Parent liaisons go above and beyond

From left: Duke Butkovich, Corey Burns and Taryn Simms

Corey Burns doesn’t know where he would be today if it hadn’t been for Duke Butkovich and Taryn Simms.

As parent liaisons at Seneca Ridge Middle School and Dominion High School in Sterling, Butkovich and Simms are resources for parents trying to guide their children through the school system. But their reach extends far beyond that basic job description. They also provide academic and moral support — and even necessities such as food and clothing — to many students.

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Washington Post, December 20, 2015

Interfaith hosts provide a rare night out

Jennifer Romps of Beth Chaverim serves dinner to the Gad family.

Members of Ashburn-based Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith communities united last Sunday evening to serve a free restaurant-style meal to people who seldom have the opportunity to dine out.

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.

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Washington Post, December 13, 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