Call the number shown on the photo to find out about scholarship opportunities for students during the summer of 2012!
Morrissey Construction just completed two projects for Peoria Housing Authority, Phase II and Phase IIB at Harrison Homes. They liked it so much they put the project on their website! The homes look beautiful and they are definitely worth bragging about. Here's what they wrote:
Morrissey Construction completed phase 2 and phase 2B of the Harrison Homes Development. Phase 2 is a housing development that consists of 28 units and a maintenance/office building. The 26,800 sq. ft. development encompasses a mix of senior, family, and ADA accessible apartments.
Harrison Homes phase 2B consists of six units including a townhouse building with two three-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units, and a two-bedroom bungalow.
Location: Peoria, IL
Architect: Farnsworth Group
Approximate Project Amount:
Phase 2: $3,500,000
Phase 2B: $1,000,000
Click here to see the webpage: http://www.morrisseyconstruction.com/multi5.html
Lines of residents at the gate…
Thousands of items on display…
17 people working hard for PHA residents…
= SUCCESS & TEAMWORK!!!!
We can’t thank our volunteers and donors enough for help with the Summer Giveaway. Eighty-one big bags were handed out and stuffed full of all sorts of necessities…. Clothes, shoes, baby items, books, coats, winter apparel, household cleaners, etc. It took 10 ½ hours of preparation to sort and set up the giveaway items and we couldn’t have done it without help.
Our lucky residents also received bus passes that were raffled off thanks to the generosity of John Williams & CityLink. Each pass allowed 20 free bus rides and they were very popular!
Thank you to all PHA employees who donated items for the giveaway, especially Debbie Weiss, Laronda Mathews, Liz Lewis and Brenda Coates. Your sizeable donations helped make this a success!
Thank you to the following employees & community volunteers for volunteering on a Saturday to help our residents:
Brenda Coates, Donna Wilson, Elizabeth Lewis, Danette Snopek, Yvonne Long, Meghan Lundeen, Jennifer Davidson, Christine Sidders, Laronda Mathews, Caitlin Ryan (ARRO intern), Sandy Wagner (ARRO intern), Josh Hunt (ARRO intern), Scott Lundeen, John Vespa, Hedy Elliot-Gardner, Romi Gardner.
Big thanks also to David Burns & Bill James who worked early on Saturday to help set up. Their input, ideas and assistance were much needed and appreciated!
Our residents walked away with interview clothes, shoes and accessories, a ton of baby items, books for all ages and the feeling that PHA is on their side and in their hearts. One young mother cried tears of joy when she saw the 6-9 month stack of little girls’ clothes. Her daughter had only 2 outfits.
That… is exactly why we do this.
Look below for a slideshow of photos from the event!
PHA partner Homework Mastery Center of Peoria is hosting the 1st Annual Percy Baker Jr. Central IL Walk for Education. What’s that mean to you?
All the money raised goes to help PHA residents!!!! PHA is working closely with Homework Mastery to take an adopt-a-family type of approach to learning. Homework Mastery doesn’t just target youth for homework help. They teach pride, respect, heritage, culture, family values and integrity. Homework Mastery goes into the household because they know the whole family’s well-being is important for youth to be successful. This program is the result of hard work with three staff members at Homework Mastery and our ARRO program. ARRO is a great start for our adults, but this partnership will catch our youths and young adults BEFORE they need ARRO’s help. We are proud of this partnership and excited to see what it does for our families.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Join the walk! Becoming a team captain means you will find 9 friends and family members to walk with you on August 21st! Registration is $20 per person. Stop the violence through education! Ask Meghan for more details and information. Julie Taylor will be assisting to acquire team captains from PHA. Please help Homework Mastery help our families!
EXCERPT FROM JOURNAL STAR:
By KAREN McDONALD (email@example.com)
Posted Jul 25, 2010 @ 11:13 PM
PEORIA — A local group is hoping to get to the city's youth before criminals do. And keeping kids on the right side of the tracks starts with a single step Aug. 21.
Homework Mastery is recruiting team captains for the inaugural Percy Baker Jr. Central Illinois Walk for Education in partnership with the Peoria Housing Authority. The group notes Peoria's violence crisis and believes education, mentorship and inspiration will steer youth in the right direction and continue Baker's efforts and dedication to youth.
"A lot of youth are at risk in the city hot spots. We're not just dealing with the young people, we're dealing with the whole family, from job readiness training down to homework help," said Marc Porch, program director for Homework Mastery.
