Founded in 1979, PPDC is the oldest community-based agency continually serving Church Hill’s children and families. For the first 28 years, it operated in the parish hall of St. Peter’s Church in 780 square feet of space, serving approximately 30 youth annually. In late fall 2007, PPDC moved across the street to a new 10,000 square foot facility and tripled the number of youth served. In 2008, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) approached PPDC with a request to test the students utilizing nationally standardized testing. The testing revealed that 75% of the students were one or more grade levels behind academically. As a result, the program at PPDC changed from recreational to an academically focused program, with deeper goals for educational growth in its students.
Since joining PPDC in March 2012, I have seen incredible things from the students we serve – these students, living in a neighborhood that many would describe as hopeless, have not only hope, but big dreams. A high school student who wants to be a biochemical engineer, a third grader who wants to be lawyer, a fifth grader that is so smart we have to continually keep him engaged in the classroom through hands on learning and reading (reading about Greek mythology, nonetheless). The biggest fear that these students have is rejection, or someone only seeing them as a “kid from the projects.” PPDC has given these students the hope they need to make a better life for themselves and their families. PPDC engages students in reading and mathematics, provides for their basic needs of food and clothing, and gives them opportunities to engage in activities that will spark their interests and creativity.
This year, PPDC is working to expand and deepen its current, well-structured curriculum, to incorporate more aspects of a STEAM curriculum – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Teachers are not only encouraged, but expected to be creative in their classrooms, transforming education into hands-on, interactive lessons. Students are further engaged in learning about careers that they can pursue with their hope and the solid footing gained by being a PPDC Kid.
My vision for leading PPDC demands the same expectations of everyone from staff to student to volunteer – to make 1.5 years progress in one year, to expect the best from each person, and to find ways to be creative in hands-on dynamic activities.
One measure of the power of our mission is community support, and 2011/2012 saw continued strong support in terms of both volunteers and financial supporters. This support, combined with a focus on organizational efficiency, allowed Peter Paul to end the year with an operating surplus. Thank you to all who gave so generously!
The year ahead is full of new and continuing partnerships, continuing organizational improvement, and most importantly, continuing support of our students as they do the critical work of creating a future full of possibility. We continue, as well, to be grateful to everyone who shares in our vision of education as a transformational force in the East End community. We look forward to seeing you in the year ahead!
PPDC is located in the heart of Richmond’s East End in the 23223 zip code. Within the area in which these students live, and PPDC is located, is a high concentration of poverty, senseless violence, economic, social, and health challenges. PPDC is working to address these challenges through education. Aside from its high level of public housing, the area has Richmond’s city court building and jail, high levels of violence, and its status as a food desert.
PPDC is in informal partnerships with many non-profit agencies who do business in the East End. A few of these partnerships include: 1) Bon Secours, provides a nutritionist, began the Children's Garden, and regular student programming; 2) Central Virginia Food Bank provides the food used in the Youth Program and has also designated us as a food distribution point in the East End (we serve upwards of 800 individuals per month); 3) Richmond Public Schools allows PPDC to program after school and summer in its space. 4) Several organizations are key collaborators for Richmond Promise Neighborhood including Family Lifeline, Better Housing Coalition, and Communities In Schools of Richmond.
An eight-week long experience, Summer Promise students participate in structured academic or enrichment activities in the morning and recreational and reading time in the afternoon. Students are at PPDC or off-site partner facilities from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
PPDC knows that the summer program is crucial to its students to ensure that their academic skills do not backslide during the summer, as well as to keep the students in a safe, stable environment. “Summer learning loss produces a gap that grows over the years. A study of Baltimore students found that by the end of fifth grade, low-income students read at a level almost three grades behind that of middle-income students. By ninth grade, summer learning loss over the five preceding years accounted for more than half of the difference in reading skills. To catch up, youth who have fallen behind academically need to make larger-than-average gains.”(EARLY WARNING! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, The Annie E. Casey Foundation,www.aecf.org, p. 20)
One main challenge for PPDC, which remains a problem for Richmond's East End, is visibility. Many in Richmond, including those who have lived here their entire lives or are new to town, do not know about the under-resourced East End. Cut-off by highway systems, this neighborhood has been left behind in a poverty cycle that perpetuates. PPDC's existence is to bring hope and opportunity for the East End residents, particularly its youth. Thus, our biggest opportunity - to serve more youth in the continued depth of impact to change the way this community operates.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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