Progress Updates – October 2013


It’s been a while since our last progress update, so we have a lot to communicate!  We have been busy at WWD-F, and none of what we’ve been working on would have been possible without the help and support of our volunteers and collaborators.  Thank you for everything you do and have done to further our efforts in the community! See photos of these activities on our facebook page:

♦   This year’s Easter Egg Hunt was a big hit! It was held in Hillcrest on Saturday March 30th. Thank you to the Hillcrest Resident Association for all their hard work on this collaboration!

♦    We’re excited to announce Resource Center Job Fair was a huge success this year; 75 public housing residents participated, 13 employers and job trainers attended, which resulted in 16 people being hired!! The pre-job workshop took place on Saturday, April 13th, and was focused on interviewing and resume writing skills. The Job Fair took place on April 20th. It began with a “Lunch and Learn” for employers where the common barriers to employment and the benefits of hiring public housing residents were discussed.

Thank you to Moe’s BBQ for providing the lunch. We’d also like to thank our super volunteer Rachel Edwards from Western Carolina University, and Traci Thompson at the Resource Center at Hillcrest for coordinating this great event!

   The Junior Youth Empowerment Program has been going strong for several months now, and takes place every Sunday from 2:30-3:30 pm at apt 17A in Hillcrest. It’s being led by Jasmine Riazati and Carolyn Alperin. This program is an empowerment group for adolescent aged girls and boys and is focused on service and group discussion learning.

    We’re pleased to announce that this year’s Mother’s Day at the Spa Event was a huge success. Over 30 women participated and enjoyed massages, acupuncture, facials, nail care, a chi machine, refreshments, childcare, and prizes. Local are service providers showed up with information tables, and mothers were able to sign up for a local mothers support group.

    Our Children’s and Adults’ Cooking Classes are now being taught by Hillcrest resident Shanna McMorris. Thanks to prior funding from the Z-Smith Reynolds Foundation and additional upcoming funding through a private foundation Shanna is able to be paid for teaching these classes in the community.

♦     We are thankful to Nia Yaa for teaching weekly Herbs & Wellness classes, as well as facilitating the Girls Discussion Group. Nia Yaa is a local healer & entrepreneur, the owner of Ra Sekhi Arts Temple.

     Juneteenth was a huge hit this year. It took place on Saturday June 22nd from 11:00-3:00 pm in Hillcrest, and was a public celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. Over 500 people showed up from all over Asheville for the super fun day filled with performers, free food, and educational speakers. Thank you to Hillcrest Resident Association for their partnership in the event!

♦      The Trailblazers Outdoor Adventure Club concluded its 8 week hiking series on August 15th with over 60 miles hiked this year and over 2 dozen hikers. This series finished up with an overnight camping trip at Skinny Dip Falls on August 17th and 18th for the top 10 hikers, a pool party on August 24th, and a scrapbook-making party on September 21st! Congratulations to this year’s top hiker, Tahtiona Green, and a big thanks to Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine, all of the private contributors to the hiking series, Mellow Mushroom, Office Depot, Walgreens, and ARP for making all of these wonderful experiences possible!

       We’re pleased to give an update on the Ujamma Freedom Market. They’ve received their Federal Tax ID # and Articles of Incorporation and are working towards getting Temporary Use permits and a City of Asheville Business License. Over the past few months they have attended the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy in Philadelphia, have completed a Foundations in Business Class and a Business Financials class at Mountain Biz Works and have attended a Cooperative Economies conference in Alabama! A big thank you to Mountain Housing Opportunities for providing a $5,000 grant for start up business costs.  They are now working on securing a vehicle and are requesting assistance to meet their goal of organizing all the funds they need for start-up costs to launch their business!

♦     Woman’s Wellness Day took place on Saturday September 14th from 3:00-5:00 pm in the Hillcrest Community Center, and featured an array of free services such as massage, rieki, tarot readings, wellness consultations, yoga, nailcare, childcare, food, refreshments, information tables, and prizes. 20 Hillcrest ladies came out to participate, and enjoyed some much needed relaxation and rejuvenation!

     Stay tuned for the 3rd Annual Party for the People later this year. Hillcrest residents and WWD-F supporters from all over Asheville will get together to celebrate this year’s accomplishments with food, live entertainment, dancing, and prizes. Childcare will be provided!

Volunteer Announcements:  We appreciate all of our volunteers who have been helping us these last few years, and are always seeking additional volunteer assistance.  Currently, we have need in the areas of administrative assistance, assisting at the Community Resource Center at Hillcrest, event organizing, and donation solicitation.  Please call or email Nicole for more information.