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fall 2008 This Issue_ _FAMIS Information _School Dates _Techno-Scholars _Back to School _Annual Senior Educational Conference _American Wetlands Month _2008 Achievement Banquet _NRHA Partners with Lee’s Friends

_ a publication for the residents of norfolk’s assisted rental neighborhoods_

Diggs Town Student Receives Norfolk by Kelly Williams and Foundation College Scholarship LaRhesa Christmas - Editorial Assistant High school graduates around the country are heading to college campuses with high aspirations. Like most students, Joseph “Joe” Saenz spent the summer preparing for and anticipating this big life step. What sets Joe apart from a majority of his college-bound peers, aside from his ranking as third in his high school graduating class from Lake Taylor? He is a resident of Diggs Town, one of Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s assisted-rental communities, and the first recipient of a new scholarship from The Norfolk Foundation to cover all costs of earning a bachelor’s degree at a public college or university. The Norfolk Foundation makes grants that transform the quality of life and inspire philanthropy in southeastern Virginia. Meeting with Joe and his mother, Olivia “Libby” Caban, in their home, Joe’s face lit up as he looked over his piles of packing. “I’ll need to repack those” referring to a pile of clothes in the corner, “but everything else is just about ready,” he states, with the sparkle in his eye and a quiet smile spreading across his face. He headed to Richmond to begin his studies in engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) on August 17. Shy and humble about his accomplishments, Joe not only excelled in the classroom, having taken four Advanced Placement classes as a senior (calculus, physics, Spanish and literature), he was also a part of Norfolk Public Schools’ NORSTAR (Norfolk School for Science Technology and Advanced Research) program all four years of high school.

Our Vision_ Quality housing choices in neighborhoods where you want to live. Our Mission_ Provide quality housing opportunities that foster sustainable mixed-income communities.

His interest in robotics and engineering began when he was young, taking apart door locks, VCRs, computers and remote controls to learn how things worked and to see if he could put them back together. As an eighth grader at Ruffner Academy Middle School, Joe learned about the NORSTAR program. He applied and was accepted, quickly falling under the mentoring of Dr. George Skena, NORSTAR director at the Norfolk Technical Center. It was Dr. Skena, having been in the robotics profession for over 20 years with multiple degrees from several universities, who encouraged Joe to think beyond acquiring a Bachelor’s degree. Joe plans to pursue a Master’s in Science as well as a PhD upon completing his Mechanical Engineering degree at VCU. Story continues on page 4. Photo by Glen McClure


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Emergency Support Resources Norfolk Police Department Non-Emergency 441-5610 Emergency 911

YWCA Women in Crisis Hotline 625-5570 Norfolk Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court 800 E. City Hall Ave. Norfolk, VA 23510 664-7340 Virginia Family Violence Hotline 1-800-838-VADV (8238)

Community Resource Officers Supervisor Sgt. P. Dixon Office: 664-7229 Cell: 390-0422 Calvert Square Officer Michele Naughton Office: 390-0364 Cell: 636-1489 Diggs Town Officer Kris Harris Office: 390-0419 Cell: 636-1492 Grandy Village Tenant Management: 705 Kimball Court Office: 627-2613 Oakleaf Forest Officer Derrick Vernon Office: 543-4512 Cell: 284-1715 Moton Circle Officer Erica Bennett Office: 475-6637 Cell: 613-5985 Tidewater Gardens Tenant Management: 1016 Mariner Street Office: 625-2926 Young Terrace Officer Steve Maxey Office: 390-0423 Cell: 636-1491


Children’s Health Matters What is FAMIS?

FAMIS is Virginia’s health insurance for children and pregnant women. FAMIS includes Medicaid. Most people who have FAMIS get an insurance card from a health insurance company, such as Optima, Anthem or Virginia Premier. These companies help Virginia with the FAMIS program. Your child has FAMIS for health visits if you are enrolled. FAMIS is a great way to get health care for your child.

3 Easy Ways to Apply:

How to Get FAMIS

You probably already have FAMIS for your child. If you don’t, getting FAMIS is easy. Tell your friends about FAMIS, too.

