McIntire Botanical Garden Community Input Session

Tuesday, August 21 at 5:30 PM – 8 PM
Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

McIntire Botanical Garden is hosting a third community input session on the design process of the region’s future botanical garden. Designers from both Mikyoung Kim Design and Waterstreet Studios will present the latest design concepts of the garden. The event will be held on August 21st at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, 233 4th St NW in Charlottesville from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM with the design team presentation beginning at 6:00 PM.

The input session is a valuable opportunity for community members to meet and discuss what they would like to see and experience in the future garden.

Happy Holidays from the Jefferson School City Center

Thank you to all of our Resident Partners and local community members that embraced the Jefferson School City Center, as the “Soul of the City”, this year. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas! We are looking forward to serving you in the New Year.


Jefferson School First Friday

Join us tomorrow and help us celebrate two resident Jefferson School City Center organizations to shed light on their impact in our community.
September featured nonprofits are Literacy Volunteers and Sin Barreras . Get to know these mission driven non-profits while enjoying the delicious Caribbean Cuisine and Vegetarian & Vegan Vietnamese Specialties of   Pearl Island   and     Vu Noodles .   Now serving lunch *every* weekday from 11:00AM – 2:00PM.
Click on the video to view some of the fun moments at our previous First Fridays!

Summer Internships at the Jefferson School City Center

By: Crystal H. Napier

Summer will officially end in about five weeks. Where has the time gone? This summer at the Jefferson School City Center, some of our resident organizations have had the pleasure of hosting summer interns. The benefits of the internship program has been rewarding for both sides. The advantages of doing an internship while in school can have a positive impact on a students’ educational and professional careers.

In many cases, internships provide a competitive advantage when students are applying to colleges. It allows students to draw a direct correlation between their academic studies and real-world experiences. Internships provide an exclusive access to a potential career field for inspiring students. Students are able to gain professional skills, confidence, and experience; all traits that help improve maturity.

The resident organizations that hosted interns this summer provided testimonials of how the interns impacted their organizations.

The interns give more one on one time with children and that makes them feel special! In these one on one interactions, the kids are getting more opportunities to express themselves, relationship build, increase social skills and most of all reaffirm what we are trying to accomplish which is confidence that they can do anything!

-Michelle Ryan, YMCA Child Care

The Heritage Center’s Trailblazer summer interns are Naiya Carter, Bria Williams, Destiny Grady, and Zyahna Bryant. The Trailblazer program is a partnership between City of Promise and the African American Heritage Center. A small group of young people from City of Promise were selected to be “Trailblazers,” interns who work to fulfill the Heritage Center’s mission of education by providing museum tours, leading summer camp sessions, helping with historical research, and promoting Heritage Center events.

-Ellen Blackmon, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

Catherine Delanoy is helping Common Ground Healing Arts rely less on paper by scanning enormous amounts of documents and filing them appropriately. She is also completing tasks that we have been trying to do for years all while cleaning yoga mats, taking our annual inventory and completing the final task needed for all our services to be offered on a pay-what-you-can range.

– Elliott Brown, Common Ground Healing Arts

Our intern’s name is Suany Reyes.  It’s been a pleasure having Suany’s energy and smile with us this summer.  She has a talent for interacting with the community and has been very willing to stretch beyond her comfort zone.

– Edgar Lara, Sin Barreras

Being an intern is a great entry into making an impact in the workforce and community. The Jefferson School City Center organizations are very appreciative of the time and energy the interns committed. Feel free to contact any of our mission driven organizations for more opportunities to intern and volunteer. These opportunities may open doors for your future and they will have positive impacts for our organizations. Great advice given from a famous intern who became a millionaire investment broker, “The world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the pearls.”  – Chris Gardner


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Block Party to support Trailblazer Program

The Jefferson School African-American Heritage (JSAAHC), in collaboration with the City of Promise, is excited to offer a new opportunity for local high school and college students. Through the Trailblazer Program, JSAAHC will train students to become paid docents throughout the summer months. Along with giving tours, these five young people will conduct additional research on the history of the school. This information will be part of a digital/mobile project that makes clearer the history of African Americans in our community post-Civil Rights. These students will also work with the Carver Recreation Center Summer Camp program, providing education in photography techniques in conjunction with JSAAHC’s exhibition of the work of local photographer Yolonda Jones. Many of these campers live in the West Haven community and the someday they too will be Trailblazers. Tours will be offered to the public, free of charge, every Saturday starting June 17th – August 19th.

The Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center’s mission is to demonstrate the rich cultural heritage of African Americans locally, nationally and internationally. Its main goal is to educate residents and visitors alike about the Jefferson School, establish just six months after emancipation. As the City’s African American school it existed as such for 100 years. Through the story of the Jefferson School one is able to also understand American history in the 20th century. .

City of Promise’s mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty and ensure that students have the opportunity to attend college. Through this collaboration it is hoped that participants have a greater affinity for the place they live and become active participants in the City’s civic life.  By helping to disseminate this information to their peers, they engender a similar sentiment. The hope for the Trailblazers program is that students will pass this history and opportunity on to their peers to continue this program for years to come.

Saturday, June 3rd there will be a Mid-town Block Party to raise funds to support the Trailblazer Program. The event will be held in the Jefferson School City Center’s park and is a FREE and family-friendly event, open to the public with live music and fun for all ages. With the purchase of a $75 ticket, guests will be able to take part in Beer and Wine Tastings with all you can eat and drink options inside of Pearl Island Café. John D’earth, jazz artist, will be providing a jam session. The Block Party is being sponsored by the Charlottesville Rotary Club. Come support this positive summer programming. For more information visit Cville Mid-Town Block Party.

