ACTS Introduces Virtual Tour

Administration-Office
Have you ever wanted to know more about our programs but didn't have the time to visit each of our locations? We have you covered. ACTS is pleased to announce its first virtual tour which highlights the majority of the programs our organization has to offer. In this video, you will be introduced to not only the locations where most of the good work gets done; you'll also have the chance to meet each of our program directors and learn a little more about the functionality of our services. ACTS has been a staple in the community since its creation 49 years ago, and we aim to offer a helping hand to our Prince William County neighbors in crisis.    If you like our work or would like to ensure that ACTS' programs continue to run, we hope you consider making a donation whether big or small to our organization....
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Change on the Horizon for ACTS' Housing Program

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By: Denarsha Clarke and Laurel Turay; ACTS' Sustainable Housing Case Managers As 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...
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Life Unlocked

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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....
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Keeping Your Mental Health in Mind

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By: Peter Lineberry It’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...
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A Reflection of 2017

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2017 is over, and last year, our organization experienced more growth than we’ve ever had in our almost 50 years of existence. The extension of our Food Pantry; the Hunger Prevention Center , steadily developed. Our satellite office in Manassas opened, which hosts all of ACTS’ services. Our Board of Directors grew, and their leadership and backgrounds have brought in so many positive changes. Our annual events like IWALK , Operation Turkey , and the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner were some of the biggest and most attended we’ve had in our history. And Comcast Cares Day , which was the result of both Leadership Prince William and the hard work from the volunteers who were here that day, helped to create the environment that we want to instill upon the clients who need our services; that of warmth and compassion. In short, when future generations of ACTS volunteers and staff look...
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Merry Christmas from ACTS!

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from ACTS! We sincerely hope you spend the day with loved ones and enjoy the holiday cheer. We also wanted to take the time to thank you for your ongoing support of our organization. Thanks to our supporters, our Emergency Assistance Program was able to provide toys to 520 children in our area this month. These children come from families who would have otherwise received very little to nothing for Christmas, and we are indebted to our donors, especially the employees from IHOP and the organization, Chenega. This year, we were able to help 80,000 of our neighbors receive the basic necessities and emotional support they needed, and 50% of the help they received came from your generosity.  Donating to ACTS today will make it possible for a family to have electricity, a victim to receive the emotional support they need after they have been assaulted, and...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Victorson

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The Volunteer Spotlight is a new, monthly segment where ACTS recognizes the outstanding service by volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty. In this Volunteer Spotlight, we are highlighting the time selflessly given by those who serve on the Crisis and Suicide Helpline. The Crisis Helpline is a free, confidential telephone service available 24 hours a day. The extensive training for those who answer these calls is 40 hours, but the wonderful thing about this program is you work directly with the lives you touch and after the initial training, you have a very flexible schedule! Last year, our Helpline staff and volunteers answered 8,200 suicide-related calls, over 11,000 Senior Link calls, and over 7,000 calls related to crisis issues.  We want to acknowledge the awesome work of Mark Victorson, who is a longtime volunteer with the Suicide Helpline. In 2016, Mark gave over 836 hours of...
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A Guide to Volunteering During the Holiday Season

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I want to thank you for donating your time, items and energy; what you do makes a measurable impact for both ACTS and the community. The holiday season is a wonderful time to give back; this is the season for giving and as the year ends we reflect on both the good and bad and how to do something outside ourselves. However, in general, ACTS is not open on federally observed holidays so volunteering is limited at those times. So, what can you do to volunteer? Fill out our individual   or group application. If you are interested in working with a specific program- like the Adopt A Day on holidays you must follow up with the scheduler directly and as far in advance as possible. After filling out an application, schedule yourself, your family and friends to work the days before and following the holidays at departments like the Thrift...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Travis Morton

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Volunteers come in many shapes and sizes, and at our organization, they do many different tasks. Some decide to work at the food pantry , others work at our store , and still others take on administrative duties. ACTS was founded almost 50 years ago when 13 churches came together and decided that, since their neighbors were suffering, they would create an organization that would help those in crisis situations. This group consisted of regular people who wanted to make a difference, and for the first few years of ACTS, our founders worked as volunteers to make this happen. Several decades later, we’re pleased to share that this tradition is still alive and well in Prince William County. Enter Travis Morton.  Around halfway through 2017’s Operation Turkey event, Travis, an ordinary individual, reached out to ACTS to see if he could hold three different food drives simultaneously at different breweries...
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783 Families Fed Through Operation Turkey 2017

