Anxious. Heartbroken. Unbearable. Angry. Painful

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That’s how women described listening to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified that Supreme Court nominee (now Justice) Brett M. Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. Dr. Blasey’s story triggered strong emotional reactions of fear, shame, shock, anger and worry – common feelings when survivors are made to remember something bad that happened to them in the past. Triggers can be physical too; chemicals and hormones released in the body during a traumatic experience can also be released when the experience is remembered. It should come as no surprise that The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reported a 201 percent spike in calls the day Dr. Blasey testified as well as “unprecedented wait times” for its online chat. Their Crisis Text Line, which provides crisis intervention, saw the numbers of people reaching out with stories of sexual abuse...
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ACTS Celebrates 50 Years Serving Prince William

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by Olivia Overman Action in Community Through Service (ACTS), a Dumfries-based non-profit, celebrated 50 years of service in Prince William with a 50 th  Anniversary Gala event held on Feb. 28 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Local officials, partners, donors, volunteers, and staff celebrated the past, present and future of an organization that contributes in so many ways to the community.    Created in 1969 after 13 churches came together to help a family whose house had burned down, today ACTS provides assistance to thousands of families in crisis in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park. In 2018 alone, ACTS assisted nearly 80,000 individuals in crises, providing food to over 700 families a month, nearly $300,000 in utility assistance and taking 40,000 calls through their Helpline. ACTS also helps people with housing assistance, those dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as offering items through their thrift store. “It...
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ACTS 50th Anniversary Gala

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Tickets Available! We are just a few weeks away from a once-in-a-lifetime event to celebrate ACTS 50 th Anniversary!  Plans and preparations have been underway for months to create a moment where the past, present, and future are recognized and celebrated simultaneously.   What a wonderful evening this is going to be at the Hylton Performing Arts Center! The Gala will begin with a cocktail hour accompanied by live music provided by the Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra’s string quartet.  While guests mingle in the grand foyer, they can enjoy delicious hors d'oeuvres and an open bar, place bids on the silent auction gift baskets, browse the history of ACTS through photographs, or explore the tables of information about all the programs and services offered to our community.  A photographer will be making the rounds to capture the tuxes and evening gowns that are sure to make the evening sparkle. Soon the doors to...
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Food Waste: How Finding A Solution Could Improve Lives in Prince William

food-waste-landfill Fresh food dumped at a landfill
Shocking Statistic Alert! One-third of all food produced in the world goes to waste! That is enough food to feed three billion people in a world where 805 million people go hungry every year. Statistics reveal that 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted on an annual basis. That leaves one in seven people hungry. According to the United Nations, if we recover all the food that is lost or wasted, we will have enough to feed all those who are hungry, four times over.  Read More
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What A Whir

Sound-Machine Sound machines provide privacy for our Crisis Listeners
I impatiently wait as my computer logs onto our server, mentally preparing for the emails that need a response.  I already know what they are – my cell phone was kind enough to deliver them to me earlier.  I sip on coffee and enjoy the temporary calm and quiet of the office.  The only sound I hear is the muffled whir of several small sound machines located outside of our Helpline rooms just down the hallway – evidence that some staff have been here all night long, behind closed doors, answering crisis phone calls. Prior to working at ACTS I had no idea there even was a crisis helpline in the county.  I didn’t know that, for over thirty-five years, there have been staff and volunteers on a constant rotation talking to people in our community dealing with all sorts of crisis – many contemplating (or about to go through with)...
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Answering Crisis Calls This Holiday Season

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The holidays can be extremely tough for those who have lost loved ones, are struggling to pay bills, or dealing with other stressors in their lives.  Our Helpline Program allows us to come alongside our neighbors as they work through deep mental and emotional pain.  It is run by a dedicated staff of seven and volunteer team of fourteen.  Our trained Crisis Listeners are available 24/7 and receive nearly 2,000 calls per month - 39% of which are suicide related.   Encompassing four different resources, the Helpline program, with the help of donations received, provides: Crisis Listeners: Thirty-nine percent of calls received per month by the Helpline are suicide related. All ACTS crisis listeners are trained to help people deal with their feelings and to talk through their issues. Resources Listeners : Providing a wealth of information on the availability of resources available to people who are in crisis, such as hospital locations etc. Senior...
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DAWSON Helps Organize ACTS’ New Hunger Prevention Center

October 16, 2018 A group of about 30 employees from the DAWSON company came down from Alexandria, VA on September 20 th and spent the entire day at our Hunger Prevention Center (HPC).  They helped move food from other storage locations into the HPC, then sorted, organized, and shelved pallets and pallets of food.  Once they had gone through all of the pallets and boxes of donated foods, they noticed several shelves were still empty.  Going above and beyond, the team of volunteers chose to go shopping and then returned to stock those shelves with the needed items!  This group of employees rocked it at our warehouse and we are so thankful for their support in such a tangible way! In addition to having a group volunteer at the HPC for a day, DAWSON has also begun helping ACTS through sponsoring training, supporting our Sexual Assault program, and sponsored the IWALK...
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Working to End Domestic Violence in Prince William County

