Mixed-arts celebration in Sterling

“Springtime in Winter” opening in Reston

Local painters, poets and musicians will celebrate the transition from winter to spring in a presentation of original works Saturday on the Sterling campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

The event is the culmination of a months-long collaborative process, in which eight pairs of poets and artists created poems and paintings around the theme “Springtime in Winter.”

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The Washington Post, March 19, 2017

LINK keeps fighting hunger

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LINK’s mobile food pantry in Sterling

Jim Butts says he has witnessed countless changes in the 44 years he has been volunteering for LINK, a nonprofit organization that delivers emergency food to families in Sterling, Herndon and Ashburn. One thing has not changed, however: Despite the prosperity that has come to the region, there are always people who don’t know where they will find their next meal.

Butts and other longtime volunteers have helped keep the faith-based group running for decades without any paid staff members. Hundreds of other volunteers — including businesses, church youth groups, Scouts and intellectually disabled students — join them every month to help combat hunger in Northern Virginia.

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Washington Post, May 15, 2016

Reentry groups invest in ex-inmates

Marsha Martin will never forget the day she was released from a military correctional facility in 2011, after serving a 15-month sentence for theft. One thought kept running through her mind: “How do I start my life over?”

“It took me about six months to break down my pride and go to the system and say, ‘I need help,’ ” Martin, 41, said. The Alexandria resident went to OAR (Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources) of Fairfax County, one of a handful of nonprofit organizations in Northern Virginia that help offenders reenter society. She received assistance with her résumé there, and she eventually landed a job in veterans services.

Despite two promotions in her first year, she was forced to resign, she said, because her felony record kept her from obtaining accreditation through an affiliate organization. She eventually returned to OAR to seek further help.

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Washington Post, March 3, 2016

Fairfax schools join green alliance

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Rory Witter, a first grader at Daniels Run Elementary, places a birdseed cake in a tree.

Fairfax County Public Schools — already recognized nationally for its commitment to environmental education — has united with some of the largest school districts in the country to support environmental sustainability.

Joining the Green Schools Alliance District Collaborative with New York City, Chicago and other large school districts will help Fairfax obtain favorable prices for materials that advance conservation and environmental sustainability, school officials said. The group will also share ideas, attempt to influence policy and promote environmental education.

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Washington Post, February 17, 2016

Women collect water for Flint

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When Sumayya Sulaiman learned about the water crisis in Flint, Mich., her thoughts turned to the babies who had been drinking formula mixed with lead-tainted water.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic levels of lead in Flint’s water supply. And Sulaiman, 20, a Herndon resident, wanted to do something to help.

She decided that collecting donations of bottled water to deliver to Flint would be an ideal project for the Northern Virginia chapter of Women Empowering Women — Diamonds in the Rough, which she recently started with her longtime friend, Juli Diaz-Perez. Late last month, the group set up a table outside the Giant supermarket on Dranesville Road in Sterling to collect donations of water and other supplies.

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Washington Post, February 10, 2016

Fairfax recycling household waste

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Daniel Brooks

Daniel Brooks’s knack for finding avenues to recycle and reuse household waste materials is paying dividends for Fairfax County.

Brooks, who manages the county’s household hazardous waste program, has tracked down businesses that accept materials such as latex paint, used cooking oil and mercury thermostats. This generates revenue for the county and keeps the materials from reentering the environment, he said.

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Washington Post, January 27, 2016

Turning Point for young adults in crisis

Two Fairfax County organizations have united on a program that provides immediate help to young adults who have recently experienced their first psychotic episode.

The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and PRS, a nonprofit mental health service provider, launched Turning Point last year to help stabilize young people 16 to 25 who have recently had a psychotic break, officials said. The outpatient program aims to improve clients’ chances of long-term recovery by helping them during the onset of their illness.

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Washington Post, January 13, 2016

Lorton prison site redevelopment

Redevelopment of the final piece of the 2,300-acre property in Lorton that formerly housed prisons for the D.C. Department of Corrections has begun.

Officials broke ground last month on Liberty Crest at Laurel Hill, a project that will transform the 80-acre historic core of the correctional facility into a neighborhood of single-family homes, townhouses, apartments and businesses. Local leaders hope the project will give an economic boost to a part of Fairfax County once known mostly for the presence of the prisons.

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Washington Post, January 6, 2016

Volunteers make repairs to Clifton woman’s home

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Dixie Dawson ascends her new wheelchair ramp, assisted by Beth Walters of Sun Design. 

Christmas arrived almost two weeks early for Dixie Dawson.

A group of about 50 volunteers — most of whom are employees of Sun Design, a Burke-based home-remodeling company — spent Saturday repairing Dawson’s home and constructing a new deck and wheelchair ramp for her.

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Washington Post, December 17, 2015

Teen’s nonprofit tutors hundreds of kids

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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