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ACTS' annual event; Operation Turkey, is now over, and our organization is very happy to share the number of families we were able to feed this Thanksgiving. However, before we do, we would like to thank all of those who supported our mission of eliminating hunger during the most recent holiday.  Donors who gave generously included individuals, churches, civic groups, and grocery stores, and a big thanks goes to Prince William County Schools and the Boy Scouts for their dedication during the event. According to Melissa Napora, ACTS' Food Pantry Manager; "Our organization made it work. ACTS' Emergency Assistance Team [who registers families and individuals for Operation Turkey] was amazing. Throughout the month of November, they were seeing up to 5 families at a time! Our volunteers worked their tails off, and went above and beyond the call of duty.  Their assistance with the School Drive, Tamika Martin's [ACTS' Volunteer...
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Our End of Year Campaign

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ACTS has several outlets of giving this year, and we would like to take the time to let you know about them in the hopes that you can assist us with the clients we see every day.  During this time, we ask you to think about ways that you can benefit our Prince William neighbors who are in crisis during the holidays.   Donate to our End of Year Campaign Your monetary donation makes it easy for us to cover costs that help us provide case management for our clients, shelter for our neighbors, and food for local families. You can make a donation  online  right now or mail a check to PO Box 74, Dumfries, VA 22026.   Make Your Gift Today   Hold a Drive This holiday season, ACTS invites you to provide comfort to those who have very little of it in our area. The colder months have...
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Celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness Month?!

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“You’re celebrating Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)?” a friend asked in the midst of a flurry of activities being planned in October for DVAM.  “Isn’t that an oxymoron?”   My only answer at the time was yes of course! We are celebrating the survivors of domestic violence as well as the work going on in our community to combat the epidemic of intimate partner violence.    But his comment got me to thinking. Is celebrate really the best word to describe such a sober subject as domestic violence? The recent church shooting in Texas reminds all of us how dangerous domestic violence-related behavior can be, and how vital it is to remain alert and recognize the signs before violence escalates. Indeed, it is a life and death matter, and not to be minimized.    So, thinking it through, I did what every Millennial would do (even though I am actually a...
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Update on ACTS' Operation Turkey 2017

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 As seen in:  Action in Community Through Service’s (ACTS) Operation Turkey is underway. According to ACTS Administrative Coordinator Ethan Vick, the organization provides foods to families in need for the Thanksgiving holiday. “ACTS gives out food for families that are in need. So we give out Thanksgiving staples like stuffing, and green beans, and stuff like that. And we also give out a gift card to a local grocery store,” said Vick. In addition to the food items the pantry gives out at their Dumfries location, individuals will also receive bags of the holiday food. Each family receives stuffing, cranberry sauce, instant potatoes, and other Thanksgiving staples,  according to the ACTS website. The food will be distributed to families through November 21.  “Last year we served 818 families – that’s a lot of food. This year we’re going for 1,000 families,” said Vick. So far, 418 families have been served,...
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#MeToo

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If you are on social media or you’ve turned in to the news this week, perhaps you've seen or heard about the hashtag that’s spreading like wildfire, #MeToo. If, like me, you are a survivor of sexual assault, it can be both empowering and triggering to see SO…MANY…PEOPLE…raising their hands and saying “it happened to me, too.” And yet, I know that there are so many others who are survivors, who are ashamed, or afraid, or pressured to keep their victimization private. I have never spoken of it myself. When I was in elementary school, I had a friend who had a horse. No one else I knew had a horse so I loved going to visit her, and we would groom and ride her horse. She had an older brother who was super cool in my eyes, mostly because he paid attention to me and made me feel special....
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Best Ways to Provide Support When One of Your Volunteers Suffers a Loss

