Help Name Former Container Store — Celebrate Fairfax is turning the former Container Store at 8505 Leesburg Pike in Tysons into a community event venue whose name will be determined by a social media poll. The options are Tysons Commons, Tysons Collective, Social District at Tysons, and The PARC (People, Art, Recreation, and Community) at Tysons. [Celebrate Fairfax Festival/Twitter]
Inova-Tested Drug Helps COVID Patients — “A drug tested at Inova Health System has shown to improve clinical outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients who required supplemental oxygen. The Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating the safety of fostamatinib was conducted on behalf of Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc…Results were published Wednesday in Clinical Infectious Diseases, an official publication of the Infectious Disease Society of America.” [Inside NoVA]
Falls Church to Get First Electric School Buses — “FCCPS is one of 19 Virginia school divisions receiving a grant to replace diesel school buses with new electric buses. The grant announcement came last Thursday, in a news release from the governor’s office. FCCPS will receive $530,000 for two electric buses from the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Local Nonprofit Names New Leader — “Vienna-based Langley Residential Support Services, a nonprofit serving adults with developmental disabilities, has named a new executive director. Langley Residential’s board hired Maureen K. Gum as executive director after she served as interim executive director.” [Patch]
Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Stops by Dunn Loring — Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for Virginia’s governor, announced his policy priorities yesterday (Monday) outside the construction company CJ Coakley Co. Inc. in Dunn Loring. The package includes $1.8 billion in one-time tax cuts, a pledge to create 400,000 new jobs, raises for school teachers, and the addition of 20 new charter schools. Opponent Terry McAuliffe called the plan “out of touch the state’s fiscal reality.” [The Washington Post]
Nonprofit to Open Office in Vienna Church — “A nonprofit focused on providing a day program for adults with disabilities is opening a new administrative office at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Vienna. The grand opening of the SPARC office will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at the church, located at 2351 Hunter Mill Road.” [Patch]
Mosaic District Gym to Host Vaccine Clinic — “@fairfaxhealth will have a Pop-up COVID-19 Vax Clinic at nearby XSport Fitness (8190 Strawberry Lane) on Tuesday, 8/31 from 3PM-7PM. The 1st (or 2nd) dose Pfizer jab will be available to anyone ages 12+ for free. Walk-ins welcome, or make an appt” [City of Falls Church/Twitter]
Vienna Ben & Jerry’s Offers Free Ice Cream for Solar Art Contest — The Ben & Jerry’s in Vienna has partnered with Ipsun Solar on the solar panel company’s fourth Sunny Summer Art Contest, where kids can submit artwork inspired by the sun and the need to find solutions to climate change. All participants will get a coupon for a free ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s Vienna, and winners will get gift cards. [Ipsun Solar]
(Updated at 9:35 a.m.) Hurunnessa Fariad knows what it’s like to be an Afghan refugee.
She fled Afghanistan with her family in the 1980s while the country was under Soviet occupation. While the circumstances were certainly different three decades ago, her emotions upon seeing another exodus in the wake of the Taliban’s recent takeover are comparable to her own experiences.
“The sentiment of leaving your home, leaving everything behind…and coming to a country where you don’t know anything, you don’t know the culture, you don’t know the people, you don’t know who’s going to help you — it’s terrifying,” she said.
Today, Fariad works as outreach coordinator at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society — also known as the ADAMS Center — in Sterling. It’s the second-largest Muslim community in the country and serves people across Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
She also serves as the center’s Afghan lead, working with Lutheran Social Services to help those who have evacuated Afghanistan to make a new home in the U.S., joining many non-profit and faith-based organizations across the region.
The ADAMS Center is currently collecting funds to help with both immediate needs, such as gift cards to Target or Walmart that can be used to purchase basic items, and long-term needs for housing, jobs, and education.
Fariad says the center was collecting individual items, like toiletries and hygiene items, but they got “inundated” and need time to sort through all of the donations.
“The funding is going to keep going on for a while because there’s so many people coming in that they’re going to need help,” she said.
Additionally, the ADAMS Center is putting together a list of local residents who speak Dari and Pashto and can act as translators. They are sharing that list with both Virgina Gov. Ralph Northam’s office and the federal government.
