Building With Boys & Girls Clubs

Summer Camp Success Leads To After School Program At Pheasant Run

From a dark, dreary, cool and drizzly mid-week afternoon, the elementary-through high school students of Pheasant Run pop through their Homeport community learning center with a hop in their step and excitement in their voices.

There is structured rambunctiousness as the children from Reynoldsburg flip on laptop computers or open books, their minds still fresh from a day of learning at school.

It is the give and take of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus after school program -- study, focus, but have fun before the apartment complex community center doors close at 7:30 p.m.

“We try to be balanced,” said Anthony Williams, the on-site program leader. “We don’t want to be a drill sergeant. We want them to be comfortable.”

The fun might include a reward of an interactive NBA game. It might be a challenge set forth as they move about, questions written in red highlighter on a white board:

“What does it mean to be a leader – and find a quote about leadership,” the first question says.

“What are your goals and how do you plan on reaching them?” is the second challenge.

The third assignment question: “What are some benefits of practicing forgiveness – and a quote about forgiveness.”

Last summer, in part through a $30,000 grant from the Ohio Capital Impact Corporation’s Resident Development Fund, Homeport contracted Boys & Girls Clubs to provide a summer camp at Pheasant Run.

The program, meant to prevent learning loss in the absence of school, was attended on any given day by as many as 50 children. It was such a hit, Homeport asked Boys & Girls to have an after school program at Pheasant.

Rachel Cohen, an Ohio State University political science student from Dayton who ran the summer program at Pheasant Run, has returned part-time in support of Williams who oversees the program expected to serve at least 50 students. “It is really cool to be back,” she says.

Pheasant Run was the first rental community at Homeport to have Boys & Girls programming. Homeport is discussing with Boys & Girls how to expand its high impact after school programming to other Homeport communities. Sustainable funding would be needed.

 “The Boys & Girls Clubs programs fit beautifully together with Homeport’s mission of creating bright futures for families, breaking the cycle of poverty, and empowering our children with education, inclusion, and subsequently, the foundation of confidence to achieve their dreams,” says Homeport President/CEO Amy Klaben.

Pheasant Run eighth grader Miles Gibson gives the afternoon program a thumbs up.

“I like that I can do my homework. I like being with my friends. I like my teachers,” said Gibson, 14. “They understand our homework and our problems.”

(Individuals or businesses interested in supporting Homeport’s after-school initiatives can do so by contacting Peter Tripp, Director of Donor & Investor Relations, at, or 614 545-4853.)

Marsh Run Benefits From Massive Volunteer Effort

CASTO Employees Paint Patio Fences Behind 33 Buildings

The corporate volunteers came in waves, 18 at a time on some days. 

And on Sept. 16, the volunteers, employees of the CASTO real estate company, completed one of the most significant volunteer efforts in recent Homeport history: the painting of 140 wooden privacy fences behind all 33 buildings at the Marsh Run apartment rental community.

“It looks very, very nice,” said long time Marsh Run resident activist Cindy Streeter.

The freshly painted white fences add pride to the community on the East Side of Columbus, said Cheryl Blevins, on-site leasing and property manager for Community Properties of Ohio

They also entice outdoor activity, said Morgen Wade, Homeport Manager of Volunteer Engagement. “It’s where children play and the parents grill. The patio area is important in the overall quality of life of the residents.”

CASTO’S commitment of 180 hours of labor would have been very expensive if professional painters were required, Wade said. United Way, under its Columbus Volunteer Challenge, provided $400 for 20 gallons of paint, rollers and refreshments.

Debbie Zink, a CASTO vice president, said the fully integrated real estate services firm has engaged in several community volunteer activities over the years for charities, especially when children benefit.

When the chance to volunteer at Marsh Run became available, the organization jumped at it.

“We just like to give back to the community we live in and work in,” Zink said.

A total of 32 CASTO employees visited Marsh Run on four afternoons in August and September. Groups of employees began at opposite ends of the community, eventually meeting up in the middle.

 “It was a good feeling knowing we accomplished the whole thing,” Zink said.

(Individuals or businesses interested in participating in volunteer efforts to the benefit of Homeport community residents are urged to contact Morgen Wade at 614 545-4817 or

Homeport Leadership Training Enjoys Youth Boom

In photo - From left, Pheasant run residents Iman Cardwell, Desiree Settle, and Maya Gibson. 

Leadership in Homeport’s 24 rental communities is getting younger.  Among 50 individuals who chose to participate in the third annual All-Homeport Community Leadership Institute were three young women ages 12, 13 and 15.

