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A Method to The Madness

A Method to The Madness
Welcome to 2017! I hope you have had a wonderful new year so far. I decided to boycott the whole “New Year's Resolution” because, like many, they have never worked for me in the past. Instead I have "New Day Resolutions!" I approach each day with a specific goal and give it everything I have. Some goals take more than a day and that is okay, but when I fail, there are only a few hours to reset and give it a go again. I started doing this in 2015 and it has worked wonders for me. I would love to hear your ideas. What works for you. Are you a New Year's "Resolutioner?" What are your motivators? I am sure that if we can glean this information together, we will become even more awesome than we already are!  Which reminds me, in our post from last month, we left off...
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Call to Action: Support Violence Against Women Grant Funding

Call to Action: Support Violence Against Women Grant Funding
Over the last year, ACTS Sexual Assault Services has provided services to more than 500 individuals who are survivors of sexual assault and/or sexual abuse in Prince William County. Our team of empathetic specialists works with survivors to heal from their trauma through individual and group support, as well as by providing a 24 hour hotline, accompaniment to court appearances, law enforcement interviews and forensic exams. We are able to provide these services, free of charge, to our neighbors in need thanks in part to funding supported by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  ACTS Sexual Assault Services receives grant funding from two VAWA grants, V-STOP and SASP. These grants are intended to develop and strengthen the provision of direct services to women who are victims of sexual assault, and other violent crimes. The 2 grants total approximately $50,000, and we use the funds to help support 3 sexual assault specialists, a community...
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The Continuous Gift of Giving

The Continuous Gift of Giving
For years, Shoppers grocery store in Dumfries has been one of our many advocates who want to end hunger for our neighbors in Prince William County. They have continued to help us in our mission by promoting their $5 Bag Campaign, and it has tremendously helped the clients that visit our food pantry throughout the year. The campaign itself is very simple; when customers visit Shoppers and donate $5 at checkout, Shoppers fills a bag with food worth the same price, and donates it right back to ACTS' Food Pantry, where our clients can receive them. Each bag is comprised of rice, macaroni, tomatoes, tuna, and 2 cans of vegetables, and it's a very quick and inexpensive way to make a difference for those that are hungry in our area. This morning, our food pantry manager Melissa Napora met with Shopper’s bookkeeper Sandy Oudeh to talk about how the store has...
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The Importance of Thrifting This Christmas

The Importance of Thrifting This Christmas
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the ACTS Thrift Store, and I for one am stoked! This is hands down my favorite time of year and I just love giving everyone on my nice list that perfect "thing" that has them written all over it. In the back of my mind though I say to myself " Self? is it just a bit naughty to gift from a thrift?" For this month of sharing I will be giving my top ten reasons thrifting is a go this season. 1. A gift to the community Shop for good! Your purchases help fund charitable causes. Melissa Napora runs our food pantry and deserves a big round of applause for just wrapping up ACTS' largest annual food drive. Operation Turkey ran from November 1st through the 18th this year, and during that time, the Food Pantry served over 700 families. ACTS...
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ACTS Introduces the Hunger Prevention Center

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The winter holiday season allows us to enjoy time with loved ones, give gifts that will be cherished by those closest to us, and offers us the chance to reflect on the many blessings we have received throughout the year. But for some in our area, this season will mean hardship when it comes to paying for utilities, being able to afford food, and not having the resources necessary to provide shelter or clothing for their family members.  This is why ACTS is here during the holidays and throughout the year, and we sincerely hope that you and your family have considered making a contribution to us this holiday season.  We only send out appeals twice each year, and the holiday appeal is our largest.  With over 50% of our budget coming from donations, it is also our most important. One way your donations will be used in the coming year...
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Operation Turkey A Huge Success

Operation Turkey A Huge Success
ACTS' largest annual food drive, Operation Turkey, ran from November 1st through the 18th this year, and during that time, the Food Pantry served over 700 families, giving out 1,049 Operation Turkey bags, each weighing about 12 lbs.  The pantry distributed a total of 59,427 pounds of food, of which 11,388 pounds consisted of Thanksgiving staples such as stuffing mixes, vegetables, and pie ingredients.  In addition, each family received a $10 gift card from a local grocer to put towards the purchase of a turkey. Starting in October, nearly 200 volunteers assisted with this year’s drive by sorting, bagging and distributing Thanksgiving meals.  These volunteers included groups of families and friends, military groups, high school athletes, area businesses and Girl Scouts. There were also two large food drives that supported Operation Turkey this year, and these came from Prince William County area schools and Boy Scouts of America’s “Scouting for Food" program,...
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Remembering Sara Anderson

Remembering Sara Anderson
It is with a heavy heart when we say that Sara Anderson passed away on October 31st, 2016. Sara B. Anderson was one of the original founders of ACTS who served on its Board of Directors and was the agency's Emergency Assistance program director for more than thirty years. Her daily approach to serving the clients of ACTS was notable in that it combined all of the following traits: extraordinarily effective combination of professionalism and compassion; absolute adherence to non-discrimination with regard to the characteristics of the client; acceptance of the need to concentrate on being a contributor to solutions as opposed to being a definer of problems; an agent of kindness genuinely concerned about all of the myriad struggles that defined the lives of her clients and who, likewise, admired their instincts and skills of adaptability and survival. She, herself, was a person of surpassing grace and good humor who...
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ACTS Opens A New Satellite Office in Manassas

