Virginia Fresh Match Means More Healthy Fruits & Vegetables For Virginia Families

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ACTS' Hunger Prevention Center is a supplementary food program designed to assist families in Prince William County, many of whom are on governmental food assistance programs such as WIC and SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) Families who are in need of food all receive fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, bread, canned goods, and household necessities through ACTS' Hunger Prevention Center. Special food packages are made for individuals with dietary restrictions, and we are even able to provide diapers if they are needed.  No one leaves our Hunger Prevention Center empty-handed. We also continue to participate in outreach and awareness campaigns with the assistance of the Greater Prince William Food Council and local farmers.  At over 60 sites across the Commonwealth, Virginia Fresh Match doubles the value of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps), helping Virginians bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables. When customers spend $20...
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Raising Awareness in Prince William County with International Belly Dancing

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In May, ACTS Domestic Violence Services took part in the world’s largest international belly dance event – the Shimmy Mob ! Created to raise awareness about domestic violence, the Shimmy Mob celebrates world Belly Dance day by joining groups across the globe in dance performances designed to raise funds for shelters and victims of abuse. On May 12, patrons of the Manassas Mall were treated to a performance by the Prince William Troupe that included all styles of Belly Dance, and a short show full of fun and variety. Tina Bauch, Team Leader for Shimmy Mob Prince William 2018, said that each year her dance troupe participates in the Shimmy Mob, along with groups across the country. One of their goals is to break the record for flash mob Belly Dancing, which they do each year. On the same day, having the same goals, troupes unite by dancing the same...
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Stamp Out Hunger Drive Brings in 8 Tons of Food to ACTS Hunger Prevention Center

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On Saturday, May 12th, the 26th Annual National Association of Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive was held in cities and towns all across America, and post offices located within our area were part of this nationally-coordinated event. Annually held on the second Saturday in May, this drive is the outgrowth of the National Association of Letter Carriers’ tradition of community service, a tradition exhibited repeatedly by members of the letter carriers’ union over the years. The drive began in 1991, and since that time, it has grown to cover all 50 states.  Like most good things, the idea is very simple. On the second Saturday in May, postal workers deliver mail to neighborhoods and collect food donations that have been stored in mailboxes. The food is collected and donated to charities that support hunger prevention to local residents. In our service area, four different post offices collected food...
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ACTS Hosts NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program

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What is the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family-to-Family Education Program? NAMI Family-to-Family is a free, 12-session education program for family, partners, friends and significant others of adults living with mental illness. The course is designed to help all family members understand and support their loved one living with mental illness, while maintaining their own well-being. The course includes information on illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and other mental health conditions. Thousands of families describe the program as life-changing. The program is taught by trained teachers who are also family members and know what it is like to have a loved one living with mental illness. Tuesday and Thursday evenings June 19 - July 31, 2018 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ACTS 3900 Acts Lane, Dumfries, VA 22026 Participant Perspectives “This course overall was the single most, without a doubt, helpful and informative thing ever offered in all...
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Updates & News about the Volunteer Program

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As ACTS fiscal year comes to a close, we're excited to share that our volunteer program is being revamped! Currently:  We are working on ways to expand our Senior Link program by means of senior visits. Our intention is to have friendly visits of fellowship or an activity, like BINGO where we give out gifts or treats and information about Senior Link. This event is open to all including youth and families. Registration will be offered via sign-up sheet and dates will be announced on Facebook. July is the launch of volunteer orientations. This is a one-time hour session offered on Monday Mornings or Thursday Evenings to give an overview of ACTS, our services and information about the various ways to volunteer and give back within the organization. Sign up We continually look for ways to improve our volunteer programs and recently emailed a survey to active volunteers that can...
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Volunteer Spotlight: June

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This month’s Volunteer Spotlight is on the Volunteer Program. I have been a part of the ACTS team since September 2017; in my short time, I have had a lot of assistance making sure that our vast number of volunteers have undergone intake, feel appreciated and have information about our growing number of events and programs. I want to especially thank, Ethan Vick, who is a staff member and has been incredibly patient and helpful as I learned and developed within the Volunteer Program. The volunteers I want to spotlight are new to my program as Group Leaders but not new to ACTS, as they worked previously under the manager of the Thrift Store for the last few years. The Group Leaders are Natita Knight and Anita Cooper. The purpose of a Group Leader within this program is to assist groups during their day of service. Leaders also give instructions...
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ACTS Introduces New Board Members

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ACTS Board of Directors provides strategic vision, policy guidance, and fiduciary oversight to ensure ACTS is a good steward of the resources entrusted to us and we stay true to our mission. Members of the Board are drawn from the local community and serve on a voluntary basis for terms of three years each.   Today, we'd like to welcome Dru Kyme and Adil Khan to our board. Dru Kyme currently provides tax and book work in the Woodbridge area. A graduate of Gar-Field High School and alumni of both Radford University and George Mason University, Mr. Kyme worked for the U.S. Naval Audit Service for a number of years in our nation's capital. Upon his acceptance to ACTS Board of Directors, he says, "I am excited to be with ACTS so that I can give back to the community that I have been a part of for so long."  Having lived in...
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Update on ACTS' Hunger Prevention Center