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While it can take months or even years to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, most people realize that time doesn’t pause during that period. Life and responsibilities go on and require attention. While some people find returning to a regular routine helpful, it can be extremely challenging for others. This can be a tricky situation for a manager when a volunteer suffers a loss. But with a little planning, you can make the transition easier for your returning volunteer. Why It’s Hard Whether it’s working or volunteering, everyone knows that the first day back with an organization can be a bit of a challenge. Especially when one expects colleagues to react with sympathy and questions. It’s typical for people to have the same automatic, though well-intentioned, reaction of, “I’m sorry.”  They may ask how the volunteer is doing or what happened. Try to anticipate some...
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Christmas at ACTS

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As we do each year as the holidays approach, ACTS is collecting toys to distribute to our clients, particularly those in our residential programs.   To donate new, unwrapped toys for ages 0-13 and wrapping paper, please bring them to the Emergency Assistance Office in the Family Services Center at 3900 ACTS Lane from November 13th - December 8th. Suggested items: Books Dolls Cars Board Games Arts and Crafts Card Games Sports Toys (balls) Gift Cards (online media websites, theaters, local restaurants, department stores) NO WEAPON TYPE TOYS PLEASE Make this holiday one to remember for our youngest Prince William neighbors, and thank you for your support! 
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7th Annual IWALK for ACTS a Huge Success

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Source:  The 7 th  annual IWALK for  ACTS  was a success. The IWALK is held each year in partnership with Action in the Community Through Service (ACTS) and Image Church to help raise funds for the work that ACTS does in Prince William County. According to race organizer Kate Shifflett, this year 787 runners registered for the 5K walk and run in Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge – up from 565 last year. “You’re not here for ACTS – you’re here for the community. You’re here for your neighbors – that’s who you’re here for,” said ACTS CEO Steve Liga during the race. They were also able to increase the total fundraised for ACTS. “We are still finalizing the fundraising numbers but raised significantly more than last year,” stated Shifflett. Several events sponsors helped to make the event a success including Image Church, Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center,...
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ACTS Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

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Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th-October 15th, the only holiday that crosses two months, and during this time, ACTS recognizes those of Hispanic descent that work within our organization to provide care and comfort to those in need in our area. One of them is Madelyn Ramos , the Chief Program Officer for ACTS' Human Services Division. Mrs. Ramos oversees all operations in ACTS' Housing , Emergency Assistance , Food Pantry , and Thrift Store Programs. Recently, when asked what Hispanic Heritage means to her, she commented: "Sometimes people think Hispanic Heritage is all about the wonderful food or music that our Latino families share and even though this is a great part of our culture it is not what defines us. As I sit waiting on news of so many families affected by Hurricane Maria, including my own I contemplate how amazing we are as a culture. We...
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IWALK Festival To Enter Final Lap

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We can’t wait for  Saturday’s  7 th  Annual IWALK for ACTS. There’s still time to  register  for the 5K! Following the 5K, the community at large is invited to join us for a FREE family festival from  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center ( 14900 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge ). We will be filling the main street with activities and entertainment for the entire family. You won’t want to miss this fun, fall Saturday! We have a few vendor spots still available. Interested in partnering with us? Learn more  here . Here is a look at what to expect at the festival: Minecraft activities by Animated Child Bounce House and Bounce House Slide from Castle Bounce LLC Virginia Party Rentals Character appearances by: McGruff the Crime Dog, Star Wars characters, Superheroes, Sparky the Fire Dog and more Meet and Greet with Queen Elsa  Science experiments with...
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ACTS: A Haven for Victims Seeking Shelter from the Storm

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By Jennifer Lazzo Did you know that Action in Community Through Service (ACTS) provides more than just food and shelter to people in need? ACTS is an umbrella organization that serves many different needs . Founded in 1969, ACTS grew from addressing food and shelter needs to also providing domestic violence prevention and intervention , a crisis hotline and resource referral , and sexual assault support services . Under the direction of Executive Director and CEO Steve Liga , who joined ACTS in the spring of 2015, the Dumfries-based nonprofit has streamlined its organization by configuring programs to use the same internal sources, cross-training staff and expanding its services. ACTS has opened a second office in Manassas , a short walk from the courthouse, which provides all services except food, since two large food distribution programs are already in place in that part of the county, Liga noted. The office houses two new community educators and a new trauma counselor as well as multiple staff...
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