Tysons, VA

To celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., several places around the Tysons area will have free community events and service projects on Monday (Jan. 20).

From musical performances to parades to volunteering opportunities, here’s where to find MLK Day events:

Falls Church

The Falls Church City Council recently declared Monday, Jan. 20, this year to be an official day of service in the city.

The city is gearing up for volunteer projects that day, according to a press release. The activities include:

  • city councilmembers, board members and commissioners plan to work at the Miller House, a home for adults with differing abilities
  • the  Falls Church City elementary school community is invited to join Give Day, an event looking to raise $10,000  and collect food for Food for Others

On Give Day, elementary school families will be able to assemble ‘Power Packs’ filled with non-perishable food items that Food for Others distributes to for local students. The event is set to take place from 10 a.m.-noon at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (601 S. Oak Street).

The fourth annual march and commemorative program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights history plan to take place in the City of Falls Church on Monday.

The event starts at 10 a.m. with the march proceeding down Lee Hwy to Falls Church Episcopal (115 East Fairfax Street).

“Area service organizations will be at the church providing information about volunteer opportunities in our local communities,” according to the event description. “A commemoration program with a keynote speech by Joan Mulholland, a Freedom Rider and civil rights activist, will take place in the church at noon.”

McLean

A tribute at The Alden on Thursday, Jan. 30, will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. with performances by musician Damien Sneed, a graduate of Howard University, and the Howard University Choir as part of the “We Shall Overcome” tour.

“We Shall Overcome” will feature spoken word from King’s recorded speeches combined with a variety of African American music traditions.

“When I saw ‘We Shall Overcome’ last January, I knew I had to bring it to The Alden,” The Alden Performing Arts Director Sarah Schallern Treff said in a press release. “By the time I spoke with Mr. Sneed’s agents the following afternoon, Jan. 30 was the only available date.”

The event is set to start at 7 p.m. at 1234 Ingleside Ave. Tickets cost $45 for the public, $25 for seniors and students and $20 for McLean Community Center tax district residents.

Vienna

Several churches in the Vienna area are offering service projects on Monday, including the First Baptist Church of Vienna (450 Orchard St NW) and The Church of the Good Shepherd (2351 Hunter Mill Road).

People interested in finding more volunteer opportunities around the area can search the databases on the Corporation for National and Community Service website.

Photo by Brian Kraus/Unsplash

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

With Thanksgiving upon us next week followed closely by the December holidays, it’s important to know that due to the high cost of living in Northern Virginia, there are many families in need this holiday season.

Whether you’re looking for an in-person volunteer opportunity to do as an adult or with the family, or if you’d prefer to work behind the scenes and donate something, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in our community at the local level.

Please check out some of the organizations and their needs at this time of year:

SHARE of McLean 

Share has a Holiday Celebration which is their biggest event of the year. They need volunteers, as well as donations. You can also sign up to host a food drive to help stock their pantry which they use to give food and gift cards to families in need. They have in person volunteer hours which may include moving furniture, sorting clothing, or restocking the shelves. If you want a more hands-on interaction, you can also greet and register the clients.

Committee for Helping Others (CHO) of Vienna 

CHO hosts a Christmas Store on December 7 for families in need in the Vienna and Oakton areas. They’re looking for new toys, gently used clothing and gift cards. Gift cards can be dropped off to the church office on the 2nd floor (Vienna Presbyterian Church — 124 Park Street NE ,Vienna). All other physical items can be dropped off by December 1 to the bins outside of the the VPC Narthex. You can find a list of their needs on their website.

Women Giving Back (Sterling, Virginia)

WGB is an organization that supports women and children with the basics to get back on their feet. They are collecting new, unwrapped toys for their children to be donated by December 13. You can drop them off locally at First Excel Title just outside of Oakton at 3201 Jermantown Road Suite 350, Fairfax, VA 22030. The store throughout the rest of the year needs clothing, accessories, shoes and kids clothes. Learn more.

You can also search more volunteer opportunities throughout Fairfax at Volunteer Fairfax.

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The City of Falls Church is looking for volunteers to help with habitat restoration at Crossman Park.

The city needs people to help install native plants between 10 a.m.-noon next Saturday (Nov. 23). People are encouraged to enter the park adjacent to 501 Van Buren Street and follow the gravel path into the park.

