Articles Tagged with: Sara Ridenour

Spark Mentorship Match Day

On February 27th, Ballinger volunteers will be paired with 7th grade students participating in Spark in Philadelphia, a non-profit program dedicated to helping middle schoolers achieve successful futures. Through one-on-one mentorships that include 9 weekly sessions at Ballinger, students will develop a project related to their career aspirations. By introducing students to our workplace environment and supporting them in completing a deadline-driven project, Ballinger volunteers are helping equip students with the skills for future success.

The mentorship culminates in Share Your Spark, an event where students and mentors present their projects – anything from working electrical circuits to marketing plans – to their colleagues, friends, families and the community.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, providing individual mentorships for over 25 students as well as hosting Spark Lab workshops for 20+ students each fall and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger designer Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program. In 2019 the Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Ballinger’s partnership with Spark in their annual Faces of Philanthropy round-up.

Celebrating National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month and we’re proud to continue our relationship with Spark in Philadelphia, a non-profit dedicated to helping middle school students achieve successful futures. Spark views the transition from young teens to young adults as an important time to show students what’s possible, especially since middle school is a time in which students risk academic disengagement. Spark in Philadelphia has created over 800 transformative mentorships since launching in 2013. The organization currently partners with 6 schools in Philadelphia and 18 corporate partners, including Ballinger.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, providing individual mentorships for over 25 students as well as hosting Spark Lab workshops for 20+ students each fall and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger designer Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program. In 2019 the Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Ballinger’s partnership with Spark in their annual Faces of Philanthropy round-up.

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, leads the mentorship efforts, in addition to organizing short and long term service projects.

Trauma-Informed Design Solutions for Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services

Serving over twenty thousand Philadelphia residents each year, Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) is a robust resource to the community. Ballinger was selected to develop conceptual design guidelines to create a more empathetic, trauma-informed OHS intake experience. Intake centers are the first point of contact for families and individuals seeking assistance. From there they can access a variety of  homelessness prevention, diversion, and intake services based on their immediate needs.

The primary goals of the project are to foster a trauma-informed service experience and to promote consistency and efficiency in future renovations of OHS facilities.  Ballinger’s design process included participating in user-group meetings and analyzing data from the Philadelphia Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation (ODDT), activities that align with the City’s “person-centered service framework.”

In collaboration with OHS, the Ballinger team developed guidelines for creating a cohesive environment for the City’s homeless prevention, diversion, and intake services, designed to improve visitor wellbeing, encourage engagement with the OHS system, and prevent re-traumatization. The design effort focused on the Appletree Family Center in downtown Philadelphia, which will serve as a prototype for future intake center renovations.

Built on the tenets of transparency, collaboration and empowerment, the conceptual design guidelines promote a safe and calming environment that also addresses wellness and respite for staff. A palette inspired by the hospitality industry features durable materials, natural textures and muted colors. Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour, AIA, LEED AP emphasized the impact of the physical environment on our behaviors, “As architects and designers, we recognize that the spaces we occupy influence our attitude and mood. By prioritizing openness, clear wayfinding, and transparency, the design reduces stress and helps participants prepare for each step of the intake process.”

The project was initiated by the PHL Participatory Design Lab, a multidisciplinary and cross-agency team of service designers, policy-makers, and a social scientist. The Lab uses participatory design and evidence-based methods, like service design and social science, to improve City service delivery for and with residents, service partners, City staff, and leadership. The Lab was funded by a Knight Cities Challenge (KCC) award from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and is administered by The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia.

Read more about how Philadelphia is creating trauma-informed service experiences 

Mentoring Matters

Since 2014 Ballinger has mentored local middle school students in partnership with Spark, a national organization dedicated to helping young people understand, experience, and pursue what’s possible for their futures.

Each April, Spark holds a fundraising campaign dubbed “Mentoring Matters.” The goal is for mentors to spread the word about why mentoring matters and why all young people deserve access to the people and places that inspire a successful future.

This year Ballinger volunteer mentors designed creative fundraisers that not only support Spark, but also promote creativity and spur new connections throughout the practice. Staff members and Spark students were invited to submit 5in x 5in “napkin sketches” for a mini-exhibition and silent auction in the studio. Staff gathered for a lunchtime “Chili Showdown” where chefs battled for the first annual Ballinger Chili Showdown trophy, with proceeds going to Spark.