As of yesterday (Tuesday), more than 6,000 people and 44 dogs have arrived at Dulles International Airport in the last week, according to an email from state officials to local partners.
A Fairfax County spokesperson confirmed that the county is providing support for resettlement efforts, primarily assisting with health, human services, and public safety needs.
“Currently, the county is supporting a Department of State operation for people evacuated from Afghanistan and arriving at Dulles International Airport. Some of these individuals are being supported temporarily at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly,” the county spokesperson wrote. “The center has the capacity to support more than a thousand individuals.”
The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management also helped set up cots at Northern Virginia Community College, according to The Washington Post. Community members are being asked not to go to any of these hosting sites.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay visited the Dulles Expo Center yesterday, saying in a newsletter that he was “touched to hear the human side of what we are seeing on the news.”
“While we can’t be sure how many people will ultimately relocate to Fairfax County, I want to be clear that we look forward to welcoming all who want to join our diverse community,” he wrote. Read More
This year, ArtsFairfax received requests for over $937,000 in funding and allocated a total of $441,900.
The Operating Support Grant program is designed to assist local, nonprofit arts organizations with funding to support their basic operational needs.
In recognition of the challenges that the arts community has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, ArtsFairfax says it increased the minimum grant amount to $1,000 and waived a requirement that recipients match the funds they receive.
ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda S. Sullivan says the program was also modified to place more emphasis on equity and how organizations are considering issues of diversity, access, and inclusion in their operations, programs, and services.
“The past year has created an unprecedented hardship for arts organizations and artists,” Sullivan said. “The Operating Support Grant provides arts organizations with critically needed funding for basic operations — funding that helps keeps the doors open — as they develop artistic programming for audiences return.”
The Tysons, Vienna, McLean, and Falls Church organizations that received grants are:
- 1st Stage
- BalletNova Center for Dance
- Creative Cauldron
- McLean Project for the Arts (MPA)
- New Dominion Chorale
- Providence Players of Fairfax
- The Choralis Foundation
- The McLean Symphony
- The Vienna Jammers Percussion Ensemble, Inc.
- Traveling Players Ensemble, Inc.
- Vienna Arts Society
- Vienna Choral Society
- Vienna-Falls Chorus of Sweet Adelines
- Vienna Community Band
“Fairfax County residents benefit from a dynamic and diverse arts sector,” Sullivan said. “To sustain and grow our cultural capital over the long-term requires a consistent source of public and private funds. ArtsFairfax’s Operating Support Grants are a direct investment in our community ensuring that the arts remain centerpieces and economic engines in our community.”
Photo via Traveling Players Ensemble/Facebook
Tysons Could Get a Rock Climbing Center — An affiliate of the Manassas-based Vertical Rock Climbing & Fitness Center plans to convert the former Hamilton’s Sofa & Leather Gallery at 8461 Leesburg Pike into a rock climbing facility. The 9,220 square-foot space has been leased and is slated to open later this year, but Fairfax County is still processing permit applications to allow the use at that location. [Washington Business Journal]
Tysons Education Nonprofit Honored by General Assembly — Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) presented a signed commendation to the Center for Excellence in Education (7918 Jones Branch Dr.) during the 38-year-old nonprofit’s annual Congressional luncheon on July 15. The State Senate and House of Delegates both approved a proclamation recognizing CEE for promoting science, technology, engineering, and math education with free programs for students and teacher training. [CEE]
Visit Fairfax Joins Regional Sports Tourism Partnership — “The tourism-marketing organizations of Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties on Aug. 10 announced the launch of SportsNOVA, a new regional sports-tourism partnership designed to market Northern Virginia as a premier destination for travel-sports events.” [Sun Gazette]
Maryland Beltway Project Contract Approved — The Maryland Board of Public Works voted 2-1 to approve a “predevelopment agreement” with toll lanes operator Transurban and financial firm Macquarie to design express lanes on I-270 and part of the Capital Beltway. The much-debated project is seen as critical to the success of Virginia’s 495 NEXT project in McLean, which got key federal approvals last month. [The Washington Post]
With many restaurants struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of McLean residents created a group called McLean Cares to try to help keep their local eateries afloat.
Inspired by a similar Herndon organization, McLean Cares collects donations to buys meals from restaurants that they then give to residents with food insecurity.
