I’m thankful for my mom because my mom gives me everything that I need. I’m thankful for my dad because he buys me things that I need. I’m thankful for my siblings because they provide me food and the clothes that I need, and because they are so nice to me. I love my sister because she loves me a lot, and she always helps me when I need help. I also love my brother because he buys me candy and treats if I’m good at home. I love my brother because one day he took me to his work. I'm very grateful for my family.
This Thanksgiving, kids like 10-year-old PandaGirl expressed what they are thankful for on Wesley's secure kids' blog. Read why PandaGirl is most thankful for her family this holiday:
Twenty years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Kelley rented their two-bedroom apartment at Wexford Manor where they raised their family of four. Now a dream is coming true as they prepare to move into their first purchased house in Prince William County. "It feels good to know that everyone in my family will have their own bedroom," Mrs. Kelley said. Yet the move is bittersweet because her family will no longer enjoy Wexford Manor's community spirit.
"The community resources offered to residents are really valuable, Mrs. Kelley said of the adult and children's programs. The Community Resource Center staff was always helpful whenever we had a question." The Kelley children participated in the after-school program each year, where they received homework assistance and tutoring in reading, writing, science, and math. "The attention my children received in the after-school program was very helpful to us as parents," she added, noting her busy work schedule. "I had peace of mind knowing that my children's homework assignments were completed and checked for spelling."
"We will miss the convenient location of Wexford Manor, too," Mrs. Kelley concluded, referring to its easy access to Routes 50 and I-495, and its proximity to public playgrounds, shopping centers, and a variety of independent restaurants in Falls Church.
The Affordable Housing Bike Tour will be rolling through Wesley’s Colonial Village Apartments and APAH’s Parc Rosslyn on Saturday, Sept. 26. The tour is sponsored by Arlington County and BikeArlington and will showcase two affordable housing communities, but also emphasize the ease of access to eco-friendly transportation options.
Located just one block from the Courthouse Metro and a 10-minute walk to the Rosslyn Metro, Colonial Village makes it convenient for residents to live where they work without a car. Affordable housing in such an accessible location is rare, making Colonial Village a highly-sought after community.
Due to the diligent efforts of Wesley Housing's Cleone Dabreo, Site Manager of Colonial Village, the property earned a Bronze level designation through Champions, a program of Arlington Transportation Partners. The program recognizes and rewards properties for their leadership and dedication to transportation programs.
This year, Ms. Dabreo is working to ensure Colonial Village reaches Platinum level, which would enhance the community with a shuttle service to the Metro, an electronic display with transit information, secure bike parking, and a Capital BikeShare station. The Capital BikeShare system will allow Colonial Village residents to rent bikes from their community and return them at any of the 350 stations located throughout the District, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.
Thanks to a grant from the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND), Wesley was able to hire a smart and talented Summer Camp Counselor, John’tay. The soon to be college freshman is a resident of Colonial Village Apartments who values any opportunity to help the children that live in his community.
John’tay will attend Northern Virginia Community College and plans to transfer to George Mason University after earning his Associate’s degree in science. He aspires to become a paramedic or registered nurse.
John’tay used his education and expertise to help with summer camp workshops including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities, and the intensive Zen'ith math program. These experiential STEM activities helped our kids combat Summer Learning Loss, along with literacy exercises such as reading, writing, and research.
The children will remember John'tay for sharing his passion for art through a weekly themed activity, “Art Studio with Mr. John’tay." An avid painter, he helped campers explore their creativity through painting and drawing. As seen above, John'tay and the children worked on a mural, "At Work," a theme he used throughout the summer to explore interesting careers with the children.
"Every day was new and challenging with them, but I enjoyed knowing that I made a difference in their lives and in my community," John’tay said. "I enjoyed health and fitness activities, field trips, and learning leadership and job skills. Thank you, HAND, for giving me this opportunity.”
Check out where one boy traveled during our Summer Camp’s reading and writing program! Click to enlarge.
We recently implemented a kids' blog project to promote reading and writing. One fifth-grade student blogged about how she wants to change the world:
Campers competed in a history writing contest for the grand prize--a Kindle eReader! Here is one of our students' entries:
The winning author won a pirate-themed cupcake party for all of his scallywagging camp-mates!
Did you know we tend to remember only 10-20% of what we read and hear, but 90% of what we both say and do? This is the concept behind the Zen'ith Learning System. This summer, Wesley Housing partnered with Zen'ith, an organization which collaborates with nonprofits to design educational tools for students in low/moderate-income housing.
Summer break is one of the predominant causes of the achievement gap in America’s schools. With lack of access to enriching summer activities, low-income students fall behind their more advantaged peers. Zen'ith focuses on STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and individualizes each approach based on learners' needs. The system carefully addresses any student weaknesses through lesson plans and homework assignments designed to combat one intrinsic learning difficulty – forgetfulness.
During Summer Camp, our students participate in STEM-related activities, including hands-on science experiments. For example, campers learned about density by mixing vegetable oil, water, food coloring, and dish soap.
Zen'ith's proven record of preventing an academic slide of one to two grade levels over the summer is helping Wesley students go back to school prepared and ready to learn.
Nadia has been an active participant at Wesley's Lincolnia Community Resource Center for many years.
From volunteering at the after-school programs to working as a summer camp counselor, she has been an essential part of the team. Nadia even managed to homeschool herself through high school while keeping up with her extracurricular activities.
Recently, she was rewarded for all of her hard work with a full $64,000 four-year scholarship to Mary Baldwin College, allowing Nadia to continue to pursue her dreams.
The class started with students chopping up vegetables and their favorite toppings. Sam chose lots of chicken, cheese, spinach, and peppers because that is how he loves his pizza. Sam and other Strawbridge Square teens are participating in a fresh cooking series presented by Junior League of Northern Virginia (JLNV).
Initially, Sam was expecting the Kids in the Kitchen class to be very basic, but he changed his mind when he met the two mentoring instructors. The women were kind and patiently guided the junior chefs through the step-by-step cooking process.
The first menu item was a teenager’s dream—homemade pizza with fresh dough from scratch. Everyone pitched in for that part of the exercise, kneading their own dough. Sam and the other students learned that you cannot always depend on store bought or frozen pizzas for quality. After the pizzas were baked to perfection, the students tasted their creations and understood the instructors’ lesson about freshness and quality.
Much to his surprise, Sam thoroughly enjoyed the class and is looking forward to the next one. He liked gaining hands-on experience prepping his own ingredients. “I am so used to ordering take-out pizza. It felt good to make the pizza from scratch myself. I really appreciated this different approach.”
To make a difference at one of our Community Resource Centers, please contact: Angela Jackson, Volunteer Coordinator, at (703) 642-3830 ext. 224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.