As a practice, we’re proud to provide opportunities for staff members to lend their skills to enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Ballinger’s Partnership with Spark Recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal

In recognition of our sustained investment in the work of Spark Philadelphia, Ballinger was selected as one of Philadelphia’s Faces of Philanthropy by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour, AIA, LEED BD+C and Spark Executive Director Deirdre Hake will accept the award at an event on April 11 at the Crystal Tea Room.

Spark is a national non-profit dedicated to helping middle school students achieve successful futures. Spark views the transition from young teens to young adults as an important time to show students what’s possible, especially since middle school is the time in which students risk academic disengagement. Spark Philadelphia has created over 400 transformative mentorships since launching in 2013 as Spark’s first east coast site. Spark Philadelphia currently partners with 4 underserved schools in Philadelphia and 18 company partners, including Ballinger.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, mentoring over 25 students and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger’s Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program.

The Faces of Philanthropy award is an endorsement of B::Engaged, Ballinger’s employee-run community service initiative founded in 2015. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective. The group brings together various volunteer efforts throughout the office, and provides a home for staff members interested in enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Celebrating Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” To close out the month, we asked Ballinger staff members to share advice and their perspectives as women in architecture, engineering and interior design. We’ll be sharing more thoughts from the remarkable women of Ballinger throughout the year.

B::Engaged Build Day with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

Last weekend, 20 Ballinger volunteers took part in a build day with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, an organization whose mission is to transform the city and the lives of its people by building and repairing homes for families in need.

Ballinger Principal, Eric Swanson, celebrated a successful day saying, “It was an honor to work with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and be a part of their long history of good work for affordable housing.  I was proud to see the energy and enthusiasm that the Ballinger team brought to this day.”

The event was organized by Ballinger’s B::Engaged community engagement group. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to volunteer their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of Philadelphia.

Jake Shoemaker, Ballinger architect and B::Engaged volunteer said, “Working with Habitat for Humanity was a rewarding event that allowed us to give back directly to the Philadelphia community. This was a very positive experience, and the hard work turned out to be a great team building activity for my Ballinger colleagues. I’m hopeful that this will lead to more community outreach in the future, building upon everything that B::Engaged has already done.”

 

Ballinger to Receive Community Design Collaborative Leverage Award

The Community Design Collaborative will honor Ballinger with its 2017 Leverage Award on April 4th at Pennovation Center.

Beth Miller, executive director for the Collaborative, says, “We’re recognizing Ballinger for their enduring partnership with us and the great work they’re doing in Philadelphia. They’ve volunteered through us to help local nonprofits… and encouraged their staff to do everything from digging flower beds on Love Your Park Day to giving high school students hands-on experience with design.”

The Leverage Award recognizes local leaders for their commitment to strengthening neighborhoods through design. As the name suggests, it celebrates the leveraging of sought-after skills of architects and other design professionals to help Philadelphia nonprofits launch life-changing projects in their communities.

The Collaborative has matched Ballinger employees with six nonprofit-led community development ventures. They have already donated over 500 hours of pro bono architectural and engineering assistance that would have otherwise cost $45,000—with more projects in the works. The Collaborative/Ballinger partnership has been significant enough to gain recognition in the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Faces of Philanthropy, which honors strong for-profit/nonprofit partnerships throughout the region.

For example, Ballinger recently worked alongside residents to re-imagine several SEPTA viaduct underpasses as colorful, bright, art-filled spaces that reconnect residents in North Central Philadelphia. Using photos and sketches, they polled over 300 residents about their favorite ideas for the massive viaducts. The imagery behind their designs—porches, beacons, and streams—were drawn from conversations with the North Central community.

“The Collaborative creates a hub where neighborhoods and the design community can work together. It provides a connection to Philadelphia, to see what my community looks like, how people live, and how I participate in that. It’s a great opportunity,” says Ballinger Architectural Designer Bonnie Netel.

Ballinger Principal Terry Steelman will accept the Leverage Award on behalf of the firm at Leverage 2017. The event will be held at the LEED Gold Pennovation Center, for which Ballinger provided MEP and structural engineering. Leverage 2017 will bring over 300 supporters of community design to Pennovation Center, a blend of offices, labs, and production space housed in a former paint manufacturing plant. Like the Collaborative, Pennovation Center is preserving Philadelphia’s authentic, sometimes rough-around-the-edges buildings and spaces and giving them new roles that create jobs and strengthen communities.