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As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day Monday, we'd like to share that, due to unforeseen circumstances, our Hunger Prevention Center launch date has been moved to June 19th. So many improvements have been made recently to make this newest addition to ACTS as efficient as can be, and we can't begin to thank our supporters, volunteers, and vendors enough for the work they have accomplished so far in making this feat possible. The Hunger Prevention Center will be a site where we will be able to store more food and make the process for our clients who receive food so much easier. In order to facilitate this new change, our Food Pantry operations will be limited throughout the month of April.  WHAT TO EXPECT During the closing of the Food Pantry, we will still be providing food to our clients. They will be...
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Make IMPACT

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ACTS makes the impact it does in our community because our staff, volunteers, supporters, faith communities, businesses, and other partners have joined together.  We could not do what we do alone, but together we each do our part, and it adds up to something spectacular. A year ago, I joined a brand-new organization that has taken this concept to a whole new level.  It is called IMPACT Club.  Founded right here in Woodbridge, it has already spread around the world, with local chapters as far away as New Zealand!  The concept is simple: four times a year, individuals commit to donating $100 to a local nonprofit.  Three nonprofits are then chosen at random from a pool of nominees and invited to give a five-minute presentation to the group.  The club votes, and the winner takes home the entire collection. It’s simple.  $100 is a nice donation to a nonprofit.  One...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Joline Doedens-Combs

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Co-written by (listed alphabetically): Tamika Martin, Linda Neice and Gine Ryan. This month’s volunteer spotlight is: Joline Doedens-Combs. Because of her incredible services, she is also the Volunteer of the Year for Domestic Violence Services (DVS). We cannot begin to describe how Joline’s selfless work assists both ACTS and our clients; so I want to describe a day at our offices: Nearly every day at the ACTS Court Office, there is a flurry of activity in brief crisis counseling for walk-in clients who are seeking protection from their abusive family members. Because of the nature of the cases, often it is necessary that we operate within a very short window.  It is a race against time for: preliminary protective order hearings, faxing the client’s paperwork to qualify for pro bono legal aid, finding an attorney who will represent a client for their permanent protective order hearing. Often, we receive pro...
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The Facts Behind Senior Hunger

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Nearly one in every six seniors in America  faces the threat of hunger  and not being properly nourished. This applies to those who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from and those who don’t have access to the healthiest possible food options. The issue is severe enough that the AARP reports that seniors face a healthcare bill of  more than $130 billion every year  due to medical issues stemming from senior hunger. Senior hunger is an expansive issue that requires an understanding of exactly what constitutes a senior being “hungry,” the issues that stem from senior hunger, and how seniors who are hungry can be helped. To understand the concept of seniors being hungry, you must understand what it means to be “food insecure.” When you are food insecure, it means that there is “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain...
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ACTS Partners with Birdies for Charity for Dominion Energy Charity Classic

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From now until October, ACTS will be participating in a charitable fundraising program offered by the Dominion Energy Charity Classic . The program, called Birdies for Charity Presented by TowneBank, will pay us a 10% bonus on the funds that we generate! When you donate through Birdies for Charity, we receive your donation plus the 10% bonus. Birdies for Charity offers the option to gift a flat amount or an amount based on the number of birdies made by PGA TOUR Champions players at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in October (a birdie is one stroke under par). PGA TOUR Champions players made 789 birdies at the last year’s tournament. So as an example, if you donated $0.10 per birdie in 2017 your total donation would have equaled $78.90, to which the PGA TOUR adds the additional 10% bonus. If you would like to make your donation online, please click...
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SAAM VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Edward McGovern

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM),  ACTS Sexual Assault Services  will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  This week’s Volunteer Spotlight features Edward McGovern, ACTS Sexual Assault Services Volunteer of the Year. Ed not only volunteers his time on our hotline, he is also a powerful speaker, which has enabled ACTS to connect with an audience that is typically hard to reach. In addition, Ed serves on the Sexual Assault Awareness Month committee and represents ACTS at community outreach events. According to Terry Swirchak, Community Educator for ACTS Sexual Assault Services; “Ed is kind, humble, gracious, empathetic and willing to put himself out there in an effort to help others. Those who have worked with Ed know him to be a great teammate and someone who...
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ACTS Celebrates Volunteers with 2018 Appreciation Dinner

