Women collect water for Flint


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

Help for people after first psychotic episode

Prince William and Loudoun counties are among eight localities in Virginia that have begun offering care to young adults who have recently experienced their first psychotic episode.

The programs — GetOnTrack in Prince William and LINC (Linking Individuals & Navigating Care) in Loudoun — aim to help clients recover by providing treatment and support services soon after their first psychotic break. The programs also help families cope with a life-changing experience that one mother described as “overwhelming.”

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Washington Post, February 7, 2016

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

Manassas-area children’s choirs

Becky Verner conducts children in grades 5 through 8 in a new Manassas-area singing group for children.

About 70 Manassas-area children are joining their voices in song as members of a new choral group that began rehearsing last month.

The Greater Manassas Children’s Choir, an offshoot of the Manassas Chorale, is divided by age into two singing groups, each with a director. Becky Verner leads about 50 children in grades 5 through 8, and Susan Dommer is head of a smaller group of children in grades 2 through 4.

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Washington Post, October 11, 2015

Fighting childhood obesity


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