ACTS Opens A New Satellite Office in Manassas
We are very pleased to announce that on October 25th, a much-awaited for ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of our new satellite office in Manassas! This historical moment for ACTS comes thanks in part to the Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Grant Program run though the Department of Criminal Justices Services, as well as through your ongoing support. Our newest office will be the location of four new positions that will further the programs we currently have on the eastern side of Prince William, and will help us to expand our mission to more of those in need in the western part of the county. Most of the positions that will be housed at the new Manassas site will be part of our Crisis and Trauma Services Division, although we will have a representative from our Housing Department there as well. These new positions are: A housing case...
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Vernell's Success Story

Vernell's Success Story
My name is Vernell Wilks, and I am the proud recipient of ACTS services.  During the early 90’s, I became a single mom due to divorce (not my decision).  After the divorce, I decided to pursue my goal of returning to school.   My objective was to become a teacher so that I could be at home with my two daughters during the summers, and by 4pm so that I could help them with homework.  After just a few months as a single mom, I took my nine year old niece in and raised her along with my two girls with no additional income.  As I had expected, being a single mom was not at all easy.  Although the drama in my life was no more, I found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.  Someone told me about ACTS and I decided to give it a try by taking a cut-off...
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ACTS Domestic Violence Services Welcomes October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

ACTS Domestic Violence Services Welcomes October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Today in Prince William County, ACTS Domestic Violence Services welcomed October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This campaign shines a light of hope on the dark reality of domestic violence in our families, our schools and our communities in Prince William County and across the Commonwealth of Virginia. One in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).  In America, one in fifteen children are exposed to domestic violence each year, often as eyewitnesses to violence, causing trauma and ongoing behavioral and emotional problems. The problem of domestic violence is not just national in scope, but affects our local communities. “In Prince William County, the Police Department fields over 9,000 crisis calls from families involved with domestic violence per year,” stated Dotty Larsen, Director of ACTS...
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6th Annual IWALK a Huge Success

6th Annual IWALK a Huge Success
The morning of October 1, 2016 began with a lot of rain here in Prince William County, but more importantly, it started with a lot of people in the area waking up early to volunteer their time to help set up tables, tents, and chairs for our annual IWALK event. The IWALK, which has been hosted by Image Church for six years now, is a time where businesses, churches, and families come together to support our organization's programs. This year, runners and walkers of all ages met in Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, and after the 5K race was finished, they had the chance to enjoy a festival where raffles were won, good food was eaten, and songs were sung to help support our mission for our neighbors in crisis. {gallery}/media/jw_sigpro/users/0000000706/IWALK 2016{/gallery} Our 6th Annual IWALK was a huge success, and we at ACTS cannot possible begin to thank Image Church for...
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IWALK Enters The Final Lap Thanks to Its Sponsors

IWALK Enters The Final Lap Thanks to Its Sponsors
October 1 is this Saturday and before we lace up our running shoes and lumber up for our 6th Annual 5K Walk and Run Festival, we would like to share some of the outstanding corporate sponsors that contributed the most to this year's IWALK. We received some very large contributions from both local companies and individuals throughout Prince William County, and we cannot begin to show our appreciation for not only each and every one of the pledges and gifts we received for our biggest fundraiser, but also the amount of hard work and dedication that went into spreading the news about this event, specifically from our partners at Image Church.  Check out this design from the back of our event t-shirt – We are grateful for the many companies and donors that are filling this space.  For the most current list of sponsors, visit  http://www.iwalkforacts.com/sponsors/ .  (Above from left to...
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A New Day for Operation Turkey

A New Day for Operation Turkey
ACTS is pleased to announce that Operation Turkey '16 is well under way, and this year will bring forth some great, new changes. For those who might be unfamiliar with this event, Operation Turkey is traditionally our largest food drive for our neighbors in need of food for Thanksgiving. Our food pantry provides clients with standard Thanksgiving dinner staples such as stuffing and canned vegetables, while also giving out vouchers for turkeys.  In recent years, Operation Turkey has taken place over the span of just a few days, but this year, the event will run from November 1st through November 18th. During this time, clients are eligible to receive bags of food for their families the day that they register through our Emergency Assistance program, which means that they will not have to wait until the end of the month, nor will they have to wait in line. This will ultimately...
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ACTS Nominated for Prince William Living's Giving Back Award

ACTS Nominated for Prince William Living's Giving Back Award
With 2016 being an election year, our organization has found it's name in a very important poll. To be precise, ACTS is honored to be considered as a nominee of Prince William Living's Annual Giving Back Award. The Giving Back Award is the publication's way of promoting non-profit organizations in the areas of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park in their efforts of creating greater awareness and support for the type of work we all do. From now until September 15th, the public is able to cast their votes on the best non-profit organization in the area from a list on Prince William Living's website. Afterwards, the top five non-profits will receive an article in the magazine that will highlight their programs and services in the community. While our organization does appreciate the amazing work that other non-profits have done for our neighbors in Prince William County, this award will give...
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Meals Made The ACTS Way

