The school year in Fairfax County isn’t quite over yet, but schools are already looking forward to the generosity of the community to help equip students next year.
John Torre, Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson, said schools involved in the Cornerstones Back to School Drive look forward to being able to provide backpacks and other supplies to any students that need them.
Cornerstones provides services for lower income families in the southwestern Fairfax County. The backpack drive is part of a partnership with Kids R First to provide the supplies to Reston-Herndon area students who qualify for free and reduced meals at school.
“The number of backpacks requested does not always match directly with the number of students in the free and reduced-price meals program because backpacks typically last for more than one year,” Torre said. “Students do have the option to not accept the donated item. The staff member may ask for a few extras to keep on hand for new students or as replacements for a worn-out item.”
Cornerstones community resource associate Nate King said that even though the official drive doesn’t start until August, donations are already coming in.
“It’s going really well, we have probably 50 backpacks already donated out of what we need,” said King.
Cornerstones is still waiting to get a quote from the schools to determine the exact number of backpacks they’ll need for this year, although they believe it will match last year’s number, 3,500.
“The basic idea behind the backpack program is that if a student needs one, they get one,” Torre said. “Of course, [that] depends on the generosity of the donors.”
In addition to backpacks, Cornerstones is accepting donations for underwear for elementary school aged kids and Payless ShoeSource gift card donations of $25.
Those interested in donating can register online or order bags online and have them shipped to the Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210) directly from Amazon for free.
For more information about the drive, call King at 571-323-9569 or email [email protected].
Cornerstones is once again gearing up to collect thousands of backpacks to give out to students at local schools.
The annual drive is a partnership between Cornerstones and Kids R First. Nate King, community resource associate for Cornerstones, said the program collected about 3,500 backpacks last year and is aiming for the same number this year.
“We generally get a really good turnout,” King said. “It’s a combination of individuals, religious groups and businesses that help us out.”
Anyone wishing to participate in the drive is asked to register online to let Cornerstones know how many backpacks they or their group will be donating. Backpacks are being collected for elementary, middle school and high school students, with the high schoolers being the age of the greatest need.
Backpacks can be delivered to Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210) the week of Aug. 7-11. Volunteers will sort them out by schools, colors and sizes in the week that follows, and they will be distributed to the schools the week after that.
In addition to backpacks, Cornerstones is also requesting donations of new underwear for elementary school-age children, and Payless ShoeSource gift card donations of $25.
Donations go to all schools in the greater Reston-Herndon area, King said.
For more information about the drive, call King at 571-323-9569 or email [email protected].
Reston businesses, services and events were the recipients of nearly two dozen honors in Virginia Living magazine’s 2017 Best of Virginia awards.
According to the Eden Stuart, the magazine’s assistant editor, the awards issue, which is on newsstands today, is a “statewide guide to all that is ‘best’ in Virginia — from dining to shopping to doing.” More than 50,000 ballots were cast in a reader survey to find the honorees in 106 categories, Stuart said.
Lake Anne Plaza was particularly honored, with five businesses selected as being among the best of the best in the Northern Virginia region. Those winners include Lake Anne Brew House (first place, Best Local Craft Brewery); Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar (first place, Best Locally Owned Coffee Shop); Reston’s Used Book Shop (second place, Best Book Store); Small Change Consignments (first place, Best Children’s Clothing Store; second place, Best Consignment Shop); and Chesapeake Chocolates, Wine, Gifts and More (third place, Best Chocolatier).
“Please join us in saying congrats to these awesome Plaza merchants,” reads a post on Lake Anne Plaza’s Facebook page celebrating the honors.
In addition, the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne Plaza was honored with a second-place award for Best Farmers Market.
The full list of honorees from Reston in the 2017 Best of Virginia awards are:
Taste of Reston
Best Food Festival
Edibles Incredible Desserts (11917 Freedom Drive)
Best Dessert Menu
Bacon N’ Ed’s
Best Food Truck
Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza W.)
Best Local Craft Brewery
Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar (1612 Washington Plaza N.)
Best Locally Owned Coffee Shop
Life Time Fitness (1757 Business Center Drive)
CST Group (10740 Parkridge Blvd.)