“You can get somewhere in life by being like the people here,” explained Desiree Settle, 13, a student at Lakeview Junior High School and member of Pheasant Run Girls Circle. Desiree was joined by two other Pheasant Run (Reynoldsburg) friends, Iman Cardwell, 12, also of Lakeview Junior, and Maya Gibson, 15, a Pickerington High School North student.

Homeport runs the Leadership events to create relationships and build communities. Leaders can help promote and participate in various events sponsored by Homeport within the rental development communities, from community garden programs to food drives to backpack distributions.

They also serve as a network to encourage residents to sign up for financial education courses provided for free by Homeport, and educate their neighbors about services and programs of added value and need, from Kindergarten readiness assessments to emergency utility payments.

Layden Hale, senior housing counselor for Homeport, reminded the audience of the value they bring to the process, noting the free financial service counseling would cost $150-$500 if provided by other organizations or individuals.

“We care. We Share. We bring it. That’s what it is all about. You guys are the leaders in the community and are going to make my job easier (by promoting services available through Homeport),” Hale said at the program held Sept. 18 at Homeport headquarters, 562 E. Main Street in Columbus.

Participants were saluted by Homeport President/CEO Amy Klaben and Homeport Board members.

“You are resident leaders because you choose to be here,” Klaben said. Klaben took special time to recognize the three young women from Pheasant Run for what she called a “micro-enterprise.” Besides learning more about Homeport, they sold silk, felt and checkered fabric hair ribbons. For each ribbon purchased, one is donated to girls in a homeless shelter.  

James Settle, Desiree’s father, chose to participate as a leader of his Pheasant Run community, but also acknowledged it was exciting to participate “as part of developing a healthy relationship” with his children.

Joining him at the Leadership Institute event were his wife, Sharrion, Desiree, and three other of his children, Daijah, James and Shayla. 

Rachel reflects on Pheasant Run Summer

On June 15th, Pheasant Run Boys and Girls Club staff members greeted 27 children for the first day of summer programming.  By August 8th, the Club had worked with 87 different community members ages 6-18, and was frequently seeing upwards of 40 attendees per day.

Working as the Site Lead at Pheasant Run this summer was full of high notes.  In terms of raw numbers, we exceeded a 50-member enrollment goal and 35-member average daily attendance goals.  What truly resonated with the staff, however, were the days when children like 9-year-old LouAnthony Armistead would ask us to stay into the school year—an unlikely request, considering that we spent up to two hours a day working on academic programming.  Pheasant Run attended a Team Smile free dental care event at Nationwide Arena and meet the Blue Jackets mascot, and seeing children excited about getting cavities filled will certainly stick with us.  Our teen group participated in résumé writing workshops and later in mock interviews at Bank of America, Nationwide Insurance, and Huntington Bank.  When 12-year-old James Settle returned from his Huntington interview to announce that he had received two separate awards in the follow-up session at the end—competing against every other eligible Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus teen—I was far prouder than when we enrolled our 50th member.

Saying goodbye to the children of Pheasant Run was extremely difficult, but I know that the community there is strong and the members we worked with this summer will continue to thrive.  The staff at Pheasant Run, myself included, cannot thank Homeport and the families of Pheasant Run enough for the opportunity to help our members further develop their potential.


Homeport Young Professionals Back to School Fun Day at George's Creek

On August 13th the Homeport Young Professionals hosted a Back to School Rally and Play Day at our George’s Creek apartment community.  The volunteers handed out 60 backpacks full of school supplies to the kids who participated.  They did face painting, decorating folders for school, making key chains, dodgeball, hula hoops, and even teaching some of the kids how to hold and swing a baseball bat.  And just when everyone thought things were wrapping up, one of the Young Professionals showed up with sub sandwiches for everyone!  It was so nice to see all the smiling faces eating together and enjoying their community.  

It was truly a rewarding experience for all!  Thank you to everyone involved in the planning, shopping, and making it all happen.  You are such an important part of what we do. 

Shining brightly in our communities through Leaderspark

Pamela Johnson-Smith has lived at Framingham Village for 17 years, in fact she is on of the original residents. On May 15 she introduced Asha Ahmed at Homeport’s LeaderSpark graduation. In her own words, you can hear the impact of the intergenerational interaction:

The door opened and the sun shined in; the door closed and one realized it was the smile of a beautiful young lady, not the sun that caused the glow.  Asha Ahmed is regal in appearance, humble in her mannerisms; she is sixteen years old and blossoming into her womanhood. Asha is an honor student at Zenith Academy; she loves to read and watch anime (cartoons). She is soft spoken, shy, and is still learning her power.  Her goals include obtaining an advanced degree in nursing and returning to her homeland of Somalia where she can serve her people.  Asha enrolled in the LeaderSpark program to enhance her public speaking skills and to connect with her community.  She glides with the agility of a gazelle, but admits she is much more mental than physical; unlike most teenagers she would rather read than shop.  Asha has worked on environmental projects with her school which enabled her to use prior experience to enhance the LeaderSpark 2014 Project. She considers her loving father her primary mentor; he encourages her to be her best and accepts her as she is.Asha is truly a Jr Leader who will be a force to be reckoned with as she continues to grow and mature.