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On Tuesday, April 17th, ACTS honored its organization-wide group of volunteers by holding a dinner at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Woodbridge. The event was catered by Touch of Class Catering, and volunteers, board members, and staff alike spent the evening solving mystery-themed puzzles as well as providing special recognition to those who greatly contributed to ACTS' mission during the previous year. The departmental award winners this year were: Mark Victorson : Volunteer of the Year for Helpline Bob Chamberlin and Jeff Cole: Volunteers of the Year for the Hunger Prevention Center Joline Doedens-Combs: Volunteer of the Year for Domestic Violence Service's Court Program Edward McGovern: Volunteer of the Year for Sexual Assault Services   The Howard Horner Award Winner for 2018 was Kathleen "Kathy" Sweeney. This award, which is presented to a non-board volunteer who traditionally has at least five years of active volunteer service, is the most prestigious award that ACTS...
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SAAM Volunteer Spotlight of the Week: Iris Coleman

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM),  ACTS Sexual Assault Services  will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  It is never easy to hear someone’s story of sexual assault. This is what Iris Coleman has been doing over the last 2 ½ years as a Volunteer Crisis Listener for the ACTS Sexual Assault Hotline. Sometimes, Iris is the first person the survivor tells about their assault. Her job is to let the caller know that she is there to listen, believe them, and provide support. Sometimes support means offering resources, such as how to reach ACTS Sexual Assault Services. Other times it involves helping the person to make their own decision as to whether or not to seek medical attention, or involve the police. But often, listening...
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ACTS Introduces Traumatic Death Support Group

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Death due to a sudden or traumatic event can raise a number of complex issues for the survivors. The grief process is often very different from an expected or anticipated death. Bereavement is often intensified, since there is little to no opportunity to prepare for the loss, say good-bye, or address unfinished business.  ACTS Traumatic Death Survivor support group is a free, confidential, non-judgmental peer led support group, whose goal is to provide a safe environment for those who have experienced a traumatic loss. It is an opportunity for participants to give and receive support with others who have experienced the traumatic death of a loved one.    Anyone who has lost a friend, family member, or significant other in a traumatic death situation is invited to attend the bi-monthly meetings.  For more information, including meeting time and location, call ACTS 703-441-8606 ext. 214.   
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The Women's Empowerment Center Gets a Makeover

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On April 10, ACTS' Housing Program held a special open house to celebrate all the work that was accomplished at our Women's Empowerment Center. Members of the community, the ACTS Board, and the Trade Partners that made the feat possible were invited to attend, and a reception followed. The renovations will bring some big changes to the programs offered there, but... Just what is the Women's Empowerment Center? The Center is a special part of ACTS Housing Services.  It is designed specifically to help women who have been homeless transition into stable living on their own.  When a single woman, or even  a woman with kids, becomes homeless, friends and  family will often take her in for the short term.  However, long term stability can be difficult to find.  More often than not, the woman may lack the resources to make it on her own right away. The Center is...
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SAAM Volunteer Spotlight of the Week: Paige Meade

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), ACTS Sexual Assault Services will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  This week’s Volunteer Spotlight highlights Paige Meade. Paige first learned of ACTS Sexual Assault Services in 2006, when she joined a survivor’s support group to help her work through the aftermath of a violent sexual assault that happened in Manassas in 1992.  “I was at my lowest, and the group welcomed me and helped me work though long-buried issues,” says Paige.  “I’m not sure what I would have done without that support, so I believe it’s important for me to give back to my community.”  Currently, Paige volunteers 96 hours per month. She is routinely on call for hospital accompaniment visits to provide support during the sometimes-lengthy forensic exam....
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Not Your Average Joe’s Sponsors ACTS

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Throughout the month of March, Not Your Average Joe’s, located in Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, hosted a fundraising event for all of ACTS’ programs. On Tuesdays, the restaurant would donate 20% of the total purchase of a meal (minus tip, tax, and alcohol) to ACTS if its patrons mentioned our organization. This is part of the charitable wing of Not Your Average Joe’s called “Not Your Average Cause.” Local Joe’s restaurants pick charities that serve in their community and give back in a variety of ways. According to Donald Bloss, Assistant General Manager of the Woodbridge location, “One of our mandates as a company is to give back to the community.  ACTS, being a local organization with a fairly broad reach was a great choice for us.  We were able to meet some new folks, provide them the experience we are known for, and were able to contribute to...
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#MeToo: 25 years ago in Prince William County

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According to Susan Sullivan, Prevention Campaign Specialist for The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), “With the #MeToo movement transforming the way our society is talking about the issue of sexual violence, the theme of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), Embrace Your Voice, feels like a perfect fit.” The voice you will hear below is that of Paige, a former ACTS client and current volunteer .  In 1992 a man followed me home from work and broke into the basement of my dad’s townhouse in Manassas.  I was 19.  It was my dad’s birthday.  These are the facts that are easy to recount.  Harder to tell is what one human being has to do to another to earn two (two!) life sentences in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  But I did tell those things – to the police, and eventually in a courtroom to secure those two life sentences.  Afterward?  I packaged up those awful facts and tried...
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