Best Accounting Firm
Small Change Consignments (1629 Washington Plaza N.)
Best Children’s Clothing Store
Austin-Weston, The Center for Plastic Surgery (1825 Samuel Morse Drive)
Best Cosmetic Surgery Practice
The Eyewear Gallery at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.)
Best Eye Care Provider
Miye Wire LLC (1818 Library St.)
Best Financial Planning Firm
AKG Design Studio
Best Kitchen Design Firm
Davelle Clothiers (11921 Freedom Drive)
Best Men’s Clothing Store
Virginia Therapy & Fitness Center (1831 Wiehle Ave.)
Best Physical Therapy Group
Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
Best Art Event
Reston Farmers Market
Best Farmers Market
Small Change Consignments (1629 Washington Plaza N.)
Best Consignment Shop
Reston’s Used Book Shop (1623 Washington Plaza N.)
Best Book Store
Chesapeake Chocolates, Wine, Gifts and More (11426 Washington Plaza W.)
Trader Joe’s (11958 Killingsworth Ave.)
Best Grocery Store
The Wine Cabinet (1416 North Point Village Center)
Best Wine Shop
Image courtesy Virginia Living magazine
The community’s best were honored Thursday evening during the 26th annual Best of Reston Awards Gala, a partnership between Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.
Twenty-two finalists for the awards were announced earlier this year, and honorees at the gala included:
- Small Business Leader Award: The CST Group
- Civic/Community Organization Awards: Women Giving Back, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
- Large Business Service Award: Odin, Feldman and Pittleman, P.C.
- Individual Community Leader Award: Bill Keefe
- Family Service Award: Vincent and Gillian Sescoe
In addition, the Vade Bolton-Ann Rodriguez Legacy Award, presented for only the third time since its inception, went to Herb Williams-Baffoe. According to Cornerstones, the award “honors acts of volunteerism and leadership that motivate and inspire a new generation of leaders and create a legacy of service. Herb was recognized because he inspires us all, and shows the power of believing in our youth and what that does for their self-belief.”
The Robert E. Simon Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Vicky Wingert “for her lifetime commitment to Reston values, for cementing the legacy of Bob Simon and for capturing the history and future of Reston,” according to Cornerstones.
A check for more than $515,000, representing funds raised through this year’s Best of Reston, was presented to Cornerstones to support the organization’s strategies of starting individuals on a pathway to sustainable living-wage employment, and to identify and address other barriers to move from surviving to living prosperous, healthy lives.
“Cornerstones counts on your support of its work to stabilize those who are struggling, empower those who may not have a voice, and bring hope to our community,” said Charlene Wheeless, Bechtel principal vice president and a 2016 Best of Reston honoree who co-chaired the event along with Doug Bushee. “Now more than ever we need organizations who work to ensure everyone has access to food, shelter and opportunities for a stronger future.”
Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones CEO, said community support has helped the organization made great strides toward curtailing homelessness.
“We believe that our job is to end homelessness — not just manage it — by developing housing that is affordable for people over their lifetime,” Wilson said. “We are so grateful for the incredible support that helps Cornerstones and its partners to reduce homelessness in our community by 47 percent in the past eight years.”
For more photos from Thursday evening’s gala, visit photographer Chip McCrea’s website.
Photos courtesy Chip McCrea Photography
Reston Town Center will host family-friendly events each Saturday in March, to benefit Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston.
The first such event is scheduled for March 4, from 1-4 p.m., and will include free rides on a vintage carousel, free s’mores and hot chocolate, and a performance by the Fairfax Jubil-Aires.
Future events, according to information provided by Town Center owners Boston Properties, will feature complimentary music, pet adoption, balloon artists, carriage rides, funnel cakes, RTC mascot “Resty the Dog,” mini train rides, caricature artists and more.
Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston began in October. It is part of a countywide movement that aims to identify areas of need and provide resources that will allow all children to gain a strong academic foundation, family resilience, and a culture of engagement and success. It was developed and launched by planning partners including Cornerstones, Leadership Fairfax, Reston Association, Reston Community Center, YMCA Reston/Fairfax County, Fairfax County Public Schools and various county departments.
“Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston (RestON) is about community partners working together to foster the health and wellbeing of the next generation. We are grateful to Boston Properties for choosing to support RestON through their March weekend family events at Reston Town Center,” said Toni Francis-Bowie, director of Opportunity Neighborhoods. “When we invest wisely in children and families, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship.”
For additional information about Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston and these upcoming events at Reston Town Center, contact Cornerstones CEO Kerrie Wilson at 571-323-9571 or [email protected].
In a break from previous tradition, 22 finalists for the 2017 Best of Reston Awards were announced Thursday night. In past years, only the winners have been honored.
According to Cornerstones, which puts on the awards along with the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, the new process serves to recognize the importance of the “many fine people, businesses and organizations involved in giving back in greater Reston/Dulles corridor.”
“At a time of uncertainty and change in our nation, the Best of Reston Community Service Awards serve as a powerful reminder that there is so much that unites us,” said Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones. “This new approach to the awards was recommended as a way to lift up those who are bringing our community together, and affirms principles of service that are core to the work of Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.”
Nominees for the awards are as follows:
INDIVIDUAL OR FAMILY SERVICE
- Robert Goudie
- Vernon and Kathy Joyner
- Bill Keefe
- Shreya Papneja
- Maggie Parker
- Bob Schnapp
- Vincent and Gillian Sescoe
- Herb Williams-Baffoe
CIVIC AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, VOLUNTEERISM THROUGH NONPROFIT SERVICE
- Herndon Community Leo Club Youth
- Omicron Kappa Kappa
- The Reston Chorale
- Touching Heart
- Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
- Women Giving Back
- JK Moving Services
- Odin, Feldman and Pittleman, P.C.
EMPLOYEE-OWNED AND SMALL BUSINESS
- SpeedPro Imaging Northern Virginia
- Storycatcher Productions
- Synergy Design & Construction
- The CST Group
Up to two awardees will be selected from each category and will be honored April 6. Proceeds from the celebration benefit the programs and people served by Cornerstones.
Mark Ingrao, president and CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, said the candidates are all vital parts of the community.
“We believe that service is a cornerstone of any thriving community, and this event… says it all,” he said. “Through their volunteerism and philanthropy, the past Best of Reston honorees and the candidates for the 2017 Awards work throughout the greater Reston and Dulles corridor region to make it a stronger community.”
Leidos, which hosted Thursday night’s reception, has partnered with cornerstones as the Annual Champion Partner. The company presented Cornerstones with a $100,000 check during the event.
“It is our hope that this support will be a beacon and spread the light of the good work Cornerstones does on behalf of Reston and beyond,” said Melissa Koskovich, Leidos senior vice president and marketing director. “Partnering with Cornerstones, who empowers people in our community to become self-sufficient, allows us to have a lasting impact in Reston and the greater Dulles Corridor.”
For more information about the awards, visit Cornerstones online.
Photos courtesy Chip McCrea Photography
Capitol Steps, a D.C.-based political satire troupe, puts on the benefit show each year. More than 600 people attended the event Sunday night at the Hyatt Regency Reston.
“We are thrilled to see a full house, especially after this year in politics,” said Sarah Leonard, chair of Cornerstones’ Board of Directors. “You help Cornerstones accomplish our mission to encourage stability, empowerment and hope. It takes thousands to help within our connected community and for each of you we are grateful.”
At the end of the night, a total of $294,697 had been raised for the cause. According to information provided by Cornerstones, that money will be used “to meet critical needs of those in the [Embry Rucker] shelter as they progress toward affordable housing.”
Since 1970, Cornerstones has reached out to 250,000 neighbors in need, helping them overcome tough economic times in an already high cost-of-living region. Through advocacy and support services, it connects its clients to the resources they need to help build more stable families and self-sufficient lives. It also strives to provide a comprehensive array of programs that solve urgent or on-going requirements for housing, childcare, food or financial assistance.
Photo courtesy Chip McCrea Photography
No matter where you find yourself on the political landscape, there is always something to lampoon. The current state of politics in the nation leaves no shortage of targets.
Political satire troupe Capitol Steps will be in Reston once again this month to throw their barbs at those targets, all to benefit a good cause.
