ACTS To Hold Grand Opening of Hunger Prevention Center

IMG_0121
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 always...
Continue reading
3
  1381 Hits
  0 Comments
1381 Hits
0 Comments

Suicide and Self-harm in the Media Today

153140303735608653
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 10th 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 in the media...
Continue reading
1
  959 Hits
  0 Comments
959 Hits
0 Comments

Raising Awareness in Prince William County with International Belly Dancing

shimmy
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, using the...
Continue reading
1
  875 Hits
  0 Comments
875 Hits
0 Comments

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.IntroductionThe 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 it, but the reality...
Continue reading
1
  891 Hits
  0 Comments
891 Hits
0 Comments

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 upWe continually look for ways to improve our volunteer programs and recently emailed a survey to active volunteers that can be found here. 37%...
Continue reading
1
  1104 Hits
  0 Comments
1104 Hits
0 Comments

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 “how” to volunteer,...
Continue reading
1
  869 Hits
  0 Comments
869 Hits
0 Comments

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

Am I crazy?
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: 703-221-4460Sarah’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 every night for...
Continue reading
0
  1181 Hits
  0 Comments
1181 Hits
0 Comments

Make IMPACT

152690964932043106
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 people each...
Continue reading
2
  971 Hits
  0 Comments
971 Hits
0 Comments

Volunteer Spotlight: Joline Doedens-Combs

certificate
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 attorney requests...
Continue reading
0
  1099 Hits
  0 Comments
1099 Hits
0 Comments

ACTS Partners with Birdies for Charity for Dominion Energy Charity Classic

BIRDIES-FOR-CHARITY
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 for more...
Continue reading
1
  699 Hits
  0 Comments
699 Hits
0 Comments

SAAM VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Edward McGovern

Webp.net-resizeimage-1
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 always be counted...
Continue reading
1
  909 Hits
  0 Comments
909 Hits
0 Comments

SAAM Volunteer Spotlight of the Week: Iris Coleman

download-3
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 the best way...
Continue reading
2
  1078 Hits
  0 Comments
1078 Hits
0 Comments

SAAM Volunteer Spotlight of the Week: Paige Meade

219190_4715916589617_1036120319_o-1
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 is also a...
Continue reading
4
  1483 Hits
  0 Comments
1483 Hits
0 Comments

#MeToo: 25 years ago in Prince William County

19989788_10212015809304300_6037545919533953095_n
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 hide them...
Continue reading
3
  1168 Hits
  0 Comments
1168 Hits
0 Comments

Volunteer Spotlight: Alexis

pexels-photo-914931
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 sure...
Continue reading
1
  1198 Hits
  0 Comments
1198 Hits
0 Comments

How Police Are Trained to Respond to Domestic Violence

pexels-photo-532001
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 officers respond, they know the situation...
Continue reading
2
  1552 Hits
  0 Comments
1552 Hits
0 Comments

Volunteer Spotlight: Byron Ross

152182385415527069
In this month's Volunteer Spotlight, we are highlighting the selfless work of Byron Ross, who volunteers with the Children's Program for ACTS' Domestic Violence Services Program. The Children's Program provides a support group to youths ages 5-17, and its focus is on building self-esteem, growing problem-solving skills and exploring one's feelings.April Vandover, who is the Children's Program Specialist, describes Byron as a great asset to her program;"He has volunteered for over a year, working well with youth of all ages but he shines with the teen group. Byron has an effortless way with connecting to youth, his guidance helps those around him open up, share, and feel comfortable. Byron's efforts with the teenagers has not gone unnoticed by ACTS or those in the group.  Any time he is away (which is an extremely rare occasion), his presence is truly missed. Part of the success of the teen's group can be attributed...
Continue reading
2
  1429 Hits
  0 Comments
1429 Hits
0 Comments

Change on the Horizon for ACTS' Housing Program

photo-1503457917564-4635cba0adf5
By: Denarsha Clarke and Laurel Turay; ACTS' Sustainable Housing Case ManagersAs ACTS prepares for its 50th Anniversary, one of our longest running programs, the Beverly Warren Emergency Family Shelter, will be experiencing some changes this year. Our organization began at the Emergency Shelter, and during ACTS' history, it has been the site of a thrift store, a hub for families to receive emergency financial assistance, but most importantly, it has been a refuge for all who would otherwise be homeless in our area.The change has already begun. Last year, Valria Martin became the supervisor for the Emergency Shelter as well as the Domestic Violence Shelter. Ms. Martin has been with ACTS for 10 years and her dedication to its residents has been unparalleled. The shelter will also be under renovation soon. While the building has been a beacon for those needing a safe place to stay, 50 years of constant use...
Continue reading
2
  1696 Hits
  0 Comments
1696 Hits
0 Comments

Life Unlocked

Life Unlocked
As seen in:At a recent women’s conference in Phoenix, Ariz., Erin Brockovich was one of the featured speakers—you know, the woman made famous when Julia Roberts portrayed her life story in the 2000 Academy Award-winning film Erin Brockovich.Brockovich was there to talk about how women can overcome even the toughest of situations. “We have to learn to persevere when we want to give up,” she said.During the Q&A that followed, Suzanna Quintana, 49, raised her hand. She had a story to tell about persevering. She had been stalked by her abusive ex-husband, she said, for two years, maybe longer—she couldn’t be exactly certain when it started, or even if it was over. In part, he had used the identity theft protection company, LifeLock to do so.Quintana had explored every avenue to get him to stop—the police, the court system, anyone at LifeLock who would listen. It seemed no one was overly concerned....
Continue reading
2
  2053 Hits
  0 Comments
2053 Hits
0 Comments

Keeping Your Mental Health in Mind

sad-man
By: Peter LineberryIt’s been said that not every disability is visible, and this can often be true when it comes to mental health. Some illnesses are readily diagnosed and treated with therapy and medication; others can be vaguer in the minds of those affected and often remain unknown to a person’s loved ones. Anxiety and depression can take many forms, and while sometimes triggered by sad events, might start just because, well, life happens.One reason that symptoms are undiagnosed, or purposefully hidden from the wider world, is the fear of stigma: that the person will become a social outcast at work or at home. Yet, in our county, there are numerous organizations dedicated to fighting this perception and providing needed help. Prince William Living wanted to highlight some of these organizations and show the good they are doing in the community, and share a few self-realized therapies that have made a positive difference for some coping with mental illness.Because, as Cynthia Dudley of Woodbridge’s Trillium Drop-In Center notes,...
Continue reading
2
  1601 Hits
  0 Comments
1601 Hits
0 Comments