City of Promise Block Party



Jefferson School City Center First Fridays

Every First Friday of the month the Jefferson School City Center (JSCC) will be having a community event to showcase our JSCC Non-Profits! JSCC restaurants Pearl Island and VU Noodles will be providing a delicious and fun themed food. This Friday, May 5th, Pearl Island will be providing a BBQ and VU Noodles will have their vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese Cuisine. Literacy Volunteers and Common Ground Healing Arts are the spotlighted organizations this month. Come out and enjoy First Friday with us 11:00 am – 2:00 pm! Pearl Island and VU Noodles will be open until 7pm!

First Friday NBC29 Commercial

First Friday Flyer May 5th final rev

10th Anniversary of Literacy Volunteers Annual Fundraiser Wordplay

By: Crystal Napier

Literacy Volunteers addresses low literacy and under education among adults in our region through free, individualized reading, writing and English language instruction. Our mission is to help individuals become better workers, consumers, neighbors, citizens and parents through one-to-one tutoring. In working for this organization going on three years it’s been a privilege to meet the students and hear their stories of how their lives have been drastically changed from learning basic literacy. The volunteers are amazing human beings that selflessly dedicate their time and positive energy into giving the most powerful gift one can give, basic literacy.

Literacy Volunteer Malika stated in a recent interview, “What I do for a living doesn’t really give me a chance just to sit down with someone and laugh and tell jokes and talk about community,” said Malika. “That relationship that you build is really, it’s what life’s about is relationships, it’s really refreshing for me.” The relationships goes both ways and really can make an impact in changing people’s lives.

The student Malika assisted became a U.S. Citizen. Solange, Literacy Volunteers Student, was so grateful and excited to gain citizenship and attributed her success to the organization and Malika’s wonderful teaching abilities. “Literacy Volunteers helps people so much, people who have English as a Second Language. If I meet somebody who has a problem with English, I say go to Literacy. Literacy people will help you,” said Solange.

It is an honor to work for this organization. My sincere hope is that you will join us on this Thursday, April 27th at the Paramount Theater at our Annual Wordplay Fundraiser! Wordplay is a team-based trivia competition for people who love words, vocabulary, pop culture, history, literature, and showing off how smart they are. Teams are comprised of three people from local businesses and organizations. We expect to raise over $30,000 this year to support our programs and over 400 students! You can still buy tickets to attend at our front desk or online. Audience tickets are $20.

Wordplay NBC29 Commercial

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Upcoming Spring JSCC Events

Jefferson School City Center First Friday 

The Jefferson School City Center is bringing back First Fridays, April 7th from 11 AM – 2 PM! We’ll be celebrating the Grand Opening of the delicious Caribbean Cuisine, Pearl Island Catering! Open Monday – Friday, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM starting April 7th.

Join in the fun and hear more about the programs and services offered by the City Center organizations including Carver Recreation Center and Sin Barreras.

Day Soiree

Come to the Jefferson School City Center Saturday April 8th, 10 AM – 4 PM for the annual “Day Soiree” hosted by the African American Heritage Center and Jefferson School City Center. The Day Soiree’s theme is “Honoring Vinegar Hill: The Neighborhood beneath the Pavement.” Enjoy live music, vendors, games, delicious food, and tour the Jefferson School City Center, and learn the history of Charlottesville’s lost neighborhood, Vinegar Hill.

Thank you to NBC29 for producing our TV commercials! Please share and spread the word.

 Jefferson School City Center where we serve our local communities.

Common Ground Healing Arts and so much more

By Crystal H. Napier

Common Ground Healing Arts is known for their wonderful yoga sessions and classes. However, yoga is just one of the great programs and services offered at Common Ground. The mission of Common Ground is to improve wellness throughout our community by expanding opportunities for accessible complementary health care.

Acupuncture is one of the great healing services offered through Common Ground. Community acupuncture clinic provides treatment to up to six clients simultaneously, in the same room.  It allows Common Ground to provide more affordable acupuncture treatments, while also creating an environment where people can heal in community.

Cyrel, a client who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair for mobility, credits acupuncture at Common Ground for helping him walk. When he receives acupuncture he is able to increase his steps in physical therapy. Cyrel, raves that the acupuncture has also assisted him mentally. “It allows me to relax my mind and muscles, which helps me to manage the pain,” he said.

Common Ground now offers Pay-As-You-Can acupuncture, $20 – $50, making this healing service affordable and accessible.

Another beneficial, and convenient, program of Common Grounds is Ground Work. This new program brings chair massage, yoga, mindfulness workshops, and auricular acupuncture into businesses and organizations throughout Charlottesville. This service reduces stress and enhances productivity in the workplace. Check out their website to see how you can foster a stress-free environment for employees and co-workers by taking advantages of the wonderful services of Common Ground Healing Arts.

Please consider supporting this wellness organization at their annual fundraiser Sit-A-Thon on March 18th.  Mindfulness leaders from communities all over Charlottesville will lead 50 minute meditations from 10:00am to 6:00pm at Common Ground Healing Arts (233 4th St. NW – Jefferson School City Center, 2nd floor). Experienced and new meditators are welcome. This event is offered by donation, and you are welcome to stay for one meditation or all day. Because they work hard to heal our community, consider supporting their mission at




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