest residents visited their pen pals at Herndon Senior Center this month. The children thrilled to share cards they had created and spent time with their pals in person.
The pen pal initiative connects young Wesley Housing residents with older adults in their community. Through story sharing, children participants sharpen their writing and drawing skills, connect with older adults, and get to know their community better. Participants like Kennedy benefit from getting to know older adults like Gladys, who provide mentorship.
Coppermine Place residents and their families traveled to the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, a companion to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, to celebrate the accomplishments of women in aviation and space exploration.
They met female role models and learned about the women who inspired them in their careers. United States Air Force Lt. Col. Nicole Malachowski, the country’s first female American Thunderbird pilot, was there for a talk and a meet-and-greet.
We are looking for tutors with proficiency in subjects like chemistry and high level math such as calculus to help teens excel in STEM and more.
You can help girls and teens attain their goals. There were 11 seniors in the teen after-school program last year. Of the 7 who reported their next steps: 4 are attending NOVA; 2 attend GMU; and 1 is in the U.S. Army. All are first generation college attendees. There are currently 6 girls in the program this year. They need your help to achieve in school and prepare for the future of their dreams. With your tutoring and mentoring, many will go on to be the first in their families to attend college.
For additional information about the Teen Program at Lincolnia Community Resource Center, please contact:
Angela Jackson (703) 642-3830 ext. 224, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alice Brown, Wesley Housing's Job Readiness Instructor, recently began assisting adult residents with their resumes and job searches. After she met one-on-one with seven women to discuss employment and education goals, she helped each to construct a resume and practice interviewing skills. Alice has since helped many of Wesley Housing's residents acquire new or better employment.
After looking for a job for almost eight months, Jessica is crediting her new job at Harris Teeter to the support she received from Whitefield Commons Community Resource Center's support staff and the Job Readiness Instructor, Alice Brown. “She showed me how to find job openings online and really helped me with my resume and references.”
The single mother sees this as the next step in achieving her goal of a career that will give her family the financial stability to live without depending upon outside assistance. Ultimately, she would like to have her own event planning business. “I want my kids to have a good education and a better life than I have had.” Jessica, her 10-year-old son, and her 5-year-old daughter regularly participate in the Center programs. “I know many of my neighbors because we see each other at the Center for holidays and other activities. I’m glad the Center is there.”
Teens Gain Job Skills, Too
Alice also helped teens get their first summer jobs. Positions she helped secure for teens in 2015 include intern, retail associate, receptionist, camp counselor, and babysitter. All students who sought her counsel learned essential life skills in their one-on-one sessions. Resume building, completing job applications, mock interviews, retention strategies, and proper attire are just a few of the topics Alice covered.
In honor of Women's History Month, we're sharing Pamela's story. Pamela was one of Wesley Housing's first residents, and her story is an important part of our history:
"I am writing this with a humble heart and a great deal of gratitude to Wesley Housing. I was a single mom. My husband left me early in my pregnancy and I found myself struggling to support my daughter and myself. I babysat five small children during the week. I was a janitor in the evenings, and I cleaned two apartments on Saturdays. Frequently, I carried my daughter on my back as I worked. I slept little and worried a great deal. I spent most of my salary on rent.
"One Sunday, someone suggested that I talk with Wesley Housing to see if I was eligible to live in their newly built apartments. I moved in on Dec. 27, 1978—a wonderful Christmas present. My rent was based on my income. It was a beautiful two bedroom townhouse, new and clean, safe, and perfect!
"The day I moved out of my apartment I returned to it before I turned in my keys. I sat alone in the middle of the empty living room and cried as I thanked God for the people of Wesley Housing who offered me dignity, compassion, and grace when I needed it the most.
"I now have three beautiful children. I have a degree from Wesley Theological Seminary and I am blessed to be the pastor of Sleepy Hollow UMC. It was the people of Wesley Housing who helped me believe in myself and answer my call to ministry. God bless them!"