Throughout all aspects of Vesta’s operations, quality is more important than quantity. Quality housing means more than shelter; it means making a commitment to residents to provide a means for those residents to solve problems and improve their lives.
Vesta has a long history of offering social and educational activities to its residents. Vesta also understands that many of residents require assistance contacting, coordinating, and implementing social services for themselves and for their families. Management staff is available to meet with and to assist residents in finding these services.
In addition, Vesta maintains the security and livability of its communities through a careful resident selection process, approving residents who have a record of responsibility for their homes and community.
Read more about Vesta’s Quality of Life initiatives:
An example of helping residents better themselves is Vesta’s Learning Centers. In 2000, as a part of a major renovation and turnaround of Rainbow Terrace Apartments, Vesta decided to provide the 484 families a state of the art learning center. Not only does the Center have the best in computer equipment, it also has full time teachers to work with children and adults. Residents have the opportunity to earn new computers and high speed internet access for their own apartments.
View the video about the Rainbow Terrace Learning Center
To accomplish this, Vesta teamed up with a local community college and the Cleveland Board of Education. The children’s educational programs and curriculum are coordinated with the local schools. The adult educational programs include basic education, GED preparation, and job skills training. Initial funding for the teachers was obtained through the Ohio Department of Education’s 21st Century Learning Center Grant Program.
Social Service Programs
Vesta regularly collaborates with local social service providers to offer services such as:
- Daycare centers
- Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, or similar organizations
- Health and nutrition clinics
- Community gardens
- Sports teams for resident children and fitness activities
- Parenting skills training
- After school mentoring
- Teen outreach
- Job counseling
- Personal finance counseling
- Drug and alcohol prevention
The underlying goal is to provide residents with the best possible service to maximize the likelihood of a family breaking the cycle of poverty, increasing independence so that residents can become more self-sufficient in their daily lives.
Summer Meal Programs
Vesta has had great success in providing summer meal programs at some properties. Each summer local non-profit food banks provide breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon snack to the children who live at certain properties.
To create a true community, it is important for residents to interact and socialize with each other at organized social events. To that end, properties provide space for residents to hold regularly scheduled resident association meetings. In addition, properties plan, coordinate, and pay for a series of social activities throughout the year to which all residents are invited to participate.
These social activities may include holiday celebrations, summer ice cream socials, family picnic events, and field trips. During the winter holiday season managers work with local organizations such as “Toys for Tots” to help make sure that every resident’s child receives a gift during the holiday season. With resident participation, staff work hard to create and maintain a sense of community at each of Vesta’s properties.
It is paramount that residents feel safe in their apartments and within the community. Vesta helps deter unlawful and inappropriate activities within each apartment community, working closely with local law enforcement agencies on resident and non-resident issues.
Bridgette Smith | Director of Social Services
Bridgette joined Vesta in March 2004 as a Learning Center assistant. Today, as a Director of Social Services, Bridgette manages an array of partnerships with organizations in the District of Columbia and Ohio including but not limited to the YMCA, Catholic Charities, Cuyahoga Community College, Case Western Reserve University, Children’s Hunger Alliance and the Cleveland Public Library. Bridgette is instrumental to the success of on-site GED preparation programming, workforce development, literacy programming and after-school programming. Bridgette strives daily to change mindsets, encourage hearts and balance the technological playing field for residents.