Homeport and Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus - Pheasant Run Open House

Homeport and Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus hosted local, regional and national guests at an open house on July 29, 2014 to introduce the community to their new partnership formed to serve low income youth at the Pheasant Run Apartments in Columbus. Pheasant Run is an affordable housing community owned by Homeport and this summer is the first time Boys & Girls Clubs is operating a Club program out of our community center. This site is serving as a pilot program with the goal of replication to examine a collaborative approach to provide summer and out-of-school programs to children in need. By providing rental housing to more than 5,000 low-income residents in Central Ohio, Homeport meets basic needs by providing safe, decent and affordable housing. By providing programming inside a Homeport community, Boys & Girls Clubs can leverage existing capital resources, lower its overhead costs, and serve a high-need community – all without having to navigate transportation and family engagement barriers.

Thanks to Ohio Capital Impact Corporation for their support to make this program happen.

In 2014 the Ohio Capital Impact Corporation, through its Carol Mount Peterson Resident Development Fund, awarded Homeport $28,000 to provide a summer program for the youth of Pheasant Run. Through a partnership with Boys and Girls Club of Columbus, they have given the youth the opportunity to be a part of a camp focused on summer learning, character building, and activities geared toward broadening their future goals.

More information here


We are Building New Homes This Spring

Construction is moving along for our two newest rental communities, Eastway Village and Trabue Crossing. Eastway Village is expanding to the second phase for this senior community. Trabue Crossing is our first development in the Hilliard area.

Eastway Village
Construction has started for the 32 one-bedroom apartment homes in a 2-story elevator building to the north of the existing buildings.

  • Amenities
    • Secured entry building includes universal design and green features throughout
    • Large community room with kitchen
    • Lounges on each floor
    • Library/Computer room
    • Exercise Room
    • Landscaped grounds with patio and walking paths
    • On-site management office
    • Secure, key-card entry
    • Easy access to bus-lines, shopping and services
  • Rental information: Muezjuana Johnson  |  Wallick Properties  |  614-863-4640

Trabue Crossing
52 townhome style multi-family development is on the south side of Trabue Road in the southwest corner of Trabue Road and E. Hilliard-Rome Road. The homes are located in the City of Columbus and Hilliard School system. 

  • Homes:
    • Townhomes with three-bedroom, two 1/2 baths 
    • 3 Accessible (ADA) units, garden style, two baths
    • All homes are income restricted 
  • Community Amenities:
    • Community Building with computer lab
    • Tot Lot
    • All maximized energy-efficiency units
    • Laundry hook-up in units
    • Cable hook-up in bedrooms/living room
    • Energy-efficient stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher
    • Wood laminate flooring/carpet
    • Resident Services provided
    • Convenient to shopping, restaurants, entertainment and public transportation
  • Rental information: Muezjuana Johnson  Wallick Properties  |  614-863-4640


Nearly 70 million Americans have no emergency savings while nearly one-in-four would run out of money in 30 days, says NeighborWorks America survey

April 8, 2014

Douglas Robinson
202-760-4062; 202-870-3583 cell


Nearly 70 million Americans have no emergency savings while nearly one-in-four would run out of money in 30 days, says NeighborWorks America survey

Washington, DC – Nearly 70 million in America don’t have any emergency savings to withstand a sudden financial shock, while 22 percent of Americans or about 53 million have savings enough only to hang on for a month according to a new consumer survey from NeighborWorks America. Forty percent of consumers say that their cash reserves would last as long as three months, and 28 percent expect their emergency fund to hold them over for a year. In all, sixty-eight percent of consumers say that they’re setting money aside in case of a financial emergency.

The survey results, available at, were released today by NeighborWorks America to mark the beginning of financial capability month, call attention to the fragility of many families’ finances nearly five years since the end of the Great Recession, and assess consumers’ interest in nonprofit resources to help them build financial stability.

“These data have to light a fire under all of us who want to see Americans better able to withstand a financial crisis, especially a recession as devastating as the one we’re climbing out of now,” said Eileen M. Fitzgerald, NeighborWorks America CEO. “Our survey underscores the need to provide better tools and information for people to manage the money they do have in order to build a strong financial base.”

