#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. I...
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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 of...
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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, Wegmans,...
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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 Hispanics...
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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 Chemistry...
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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 who...
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Volunteer Program Blog Introduction

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Welcome all ACTS employees, volunteers and prospects to the Volunteer Program Blog! My name is Tamika Martin, I am the Volunteer Coordinator. My job is volunteer: engagement, recruitment, placement, development, recognition and retention. This blog will feature: ACTS at events and volunteer days, recognition of excellent service from current volunteers by staff and information about programs that have immediate needs or are season specific (like Operation Turkey ). With the year winding down and the weather cooling; we know the holidays are right around the corner. This is the time where collectively we think outside ourselves and give to those around us. ACTS can be a great  vehicle for you and you loved ones to make a difference in the community. Here are some of programs available for single or ongoing terms:  Adopt-A-Day Program  - Provide breakfast, lunch or dinner and after-school snacks for children staying at the Beverly Warren shelter....
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What I Have Learned My First Year As A Crisis Listener

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It is amazing to me that whoever calls and whatever time it is, there is always room for compassion, even at 3:00 a.m.  Sometimes the callers at this hour are lonely and cannot sleep, other times the caller is in emotional distress.                                               We have a diverse background for our Crisis Listener team.  Many of my coworkers have past experience with working in the mental health field, serving as an encyclopedia of knowledge and resources.  One of them in particular, who has a calm spirit and years of experience, ended up talking to me about an active suicide I took. He was able to assess the call with me and gave me hope that the caller was talking about the future, so there is a chance the caller did not...
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Thank you IWALK Sponsors

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We are excited to report this year’s IWALK for ACTS 5K and Family Festival, set for  Saturday, October 7 , has raised over $84,000 to date and the total is growing daily! These funds are incredibly important to ACTS’ work because dollars raised through this event allow for flexibility in how funds are invested. We can use this money when and where it is needed most!  A special thank you to our Platinum Sponsors  Wegmans  and  Image Church . Your visionary support makes this event possible. Gold Sponsors  What’s Up Prince William ,  Dominion Energy ,  Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center  and  The Bodai Group  have helped us build the event’s presence and we’re incredibly grateful! Please check out the list below of the many companies, organizations and individuals who have played an important part in supporting ACTS and be sure to give them your patronage! Hunger, homelessness, domestic violence, and...
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Operation Turkey: 2017

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Fall is approaching fast, and the holiday season will soon be upon us! Many families in our area will be without basic essentials during the upcoming fall and winter months, and we'd like to let you know more about how ACTS' Operation Turkey is our way of combating hunger for our neighbors in November.    Operation Turkey is ACTS' largest annual food giveaway, and during this event, we provide Thanksgiving staples such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, and instant potatoes to low income families who visit our food pantry. This food is provided from organizations, businesses, churches, and local donors like yourself to ensure no family in our area goes without a holiday meal.    In 2016, the Food Pantry served 818 families, giving out 1,049 Operation Turkey bags, each weighing about 12 lbs.  The pantry distributed over 72,000 pounds of food, of which over 12,000 pounds consisted of Thanksgiving staples. In addition, each family received...
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IWALK 2017: A Message from Image Church

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We are so excited for this year's 7th Annual IWALK for ACTS on  Saturday, October 7 ! Our Church first began in Dumfries down the street from ACTS' headquarters. We started working with the shelter and food pantry right away. ACTS has a tremendous impact in the community and we knew we wanted to partner in a bigger way. We had a vision for bringing together our neighbors to benefit ACTS and the idea for what is now IWALK was born. Fast forward several years and Image Church is now based in Woodbridge and our annual event will fill the streets of Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center to raise funds and awareness for ACTS' important work.We are looking forward to a record breaking year in participants, attendees and funds raised. Last year's event raised $65,000 and we can't wait to see final numbers this year! We've seen more partners than ever before...
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ACTS Nominated for Prince William Living's Giving Back Award

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ACTS is very excited to announce that  Prince William Living Magazine has nominated our organization as a potential recipient of their 2017 Giving Back Award! The goal of this award is to raise awareness of what local non-profits contribute to local families, how they enhance Prince William and introduce their readers to new opportunities to give back to the community. The voting process also encourages volunteerism among readers, and ACTS needs your support! A combination of public voting and ratings by Prince William Living judges will be used in determining the winners. Each voter may vote once per day until voting is complete on  September 15th . If you would like to vote for ACTS or one of its departments , please click the link below.      How does ACTS support Prince William County? Last year, our organization:  Provided 729 families with utility and prescription assistance , which estimated to $220,000 in funds. Distributed over half a million...
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Helping Seniors Deal with the Loss of a Spouse: Tackling the Paperwork and Understanding the States of Grief