Getting Health Care for Children

•Over the phone by calling 1-866-87FAMIS •Online by going to •At your local Department of Social Services

Children need people in their lives who will keep them safe, secure, and healthy. Your child counts on you to get health care for them so they stay healthy. Here are some tips to help you use health care for your child. • Use FAMIS as often as your child needs medical, mental or dental health visits. • Your child needs regular health care visits even when they are well to keep them healthy. • When you get FAMIS, call your doctor right away to set up your first visit. • When your child is sick, call your doctor or FAMIS for advice before going to the hospital. • Call your doctor and ask for a health care visit for your child as often as needed.

FAMIS Covers Dental Visits

• Tooth decay is a big problem for children • Proper brushing and regular dental visits can stop tooth decay • Make a dental visit • Every FAMIS child should see a dentist every 6 months • Call for help if you have trouble

FAMIS Covered Services Doctor visits




Hospital visits Emergencies

Who Can You Call for Help? FAMIS or FAMIS Smiles 1-866-87FAMIS (FAMIS) 1-888-912-3456 (FAMIS SMILES)

Medication Mental Health


School Dates to Remember September

1 2 18

Labor Day First Day of School Early Release Day


13 16 27

Parent/Teacher Conference Day Early Release Day Staff Development Day (No School)


4 11 26 27-28

Teacher Records Day (No School) Veterans Day (No School) Early Release Day Thanksgiving Holiday (No School)

11 22-Jan.2

Early Release Day Winter Holidays



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The Techno-Scholars Program is designed to aid male students to become goal-oriented, academically focused and community conscious. This intervention is provided to inspire and prepare students for college and/or career success, thereby reducing their likelihood of falling prey to the myriad of risk factors that affect African-American males. A collaboration of learning communities and faith-based initiatives, this didactic model employs technology via web-based portals, personal computers, wireless communications and community involvement to provide technical, academic, pyscho-social support and mentoring.

This year’s group, age 12 to 16, participated in various field trips and learning opportunities and were heavily involved For more information, in the program design contact NSU Technof o r N R H A’s a n n u a l Scholars Program at Achievement Banquet. 823.9122


Norfolk State University’s School of Social Work Outreach Services was awarded funding from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) to implement a male technology and community/faith-based mentoring program called Techno-Scholars.


Youth Corner is written for the youth in the communities.


Techno-Scholars - Exploring New Pathways

Back to School It may seem hard to believe, but it’s back to school time. Here are some tips to make it a great year:

Get enough sleep. Studies show students need at least 8.5 hours of sleep a night to feel rested and to stay alert.

Eat a healthy breakfast. Students stay alert and perform better in class if they have eaten a good breakfast. Develop good work habits. Write down your assignments and turn in your homework on time. Take your time with school work. If you don't understand something, ask the teacher. Join school clubs, teams, and activities. Getting involved around school is a great way to make friends and can help students feel like a part of their environment.

Keep a sense of humor and always remember to try your best!

DEVELOPING GOOD HOMEWORK AND STUDY HABITS Create an environment conducive to doing homework. Find a permanent work space in a bedroom or another part of the home that offers privacy. Set aside ample time for homework. Keep the TV off during homework time. Ask for assistance from a parent or older sibling. Take steps to help alleviate eye, neck and brain fatigue while studying by stretching or taking a short break when it will not be too disruptive. If you are struggling with a particular subject, a tutor may be a good solution. Talk it over with your parents and teacher.


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“Wii” Want You to Stay Healthy The 12th Annual Education Conference and Health Fair was held May 16 at the Murray Center. Twenty-three vendors and screeners along with 116 participants took part in the conference, “Exercising Your Power…Extending and Bending to Stay Healthy.” Health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar were available. Issues concerning seniors were addressed by guest speakers. The conference strives to enlighten, educate and encourage participants to pursue an active and healthy lifestyle. This year’s event included demonstrations of the Nintendo Wii invigorating game, which keeps senior citizens active without putting too much strain on their bodies through traditional games such as bowling.

The NRHA Elderly Programs department would like to thank the following companies for participating: Sentara, Excel Home Health, Norfolk Community Services Board, Norfolk Public Health Dept., Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, Virginia State Bureau of Insurance, WHRO, Endependence Center, New York Life Insurance and IBWC.

