Our Education and Community Development (ECD) program seeks to not only end poverty now, but also to provide the infrastructure so that families and individuals break the cycle of poverty for future generations. The program serves residents and their children in four affordable housing communities in Fairfax County. The median annual income at three of these communities is $18,000 while families in our newest community of Wedgewood have incomes below 60% of the area’s median income. The ECD program uses a two-pronged approach to assist families to overcome the effects of poverty. First, we work with children in these communities to promote their academic and social well-being. And second, we provide their parents and other adult residents the support they need to break the cycle of poverty.
Programs for youth take place after school and in the evenings and focus on academics, building self-esteem, substance abuse prevention, healthy relationships and college or career planning. In FY12, approximately 450 youth participated in FACETS’ community programs. Nearly 90% of children who received homework and tutoring help improved their GPAs or overall academic performance. During the summer of FY13, FACETS served 1250 summer lunches and sent 7 children to camp in addition to providing ongoing programming – keeping kids engaged in safe activities.
Programs for adults include computer and financial literacy, career development and ESL. Residents in need can participate in individualized case management, focusing on eviction prevention and emergency food and financial assistance to keep them stable and in their homes. In FY12, nearly 60 adults participated in FACETS’ community programs. Of those who received case management, 40% became actively involved with life skills classes and 60% gained employment assistance, including resume development and increasing earning power.