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Photo Credit: vlanka, Pixabay Losing a spouse is unimaginable. It’s one of the hardest things that an individual can go through in life, and watching your loved one suffer with the grief of losing his or her spouse isn’t easy either. If your senior loved one has recently become a widow or widower, your support is important. You can help with paperwork and other tasks. Your loved one will also need your support as he or she goes through each state of grief. When a person dies, there are certain tasks that must be taken care of, such as planning the funeral, contacting the insurance company, obtaining death certificates, and more. While you should offer to help , don’t try to take control of the situation. Handling the planning gives many people in grief a sense of control and a source of distraction. Instead, sit down with your loved one to...
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ACTS Events: September

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  September 2nd: ACTS' partner for the IWALK , Image Church, will be sponsoring "Movie Under the Stars," which will feature the film Babe. During this FREE event, Image Church will be giving out water and popcorn, as well as IWALK promo materials. This is a great way to learn more about Image Church, the IWALK, and to enjoy a great film with your family.    Time: 7:00pm Location: Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, 15201 Potomac Town Pl, Woodbridge, VA 22191       September 8th: Come join ACTS' Director of Suicide/Helpline Will Harms as he and representatives from Prince William County hold a panel discussion on suicide awareness and prevention.    Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm Location: Jirani Coffeehouse: 9425 West Street, Manassas, VA 20110         September 9th: Image Church will have an IWALK booth at the Stonebridge Chili Cook Off and Fall Festival. They are the official water sponsor for the...
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An Interview with ACTS' Food Pantry Manager

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In the fall of 2016, former food pantry volunteer Melissa Napora (pictured above to the far right corner) became ACTS' Food Pantry Manager just weeks before Operation Turkey began. This annual event is ACTS' largest food give-away, and the idea is to provide families with holiday meals who would otherwise be unable to afford it. Needless to say, it was a very busy time for her, but thanks in part to her leadership, the food pantry was able to provide meals for 818 families. Since that time, Melissa has made the position her own with her dedication and warmth towards both clients and the volunteers that serve at the pantry. I recently sat down with Melissa to discuss why she decided to take on such an important role at ACTS, as well as what the future holds for her program.  Ethan: You were a volunteer, why did you decide to work...
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Remembering Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington

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I love Soundgarden, it was one of the first bands I was exposed to. My mom would blast her tape of Superunknown on the way to bringing me to school every day in her 1992 Festiva (I never really figured what the cover was supposed to be of). Chris Cornell’s voice could go from a low growl to a high crescendo in a matter of seconds without missing a beat. My mind was completely blown when he and Tom Morello teamed up when I was 11. When Chris Cornell killed himself a few months ago, it was something you couldn’t ignore. Especially after Chester Bennington killed himself a few weeks ago. It underscored how no amount of money, fame, talent, or power makes you immune from depression and mental health problems. How someone with so much success in their life could still die. Social media was quick to echo this idea,...
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Compton & Duling Supports ACTS in its Work with Domestic Abuse Survivors

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Compton & Duling recently launched a Community Champion project in support of ACTS, which offers counseling and education for community members experiencing crisis. Through its involvement with ACTS, the Prince William-based law firm is bolstering services offered to families affected by domestic abuse . Compton & Duling Partner Maryse Allen recently did a presentation for ACTS' Adult Victim Group , helping group members to better understand the divorce process in Virginia. “While I am unable to give specific legal advice during a presentation, I can provide insight into preventing common pitfalls,” said Allen, who heads Compton & Duling’s family law practice. “Another goal is to demystify the court process. We never want anybody to feel that they are trapped in a domestic violence situation due to lack of information or resources.” Many of those in attendance had questions about their own situations. Often, Allen’s advice was to seek legal counsel. “The...
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ACTS and Image Church Gear Up for 7th Annual IWALK

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One of our favorite days of the year is around the corner! We are excited to partner with Image Church to host the 7th Annual IWALK for ACTS on  Saturday, October 7  at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center (14900 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge, VA). Last year’s event drew together hundreds from our local community and raised over $65,000 for ACTS' outreach efforts. Registration for the 5K run/walk begins at  8 a.m.  and the event starts at  9 a.m.  Registration is $20/individual, $15/team members (4+ per team), or $50/family. Following the walk, the community can enjoy a free family festival on the main street in Stonebridge from  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Attendees will enjoy food vendors, various performances, and kids activities such as face painting, moon bounces, carnival games, crafts, and much more.To register for IWALK, click the link below or e-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information.
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ACTS To Hold Back-To-School Supply Drive

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Our Emergency Assistance Office is pleased to announce that they will be running a school supply drive before school begins! They will be accepting the following school supplies from July 25th to September 4th during open hours at the Food Pantry location in Dumfries.    Our clients will need:   Composition notebooks Subject notebooks Pencils Pens glue rulers scissors loose leaf paper erasers pencil sharpeners small hand sanitizers   The available backpacks with the supplies in them will be distributed on : Friday, August 11, 18, 25 and September 1, between 9am-12pm, and Tuesday, August 15, 22, and 29, between 5-7pm. *Backpacks will be distributed while supplies last. One backpack per child. All backpacks will have the donated items in them, no requests for school items will be accepted. All families must come during the distribution days to register for the backpacks through EA. No appointments needed. With your help, we can send our...
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