B::Engaged Mentorship Programs

Ballinger’s community engagement group, B::Engaged, is kicking off another year of mentorship programs. Thank you to the Ballinger volunteers who have contributed their time and to our community partner, Spark Philadelphia.

Spark, a national nonprofit, offers a unique program that re-engages middle school students in their education through hands-on apprenticeships and a Leadership Curriculum.

Ballinger also participates in Drexel University’s Co-op Program, in which sophomore and junior students from the College of Engineering work side-by-side with Ballinger engineers.

Learn more about Ballinger’s commitment to engaging and contributing to our community through mentorship here.

Topping Out Ceremony for NewYork-Presbyterian’s Ambulatory Care Center

On February 21, 2016, NewYork-Presbyterian held a beam signing ceremony to mark the installation of the final beam in the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Ambulatory Care Center. Expected to open in 2018, the state-of-the-art facility marks the first hospital and inpatient facility to be constructed across York Avenue. Existing residential and medical office spaces were decanted from the site in order to provide a sizable 42,000 SF footprint for a new building. Rising 18 stories, and comprising 724,000 SF, Ballinger was the healthcare planner for the building and Medical Architect for the healthcare floors located on floors 4-18.

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Members of Ballinger’s team Louis Meilink, Eric Swanson, Erin Cooper and Don Semler attended the ceremony, including the signing of the final beam.

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Ballinger Celebrates National Mentoring Month

This January marks the 15th annual National Mentoring Month, and Ballinger is continuing its support of mentorship programs including Spark and Philadelphia’s Charter High School of Architecture and Design (CHAD).

Spark, a national nonprofit, was conceived to re-engage middle school students in their education through workplace-based apprenticeships. Underserved 7th and 8th graders interested in architecture are invited to Ballinger to work with professional architects, designers and engineers. Spark’s parallel in-school curriculum reinforces the link between classrooms and careers while helping students build skills necessary for success in high school and beyond.

Ballinger also partners with CHAD, which was founded in 1999 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA and is the first charter high school for architecture and design in the US. The school’s innovative program integrates the design process with a strong liberal arts education.

This month Ballinger recognizes the employees who dedicate their time to mentorship programs, including:

Gurveer Bhuta
Ryan Debski
Charlotte DiGiorgio
Kamille Ditcher
Rayma Garcia
Jeff Harper
Helen Joo
Cory Klawunn
David Lee
Stacey Lindbloom
Kate Lyons
Franc Luu
Margaret Nersten
Emily Perotta
Anthony Prousi
Sara Ridenour
Katie Seftas
Jake Shoemaker
Terry Steelman
Lindsey Walker

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, leads the mentorship efforts, in addition to organizing short and long term service projects.

Ballinger Launches B::Engaged, An Employee-Run Community Service Initiative

B::Engaged is a community engagement group at Ballinger that connects with and impacts the Philadelphia community through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective.

Ballinger makes an annual monetary contribution to the Community Design Collaborative, a Philadelphia organization that strengthens neighborhoods by pairing design professionals with non-profits to revitalize communities. Currently 12 Ballinger volunteers are working with community non-profits through the Community Design Collaborative. B::Engaged is also participating in Spark, an apprenticeship program, and a mentorship program for students at Philadelphia’s Charter High School of Architecture and Design.

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Recent short-term service projects include Cradle to Crayons, Philabundance and Love Your Park. By bringing together various volunteer efforts throughout the office, B::Engaged offers both accountability and flexibility for staff members interested in enriching the built and social fabric of the community.

UMMC Shock Trauma Achieves LEED Gold

The Shock Trauma Critical Tower at the University of Maryland Medical Center was awarded LEED Gold by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Ballinger provided planning, architecture, engineering and interior design services for this expansion of the University of Maryland Medical Center. The project increases capacity for the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, and the adjacent emergency and general surgery departments.

The design incorporates sustainable building materials, a high performance envelope and energy efficient building systems that benefit not just this building but the campus as a whole.  Specific strategies include:

  • 100% storm water reclaimed for use in chillers and landscape irrigation
  • Wind turbines for local sourced green power
  • Building materials with 30% recycled content