Members of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Temple Rodef Shalom, McLean Baptist, and Lewinsville Presbyterian started the group in July 2020. They collected donations from their congregations, solicited local businesses, and applied for community grants to raise funds.
As of June 2021, they have raised $64,563, every penny of which was spent buying 5,600 meals for those who needed them.
“Our goal was simple: to support locally-owned restaurants by purchasing meals once a month and then distributing those meals to Fairfax County residents experiencing food insecurity,” said Immanuel Presbyterian member Leslie Regan, who is part of the planning team for McLean Cares.
On top of helping those who need food assistance, McLean Cares asks the restaurants to provide meals that cost no more than $10 to make. The organization then pays $11.50 per meal and asks that the extra $1.50 goes to the restaurant staff.
“The restaurants were so wonderful and the meals were incredible that they put out. We’re just so grateful to have them work with us,” Regan said. “They just jumped right in and said yes…We are so proud of how everything worked out. Several restaurant owners have told us they could not have survived without our business. And the food recipients were always so wonderfully grateful!”
While donations were coming in bundles for a while, incoming funds started to slow down as restaurants began to reopen. However, with the new Delta variant causing a new uptick in COVID-19 cases, organizers say restaurants are once again in need of some help.
McLean Cares is seeking new donations so it can purchase more meals. Interested donors can send a check with the memo line “McLean Cares” to Mary Ann Vaughan (Business Administrator) at Immanuel Presbyterian Church (1125 Savile Lane).
Donations can also be sent online through SignUp Genius to designate how many meals you would like to provide at $11.50 per meal.
The restaurants and catering companies involved include:
All of the meals have and will continue to go to local shelters, low-income housing complexes, SHARE of McLean, and local elementary schools and their families.
McLean Cares has a Facebook page to keep the community informed on their work.
“We don’t know the future and donating would be great,” Regan said. “Supporting our local restaurants by picking up [is important too]. We’re not out of the woods yet so support your local restaurants.”
Photo via McLean Cares/Facebook
Two Fairfax County organizations have been awarded grants from a national nonprofit aimed at increasing access for food service programs for children and their families.
The Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center and Cornerstones in Reston both received grants from No Kid Hungry, a campaign from the national nonprofit Save Our Strength, whose mission is to end hunger and poverty.
No Kid Hungry announced on July 26 that it has distributed $1.16 million in grants to more than 30 Virginia school districts and organizations to combat food insecurity and provide more access to food to children and families.
The Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center received $25,000, and Cornerstones was granted $30,000.
“We are thrilled to get the grant and happy to help families in ways we couldn’t otherwise,” Renee Boyle, development director at the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center, said.
Located at 7230 Idylwood Road, the children’s center provides early childhood education, along with an after-school child care program specifically for students at nearby Lemon Road Elementary School in Falls Church.
Boyle says the center will share money from the grant with the Seven Corners Children’s Center, a preschool in Falls Church.
$15,000 will go towards providing low-income families at both centers with grocery cards that can be used at their discretion. That way, children and their families, including parents and older siblings, can have easier access to food even outside of the schools’ walls, Boyle says.
“Oftentimes, it can be difficult getting to school to get food, or [the kids] don’t attend pre-school,” she said. “This allows [families] to purchase fruits, veggies, and meats of their choice and reflects their ethnic preferences.”
The other $10,000 will go towards contracting Good Food Company out of Arlington to provide high-quality lunches at the center. They provide meals full of fresh vegetables, proteins, and wholesome dishes, Boyle says.
“The menu varies everyday and they’re higher quality meals than county public schools,” she said.
Cornerstones — a nonprofit that provides assistance with food, shelter, child care, and other basic needs — is using its grant to rent an outdoor storage unit to expand its pantry program, pay off-site storage facility costs, and purchase a new cargo van to deliver fresh food to households in need, CEO Kerrie Wilson says.
Food insecurity remains a huge challenge in the D.C. region. About 1% of residents in several pockets of Reston, Vienna, Tysons, and Herndon were food-insecure in 2020, according to Capital Area Food Bank research.
One in eight children under 18 in Virginia live in a household where they may not be getting enough to eat, according to No Kid Hungry.
“If it weren’t for the free meals being offered by schools and community organizations, that number would be much higher,” No Kid Hungry Virginia Associate Director Sarah Steely said.
Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center Executive Director Lucy Pelletier says existing food access challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic due in large part to employment uncertainty.
“We are seeing that our families are in widely varied states of employment recovery,” Pelletier said in a statement. “Our parents who are restaurant servers are exhausted from all their overtime hours because restaurants can’t hire enough employees. Parents in other direct service jobs such as house cleaning are either working less than pre-pandemic levels due to clients’ fears of covid, or they are traveling further to fill their schedule with families willing to accept cleaners into their homes.”
Rising food prices also means that paychecks are not going as far as they used too, she added.
Food insecurity also disportionately impacts communities of color and immigrants. Cornerstones says about 70% of the people it serves are people of color and 40% are children, half of whom identify as a member of a minority or immigrant community.
The nonprofit surveyed some of the residents it works with and found that food stability remains a huge, immediate concern.
“Food stability is a continued top priority and source of stress for themselves and their families,” Wilson said. “The concerns about access to healthy and adequate food and nutrition was significantly higher in respondents who identified as people of color and immigrants.”
Community organizations like the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center and Cornerstones are critical to ensuring children have enough healthy food to eat, because they can provide access outside of schools, especially during summer and winter breaks.
“These meal programs work together with nutrition programs like Pandemic EBT and SNAP to ensure kids have enough to eat,” Steely said by email. “We know that summer can be the hungriest time of the year for children and families across the Commonwealth and beyond.”
Photo via Melissa Belanger/Unsplash
A program that connects elderly people in Northern Virginia with volunteer drivers needs a new manager.
NV Rides manager Jennifer Kanarek left her position in mid-July, Pozez Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Northern Virginia Executive Director Jeff Dannick said yesterday (Monday).
“We started this program a little over 7 years ago, and Jennifer was our first manager,” Dannick said, crediting Kanarek for helping build the program. “The community owes a great debt to Jennifer for her years of service.”
Housed at the Pozez JCC in Fairfax, NV Rides is a network of volunteer driver programs that formed in 2014 after a Fairfax County survey identified access to safe and reliable transportation as a top concern among the county’s older residents, a population that is expected to continue growing over the next two decades.
In its 2020 demographic report, the county projects that people 65 and older will constitute its largest age group by 2025, eventually making up 17.5% of the total population in 2040.
“I have learned so much over the last seven years and knowing the impact that the NV Rides program has had on vulnerable adults in our community is what gets me out of bed in the morning,” Kanarek said in a statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our community partners, stakeholders, and my staff in building, developing, and growing this crucial program.”
Kanarek announced that she was stepping down from her position with NV Rides last week, saying on her LinkedIn page that the decision comes with “mixed emotions.”
“I am proud of all I and my partners have accomplished, and I have made the decision to pursue other opportunities,” she wrote.
NV Rides consists of 15 partner organizations, ranging from local Shepherd’s Centers and religious organizations to Reston Community Center’s RCC Rides service, which has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the NV Rides website, the network has provided close to 40,000 rides since it began.
“They’re not taxi drivers. They’re coming to help you get to your appointment. They’re coming to help you shop for groceries. So, it’s really a companionship piece,” Kanarek said in a July video about the program, noting that while many elderly people can use ride-hailing apps such as Lyft or Uber, there can be varying levels of trust with a paid stranger versus a volunteer.
According to Kanarek, NV Rides has looked to recruit younger drivers because the average driver has been around 67 years old, and they may not want to return when the pandemic subsides.
After seeing ridership decline when Virginia went under a stay-at-home order in the spring of 2020, Dannick says NV Rides has now returned to “around pre-COVID levels” for volunteer drivers.
In June, NV Rides partnered with the Reston-based Dulles Airport Transportation Association on an outreach effort to provide transportation to medical appointments for veterans in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.
The Pozez JCC is currently advertising for a long-term successor to Kanarek. The job posting lists the position’s annual salary as $45,000 to $55,000.
Meanwhile, the program’s interim manager is Tom Eversole, a retired naval officer who serves on the NV Rides Advisory Council.
