Belong! — a new nonprofit dedicated to helping Vienna’s underserved populations — officially launched yesterday (Wednesday).
The ribbon-cutting for the group was held in the Vienna Presbyterian Church (124 Park Street NE), which was part of the founding of the organization but a press release noted that Belong! will operate as a separate entity.
The organization is dedicated to promoting “spiritual, physical, and economic well-being, efforts will initially be focused on the Vienna Park/Cunningham Park neighborhoods,” according to the press release for the opening.
The group was founded out of discussions among Vienna residents in late 2017. The press release noted that one of the first aims of the project will be securing new partnerships with Cunningham Park Elementary School and other local churches and nonprofits.
“We are excited to welcome Belong! to Vienna and applaud its vision of empowering our residents” Mayor Laurie DiRocco said in the press release. “Their plans for local outreach mirror our town’s core values, and we’re grateful for their partnership.”
Photo courtesy Jeff Cruz/Belong!
The event helps to refill the stocks of a diverse range of local charities with canned goods and other non-perishable supplies.
Saturday (June 1)
- Falls Church Giant — 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at 1230 W. Broad Street, Falls Church — The drive will benefit the Falls Church Community Service Council, a coalition of churches and human service organizations in Falls Church assisting low-income individuals and families in short-term or emergency needs.
Saturday (June 15)
- McLean Giant — 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at 1454 Chain Bridge Road, McLean — The drive will benefit Share, Inc., a nonprofit in McLean that provides financial assistance, distribution of food, used clothing, recycled furniture and transportation services for seniors. The organization is all volunteer run.
Saturday (June 22)
- Vienna Giant — 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at 359 Maple Avenue East, Vienna — The drive will benefit Committee for Helping Others, an all-volunteer organization that provides clothing, furniture, meals on wheels, transportation and emergency food aid or financial assistance.
Saturday (June 29)
- Safeway at Pan Am — 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 3043 Nutley Street, Fairfax — The drive will benefit Food for Others, a regional emergency food distribution service.
Photo via Fairfax County
A dream trip came true for a young girl from Falls Church because of the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Mid-Atlantic chapter.
Three-year-old Kathryn had a bone marrow transplant last year and wished to go to the Walt Disney World Resort. Earlier this year, she headed to Orlando to meet in person some of her favorite characters from the Disney Junior network.
“Her favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and she likes to repeat lines, sing along and dance while she watches the characters on TV,” Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic wrote to Tysons Reporter. “She was thrilled to meet Mickey Mouse three separate times on her trip, and she had a blast going on rides at the parks.”
Kathryn and her family stayed at the Give Kids The World Village, a resort for kids with critical illnesses and their families. While there, Kathryn celebrated her favorite holiday during the resort’s weekly Halloween night on Mondays in the middle of January. She also visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and practiced doing “magic” with her new wand at Universal Orlando.
“The wish transformed Kathryn’s life by giving her the opportunity to leave behind the stress of dealing with a critical illness and just enjoy being a kid,” according to Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic.
Photo courtesy Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic
If you were thinking of getting your head shaved, doing so tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Boro will net $5,000 to be donated to the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Granite Telecommunications, a communications provider based in Boston with an office in Tysons, will set up a shaving booth for the company’s Shave to Save campaign. The fundraiser will be held in the Boro’s tenant lounge on the first floor of 8255 Greensboro Drive.
The fundraiser will run from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
“Granite will donate $5,000 for every head shaved,” according to a flyer for the event. “Hair grows back! Make a difference in someone’s life on April 3! No experience necessary!”
This isn’t the first time the company has hosted this kind of fundraiser. The “Saving by Shaving” event dates back to 2014 after Granite CEO Rob Hale jokingly dared a colleague to shave their beard.
Photo via Twitter
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday (Feb. 19)
- Best Trails for Mushrooms — 7-8 p.m. at REI (8209 Watson Street) — After being delayed by foul weather, the lecture on regional mushrooms is back on for tonight. The class will cover where the best local trails are for mushroom hunting and some of the gems that can be found there. The event is free but advanced registration is required.
Wednesday (Feb. 20)
- Aaron Carter at Jammin Java — 7:30 p.m. at Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Ave E) — Aaron Carter, a pop-sensation from the 90s and early 2000s, will be performing with indie rock band Rookie of the Year tomorrow. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $30 for premier tickets at a raised seating area.
Thursday (Feb. 21)
- Metro Area Alumni Happy House — 5-7 p.m. at Blackfinn Ameripub (2750 Gallows Road) — Alumni from George Mason University are invited to mix and mingle later this week. Registration for the event is $10, which includes two happy hour drink tickets and appetizers.