Cover Story Continued The scholarship Joe received, named the James 2:26 Scholarship Fund, has a preference for students from Hampton Roads living in public or subsidized housing and attending a public college or university in Virginia. An anonymous couple from Virginia Beach established the permanent scholarship fund this year. The scholarship was inspired by the book of James, Chapter 2 verse 26, which says “for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” This year the James 2:26 Fund Scholarship will provide $15,620 to cover Joe’s tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, including a laptop computer. Joe will be eligible to have the scholarship renewed each year for up to four years, allowing him to complete his bachelor’s degree debt-free. The Norfolk Foundation plans to add another recipient next year while continuing to support Joe through his four years of college. The Norfolk Foundation is a regional community foundation that is the largest scholarship and grant provider in southeastern Virginia. This year 285 students are on scholarship, receiving a total of $767,219. The foundation administers more than 50 scholarship funds. The James 2:26 Fund is the first full-ride scholarship fund. Since 1950 the foundation has provided more than $14 million in scholarships to more than 3,428 individuals. Most scholarships were for four years of study.

“...if it wasn’t for NRHA we wouldn’t have a roof over our heads, a place for my children to thrive and grow…” Olivia “Libby” Caban


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“Believe, Inspire, Achieve” NRHA’s third annual Recognition of Achievement Banquet was held the evening of June 10 at the Norfolk Airport Hilton and included dinner and music by Ra Jazz. This event is held each year to recognize the accomplishments of residents and to promote those successes to the Hampton Roads community. The event program cover art was created by the Techno Scholars, a technology and community/faith-based mentoring program comprised of young men (ages 12-16). (see related story on pg. 9)

The Techno Scholars arrive in style.

The Strolling Silver Strings returned for a second year, entertaining guests.

They joined other guests for a VIP reception prior to the banquet. The guests were entertained by the “Strolling Strings,” a musical group comprised of Norfolk public school students. It was during this reception that the Eulalie Bobbit Award and Volunteer of the Year Award were given.

Connie Green of Franklin Arms received the Eulalie Bobbit Award in recognition of her volunteerism and dedication to others in her community. The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to PUSH (Preparing Until Success Happens), a voluntary community service program designed to empower youth with skills needed to be successful in home, school and the community. Twentytwo youth, ages 12-16, volunteered 847 hours within 10 different organizations inside and outside of their communities from April 2007 to the September 2007.

Connie Green, recipient of the Eulalie Bobbit Award with NRHA Executive Director Shurl Montgomery.

Over 300 residents were nominated for recognition at this year’s banquet for such things as doing well in school, receiving scholarships, completing a college degree or GED, securing a job or home ownership. Dr. Stephen Jones, Superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools, and Reverend Dr. Kirk Houston, pastor of Gethsemane Community Fellowship Baptist Church, provided keynote addresses and Don Roberts, WAVY News 10, served as Master of Ceremonies. Roberts made mention of his participation in the event via WAVY’s website, commenting on the inspirational keynote to “celebrate reaching the top of one mountain and to let this success fuel our desire to conquer more peaks in life.” Also in attendance were NRHA Board of Commissioners, including Chairman Shep Miller. NRHA Client Services would like to thank everyone for participating in this successful event and looks forward to another year of great achievements.

Ice sculpture says it all.


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Cover Story Continued His first semester will be packed: engineering, calculus, analytic geometry, chemistry and English. Again, a shy, but self-assured grin takes over his face; he’s not worried about that course load, “I took a lot of those classes already. I’m prepared.” He never had to be prompted to finish his homework or told to prioritize, it seemed to come naturally to him; a solid resolve to do his best and make the most of his opportunities. Joe is looking forward to the start of the school year. He has already chatted with his new roommate over the internet, deciding who will bring what to outfit their dorm room. Although he has recently earned his driver’s license and has made the trip to Richmond on his own, Joe does not want to have a car with him on campus. Parking is too limited and he would rather be on a bike, so it will be easier to get around campus. His mother interjects with a caution on locking it securely.

adding, “Sometimes from a little seed comes great things. You have to have faith and determination.” Joe had applied for scholar ship f unding through The Nor folk Foundation during his senior year. At the time, he wasn’t even aware of the James 2:26 Scholarship Fu n d , w h i c h w o u l d provide a full ride for college studies. He was just trying to get some extra help in tuition costs, as he was already planning to continue working during the school year.