For the 34th straight year, the D.C.-based group will perform here to benefit Cornerstones. This year’s event is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents Street).
Tickets for the show are $100, with full tables and sponsorship opportunities also available.
Proceeds from the performance will benefit Cornerstones’ efforts to provide affordable housing, emergency shelter, food, financial assistance, childcare and other essential resources to individuals and families in need. Last year’s show raised over $230,000 for those efforts.
Photo via Chip McCrea Photography
‘Best of Reston’ Applications Due Today — Nominees for the 2017 Best of Reston Community Service Awards, sponsored by Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, must be submitted by 5 p.m. today. The awards will be presented Thursday, April 6. [Cornerstones]
Cybersecurity Company May Make Passwords Obsolete — Daon Corporation, based in Reston, is working on technology that would allow for unique human factors such as voice and face structure to take over for passwords in smartphones and beyond. [WJLA]
Reston Women Collecting Hats for D.C. March — Carrie and Molly McKnight have made their home the collection point for pink knitted hats. The hats will be worn by thousands participating in the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. [WUSA]
The 11th annual Reston Sprint Triathlon is still nearly five months away, but organizers say registration has already reached capacity.
The registration process for the event began at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Less than 24 hours later, nearly 1,000 participants had signed up and it was cut off.
The 2017 Reston Sprint Triathlon is now full and registration is closed. Thanks to the 950 athletes that chose… https://t.co/nN4JOPexJf
— Reston Sprint Tri (@RestonSprintTri) January 5, 2017
“Thanks to the 950 athletes that chose our race and whose participation in this race helps those in need,” the full Facebook post continues. “You are making a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.”
The event, scheduled for Sunday, June 4, benefits Cornerstones. Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones CEO, said the relationship between her organization and the CORE Foundation, which stages the annual fundraiser, is cherished.
“Truly, 100 percent of the proceeds go to benefit the organization,” Wilson said. “Those kinds of partnerships are very unique and just amazing.”
Wilson said the event has raised about $240,000 for Cornerstones in the past decade.
“Every year it has grown, every year since 2007, as the race itself has grown and so has the sponsorship to be able to support our mission,” she said. “Annually, we can count on the fact that those resources are there so that we can provide stability and hope to the clients we support.”
A 1/4-mile swim at Lake Newport Pool, a 12-mile bike ride on North Reston roads and a three-mile run on North Reston pathways make up the course.
More than 600 volunteers are also needed for the event. Anyone interested in being a part of the effort is encouraged to sign up at the triathlon’s website.
Reston Native Stars in History Channel Show — Britt Ahart, who attended South Lakes High School and lived in the area for more than 30 years, is starring in the latest season of “Alone,” a show about stranding people in the middle of nowhere to see how they survive. [Reston Patch]
A Celebration of Christmas — Reston’s Washington Plaza Baptist Church (1615 Washington Plaza West) is inviting locals to come hear the choir sing festive holiday music at its annual Christmas concert Saturday from 4-5:30 p.m. A reception is scheduled to follow the free concert. The church is also collecting winter gloves for children and cans of food local charities. [WPBC/Facebook]
Know Someone Who Deserves to Be Recognized? — Cornerstones has opened nominations for its annual Best of Reston awards, which honor those who have given selflessly to the Reston/Dulles Corridor communities. This year’s awards include categories for Individual/Family, Civic/Community Group or Nonprofit, Employee-Owned Company or Small Business, Corporate/Large Business, and a special award, the Vade Bolton-Ann Rodriquez Legacy Award, with the theme “Entrusting Our Community’s Future.” [Cornerstones]
Commercial Trucks Pulled Out of Service for Safety Violations — Fairfax County Police randomly chose 10 commercial trucks operating in Reston on Tuesday and inspected them for safety compliance. Authorities found 35 safety violations, and four trucks were taken out of service for “serious safety violations.” [FCPD]
Hernon Residents Show Holiday Spirit in Annual Home Tour — Residents throughout the area showcased some of their favorite holiday decorations during the annual Holiday Homes Tour of Herndon. [Reston Connection]
What Lurks in the Woods of Reston? — Local authors Eric MacDicken and Kristina S. Alcorn will sign copies of and speak about their new book, “Myths and Monsters of Reston, Virginia,” at Scrawl Books independent bookstore (11862 Market St.) at Reston Town Center this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. The book details “the phenomenal and frightening findings” of “what lurks in the woods of Reston.” [Scrawl Books]
Winter Coat Closet Open For Residents in Need — The annual Hunter Mill District Winter Coat Closet is now open for underprivileged local residents to come and get a warm winter coat if they cannot afford to buy one. Coats are available now through March 18 in the Community Room of the North County Governmental Building (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The Closet is also in need of donations of new as well as clean, gently-used coats, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves through Feb. 16, 2017. [Cornerstones]
Photo of sunrise over Reston via Twitter user @JGS.