Meals Made The ACTS Way
On Friday, August 19th, the Beverly Warren Emergency Shelter received a donation of 25 brown bag lunches for the clients that reside there. This generous donation was made by Ms. Terri Walton and a group from The Greater Praise Temple Ministries, who represent several different groups and organizations that make recurring food donations to ACTS. From the Food Pantry to the Emergency Shelter, food and necessary items such as toiletries are the most important donations we receive at ACTS, and it is through the help of our community partners that we are able to prevent hunger to our neighbors in Prince William County.  The group from The Greater Praise Temple Ministries participated in a program that is run through the Emergency Shelter called the  Adopt a Day (ADD) Program . Churches, school groups, and families are invited to get involved with this program, which entails the following: Meals can be dropped off at the...
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ACTS Announces its 2016 School Supply Drive

ACTS Announces its 2016 School Supply Drive
School begins on August 29th for our Prince William County students, meaning that the daily morning rushes of signing permission slips, looking for missing socks, and waking up on time to catch the bus will quickly be upon us. As exciting as the start of the school year can be for some, the fact is that there will be children in our community that will arrive on their first day without any new supplies. From new clothes and book bags to pens, pencils, and paper; some families in our community will struggle to keep up with the costly items needed to start a successful year. In response to this, ACTS will be collecting school supplies this year to help curb this worry, and we need your help to do this. If it is within your means, we are asking the public to donate new or gently used school supplies to benefit students who...
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A Week of Community Giving at ACTS

A Week of Community Giving at ACTS
As the dog days of summer continue, the second week of August brought in some truly significant gifts to our organization. On Tuesday, August 9th, a very large truck from George Mason University arrived at our Beverly Warren Emergency Shelter carrying sixty dormitory mattresses. These twin XL-sized mattresses will be distributed to each of our housing facilities, which include our Emergency Shelter, Women's Empowerment Center, and Safe House . The university's donation has given us the ability to replace mattresses that had not only been used for years, but which were much smaller and slimmer compared to the newer ones we received. George Mason's contribution also means that our housing facilities have extra beds for the future and in case of emergencies. At a time of the year when our shelters experience higher than normal bed utilization rates, ACTS is truly grateful for the university's much needed present to our shelter...
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Q&A with an ACTS Volunteer

Q&A with an ACTS Volunteer
Volunteers are an integral part of the daily operations here at ACTS, and almost every department has their own team of people who donate their time and skills to helping our community. From sorting clothes at the thrift store to assisting our staff with administrative duties, our volunteers are essential to us. Joe Delfico is one of these people, and lately, he has been working on an impact study designed to show people in the community how our organization helps people in a quantifiable way. I recently interviewed Joe, and here is what he had to say about the work he is doing with us.    Q. How long have you been at ACTS and what do you do? A. I am a volunteer with IVC the Ignation Volunteer Corp. It is a national organization with 18 offices in the US. I work out of the Northern Virginia Office. I have been...
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ACTS Off to a Running Start with its 6th Annual IWalk Sponsorship Campaign

ACTS Off to a Running Start with its 6th Annual IWalk Sponsorship Campaign
October 1st is right around the corner, which means that ACTS' annual IWALK event is quickly approaching. For the first time, the 5K walk/run and family festival to benefit ACTS' programs will be held at Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge, VA, and Wegmans is the Platinum Sponsor.  So far ACTS, with the help of Image Church, has already secured $35,000 in sponsorship funds. Last year, IWALK brought in $44,000 (net) to help local families struggling to make ends meet.;To get the message out this year, Kate Shifflett of Image Church has put together promotional IWALK packs called "IWALK-in-a-box.". These promo packs will include; A cover sheet with how to use the promo kit Registration forms Pledge forms Fundraising guide Sponsorship package Promo cards Kate Shifflett said, "The idea is for friends of ACTS to become Ambassadors of IWALK. With IWALK-in-a-Box they have all the tools in hand to engage others, start a team,...
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Missionaries from Germany and Russia Lend a Hand for ACTS

Missionaries from Germany and Russia Lend a Hand for ACTS
ACTS’ history is repeating itself. In 1969, twelve churches joined together and combined their resources to help a family that was in crisis. In July of 2016, a few years shy of ACTS’ 50th anniversary, three churches from three different countries have banded together to not only improve upon one of the organization’s sites, but areas around Prince William County as well.   These three churches include Crossroads Presbyterian Church, located in Dumfries, a Baptist Church from Cera, Germany, and another from Rostov-on-Don, Russia. In total, 40 missionaries have arrived from Germany and Russia to work on the grounds of the Women’s Empowerment Center, which opened last year. They were also given a tour of ACTS’ administrative building and Family Services Center by CEO, Steven G. Liga. ACTS is truly grateful of the help these missionaries have provided to assist families that are in a transitional moment in their lives. The...
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