Ever the jokester, when Joe found out he received the scholarship and learned it would cover all of his costs, he knew he had to throw his mother for a loop. He called her from school, fabricating a story that he had been It’s easy to see that Libby is proud in a fight. Libby could of her son’s accomplishments, not believe what she Olivia “Libby” Caban and Joseph “Joe” Saenz . beaming even more than Joe, as was hearing on the other Photo by Glen McClure stories of his successes are recounted between the two line, thinking how uncharacteristic it was for him. of them. Libby, a licensed practical nurse in pediatrics for over 30 years, retired after 15 years with Sentara After he had her believing his story, he relayed the Leigh Hospital for health reasons. She will miss him, she great news. Proving that pranks run in the family, admits with a smile, as will his younger brother, Thomas. Libby came up with an elaborate revenge for her older son by waking early one morning to move “You can’t hold a child down. You have to let them the car that Joe had parked in a towing zone. She grow up and make their own decisions. [Parents] even went as far to call the rental office and towing won’t be here always,” she says as she looks at Joe. company, working Joe into a frenzy that the car may have even been stolen before finally telling the truth. “Where you come from doesn’t make you,” he stated, as he recalled, more than once, the expressions he It is certainly moments like these they both will saw when he revealed where he lives. He is happy ref lec t back upon as Joe depar ts for VCU. with what he has accomplished so far, knowing that anyone is capable of doing anything he sets out to do. A sentiment his mother has undoubtedly instilled in him story continues on pg. 8


fall 2008

Focus Returns to Grandy Village for American Wetlands Month

One of the Mid-Atlantic’s most significant wetlands restoration efforts is taking place at NRHA’s very own Grandy Village. An event was held on May 21 along the Elizabeth Riverfront to showcase the project in observance of American Wetlands Month. Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) is in the process of constructing Virginia’s first light rail project, The Tide, which will impact 1.57 acres of wetlands. To offset that impact, HRT is restoring 1.7 acres of wetlands at the Grandy Village location, which is providing mitigation in the same watershed where the wetlands are being impacted. The removal of debris, trees, and overgrown vegetation provides residents at Grandy Village with a view of, and greater access to, the Elizabeth River. Eventually, a waterfront path will lead to a new community center,

Students from Chesterfield Academy participated in the day’s events, which included educational exhibits and a ladybug release by the river.

expected to open in 2010, that will focus on environmental education. The event held on a beautiful and warm May day, opened at 10 a.m. with site tours of the restoration project already underway and exhibitors, which included the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Elizabeth River Project, Nauticus, The Hermitage Museum, the City of Norfolk, URS, HRT and NRHA. Seventy second grade students, four teachers, and the principal of neighboring Chesterfield Academy were taken on a “slog” to the water’s edge where they learned about the benefits of wetlands to the environment and released ladybugs, a method of biocontrol. Event footage was shown on local news channel WAVY News 10 that evening. The wetlands restoration project was featured in an article in the May 12 edition of The Virginian-Pilot.


fall 2008

Top Ways to Get Kids to Read

A number of studies have shown a correlation between academic success and reading during childhood. Getting kids to read for fun will set them on a course for achievement, but it can be difficult to get them hooked on the activity. Here are a few tips from Dr. Michele Borba, a parenting expert, educational psychologist, Today show contributor: 1. Get a good resource. Both parents and kids say the big part of the problem is trouble finding enjoyable books. 2. Think outside the book. The trick is matching your child's reading level and interests to the material. So ease your kid in. Think cereal boxes, cartoons, the sports page, baseball cards, the Internet, magazines. Getting your kid to feel comfortable with reading is what matters. 3. Carve out reading time. Kids say the biggest reason they don't read for fun is there isn't enough time. So find just a few minutes a day. Eliminating one TV show or item from your kid's crammed schedule frees up 30 minutes a week. Putting books in kids' backpacks, bathrooms, cars or kitchen are handy for lulls. Setting aside 10 minutes at the same time creates a nightly routine for everyone to read. But if you don't designate that time it will get lost in the shuffle. 4. Create a reading-rich home. The more books you have in your home, the greater the chance your kid will become a reader (as well as obtain higher math, science, civics and history scores). So dig out that library card. Attend book fairs at your child's school. Make reading material constantly available. 5. Start a book club. Tweens admit they worry popular kids won't like them if they read, so help them buck that peer pressure by