- Last Weekend for The Brothers Size — 7:30 p.m. at 1st Stage Theatre (1524 Spring Hill Road) — This is the last weekend to see The Brothers Size, a play at the 1st Stage Theatre about a family struggling to reconcile after a brother comes home after being released from prison. The play is directed by José Carrasquillo, the director of artistic programming at Ford’s Theatre in D.C. General admission tickets are $39, or $36 for seniors over 65. Students and military tickets are $15.
Saturday (Feb. 23)
- Blessings Bags Packing Event — 10 a.m. at McLean Bible Church (8925 Leesburg Pike) — The McLean Bible Church will be putting together care packages for local homeless people. The packages include small fleece blankets and other supplies. All ages and abilities are invited to the event to help put the care packages together.
- Team Audrey Blood Drive — 12-4:30 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) — The Inova Bloodmobile will be parked in Vienna this weekend. The event is sponsored by Team Audrey, a non-profit based in Vienna to combat HLH. Appointment times are available online throughout the afternoon.
- Okee Dokee Brothers Live in McLean — 1, 4 and 6:30 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Grammy-winning folk and roots band Okee Dokee Brothers are hosting a concert for local children and families to encourage creativity. The event is part of a slate of performances for the newly renovated McLean Community Center. Tickets are $20 or $15 for McLean residents.
Sunday (Feb. 24)
- Oscars Viewing Party at Tysons Biergarten — 8 p.m.-2 a.m. at Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — The Biergarten will be hosting a viewing party for the 2019 Oscars, from the opening monologue to the best-picture winner. The event is planned to include 26 tv’s and two projectors so any seat in the house will give a good view of the show.
Photo via Facebook
(Updated 3:15 p.m.) Fairfax is the second richest county in the nation — yet at Second Story, just south of Tysons at 2100 Gallows Rd, there’s a desperate need for bed space for homeless teens.
Second Story CEO Judith Dittman says the organization provides a temporary shelter for teenagers in a crisis, but there is a waitlist of 35 people still waiting for a space to open up.
The waitlist averages 50 people for the homeless youth and young mothers programs. Dittman said those on waitlists are forced to either stay on couches or in the street, where they could become caught up in human trafficking.
“Too many times, people look at me and say ‘that doesn’t happen in Fairfax,'” Dittman said.
But, in 2017, Fairfax County Public Schools reported that 1,200 young people in the county had no support from a parent or legal guardian. A report by Fairfax County’s Department of Health and Human Services found that 18,857 children, or 7 percent of all local children, were in poverty.
The shelter takes in young people who have run away from home, or have no home to go back to, and offers a three-week refuge. The program functions as a shelter for people between ages 13-17, offering counseling, meals, and guidance.
Lauren Witherspoon, the development coordinator for Second Story, said the goal is family reunification and about 95 percent of the teens are reunited with their family at the end of the program. After they return to their family, there are periodic check-ins to see how the child is handling the situation.
From its founding in 1972 through just two years ago, Second Story was known as “Alternative House.” Dittman said that as the organization started branching out, leaders found the original name was no longer reflective of the scope of the work done there.
“Your first story is the one written for you in your early years,” said Dittman, “but in your teen years, you start to write your own story. As a teen you make mistakes. Most young people have a support network to help them through, but many don’t.”
Witherspoon said the organization targets children as early as fourth grade. That may sound young, but Witherspoon said they are competing with gangs that typically recruit at around eight or nine years old or human traffickers, who can grab children as young as 11 or 12.
Another program takes homeless teens and focuses on making them self-sufficient over an 18-month period. Counselors at the program help teach participants skills from how to load a dishwasher to how to manage finances.
The charity was recently the subject of fundraising and toy donation drives at the Tysons Biergarten and the Tysons Partnership. Roughly one-third of the organization’s funding, or $1,209,510, comes from community support. Another third comes from federal, state and local grants, but Witherspoon said the organization has been struggling as costs continue to rise, but federal funding remains stagnant.
“We haven’t had an increase in federal funding for 15 years,” said Witherspoon. “We don’t have any billboards or ads, so we rely on word of mouth.”
Over 85 percent of the organization’s funding, or $2,832,169, goes to program services. The remaining funding is split between development, management, and general funds.
The organization hosts tours on the second Tuesday of each month. Second Story also hosts volunteer and community service opportunities. Volunteers help do things like cook and answer the door to allow counselors to focus on helping teens.
Photo via Facebook
There’s been a few Stuff the Bus events around the area lately, but none more accessible to Tysonians than one planned this Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Walmart Supercenter.
Prepackaged supplies are available for purchase at the Walmart at 1500 Cornerside Blvd. Each paper bag of supplies costs $4.72.
The Stuff the Bus event in Tysons will benefit the Committee for Helping Others (CHO), an all-volunteer organization in Vienna that provides food aid, clothing, furniture and other emergency needs throughout the area.
