August Partner and Volunteer Highlight: Community Lodgings
Community Lodgings serves approximately 130 Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students each year who live in the city’s Arlandria neighborhood through its youth education programs.The ACPS-Community Lodgings partnership offers the opportunity to contribute to the educational foundation of success for all students.
“This partnership gives every child the knowledge that they can succeed and create the life they envision for themselves,” Community Lodgings Resident Services Director Kate Wiley said. “We are only a small part of this, but the web of partnerships that contribute, with ACPS at the helm, is what makes this possible.”
Wiley said the benefits that students gain from the partnership between Community Lodgings and ACPS’ out of school time programming, LINK Club, cannot be overstated. The program provides a safe space for students to learn and an opportunity for them to thrive at no cost to their families.
Out of School Time (OST) programming is critical in helping students stay engaged in their learning and success. “When a lot of folks in the world tell them ‘no,’ OST staff are the ones that say, ‘yes, you can do this, and you will,’” Wiley explained. OST programming also gives students the emotional stability and confidence to believe in themselves and know they can achieve anything.
“One of our students wants to be the first female president of the United States,” Wiley said. “OST programming helps our scholar believe in herself and guide her path towards achieving the goal.”
ACPS Out of School Time Manager Marisol Morales added, “We succeed as a school system when we work with community partners such as Community Lodgings. Their relationships with the families and staff are essential for the success of the LINK Club program.”
A 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant provides funding for teachers/tutors and support staff for OST and summer programs to support the extended learning day for students. It also pays contractors who provide specialty enrichment programs including cooking, robotics, sports and more. The funds also help cover the cost for supplies, field trips, evidence-based curriculum, books, laptops and furniture for Community Lodgings’ three learning centers. In addition, the grant supports monthly family engagement nights and programs for adults, such as English lessons, Spanish literacy and cooking classes.
“Our six-week summer program prevents summer slide (learning loss),” said Wiley, adding that its after-school program offers additional support in small, differentiated learning groups to help students improve their skills and feel confident in their classrooms.
In addition to its youth education programming, Community Lodgings enriches the Alexandria community in many ways. The organization also helps to provide transitional housing, affordable housing, food, warm clothing and education programs for families. Most importantly, Wiley believes Community Lodgings offers a sense of community. “These families face adversity at almost every turn, and I think we provide a sense of kindness and understanding that every child deserves nothing but the best. Families know that we are working alongside them, as partners, as equals,” she noted.
Community Lodgings’ vision is to have a world where all families have access to housing, education and resources to achieve and sustain independence and productivity and believes its partnership with ACPS contributes greatly to this goal.
Community Lodgings welcomes the volunteer support of community members. To explore the possibility of becoming part of this wonderful network of support, please contact Keaira Kittrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-549-4407.
- Partner & Volunteer Highlight