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Step out with ACTS Domestic Violence Services (Turning Points) by joining our 2018 Purple Purse Challenge! Together we can help put an end to domestic violence in Prince William County! 2018 was a big year as we launched a new and vital partnership with the Prince William County Police. The LAP program, or Lethality Assessment Protocol, allows us to reach high danger victims with safety planning and advocacy as never before. But the need is greater now. Many have no where to go in order to stay safe. Your support will provide needed resources to help high danger victims who need safe shelter and transportation, sometimes in the middle of the night. Your gift will help people like Laura, a survivor of domestic violence:  “My bruises were in my head.” Laura told us. “It felt like love at first, but then he became jealous and suspicious of me,” she said. “He kept...
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Operation Turkey 2018

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Now that ACTS' Hunger Prevention Center is officially open, Thanksgiving will soon be around the corner, and we'll need your help to ensure that every family receives a Thanksgiving meal this year! Last year, 783 Total Families were assisted, which included 1,379 adults and 1,123 children. This year, our goal is to provide meals for 1,000 local families, and we hope that, with your help, we can achieve this! Thank you for helping us alleviate hunger this upcoming (though it doesn't feel like it!) holiday season!
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Operation Turkey '18 Underway!

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Now that ACTS' Hunger Prevention Center is officially open, Thanksgiving will soon be around the corner, and we'll need your help to ensure that every family receives a Thanksgiving meal this year! Last year, 783 Total Families were assisted, which included 1,379 adults and 1,123 children. This year, our goal is to provide meals for 1,000 local families, and we hope that, with your help, we can achieve this!  The following items are what we need most: Canned Sweet Potatoes (15oz) Boxed Corn Muffin Mix (8.5oz) Boxed Stuffing Mix (6oz) Boxed Pie Crust Mix (9oz) Canned Pumpkin Pie Mix (15oz) Gravy Mix Packets Cranberry Sauce (14 oz) Instant Mashed Potatoes (13.75oz) Pie Filling Evaporated Milk (12 oz) Please bring all donated food to ACTS Hunger Prevention Center location at 17958 Dr. David Cline Lane in Dumfries by October 12th during the facility's hours of operation. These times include: Drop Off Hours:...
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ACTS To Hold Grand Opening of Hunger Prevention Center

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We did it! After two years of planning, purchasing, constructing, and more planning, I’m very happy to tell you that our Hunger Prevention Center (an expansion of our food pantry program) has now been operational for a month. It makes me even happier to say that we will be holding our official grand opening of this massive undertaking this week on August 15th from 11am-1pm, and you’re invited. Two years is a long time to be committed to a project. Thanks to your donations, the Hylton Foundation, and the unwavering support of ACTS’ volunteers, we were able to achieve something spectacular. I think the first lingering question in the community is, “Why did we do it?” On the outside, our food pantry was running pretty well. There was a location for clients to pick up food, as well as one for donors to drop off food. Local grocery stores and individuals...
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Partner Workout Session Brings in Hundreds of Dollars to ACTS

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On July 7th, personal trainer and yoga instructor, Alicia Cross , and Coach TJ Fabis of Priority Wellness hosted an afternoon of fun and fitness at Occoquan Regional Park to benefit the clients of all of ACTS programs. The two conducted a half-hour partner boot camp workout followed by a partner yoga practice. Anyone how donated the $10-$20 suggested donation was entered into a drawing for great prizes like a gift certificate for a month of Nutrition Coaching from Alicia Cross Training and month of complete wellness/fitness programming from Priority Wellness.  After the event was over, I sat down with Alicia to talk about how the event went and why she and Coach TJ chose to hold a fundraiser for ACTS: Ethan:  Do you typically hold events together, or is this the first time you've partnered for a cause?   Alicia: This was the first event TJ and I co-hosted.    Ethan:  How...
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Suicide and Self-harm in the Media Today

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If you’ve been struggling with thoughts of suicide, feeling hopeless, feeling lonely and isolated, worried about someone you care about, you have help available through ACTS Helpline. Your call will be greeted by a compassionate trained listener. This person is there to help clarify your problems, offer suggestions, and most of all, listen. Call our helpline, day or night, at (703) 368-4141. Anthony Bordain, Kate Spade and 13 Reasons Why have all brought attention to something we should all have awareness of by now; suicide is the 10 th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 45,000 Americans die by suicide yearly. Numbers are expected to be higher since under reporting is known to occur. Impacts of these tragedies shock people in different ways. Kate Spade and Anthony Bordain were both lost within one week of each other. There has also been discussion...
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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 with...
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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 song,...
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Life After Losing Your Spouse

Life After Losing Your Spouse
Read the whole article at: ACTS Helpline provides numerous support lines to ensure that no one is ever alone.Your call will always be greeted by a compassionate, trained listener. This person is there to help clarify your problems, offer suggestions, and most of all, listen. All calls made are confidential and anonymous, allowing you to be completely open about what you’ve been going through. If you would like to sign up for ACTS Senior Link service, call 703-441-8606 ext 210 and ask for Senior Link. Introduction The death of a spouse is one of the most difficult challenges many of us will have to face. Your world is turned upside down, and it’s not easy to come to grips with the many emotions that you will inevitably feel. This is especially true if you had been married to your spouse for a significant amount of time. Nobody likes to think about...
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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 for...
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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 my...
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Updates & News about the Volunteer Program

Volunteer with ACTS!
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 be...
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Volunteer Spotlight: June

Anita-Cooper
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 on...
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