MCA Shares Concerns About McLean Central Park Proposal — The McLean Citizens Association unanimously approved a letter last week highlighting its reservations about the Fairfax County Park Authority’s McLean Central Park redesign. Top concerns include noise and traffic impacts from the proposed amphitheater and a need to coordinate with other county projects, such as the McLean downtown revitalization plan. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Federal Relief Will Be Windfall for Falls Church City — The Falls Church City Council learned Monday (June 7) that the city will receive an estimated $18 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds over two years, including $15 million from the American Rescue Plan and about $2.9 million from the CARES Act. Councilmembers say it’s “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for a city with an annual operating budget of just over $100 million. [Falls Church News-Press]
McLean Student Will Compete on Reality TV Show — Max Feinberg, a rising senior at McLean High School, will appear on Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior, a reality TV series where athletes compete to navigate obstacle courses. This is the show’s first season with a lowered age limit of 15. Feinberg’s episode will air on NBC on June 23. [Dranesville District School Board Member Elaine Tholen]
Falls Church Arts Grant Program Opens for Applications — “The City of Falls Church welcomes applications for eligible non-profit organizations that support the arts, culture, theater, and history based within the City of Falls Church. The application deadline is July 21, 2021 and funds must be utilized before May 16, 2022.” [City of Falls Church]
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday (May 25)
- Fit4Mom Stroller Strides — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave) — Fit4Mom Stroller Strides is a 60-minute workout that includes strength training, cardio, and core restoration, along with entertainment for the little ones in your stroller. Classes meet in Strawberry Park in front of Mom & Pop. Register online. Your first session is free. A second class will be held on Thursday (May 27) at the same time.
- Introduction to Corporate Giving (Online) — 2-3:30 p.m. — The Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library will provide this workshop for nonprofits looking for corporate support. The class will teach participants how to find potential corporate donors and how to successfully win their support. Registration is required.
Wednesday (May 26)
- Partial Lunar Eclipse — 4-6 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Rd.) — Join some astronomical naturalists to view the partial lunar eclipse. Stars and constellations will be viewable too. There will be some telescopes available, but participants are encouraged to bring binoculars. There is a registration fee of $1o.
- (the) Unruly Theatre Project’s Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m. — The McLean Community Center’s teen improv group is putting on its latest virtual performance. Registration is open up to two hours before the show. The Zoom link and password will be emailed to those who register. For more information, contact [email protected].
Thursday (May 27)
- Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Poetry Celebration (Online) — 7 p.m. — May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and the McLean Community Center (MCC) is celebrating with poetry. AAPI poets Regie Cabico, Gowri Koneswaran and Jenny C. Lares will perform their own works and hold a Q&A. There will be an open mic afterward for those who identify as AAPI only, per MCC’s request. Registration is required and will close two hours before the event begins.
Friday (May 28)
- Parent & Me Snack and Paint — 7-9 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Join the Old Firehouse Center for a Snack and Paint event. A parent and their child (ages 10-18) can join for $30 total, which includes all painting materials and snacks. Register and make a spring-themed masterpiece.
Saturday (May 29)
- In-Person Early Voting for Democratic Primary — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Falls Church City Hall (300 Park Ave.) — City Hall will open this Saturday for registered Falls Church voters to vote early in the Democratic Party’s June 8 primary election to decide the party’s candidates for Virginia’s governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general in the November election.
- ViVa! Vienna! — 10 a.m.-10 p.m. — After having to cancel last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ViVa! Vienna! is back. Rides and entertainment start Saturday for the Town of Vienna’s Memorial Day weekend festival, with vendors setting up on Sunday (May 30) and Monday (May 31). A full schedule as well as information about buying tickets and the vendors that will be in attendance can be found on the ViVa! Vienna! website.
- Ride of the Patriots — 10 a.m. at 9739 Fairfax Blvd. — Patriot Harley-Davidson‘s annual Memorial Day tribute to military service members and first responders will begin in Fairfax City and travel on Route 50 East to I-495 North into D.C. over Memorial Bridge. There will be a second ride on Sunday, but each ride will be limited to 225 people. Registration costs $25.
Monday (May 31)
- Memorial Day Ceremony & Parade — 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St.) — The City of Falls Church is bringing back many of its Memorial Day traditions, albeit in a slightly scaled-down form. Pre-registration and masks are required to attend the ceremony at the Veterans’ Memorial, while the parade will travel throughout the city instead of sticking to Park Avenue.
Photo via ViVa! Vienna!/Facebook