Empowering Neighbors and Strengthening Communities in the City of Alexandria
We believe that….
… God is already at work in our city.
… God created everyone in His image therefore everyone is valuable and has gifts, assets, and dreams.
… Committed, authentic, and purposed relationships are important to our health and the health of our city.
… We are called to work for the peace and prosperity of our neighbors.
Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is an approach that catalyzes change and development based on utilizing the existing gifts and capacities of people and their communities. The ABCD model discourages development brought in from an outside source, but rather energizes change and development from within. For truly sustainable development, it’s important to focus on a community’s strengths versus solely its needs. The important factor is finding the area where local assets meet local needs.
Dr. Robert Lupton, President of Family Consultation Service (FCS) Urban Ministries notes the effect of this reality by stating that: “The single greatest cause of sustained poverty in our cities is isolation.” A person’s success in transitioning from poverty hinges on his/her possession of committed, authentic, and purposed relationships. It is only within relationships of this kind that the love, encouragement, and support one requires for life growth are found.
We believe that Living out the gospel means desiring for one’s neighbor and neighbor’s family that which one desires for one’s self and family. Living out the gospel means bettering the quality of other people’s lives spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally as one betters one’s own. Living out the gospel means sharing in the suffering and pain of others. Therefore, we have limited the organizations foot print to the City of Alexandria.
There is never a simplistic answer to the problems in our communities. Often, people will say that the problem is spiritual, social or educational. Of course these are problems, but they are only part of the larger problems. Solving the housing problem does not solve the emotional struggles that a person has. Restore Alexandria has a wholistic approach to ministry that deals with the spiritual, social, economic, political, cultural, emotional, physical, moral, judicial, educational and familial issues of each person.
Local Leadership (Development)
Alexandria is an independent city in the United States Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 139,966, and in 2015, the population was estimated to be 153,511. Located along the western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately 7 miles (11 km) south of downtown Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1749, during the City of Alexandria’s long history it was a tobacco trading post, one of the ten busiest ports in America, a part of the District of Columbia, home to both the largest slave-trading firm in the country and a large free-black community, a Civil War supply center for Union troops, and a street-car suburb for Federal workers. It was also the site of one of the earliest civil right sit-in and the hometown of George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Jim Morrison and Mama Cass.
Where We Currently Are
Restore Alexandria currently supports community development efforts in these neighborhoods.
Arlandria – Chirilagua is a neighborhood located in the north-eastern portion of Alexandria. Its name is a portmanteau of the words “Arlington” and “Alexandria,” reflecting its location on the border of Arlington County and Alexandria. The neighborhood’s borders form a rough triangle bounded by Four Mile Run in the north, West Glebe Road to the south and south-west, and Route 1 to the east. Centered around Mount Vernon Avenue between Four Mile Run and West Glebe Road, it is home to many Hispanic, Thai, and Vietnamese-owned bakeries, restaurants, salons, and bookstores. An influx of Salvadorean immigrants into the neighborhood in the 1980s has earned it the nickname “Chirilagua,” after the city on the Pacific coast of El Salvador. Arlandria is also home to the Birchmere concert hall, the Alexandria Aces of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League, and St. Rita Roman Catholic Church, dedicated in 1949 and constructed in Gothic style from Virginia fieldstone and Indiana limestone. Alternative rock band the Foo Fighters has a track titled “Arlandria” on their 2011 release Wasting Light; front man (and ex-Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl lived in Alexandria during his childhood. The area is also referenced in the song “Headwires” from the band’s 1999 release, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.
The West End includes areas annexed from Fairfax County in the 1950s. It is the most typically suburban part of Alexandria, with a street hierarchy of winding roads and cul-de-sacs. The section of Duke Street in the West End is known for a high-density residential area known to locals as “Landmark” due to its close proximity to nearby Landmark Mall, and for its concentration of strip and enclosed shopping malls. Parts of Alexandria’s West End have received an influx of immigrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Pakistan, who have settled in the areas surrounding Seminary Road west of I-395.
Interested in launching a community strengthening project in your community?
There are many books, organizations, and people that have inspired and taught us. We are indebted to their courageous and faithful example. This short list of books reflects some of those that we are most thankful for and will give you insight into who we are and what we do. You can find a list of organizations on our partners page.