Tysons, VA

With the launch of Second Story’s Together, We Do More campaign, the local organization hopes to maintain its purpose as a resource for kids and young adults facing hardships and abuse.

By the end of the three-year campaign, the organization plans to raise at least $4 million, according to its website.

Due to a lack of government funding and rising costs of services Jade Leedham, the vice president of development for Second Story, said that support from the community is key for the organization’s success.

“What we are trying to do is basically close the gap with rising cost,” she said.

The campaign officially launched in July at Second Story’s “Beacon of Hope Breakfast,” which Leedham said is the organization’s largest event of the year.

Within the first fiscal quarter of the fundraiser, Second Story managed to hit its initial goal of $430,000, according to Leedham.

Leedham came up with the idea for the campaign alongside Second Story’s CEO while discussing the future of the organization. They wanted to find the most efficient way to communicate with the public.

“From there it just kind of snowballed,” she said. 

Though the organization receives donations and requests for assistance throughout the year, Leedham said the holidays are a busy time for Second Story.

Anyone interested in donating and supporting the campaign can do so online.

Second Story also published a series of videos and testimonials, which the community can watch if they are curious about the organization’s impact.

Image via Second Story/Facebook

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Next week, listeners can tune into another season of the Second Story podcast about homelessness.

The new season will premiere on Tuesday (Oct. 22), featuring stories of young adults and teens who overcame struggles of homelessness and abuse.

In the first episode, listeners will hear from a young woman named Bree who managed to escape an abusive relationship, Abigail Brougher, the podcast’s producer, said.

Second Story is a non-profit organization based out of Vienna that assists young people struggling with issues like homelessness, poverty or domestic issues.

The podcast was started to spread the organization’s message and educate the public on these issues within the community, Brougher said.

Bree’s story was chosen for the season premiere because Brougher said it set the tone for the rest of the season.

Bree took shelter with Second Story as a young mother and was later recruited to speak out about domestic violence on the podcast. Brougher said that Bree was “especially vulnerable” during this time in her life, and hearing her story will help people to acknowledge the issue of domestic violence.

Bree was forced to decide between homelessness or the constant threat of abuse, Brougher said. “It’s fairly common for young mothers to feel like they have to choose.”

Domestic Violence Awareness Month also happens to fall in October and calls attention to the issue that affects everyone, regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status.

One in four women and one in nine men will be victims of domestic violence in their lives, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The podcasts tend to be around 30 minutes long, and new episodes will be available for free every Tuesday on Second Story’s website, as well as Spotify and Stitcher.

This season will consist of roughly nine episodes and feature various themes like domestic violence, PTSD and family trauma, Brougher said.

“Giving voice to this issue changes the narrative,” Brougher said.

Photo via Facebook

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A local organization is hosting a charity tailgate to help people who are experiencing homelessness and struggling youths.

The Tysons Partnership event will have live music from the Decades Band, beer and wine tents, a pop-up playground, arcade games, raffles and a speech from Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, according to the event page.

The event aims to raise funds for Second Story, a non-profit founded in Vienna that works to improve the lives of struggling young adults and people experiencing homelessness.

Tickets are on sale for $30 and include two complimentary drinks. The event will be held outside regardless of the weather.

Drew Sunderland, a spokesperson for Tysons Partnership, said that the organization tries to work with local nonprofits in the regional Tysons area or surrounding communities.

“Second Story was identified as a great partner that was in need,” Sunderland said, adding that their work has a real impact on the Tysons community.

The tailgate is part of the Tysons Partnership’s larger Season of Giving, which raised money for similar organizations, like Food for Others. This year’s other events included a 5k and a happy hour event. In years past, the event has attracted over 1,000 attendees, according to the website.

Second Story supports a variety of people including homeless teens, survivors of domestic abuse and young mothers in northern Virginia, according to their website. The organization matches at-risk youth with counseling, shelter, food or other forms of assistance based on their needs, free of charge.