Money raised from the walk will support the program at PHA, specifically targeting residents and youth at Taft and Harrison Homes. It's part of the ARRO program - Access to Resources and Referrals Opportunities - that helps residents tackle life challenges.
Read more: http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1070618773/Local-group-hopes-to-get-to-citys-youth-before-criminals
EXCERPT FROM WMBD:
PEORIA- A local group says it's on the verge of changing Peoria.
The Homework Mastery Center is curbing crime and targeting the Peoria Housing Authority where they say youth is hit the hardest.
It started with passion from Percy Baker Junior who devoted his life to guiding the children of Peoria, now that passion spills over into The Homework Mastery of Peoria.
It's looking for people to participate in the Percy Baker Junior Central Illinois Inaugural Walk for Education.
"This is our way of getting the grassroots participation, and have people basically become empowered," says The Homework Mastery Center's Sarah Al Hassan.
Empowered to be a change for Peoria, money from the walk goes to help some of the city's most "at risk".
Meghan Lundeen of Peoria Housing Authority says, "Our youth at PHA are exposed to a lot."
READ MORE AND SEE VIDEO: http://centralillinoisproud.com/search-fulltext?nxd_id=128745
Photo Courtesy of DAVID ZALAZNIK/JOURNAL STAR @ pjstar.com
Dream Center is one of Peoria Housing Authority's most valued partners. For years the Dream Center has adopted Taft Homes as a site for many projects. The volunteers there are dedicated to our residents at Taft and have changed many lives for our families. They deserve all the praise imagineable!
Excerpt from Journal Star:
By PAT OLDENDORF
Posted Jul 27, 2010 @ 01:03 PM
Last update Jul 28, 2010 @ 09:11 AM
PEORIA — About 250 teens have made Peoria their summer mission trip with Mission Peoria.
"Instead of doing a mission trip somewhere foreign, they're doing it in Peoria," said Andy King, executive director of the Dream Center, which oversees Mission Peoria.
Mission Peoria started Tuesday by painting at Taft Homes and scrubbing graffiti at Manual High School. They also painted a senior citizen's North Valley home that was violating the city code. They'll be doing much the same thing every morning for the rest of the week.
"I'm here because I wanted to help," said Levell Bileas, 15, who grew up in Taft Homes and attends Riverside Community Church. "I think it means a lot to the people who live here.".....
Read the rest at: http://www.pjstar.com/news/x599436795/Teens-spruce-up-Peoria
More than 240 teenagers have teamed up to help residents and kids in communities throughout Peoria.
Painting fences at Taft Homes in hot humid weather isn't causing any kind of heat for Mike Winters. While the 20-year-old could be chillin under the a-c with his friends Winters says it's important to give back to the community and set a good example for others.
Read more and watch video: http://www.centralillinoisnewscenter.com/home/MissionCamp-99357784.html
An article featuring the garden at Harrison Homes has been featured in the Journal Star's lawn & garden section. Read the entire article here.
Below is an excerpt from pjstar.com.
Harrison Homes residents tend to veggie garden.
Harrison Homes resident Thomas Dixon, 53, has brought the farm to the city, creating a giant vegetable garden on an open space at the home. Last year, Dixon proposed the idea and grew a test plot. Based on the success of that garden, he has expanded to a full-size garden this year that includes corn, beets, squash, okra, collard greens, strawberries and banana peppers. Dixon detassles his corn as works with Bernadine Brown, 61, who also manages the garden.
JENNIFER DAVIS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Posted Jul 10, 2010 @ 10:58 PM
PEORIA — Standing beside their flourishing vegetable garden, Thomas Dixon and Bernadine Brown bring to mind the old folk tale, "The Little Red Hen."
In the story, there is, of course, a sweet, hard-working hen who lucks upon some grains of wheat and asks for help from fellow farmyard friends in planting, growing, harvesting, threshing and, finally, milling the wheat into flour before baking bread. No one offers to help - until it's time to eat the bread.
Dixon and Brown are flush with compliments and not-so-subtle hints about sharing their large plot of beans, cabbage, greens, tomatoes and more, featured prominently in the middle of Harrison Homes.
But, when they suggest a little help with the weeding, the response is reminiscent of the story: "Not I."
It's no doubt a common problem for gardeners. The lush plants, heavy with ripening produce, draw gawkers, not workers.
Unlike the story, however, Dixon and Brown still plan to share their bounty with their fellow Peoria Public Housing Authority residents.
"We planted this for the community," said Dixon, 53, who grew up on a farm in Arkansas. He has long planted a few things near his apartment, but he lacked the sun and space for a truly magnificent vegetable garden. The PHA allowed him to do a test plot last year, which was very successful, so he and Brown doubled the size of the garden this year, as well as adding a second plot and four raised beds for strawberries.
