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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

In more than 25 years as a professional working woman, Cora had never given thought to a resume.

It was only after leaving the police guard and working at a school that she was told of an opportunity with local non-profit real estate developer CPDC and was asked to submit a formal description of her experience.

Meadowbrook-Run-002In 2005, she remembers her first-ever interview at CPDC’s flagship Edgewood Terrace complex. The organization was looking for someone to re-open and manage the community center at its Meadowbrook Run property in Southeast DC.

Cora was willing to try.

Upon her arrival, Meadowbrook Center was in bad shape. After cleaning it up, Cora began walking the property daily to meet residents, speak to the children and tell them about a summer camp that would be offered in their community. Lacking computer skills at the time, she recalls creating the flyer for her first resident summer camp on her typewriter.

The first year, more than 25 kids attended summer camp—and their involvement didn’t end with the start of a new school year. CPDC summer camp in SE Washington DC - 0013Cora noticed youth beginning to take ownership, stopping by the community center after school and wanting to be involved.

As she worked with Meadowbrook residents through trial and error to eventual success, Cora applied that same model to her new work, eventually self-teaching herself to be proficient with computers.

This ethic of self-improvement as empowerment for community-building soon opened another door—one where Cora would finally have the space and authority to do some of her most important work.

To read Part 2, click here.

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