Teens between the ages of 13 to 17 and young mothers can text TEENHELP to 855-11 if they would like assistance from the program.

The party will last from 5-8 p.m. in Valo park next Wednesday (Sept. 25).

Photo via Valo Park

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A Vienna high school student is hosting a fashion show in Tysons Corner Center tomorrow (Friday) night to fundraise for a local nonprofit.

Kaela G., a freshman at James Madison High School, is the event coordinator for the fashion show at Lord and Taylor (7950 Tyson’s Corner Center).

Here is the fashion show’s event description:

Wondering what the hot summer vacation trends are? Can’t decide what to wear for that perfect date? Come see the Madison HS basketball players model the latest fashions and hear what a local nonprofit, Second Story, is doing in our community for at-risk teens.

The night will include models, DJ Squirrel, Raffles, Refreshments, and a private shopping event. All purchases made the night of the event will receive 15% off Cosmetics, and 30% off all other merchandise.

General admission is $20 and VIP admission, which includes preferred seating and automatic entry into a raffle for a skincare and cosmetic gift basket worth $200, is $40.

All ticket sales will get donated to the Second Story, a local nonprofit that provides safe havens for kids and their families.

People who can’t attend the event but still want to donate can purchase a donation ticket.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The fashion show runs from 7-9 p.m.

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(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.”

In addition to the youth shelter, the organization also offers after-school activities, programs for young mothers and other programs aimed at preventing homelessness and crises in the first place.

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

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(Updated 3:30) There’s lots of new development around Tysons, but one of the more unusual is a series of residential buildings constructed last night inside the Tysons Biergarten, made entirely from gingerbread.

The Tysons Biergarten is normally a pretty adult-oriented place, one of the few hotspots of the local nightlife, but yesterday (Wednesday) evening the Biergarten toned down the “bier” part and hosted its 3rd annual toy drive for local youth shelter Second Story. The event included gingerbread house making with youth involved with Second Story and a visit by Santa.

The event was the culmination of a month of toy collection at the Biergarten, where over fifty toys were collected. An earlier fundraiser for the organization raised $500.

Second Story, formerly known as Alternative House, is a youth services and safe shelter near Tysons that was founded in 1972.

The shelter offers a variety of programs, from caring for infants and young mothers to helping teenagers and young adults in distress, and offers a crisis shelter for teens for up to three weeks at a time. It also provides counseling for anyone in need across any of the shelter’s programsand offers longer-term support programs, like rent assistance and help with applications and training.

Abigail Brougher, a communications specialist for Second Story, said the Tysons Biergarten event, along with toy drives hosted by the Tysons Partnership and Tysons Corner Center, mean the shelter will be able to make sure every child and youth involved with the program is able to get a Christmas present.

“Second Story is so thankful for relationships in Tysons,” said Brougher. “It’s important to us to be able to give out toys at Christmas and they are all donated.”

Brougher said there’s no total tally of toys and funds raised yet, and it won’t be counted until after the holiday season, but roughly speaking the shelter has received hundreds of toys.

“Our two objectives are providing safe havens and opportunities,” said Brougher. “The opportunity to have that Christmas experience is important to us.”

While it’s a little late in the year to still give toys, Brougher said there’s still plenty that Tysonians can do to support the shelter year-round. Tysons Corner Center is also still collecting toys until Monday, Dec. 24, at the Santa HQ outside the Nordstrom.

“The biggest thing is to get involved,” said Brougher. “We have tours once a month. That is a really important way to learn about Second Story. We hold them on the second Tuesday of the month and you can sign up online. You get to tour our teen shelter, see where young people are staying, and learn more.”

For those looking to learn more about the shelter but can’t make it out for a tour, Brougher said Second Story also recently finished the first season of its podcast, which interviews people who went through the program.

“We have so much support from the Tysons community,” said Brougher. “They’re a huge part of us being able to do what we do.”

3rd annual gingerbread house making with Second Story!!

Posted by Tysons Biergarten on Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Photo courtesy Matt Rofougaran

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