"We experimented last year. It turned out so good, they encouraged it," says Brown, 61, who lives just a short walk away. While we're admiring the garden, a friend tells Brown she spotted someone dig up some of their plants and drive away with them the night before. Brown and Dixon discuss keeping a better eye on their hard work.
Pam Pesha-Ahten, the former asset manager at Harrison Homes, said Brown and Dixon grew all the plants in the main garden from seed. They purchased seedlings for the second plot, added later in the season, said Pesha-Ahten.
State Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, along with state Rep. Jehan Gordon, D-Peoria, and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis also contributed a couple hundred dollars to pay for materials for the raised strawberry beds. The Community Action Agency and the Shwari Chengo Project, a local anti-violence group, also contributed time and money.
"We are really supportive of residents doing things like that - anything that they can do to make it feel more like home,"
Meghan Lundeen, PHA's community relations and special projects manager, said of the garden.
Though Harrison Homes, the city's oldest housing project, is currently in the midst of a long-term $40 million redevelopment, Lundeen says it will not impact this community garden.
Thirty-four new public housing units to be completed yet this summer are the first of a six-phase construction project, which will eventually cover 32 acres of South Peoria with a mix of new, affordable townhouses and apartments.
"Our next (construction) phase is going to be far enough out that it won't impact this," Lundeen says. Definitely not this growing season and not for the foreseeable future.
"Their buildings won't be touched for awhile. We'll build on every piece of vacant land first. But, if it comes down to it, we'll just move it," Lundeen says of the garden.
This year, in addition to doubling the size, Dixon and Brown also added raised beds for strawberries. Corn and squash are new this year, too. They also planted more of their favorites: peas, okra, mustard and turnip greens, green peppers, beets, cucumbers and onions.
Dixon and Brown both say their absolute favorite vegetable is peas, noting that there's nothing like peas shelled right in the garden.
"This will save them money," Brown says of the garden's benefit to fellow residents. Beyond that, the food they are growing will taste better, she says, than what they can buy.
"We don't use chemicals. We just let nature take its course."
-Written by Jennifer Davis, published by the Peoria Journal Star.
The last classes at Woodruff High School spent the end of their school year in Mr. X's art class painting a mural for the GED students at Taft Homes. The following article was in the Journal Star.
By KAREN McDONALD (email@example.com)
Posted May 31, 2010 @ 08:52 PM
PEORIA — While the doors of Woodruff High School are closing, doors are opening for some two dozen residents in a GED/adult literacy program at Taft and Harrison homes.
To help seal the high school's legacy, about 100 students are creating a 12-by-8-foot mural to be hung on the walls of the housing development classroom at Taft. The idea is to generate enthusiasm through color.
"I think art gives off energy. It gives people hope," said Hedy Elliott-Gardner, who is running the GED program.
"I want people to walk in and say, 'OK, my life is going to be different.' "
And the Woodruff freshmen, sophomores and juniors working on the massive canvas get something out of it, too.
"This seemed like a good and interesting project to get high school students involved with something bigger than a classroom assignment," said Woodruff art teacher Xavier Tiernan. "It gives them a more grand scope of what professional artists do."
Woodruff junior Tyler Dressler said he hopes the piece will inspire those who see it that they can do anything.
"Anybody can add to the world. It doesn't take superior talent," Dressler said. "I think it's cool it's not just a couple of people (contributing to the mural). It's different students from all classes who are contributing just to be part of it."
Tiernan built the three panels himself and supplied the lumber and canvas. Paint was donated for the project, which students hope to have done in a week.
"Learn, learn, learn," the working title of the mural, is an abstract with geometric shapes and fun colors planned. Tiernan said research shows bright colors stimulate the mind, and the more colorful the mural can be, the better environment it creates for the students.
Students primed the canvas and traced an image onto the canvas last week before they began painting. As the days go on, students are feeling a greater investment in their final project at Woodruff.
"With each step in the process, the students get more and more intrigued," Tiernan said.
The GED program, just more than a month old, is an effort to help residents become self-sustaining. The PHA's Housing Incentive Program requires all residents living in redeveloped properties to have full-time jobs or a part-time job and schooling, a good rental history and utilities in their own name.
District 150 decided last fall to close the school as a money-saving measure amidst declining enrollment. Underclassmen will be transferred to the district's three remaining high schools.
"This is one of our final attempts to put something out there from the school," Dressler said. "It's history."
Karen McDonald can be reached at 686-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.