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Edgewood Commons: Voices from the Village.

In a city known for singles and working professionals, Edgewood Commons (formerly Edgewood Terrace) is a community known for its families. Two decades ago, hundreds of people made the Edgewood campus ‘home’—a place to plant their roots, settle down and raise children, create identities and mold their lives.

Today, Edgewood remains a community where families in Washington D.C. can grow and thrive together through life’s challenges and triumphs. Over the next 5 years, the Edgewood campus, a critical and long-standing affordable housing community in Ward 5, will be revitalized and transformed into an open, vibrant, and engaged community. As we approach the June 2015 celebration of this revitalization, we asked long-time Edgewood residents to share short stories of what their community means to them and the role Edgewood has played in their lives.

Here are their stories.

A Stronger Generation: Emmett Kittrell Jr. 

After years of living in Washington D.C. and surviving challenges of addiction and disability, 35-year-old Emmett Kittrell Jr.—a multi-generational Edgewood resident whose father and a cousin also live on the campus—made up his mind to become more involved in his 7-year-old daughter’s life and in his community.

While volunteering at the May 2014 Edgewood Commons Kaboom! build, Kittrell shared his passion for cooking and community building with resident services managers and was soon brought on board to provide catering for Edgewood’s resident Network Nights. In July 2014, he joined a group of six residents as a Network Action Team Member and a graduate of the resident engagement group. Later that year Kittrell completed two programs in the Edgewood/Brookland Collaborative Fatherhood Education and Empowerment and Development (FEED) Program.

As a result of his involvement in the Edgewood community, Kittrell has since been an active parent in his daughter’s school parenting group with other fathers. He has also since enrolled in the DC Central Kitchen Culinary Job Training Program, which trains unemployed adults for culinary careers, to pursue aspirations as a trained chef.

In the 14-week Culinary Training Program Emmett will learn more than just food service skills. Included in the curriculum are job-readiness skills such as punctuality, resume writing, computer literacy, interviewing techniques, positive work attitude, teamwork and self-empowerment sessions. The program includes hands-on training on all facets of work in a professional kitchen. Instructed by an ACF Culinary Coordinator, all graduates complete the nationally-recognized ServSafe Food Protection Manager’s Certification Course.

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