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Building a Culture of Health, Wellness & Accountability in Affordable Housing

Learn how the work, commitment and forward thinking of one resident services manager is empowering residents in CPDC’s Southeast D.C. Arbor View community to change their minds, circumstances and lifestyles.

A 5-Part Blog Series

Enlist in the military. Or get a job.

eg1That was the stern ultimatum Cora Clark was given by her mom at graduation time. Born and raised in Washington DC, she’d grown up in the 1960s with her three sisters in the Southeast Washington D.C. East Gate Gardens project and then a housing project at 58th and East Capital Street.

High school graduation meant it was time to move on.

And she did just that.

Cora’s initial venture into the working world was as a Steno Clerk for the Department of Transportation—a job she recalls as far too monotonous and consisting of “sitting behind a desk all day.”

So in 1972, she went for something entirely different.

Upon passing the District of Columbia’s police exam and the then-required civil service test, Cora began serving as a Metropolitan Police Department officer—a duty she held for more than 25 years.

mER7Unemfgx2EiV2TJmaVXwThe police department offered not only security and a means to raise her two sons, but a front row seat to historic events and inevitable brushes with dignitaries.

But of all benefits that came with the post, Cora describes the most useful skills gained in her time as an officer as the ability to think critically and work with ‘challenging’ communities.

Although she didn’t realize it at the time, those skills would soon serve as a solid foundation for her work with residents in low-income neighborhoods and be foundational to her community-building success.

*In Part 3 of this series, to be published May 21, read about Cora’s career transition and early years with CPDC.

To read Part 1, click here.

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