Aspire! Afterschool Learning, together with HomeAid Northern Virginia and Builder Captain HITT Construction, completed a $1 million capital project, opening a third-floor, 9,400 square-foot learning space in the Arlington Mill Community Center. The space, which will be dedicated to offering after-school academic and summer enrichment programs for at-risk upper elementary school students, was completed in time for the July 1, 2019 start of summer camp, ensuring that 120 kids from low-income families, ranging in age from rising third to sixth grade, will have access to a six-week academic program designed to prevent summer learning loss.
HomeAid Northern Virginia and General Contractor HITT Construction provided a significant source of pro bono project management; in-kind materials, service, and labor; with additional donations from foundations and individuals helping Aspire! reach its ambitious goal and complete construction in three years.
“This was a different kind of project for us,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr, “with so many of our trade partners providing materials rather than materials and labor. We never could have done it without all of them – they really stepped up to the challenge, donating or providing at-cost countless products that were critical to making this project financially feasible. The new site will allow Aspire! to serve three times the number of children it previously could. That means fewer kids at risk of falling into an achievement gap in Arlington, stronger readers, stronger English language learners, and more consistent social-emotional learning and educational support.”
“This project really exemplified the very best that public-private partnerships can offer,” added Courtney Reeve, executive director for Aspire! “With Arlington County, non-profits, the donor community, private developers and architects, and HomeAid with its foot in both worlds of non-profits and the private homebuilding industry, it was a feel-good story with everyone coming together for the kids. Perkins + Will, the pro bono architect firm, put together a beautiful design that included so many elements important to us; the space is so warm and welcoming, and the kitchen is a natural gathering place, just like it is in a private home. Everything came together so smoothly and everyone worked together so well. It’s a project that no one wanted to see come to an end.”
“Community involvement is a core pillar of HITT’s Corporate Responsibility Program, so we were excited to participate in this initiative and give back to the community where we live and work,” said HITT Assistant Project Manager Ana Sierra. “Working alongside the Aspire! team, project partners, and subcontractors has been a rewarding experience for our team, and we look forward to seeing the impact this new Community Center has on the youth attending camps and afterschool programs at Arlington Mill.”
The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Philip L. Graham Fund, the HDR Foundation, and the Washington Forrest Foundation provided anchor funding for the project.