The event was the most recent in a series of Community Table dinners organized to provide a fine dining experience for low-income individuals and families. Members of two or more faith communities have joined to host most of the dinners, giving them the opportunity to build interfaith friendships while serving people in need, organizers said.
INMED launched the program, which provides tutors and mentors to help children with homework, at its Family and Youth Opportunity Center on Ridgetop Circle this month. The center serves children ages 6 to 12 who live in Sterling-area neighborhoods with a high percentage of low-income families, said Maria Vasquez, executive director of the Opportunity Center. Many of the children’s parents do not speak English, she said.
Two decades ago, Susan Ungerer was volunteering at a Fairfax County nonprofit group that helps financially strapped families when she noticed a pattern: Parents tended to fall behind with their finances in August and September, just when they had to buy school supplies for their children.
The two busloads of seventh- and eighth-graders from Sterling who arrived at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Bethesda were on a mission. They had come to test the underwater robots they built and to see which teams could maneuver their robots most effectively in a simulated oil-spill scenario.
After years of instability, abandonment, abuse and homelessness, Kieu-thu Kim Tran’s life hit bottom during her junior year at Dominion High School in Sterling. Living with the latest in a series of unstable relatives had become unbearable, she said, so she took her belongings and walked out, not knowing where she would go.