The survey also examined the savings goals of Americans. Retirement and buying a home are the top savings goals at 28 percent and 13 percent, respectively, with just five percent of consumers saying that they are currently saving to create a buffer in case of a financial emergency.

Among those surveyed nationally, 29 percent of adults report no emergency savings; of these 43 percent of African-American and 39 percent of Hispanic adults said that they had no emergency savings.

As might be expected, the survey results bore out that the more income a person has, the more likely they are to have built an emergency fund. Just 11 percent of people making $100,000 or more per year said that they had no emergency fund, while more than half (52%) of people earning less than $40,000 said that they had no such reserve. People whose income places them squarely in the middle class also are financially vulnerable, with 24 percent of adults with income between $40-59,000 holding no emergency fund.

“In today’s marketplace, everyone, including those with limited incomes, can set aside some savings for emergencies and work to achieve other financial goals,” explained Fitzgerald. “We are seeing great results for consumers who use a financial coach to help them start saving, reduce debt and work toward financial goals.” 

What NeighborWorks America is doing to reverse the numbers

NeighborWorks America is committed to building consumers’ financial security throughout the country by offering comprehensive training and impact evaluation services for nonprofit professionals to develop and scale financial capability programs in their communities. The nonprofit organizations across the country that NeighborWorks supports, the NeighborWorks Network, are offering financial capability services to help alter these trends, with establishing emergency savings plans being just one component of a full service financial coaching and individual financial capability effort.

Results from a recent national financial capability demonstration project had positive results. The program saw 57 percent of the people who started with zero savings establish a habit of savings, while 48 percent of the people in the program who already had a savings habit increased the amount set aside for emergencies and other goals.

“Our aim in 2014 is to expand our financial capability program by offering training to more coaches in order to reach more individuals,” explained Fitzgerald. “Saving for emergencies is a critical component of being financially stable. Unexpected medical bills, major household repairs and even car repairs could significantly hurt a family’s long term future.”

Financial capability is more than learning about credit. Financial capability can level the economic playing field by offering the information and support that helps consumers reduce debt, increase savings, and reach their financial goals.

About NeighborWorks America
For 35 years, NeighborWorks America has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

# # #

[Source: NeighborWorks America]

Be a Champion. Join the Challenge TODAY. Double the impact of your gift!

Double the impact of your gift to help more Central Ohio neighbors benefit from affordable housing.

Every dollar of your support will be matched  dollar for dollar by generous donors who have pledged to double your impact. Become a Homeport Champion and more low income kids, families and seniors will have better lives because of decent, safe and affordable homes, plus essential services that help provide a pathway out of poverty. Below are examples of how your gift helps others.  Please know that your investment during The Challenge Match DOUBLES its impact on the people we serve.

Your generous gift will help a child, a family, or an elderly Homeport neighbor improve the quality of their life. Here are examples of what your gift will do: 

  • THE ARMY OF A THOUSAND -$25 – Your gift is matched dollar for dollar 
    Combine your gift with 999 of your neighbors to ensure that the kids of Homeport have continued access where they live to after school and summer programming that provides academic and life skill enrichment in a safe environment preparing each child for success. 
  •  IT’S ELECTRIC - $50  – Your gift is matched dollar for dollar
    Provides a low income senior living in a Homeport Senior Community with access to transportation services for a year helping them maintain their independence. 
  • GROUND BREAKERS -$100  – Your gift is matched dollar for dollar
     Provides a low income family or senior with essential household and personal items everyone needs for a year.  Residents often come to our communities without basic items important for day to day living.  
  • BRICK LAYERS - $250  – Your gift is matched dollar for dollar
    Teaches residents in a Homeport community how to work together with their neighbors to build a sense of pride and ownership that reduces crime.
  • FOUNDATION BUILDERS - $500  – Your gift is matched dollar for dollar 
    Provides 1 -1 Financial/Budget Counseling to one person/family to enable them to successfully manage their scarce resources. 
  • FRAMING THE ISSUE -$1,000 – Your gift is matched dollar for dollar
    Provides foreclosure prevention counseling sessions to one family to help them save their home from foreclosure and successfully move forward toward financial stability.
  • RAISE THE ROOF -$2,000 – Your gift is matched dollar for dollar 
    Annually provides a child in a Homeport rental community with free after school and summer enrichment activities that include a nutritious meal, tutoring and mentoring that ensures they are safe, engaged, and school ready. 

Online donation system by ClickandPledge