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 on...
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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 Prince...
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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 given...
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My Partner Is Trying to Make Me Seem Crazy. Am I Crazy?

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As seen in: ACTS Domestic Violence Services' Adult Advocacy Program focuses on your safety, helping you set boundaries, and empowering you to lead an abuse-free life using resources we can help you attain. Individual and group support are both available. Call anytime: 703-221-4460 Sarah’s* abuser made her sleep facing him in bed. It started innocently enough. He said he liked it when she slept facing him so he could watch her fall asleep. It was romantic. But what started out as a request quickly turned into a demand. He convinced her that rolling over meant “turning her back on him,” and he’d become furious, even if she did it unthinkingly in that period between wakefulness and slumber. Sarah used to lie awake until she was certain he was asleep and then quietly roll over onto her right side, which is how she preferred to sleep. Sarah had to take two Tylenol PMs...
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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 hundred...
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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 bono...
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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 ability...
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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 here...
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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 can...
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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 offers....
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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 is...
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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 designed...
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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. Paige...
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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 a...
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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 to...
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Construction of the Hunger Prevention Center is Underway!

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We are very pleased to announce that our Hunger Prevention Center, which is an expansion of our food pantry operations, will officially open in June and construction will begin this week! This newest addition to ACTS 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 given Emergency Bags of food, but no produce or meat will be distributed. While we are closed we will not be accepting ANY donations at the food pantry.  Donation drop off times will resume tentatively on May 29th.  Once the Hunger Prevention Center is operational, it will mean that our clients will have access...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Alexis

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Helpline is a free and confidential 24/7 crisis service. Since the Helpline does not close, it is crucial that there are an adequate number of staff and volunteers to cover the Helpline at all times. There are certain times of day that callers tend to call in more frequently and more listeners are needed during those times. The topics of conversation are varied and listeners need to have the ability to discuss different types of crises. Volunteers are always appreciated. Alexis is an intern for the Helpline. She has to complete 120 hours for her internship and is more than halfway done at the time of this writing. Alexis has been willing to do her internship hours based on the needs of the Helpline. Whether that means a shift that begins at 5 AM or at 5 PM. She has a full-time job and she goes above and beyond to make...
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How Police Are Trained to Respond to Domestic Violence

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Last year, ACTS Domestic Violence Services initiated the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) to help train Prince William County officers how to respond to situations involving domestic violence. The LAP is a multi-pronged intervention program that consists of an evidence-based tool called the  Lethality  Screen that helps law enforcement more clearly assess a victim’s risk of intimate partner homicide, and an accompanying referral process that proactively connects victims to community-based domestic violence services. The Screen is adapted from Dr. Campbell’s Danger Assessment, a screening instrument used by clinicians and counselors to assess a victim’s risk of being killed by an intimate partner (Campbell, 1986). The LAP aims to translate clinical research on  lethality  predictors into practical tools that will help first responders respond more effectively to dangerous and potentially lethal incidents of domestic violence.  As seen in:  Domestic violence has been found to constitute the single largest category of police calls in some cities. When police...
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Be Part of the Change with ACTS' Annual Membership Drive!

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Over 80,000 residents of Prince William County look to ACTS for assistance.    When you join ACTS:   You can directly help your community.   You can be there for your neighbors and children today and tomorrow.  You provide food for your neighbors, ensure they have a roof over their heads, provide healing for those who have been abused, and offer hope to those who are in despair. BECOME A MEMBER NOW Together, as a part of the ACTS Team, we are improving lives. Consider the following true story to understand the impact your donation has for your neighbors.  Approximately nine months ago, a victim of domestic violence walked into the Emergency Assistance office for both financial and food assistance. During her case management session, she disclosed her husband had recently passed away after physically abusing her for years. She added she was facing foreclosure on her home, and felt depressed. This...
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