joining moms of your child's friends and read together. 6. Become movie critics. Read a book then watch the movie based on it. Kids love to be movie critics and debate if the book or movie was better. 7. Don't stop reading out loud. Kids stop reading for fun around age 8, which is also the age most parents stop reading to their kids. Well don't stop! Start a book night (your kids get to choose) and read out loud-or take turns reading paragraphs. But keep reading out loud. 8. Check that required reading list. Dig through the bottom of your teen's backpack for that required school reading list. Then get two copies of each requirement: one for you and the other for your kid. You can each read alone, but do discuss Charlotte's Web, To Kill a Mockingbird or The Diary of a Young Girl together. 9. Be a role model. Studies prove that kids who see their parents read are more likely to read themselves. Let your kids know you value reading and let them see you read and read often. Read from Oprah's book list, join a book club, carry a book with you at all times or get your friends, neighbors or town reading.


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Partners in the Community NRHA & Lee’s Friends In late May, NRHA combined efforts with Lee’s Friends, a local philanthropic organization helping cancer patients and their families, in their annual Run on the Wild Side at the Virginia Zoo. Lee’s Friends and NRHA have worked together previously to support women in the local community who currently have or have had any form of cancer. A number of residents in NRHA’s Calvert Square and Young Terrace communities have received services from Lee’s Friends such as transportation to and from doctor appointments and vouchers for wigs as hair loss is often a side effect of chemotherapy treatments. Last year, “A Day of Empowerment, Bringing Out the Beauty in You,” sponsored by social work students from Norfolk State University, Young Terrace, Calvert Square and Lee’s Friends was held November 19 at the Calvert Square Family Investment Center.

Residents participate in “Women Empowering Women Extravaganza.”

Female cancer survivors were invited to attend an afternoon of relaxation and comfort that included free manicures, massages, hair care and makeup sessions. A dynamic guest speaker entertained the attendees and lunch was served. A Cancer Survival Toolbox, an audio resource program endorsed by the National Cancer Institute, was also distributed. Following on the success of last year’s event, “Women Empowering Women Extravaganza” was held on April 18 at the Young Terrace Community Center for women with acute and chronic illnesses. Again, women were pampered with massages, manicures, facials and food. Guest speakers addressed healthy living choices and offered motivation and inspiration. Educational and community resource information was also distributed.

NSU social work students sponsored the event held at Young Terrace Community Center.

A special program entitled “Children’s Day Out” was held for children of parents attending the function and included arts and crafts, food and other activities. Expanding this partnership, NRHA decided to participate in the Run on the Wild Side, an annual fundraiser for the charitable organization. A total of 49 NRHA employees, as well as NRHA community residents participated by either running/walking, volunteering, or making a donation.

Executive Director Shurl Montgomery presents the pledge money and matching gift during the Lee’s Friends Fun on the Wild Side.

All services provided by Lee’s Friends are free. Lee’s Friends is located at 7400 Hampton Boulevard, Room 201 and can be reached by calling 757-440-7501.

Provided by Client Services & published by NRHA Communications and Marketing Department Director of Client Services Arlene Hinson

Editor Kelly Williams

Editorial Assistant LaRhesa Christmas


Graphic Designer Casey Scalf

fall 2008

celebrating success

2008 Scholarship Winners

The following 2008 high school graduates proudly accepted scholarship awards at the NRHA Recognition of Achievement banquet on June 10, 2008.

Grandy Village Shanta Matthews Kenya Perkins

Oakleaf Forest Teshera Cooper Shiaira Johnson Maxine Moore Javonda Williams

Tidewater Gardens

Skyla Powell Denita Smith Shawna Ward

Young Terrace Brandie McKenzie

Housing Choice Voucher Kendra Powell

P.O. Box 968 Norfolk, VA 23501 (757) 623.1111

Kristin Clair Shaneque Parker Joseph Saenz

David Stewart

TDD# (800) 545.1833, ext. 548

Diggs Town

Moton Circle

Calvin Oden Michael Wells

NRHA provides equal housing and employment opportunities for all persons. NRHA does not discriminate against any resident, applicant or employee because of age, race, color, handicap, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.

Calvert Square

Profile for NRHA

Community Journal 2008  

Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority's Community Journal

Community Journal 2008  

Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority's Community Journal

Profile for