“Tools, gloves, water and snacks will be provided,” according to the city. “No need to register unless your group is five or more people… This is appropriate for children, but direct parental supervision is required.”

Located at 535 N. Van Buren Street, the park is heavily wooded and has a stream running through it.

People interested in helping out can contact Green Space Manager Jeremy Edwards at [email protected] and can register for the event by calling 571-238-5178.

Image via Google Maps

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Absentee Ballots Rushed to Voters — “Roughly 1,300 new ballots were sent out Oct. 16 and 17 to accommodate the new Republican candidate, Eric Anthony Jones, on the ballot, Fairfax County’s general registrar Gary Scott told the News-Press.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Advisory Firm Moves to Tysons — Capstone Strategic, Inc. announced Friday that it has moved to 8521 Leesburg Pike, Suite 230. [Benzinga]

Facebook Considered Tysons For New Spot — “Social media giant Facebook Inc. has reached a deal to take a large block of office space in Reston Town Center after weighing other potential locations, including Tysons.” [Washington Business Journal]

Calling All Volunteers — “The City Council is looking for seven volunteers to join the newly-created Stormwater Task Force, which will update the list of stormwater improvement projects in the City’s Watershed Management Plan.” [City of Falls Church]

New Glass Recycling Container in Vienna — “We worked with Fairfax County to get our very own exclusively glass purple recycling container that is hungry and waiting at its location on Mill Street NE in the gravel shoulder next to Capitol Building Supply.” [Town of Vienna]

Car Crash Closed McLean Road — The 1800 block of Great Falls Street in McLean was closed due to a car crash on Sunday. The road has now reopened. [Fairfax County Police Department]

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Self-proclaimed naturalists in the City of Falls Church may soon have a new volunteer opportunity.

The city’s Tree Commission wants to create a volunteer program where people can assist in counting, categorizing and measuring over 10,000 trees within the city limits. Though the program is still in the works, commissioners said at a meeting Wednesday (Aug. 21) that they want the it to be inclusive of all age groups and time availabilities.

“We are hoping this will be a popular program because you can choose your own hours. You don’t have to come to an event, and you can do it when you find it convenient,” Kate Reich, the staff liaison and city arborist, said.

The commission currently contracts with a pruning company that charges based on tree size, and is hoping to sort tree circumferences into categories, so that the commission can get a more reliable cost estimate for tree care.

While they are still standardizing training and finding a user-friendly way to collect data, Reich said the program should begin in September. The volunteers will be given special measuring tapes that show circumference size so they won’t need to do any extra math.

Amy Crumpton, who is certified by the Arlington Master Naturalist program, will lead the volunteer group.

“The USDA Forest Service has programs they call i-Tree, where they can assess environmental benefits of an urban forest when you plug in great wads of data,” Reich said.

The commission said the new program will work to fill in this database and help the city government calculate the cost of tree care.

Though the database is live now with information gathered from a few years ago, the commission is working to fix some bugs.

Each volunteer will have a login to the system so organizers can keep track of hours and ensure that the user’s data is accurate. Users will also be able to report areas that could use some extra greenery, the commissioners said.

“It would be nice if we could expand it, to say the Boy Scouts or something,” Reich said, adding that this would be a great service opportunity for them.

When the program is finalized, Crumpton will create a SignUpGenius for volunteers. Though they will limit the number of volunteers for beta testing, they hope to eventually expand the network.

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Fairfax County is looking for volunteers to assist seniors and people with disabilities at the new Lewinsville Center in McLean.

The county needs more volunteers to help take community members to doctor appointments and on grocery-runs, Angela Morlu, a spokesperson for the Department of Family Services, said.

The county’s Volunteer Solution’s webpage has eleven open volunteer positions at the Lewinsville Center — six at the senior center at 1609 Great Falls Street and five at the Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care Center (ADHC) at 1611 Great Falls Street.

Open positions at the senior center and the ADHC include language and music instructors, bingo assistants, dance teachers, donation coordinators and certified fitness instructors.

The centers are also in need of general assignment volunteers who can assist with front desk work, meal assistance or program facilitation.

Anyone interested in the fitness position must be certified in Fairfax County as a Stay Active & Independent for Life (SAIL) instructor and willing to commit to the two required 12-week courses.

