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 email@example.com.
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!"
There is real power in hearing women’s stories and in giving women a platform to share. Wesley Housing residents gathered for an evening of storytelling in celebration of women and their own histories.
Participants brought their ancestors' stories and their own personal experiences to share. One resident shared this story about her grandmother:
"I always remember my grandmother; she was like many of the women we remember from our past. She raised seven children -- four girls and three boys. She did this virtually by herself, because her husband, my mother's father, died when my mother was only two years old.
"Grandmama lived on a small farm in Luray, Virginia, which helped feed this large family, and she also kept chickens and cows. She always had to work hard, working the farm, cooking, cleaning, and canning fruits and vegetables. She sometimes hired a few men to help her work the farm, but most of the work she did by herself. She used a wood stove and there was no running water or electricity. Life was a struggle; Grandmama never had much money. She made most of her and her children's clothes, sometimes accepting used clothing from neighbors. She often had to earn extra money by taking in laundry or ironing from other people.
"The thing I remember the most was that she was one of the gentlest persons I ever knew. I never heard her complain, and I never heard her say a bad word about anyone. I can’t say she was a mentor, because I didn't really know her that well because she died when I was 12 or 13. But she did teach me, by example, that through poverty and adversity, you work hard and do what you have to do to get through. And you can do all that with dignity, gentleness, and grace."
The late Virginia Swain Peters founded Wesley Housing in 1974. She had a dream that she called “the double bottom line”... doing good and doing well. After meeting a mother who slept with the lights on so rats wouldn’t bite her children, she dedicated the rest of her life to helping build housing for low- and moderate-income people.
Our Founder: An Affordable Housing Activist Ahead of Her Time
Born in Durham, N.C. in 1933, Virginia Swain Peters was a go-getter who stood up for what she believed in and made things happen. She caused uproar at her conservative high school when she organized students to get up and dance at their annual junior/senior banquet. She co-authored a resolution that called on all Methodist colleges in North Carolina to open their doors to Black students. When her husband Charles was attending school in London, the couple was presented to the Queen of England. Virginia delighted in telling people that she wore a short-sleeved dress she had purchased in a consignment shop for the occasion.
Virginia received her bachelor’s degree from Greensboro College and taught elementary school in New Jersey before moving to Arlington in 1958 and teaching for a year in public schools.
She was also a member of a local Methodist church. As co-chair of a Methodist housing task force, Virginia witnessed decrepit housing and a severe housing shortage, especially for people with low incomes. The task force concluded that the solution was creating decent housing for low-income people, arguing that suitable housing is a basic human right. Click here to learn more about the Methodist roots of Wesley Housing.
Already an involved member of her community, Virginia quickly became a fierce advocate for Northern Virginia’s low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Though she didn’t have any previous experience in housing or community development, Virginia entered the then male-dominated world of real estate in 1974 and built Wesley Housing from a cardboard box in the back seat of her car to a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Over the past forty years, Wesley Housing has developed 25 communities and served more than 20,000 low- and moderate-income households in Northern Virginia.
“For Virginia, [Wesley Housing] was more than putting a roof over someone’s head. It was about the people she worked with, the community she lived in, and, perhaps most of all, those who found shelter in Wesley properties,” wrote her husband, Pete. “A decent, affordable place to live was the starting point for a better life.”
Combining affordable housing with family programs and supportive services to foster positive development and self-sufficiency for all adults, children, and families, Wesley Housing changes lives, true to Virginia’s original vision. In 1989, the Washington Post recognized Virginia’s contributions to the community in an article, “Unsung Heroes: Eight Who Made a Difference.” Fairfax County recognized Virginia’s work by honoring her with a Human Rights Award in 1993. The Virginia General Assembly commended her for her work in February 1997.
Virginia’s legacy lives on in the continued work of Wesley Housing across Northern Virginia and with her family, including her children and grandchildren. On April 8, 2014, the Virginia General Assembly commended Wesley Housing on the occasion of its 40th anniversary for its work helping help low- and moderate-income families avoid homelessness.