Science Center finds home in Loudoun

8-year-old Ananya demonstrates her invention, a “rolling aquarium,” which she created in the Children’s Science Center’s Garage.

When visitors enter the Children’s Science Center, they are greeted by two distinct sides of the small museum.

To the left is the Experiment Bar, where children conduct science experiments, assisted by family members, staff members and volunteers. To the right, mounted on the wall, is an enormous periodic table of elements showing the names of the museum’s major benefactors.

The Experiment Bar is one of the most popular features of the center, which offers interactive scientific activities for children and their families. The element wall honors the donors who helped open the center, marketing director Dorothy Ready said.

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The Washington Post, July 9, 2017

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

Loudoun woman’s memoir tells how a violent crime shook her faith in God

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.

Last year, Everhart, 59, of Sterling, published her memoir, “Ruined,” in which she recounts the crime in detail and traces the twists and turns her life took in the months and years that followed. She tells how that journey took her through dark places — a breakup with her boyfriend, an affair with a married man, and conflicts with friends and family.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 12, 2017

Day of Thanks celebrates diversity

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Members of Loudoun’s Sikh community served a vegetarian dinner at the Day of Thanks.

About 250 Loudoun County residents from an array of local religious groups — Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Unitarian Universalist — came together Nov. 20 for an evening of food, fellowship, prayer and entertainment. Organized by Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES, the eighth annual Day of Thanks was held at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Ashburn.

“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.

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Washington Post, Nov. 27, 2016

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The Day of Thanks celebration ended with a candle-lighting ceremony.

Sterling school holds mock election

Hundreds of voters showed up at Potowmack Elementary School on Oct. 28, stated their address, logged on to an election website and cast their vote for president of the United States.

Although their votes won’t decide who will be the next president — it being a mock election — students at the Sterling school got a taste of how America’s brand of democracy works.

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Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2016

Library celebrates local authors

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Karen Schaufeld (center) reads from her book “Larry and Bob” to a group of children.

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.

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Washington Post, June 26, 2016

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

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

Parent liaisons go above and beyond

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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