Food pantries need us most right now, after holiday giving ends. Our #StuffTheBus campaign continues Saturday 2/2 at the Tysons Walmart & Village Center at Dulles Giant. Come and donate groceries to families in need. https://t.co/bbXhduipwV pic.twitter.com/3ot6SMF7Hs
— Fairfax Youth Thrive (@ffxyouththrive) January 30, 2019
A few Stuff the Bus events have already been held around Tysons, like one a few weeks ago at a Giant in McLean.
In addition to the Tysons event, one will be held in that Herndon Giant at 2425 Centreville Road from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m benefitting LINK.
If you can’t make it out to the Stuff the Bus event but still want to help, the CHO is in need of volunteers for the food, clothing, and emergency assistance programs, as well as drivers for the furniture program.
Donations to the group can be made by calling 703-281-7614 or emailing [email protected].
Photo via Facebook
Donors must complete a screening process at one of the centers to be eligible for the giveaway.
This weekend also marks the debut of Peter Pan, a play presented by the Vienna Theatre Company. The production will run through Feb. 3, with 8 p.m. showings this weekend tonight and tomorrow. Tickets are $14.
Tomorrow (Jan. 19)
- Mosaic District Polar Plunge Festival (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) — A plunge into a frigid pool set up in Merrifield will help raise money for the Special Olympics. For $100, participants will take a dive into the cold water. Divers are requested to get decked out in their wildest costumes to claim the title of “best-dressed plunger.”
- Foster-Adoption Event at Pet Valu Rescue (12-3 p.m.) — For anyone in the market for a German Shepherd, the Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue will be hosting an adoption event at 3069 Nutley St. The Rescue organization takes in dogs from high-kill shelters in Texas and other states and finds them homes elsewhere. Volunteers will also be collecting shoes for the fundraiser, so bringing slightly worn shores to donate is encouraged.
- Antonelli San Marco Tasting (1-4 p.m.) — The McLean Wine Outlet at 6727 Curran St will briefly be transformed Central Italy tomorrow for a wine tasting. The drink of choice is Sagrantino from the village of Montefalco, which is said to have rich flavors of cherry and blackberry. The second event will be on Monday, from 1-2 p.m.
Sunday (Jan. 20)
- Parkinson’s Moving Day Event (12-1 p.m.) — Cycle Chi in Vienna (221 Mill St) is hosting two fundraisers for The Parkinson’s Foundation. A minimum donation of $25 per bicycle, per hour is requested with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the charity. The event will also include free chair massages, raffles, cocktails and more.
- Liner Notes (2 p.m.) — The recently renovated Alden Theatre at 1234 Ingleside Ave in McLean will host a musical mix of jazz and hip hop in a celebration of the civil rights movement. Tickets are $15 for McLean residents, $25 for adults and children, and $20 for seniors.
Photo via Facebook
After the holiday rush of donations and food drives, supplies at food pantries can start to run dry. In an effort to combat the post-holiday slump, Fairfax County is hosting a Stuff the Bus event in McLean this weekend to support local nonprofit food pantries.
From 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., a bus will be located outside the Giant at 1454 Chain Bridge Road. The food and money collected will go to benefit Share, Inc.
On Feb. 2, another Stuff the Bus event will be held at the Walmart in Tysons at 1500 Cornerside Blvd.
The Stuff the Bus event has been an annual tradition in Fairfax for nine years. According to the website, last year’s event:
Collected more than 250,000 lbs. of food
Provided 170,000 meals to those in need
Received nearly $50,000 in monetary contributions
More than 5,000 community volunteers have contributed approximately 15,000 hours of service
Aided more than 32 local food pantries in their winter food collections
Photo via Fairfax County
This Saturday, the McLean Police District Station is hosting a “Stuff the Cruiser” food drive.
The cruiser will be located at the Giant Food at 1454 Chain Bridge Road. The idea is to bring enough food and other goods to fill one of the Fairfax County Police Department’s cruisers. The supplies will be donated to the Share of McLean Food Pantry.
Share of McLean is a nonprofit organization established in 1969 to meet the needs of those less fortunate in McLean and surrounding Northern Virginia localities. The organization is all-volunteer and relies on donations. In addition to the food pantry, the organization also collects clothes and furniture to give to those in need.
According to their website, the organization distributes 700 bags of groceries and 200 bags of clothing each month.
If you are unable to attend the food drive on Saturday, the organization also accepts food donations at the McLean Baptist Church on 1367 Chain Bridge Rd, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Police say the food drive currently needs:
- Breakfast cereal
- Canned vegetables
- Canned foods
- Canned pasts sauce
- White sugar
- White rice
- Dried beans
- Vegetable oil
- Crackers and snacks
- Macaroni and cheese
- Granola bars
- Dried pasta
- Single toothbrushes
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toilet paper
- Baby wipes
- Laundry soap
Photo via Twitter