Teen’s nonprofit tutors hundreds of kids

Arvind Chava (left) tutors Katherine Fonseca, 10

Arvind Chava believes that a good education is the pathway to a better life. And the 17-year-old high school senior is doing something about it — not only for himself, but also for hundreds of children in southeastern Fairfax County.

Two years ago, he started STEMWISE, a nonprofit organization that provides after-school tutoring and online classes to about 400 children, many of whom are from low-income families. Through the program, Arvind and about 50 of his classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology help children with math and science at 10 community centers.

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Washington Post, December 9, 2015

Blankets and coats for refugees in Turkey


Northern Virginia officials are uniting again this year in an effort to help the growing numbers of those who have fled war-torn Syria and taken refuge in Turkey.

For the past two years, local officials and volunteers have organized drives that collected more than 43,000 blankets for delivery to refugees in Turkey. This year, as the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has swelled to more than 2 million, the drive is being expanded to include new and “gently used” winter coats, as well as blankets and cash donations.

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Washington Post, November 22, 2015

Nonprofit helps with school supplies


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