When Ruth Everhart was a senior at a small Christian college, she and four of her roommates were held captive and brutally raped at gunpoint by two masked intruders.
Although she survived the ordeal, she was filled with shame and worried that she had been “ruined” — in the eyes of God, her family and the man she might one day marry. Her devastating experience shook her faith in God, and eventually led her to break with the conservative Protestant denomination in which she had been raised.
“Thanks” was the theme, but the event was also a celebration of Loudoun’s cultural diversity. Many of the organizers and guests emphasized the importance of people from different faith groups coming together to gain understanding and build relationships.
When Sandra Kovacs Stein noticed that ravens were building a nest on the Purcellville water tower near her home, she began taking pictures of them.
Karen Schaufeld would watch eagles carry fish and other small creatures back to their nest on her property near Leesburg.
Cheryl Somers Aubin was moved by a newspaper story about a Callery pear tree that somehow survived the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and was buried under the rubble of New York’s twin towers.
During a celebration of local authors and food sources at the Cascades Library in Potomac Falls on June 18, the three women told of how the majesty and mystery of nature inspired them to write their books for children. They were among more than two dozen writers who participated in the first “Eat Local, Read Local” event, which helped kick off the library system’s summer reading program.
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.
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.
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.
INMED launched the program, which provides tutors and mentors to help children with homework, at its Family and Youth Opportunity Center on Ridgetop Circle this month. The center serves children ages 6 to 12 who live in Sterling-area neighborhoods with a high percentage of low-income families, said Maria Vasquez, executive director of the Opportunity Center. Many of the children’s parents do not speak English, she said.