According to the Fairfax County website:

The next SAIL Instructor Training will likely be held in August or early September 2019 at Marymount University. If you are not already an approved volunteer with Volunteer Solutions, sign up now so you will be eligible for the course. It takes a few weeks to process new volunteers.

Most of the volunteer positions only require a one- or two-hour commitment each week.

The centers were both completed in June of this year. The senior center features a fitness room and tech access. It also serves as a gathering place for adults over 50. The adult day center helps the mental well-being of seniors and includes amenities such as a library, indoor walking path and garden.

All volunteers must be at least 18 years old and apply for a position through the county’s website.

In addition to the volunteer positions at the two centers, Morlu also said there is “an urgent need” for volunteers with Meals on Wheels, an organization that tackles senior hunger.

The county is looking for a handful of volunteers for Meals on Wheels including a driver who speaks Vietnamese to pick up and deliver meals in the Falls Church area.

Photos via the Fairfax County Government

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Stuff the Bus, a charity drive where donors try to fill a bus with food for local pantries, is coming to multiple locations throughout the Tysons area in June.

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

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Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Rd) in McLean wants to host an event to help children understand the daily life experiences students with developmental challenges face, but some adult supervision is needed.

The event is called Walk in My Shoes, part of a program put together by a group in Herndon. According to a post from Chesterbrook Elementary, this is the first year the school is hosting the event.

Adult volunteers are needed to help students through activities that help them understand fine motor skill challenges, dyslexia, ADHD and more.

“Your help is needed in running interactive hands-on activities designed to teach kids about a variety of challenges faced by some of their friends,” the school said in the post. “We welcome anyone who loves working with kids and wants to help make this world a more understanding place for those with learning differences.”

Volunteers from outside of the Chesterbrook community are welcome and recommended to attend a training session on Monday, March 18 from 7-8 p.m.

Photo via Facebook

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

There are many local charities you may not know about that offer great opportunity to give back this holiday season (and year round).

Committee for Helping Others (CHO)

All volunteer based organization in Vienna, Oakton, Dunn Loring and Merrifield providing emergency financial assistance, food aid, clothing, furniture, meals on wheels and transportation.

For directions to drop off or to pick up, please visit their website.

Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters (BRAWS)

Bringing empowerment to women and girls living in shelters by providing new undergarments and menstrual supplies. There are several drop off locations around the area, but their office is in Vienna at 303 Maple Avenue in Suite F. You can drop off new bras (tags on), unopened boxes of tampons and pads, and unopened packages of underwear.

Second Story (FKA Alternative House)

Providing a safe haven for children, youth and their families. You can donate hygiene products, food, shoes, clothing, school supplies, office supplies and/or furniture. They have 2 places to donate:

*They do accept lightly used goods, but won’t begin until January 2. Everything else must be new.

SHARE of McLean

Organization that provides emergency assistance in McLean and surrounding areas. They collect food, used clothing, furniture and help with transportation. They also provide computers and school supplies.

You can donate at their location at McLean Baptist Church (1367 Chain Bridge Road, McLean) every Wednesday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. (except Saturdays before Federal Holiday Mondays). For a list of what they need now, click here.

Britepaths (Formerly Our Daily Bread)

Britepaths helps 800 Fairfax County families with Thanksgiving meals, December holiday meals and holiday gifts for their children. You can sponsor a family, donate funds or volunteer.

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A few good volunteers are needed to roll up their sleeves and help clean up Vienna.

This Saturday (Nov. 3), the Town of Vienna will host its biannual Town Clean-Up Day. Volunteers will help pick up trash, remove invasive plants, and spruce up areas near the Town Green and several local creeks.

“Community service is alive and well in Vienna,” said John King, Vienna’s parks maintenance superintendent, in a press release. “It brings a closeness — volunteers get to know our staff, and we get to know them. There’s a lot of bonding when you’re expending elbow grease together.”

Organizations, business, families and individuals are all encouraged to come out and help clean the town.

Volunteers are requested to wear full-length pants and long sleeve shirts no matter the weather conditions, as some of the cleanings could take place in underbrush near the creeks. Those with trash pickers are encouraged to bring them, while the Town of Vienna will supply gloves, trash bags and other necessary equipment.

Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at the Town Green, rain or shine.

Those interested in volunteering should email King at [email protected].

Photo via Facebook

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