Nonprofit helps with school supplies

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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.

That realization, combined with 23 years of experience as an elementary school teacher, motivated Ungerer to start Kids R First, a nonprofit group that provides basic school supplies to families in need. The organization has been growing ever since. This year, Ungerer anticipates that Kids R First will help 25,000 students in 96 schools across Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

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Washington Post, July 29, 2015

Fighting childhood obesity

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Children will be able to learn more about where their food comes from — and how eating locally grown food contributes to a healthy lifestyle — through a program that is coming to the Mosaic Central Farm Market in Merrifield on Sunday.

The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s Market Explorers program is part of a larger effort to combat childhood obesity.

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Washington Post, July 15, 2015

Walk for Teen Suicide Awareness

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Hundreds of walkers took part in a six-mile trek along Spriggs Road in the mid-county area last weekend to raise awareness about teen suicide.

Prince William County school officials estimated that more than 400 people participated in the walk, a round trip between Forest Park and Hylton high schools. Although most of the walkers were high school students, participants included young children, adults — some pushing strollers — and even a few dogs.

Students in Advanced Placement government classes at Forest Park organized the event as their final project, which their teacher, Shannon Geraghty, allowed them to do in place of a final exam.

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Washington Post, May 31, 2015

Seeds of hope for students with autism

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It’s called going over the cliff. When students with autism leave the public school system — and the network of support and therapy it provides — they often graduate to the couch. They struggle to find meaningful employment and to live independently, even though the majority have average to above-average intelligence.

Some special education teachers and parents in Loudoun County have been trying to change that. They created Legacy Farms, a nonprofit organization that introduces young adults with autism to farming. The goal is to help ease the transition from public school to the community.

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Washington Post, May 3, 2015

Loudoun math tournament

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Suppose that two middle schools and an elementary school hosted 600 students who were competing in a math tournament on five-member teams. One middle school hosted 12 fewer teams than did the other two schools. How many students competed at the elementary school?

That problem would be a breeze for many of the students who took part in the second annual Loudoun County Regional Math Tournament on March 7.

Washington Post, March 15, 2015