Home Buyer Program Starts

The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has launched its American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI), a program created by Congress to help low-income individuals and families become first-time homeowners. The program provides interest-free loans, with payments deferred for as long as the buyer occupies the home. A loan must be paid in full if the owner changes residence or sells or transfers the property.

The maximum amount of ADDI support available to applicants is $10,000. That money can be combined with money from the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP), which also provides interest-free and low-interest loans for low-income, first-time D.C. home buyers.

Applicants must be first-time buyers with acceptable credit records and must legally reside in the District. The maximum household incomes to qualify for ADDI support are $40,600 for one person, $46,400 for a family of two, $52,200 for a family of three, $58,000 for a family of four, $62,650 for a family of five, $67,300 for a family of six, $71,900 for a family of seven and $76,550 for a family of eight. For more information, go to http://dhcd.dc.gov.

Volunteer Teachers Needed

The D.C. Public Library is seeking volunteer computer instructors for its free computer class program. The instructors must have basic or intermediate skills in Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint, or in computer skills development, Web searching, HTML or Web-based e-mail, and must attend a two-hour orientation session. To apply or for more information, contact Desire P. Grogan at 202-727-1471 or desire.grogan@dc.gov.

Classes will be taught at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library and scheduled during the library's hours of operation year-round. Classes will last two to three hours and have 10 students. Instructors may teach as seldom as twice a month for the six months.

Students' Oratory Contest

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is hosting its annual student oratorical contest with the theme "Frederick Douglass: Thoughts for All Time: America's Great Orator" from Dec. 5 through Dec. 9 at 10:30 a.m. each day at the visitor center, 1411 W St. SE. Students will deliver an excerpt of a speech written by Douglass, the African American abolitionist and orator. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

The competition is open to all students nationwide. Schools will be limited to three contestants and one alternate. Students will deliver their speeches in competition with other students at their study level. Winners in each category will be awarded a U.S. Savings Bond, a plaque and a certificate. For more information, call 202-426-5961.

Black Midwives Exhibit

The Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture, 1901 Fort Pl. SE, is presenting the exhibit "Reclaiming Midwives: Pillars of Community Support" on view until April 2, 2006. The 150-piece exhibit tells the story of African American midwives, beginning with 17th-century slave practitioners who used African childbirthing methods and ending with a modern-day nurse-midwife who uses some of the same practices. Admission is free; museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Dec. 25. For more information, call 202-633-4820 or visit www.anacostia.si.edu. To arrange for museum tours, call 202-633-4844.

Running concurrently in the museum gallery is an excerpt of George Stoney's 1953 award-winning documentary "All My Babies: A Midwife's Own Story." Commissioned by the Georgia State Health Department as a training film, it focuses on African American midwife Mary Francis Hill Coley (1900-1960), who practiced for more than 30 years in rural Georgia.

-- Compiled by

TERENCE MCARDLE