Post Content

New ARHA program helps residents access Alexandria history and college credits

Professor Elizabeth Clark-Lewis leading a class (photo courtesy Mike Johnson)

A new program is helping Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority (ARHA) residents get access to college classes.

ARHA has a new partnership with the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and the Social Responsibility Group (SRG) that’s allowed a group of 15 ARHA residents to enroll in classes and start getting credits for an associate degree.

The first class is a six-week history course led by Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, a professor of history from Howard University.

Clark-Lewis said that, rather than sit in classes and lecture, she prefers to take students out to experience history.

“This group of students have been very curious and very interested in the contact with history,” Clark-Lewis said. “They’re interested in the context of history, not simply in facts and names. They understand where they’re standing is where this person stood.”

Clark-Lewis said the goal is to help the students connect with resources and opportunities around the region.

Cathy Driver, an ARHA resident and student, has a goal of opening her own business one day. She said she’s inspired by Frederick Douglass and, through the program, was able to see artifacts from Douglass’ life.

“I’m excited to learn about it all,” said Driver. “My parents came from the south when they were in 12th grade. For me and my sisters, they didn’t really know what to tell us. My mother’s side from North Carolina; my father’s side from Alabama… By taking these classes, I can tell my kids about Alexandria.”

While Driver has been researching the history of Black businesses in the region, ARHA resident and student Annette Santiago has been studying the history of Latin American immigration to the region and Alexandria in particular.

Through the program, Santiago was able to connect with a historian from Puerto Rico who helped link Santiago with other resources to use in her study. Santiago was particularly fascinated by the history of immigration to Arlandria and the formation of the Chirilagua neighborhood.

“I’m not from Alexandria and I didn’t know very much about Alexandria’s history,” Santiago said. “Now that I’m in this program, it pushed me to learn more about Alexandria… I was always wondering ‘What is Chirilagua’ and now I know.”

Driver and Santiago are both grandparents and said they were inspired by their families. Santiago said her husband is signing up for the class as well.

Beyond just learning about history, Clark-Lewis said the class helps students build a connection to their community. She particularly thanked Michael Johnson from the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities for helping to get the program together.

“Education frequently helps you develop a network for your own family and community,” said Clark-Lewis. “This wouldn’t have been possible without a connection… There is a reciprocal support network they create, not just for themselves, but for their families. This has a ripple effect, and that’s what you hope to see as a public historian. It’s not the same old boring history: it helps history come alive.”

Recent Stories

It’s going to be windy today in and around Alexandria. The National Weather Service says that conditions will be clear, with wind gusts this afternoon up to 50 miles per…

(Updated at 8 p.m.) More than 2,200 West End residents are without power after a transformer fire in the area of Seminary Road and N. Beauregard Street, according to Dominion Energy….

It was quite a week in Alexandria. It seems that nearly all of Monday’s news was overshadowed by the eclipse. Hundreds of bespectacled residents turned out at Ben Brenaman Park…

The Planning Commission didn’t have much by way of criticism for the proposed redevelopment of Vulcan Materials, but it opened the floodgates for Commissioners to dunk on the state of…

There’s a reason Well-Paid Maids has hundreds of positive reviews from happy clients in the D.C. area.

The home cleaning company pays cleaners — who are W-2 employees — a living wage starting at $24 an hour. Plus, cleaners are offered benefits, including insurance, 24 paid days off a year, 100% employer-paid commuting costs and more.

Lexi Grant, an operations manager at Well-Paid Maids, said it best: “People deserve their work to be respected and recognized. When that happens, you love what you do, and you create the best results.”

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges? Do stress and anxiety seem to dominate your thoughts? At Peaceful Mind Solutions, we understand that navigating mental health can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Our team of compassionate therapists is here to guide you on your journey toward inner peace and emotional well-being. With a client-centered approach, we tailor our therapy sessions to meet your unique needs and goals. Whether you’re struggling with depression, coping with trauma, or simply seeking personal growth, we provide a safe and supportive space for healing and growth.

Embark on a path of self-discovery with our comprehensive range of therapy services, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, and holistic approaches. Our experienced therapists are dedicated to helping you cultivate resilience, develop coping skills, and foster a greater sense of self-awareness.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Del Ray Kitchen Confidential Design Tour

Please join us for Del Ray Kitchen Confidential – a walking tour of recently renovated kitchens in Del Ray with the experts who make the magic happen! FA Design Build owner Rob Menefee and Design Consultant Melissa Fielding walk us

Celtic Corridor in Concert at the Lyceum

Billy McComiskey, on button accordion, National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Award winner, All-Ireland Award winner, who has played with the Irish groups The Irish Tradition, Trian, and Green Fields of America. Billy’s playing is highly regarded as are his


Subscribe to our mailing list