Community members, corporate partners, faith communities and local officials will gather Wednesday night at South Lakes High School to kick off the new Reston Opportunity Neighborhood (ResTON) initiative.
Started by Fairfax County, the Opportunity Neighborhood movement aims to identify areas of need, and provide resources that will allow all children to gain a strong academic foundation, family resilience, and “a culture of engagement and success,” representatives said.
The first neighborhood to join Opportunity Neighborhood was Mount Vernon in the Alexandria area. Reston will be the second neighborhood to become part of the program.
Hunter Mill District County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is a big proponent of ResTON initiative, and will be participating in Wednesday night’s kick-off event, along with Fairfax County School Board Representative Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill).
“I believe children need resources that will allow them to excel,” Hudgins said in an email. “Opportunity Neighborhood is about improving the lives of children and youth, by bringing together County services, school resources and our community partners in cooperative framework. Through this collaboration, we can provide families with a seamless pipeline of programs, services and supports.”
One example Hudgins offered was ensuring that all children have safe and reliable transportation to and from school, and to enriching community events and places like their local recreation centers.
“Lack of transportation can hinder a student’s ability to stay after school to get extra assistance from a teacher or participate in an activity that can shape life skills,” Hudgins pointed out.
“And by transportation, I mean it might not be a train or bus. It could be as simple as a sidewalk that allows a child to walk to their local community center,” she added. “RestON will enable us to identify these issues and bring all of our resources to help solve these broader community issues.”
The ResTON kick-off event takes place Wednesday, 7-9 p.m., at South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Dr. in Reston.
Questions can be directed to Bill Threlkeld of Cornerstones at 571-323-9579 or [email protected].
Photo courtesy Cornerstones.
Reston nonprofit Cornerstones has started two new endowment funds to honor Restonians’ impact on the community.
The new funds are part of Cornerstones’ new Legacy of Hope Society, “where members of the community can make a lasting difference today by making a charitable planned gift that offers stability, empowerment and hope for families now and in the future,” Cornerstones said in a release.
The Stu Rakoff CornerstonesMemorial Fund remembers the former Cornerstones Board chair, who died in 2014 after battling ALS. Cornerstones says the the fund honors “a leader whose compassion for the human condition, love of Reston and its founding principles, and vision for Cornerstones’ future inspire us today.”
The Jennifer Steinbauer Early Childhood Education Scholarship Fund provides scholarships for the cost of child care for working families who do not qualify for a government subsidy but still need help with the costs of quality, affordable child care at Cornerstones’ Laurel Learning Center. The fund was established by longtime Reston residents Fran and Jane Steinbauer to honor their late daughter Jennifer, who had a love for working with young children.
Cornerstones, formerly Reston Interfaith, has been active in Reston since 1970. Cornerstones works to promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services.
Cornerstones, working with partner Kids R First, has kicked off its annual backpack drive. The organization is seeking new backpacks for Reston and Herndon students who are Cornerstones’ clients or who receive free or reduced lunch.
Cornerstones is urging individuals, corporations and organizations to get involved to make the backpack drive a success
Here is what is needed.
- New backpacks with no logos or wheels.
- High school size: 20″ x 14″ 7″ (the area of greatest need)
- Middle school size: 18″ x 13″ x 6″
- Elementary school size: 16 ” x 12″ x 5″
Additionally, Cornerstones is requesting donations of new underwear for elementary age children. Payless Shoes gift cards ($25) are also welcome so Cornerstones’ clients can get a new pair of shoes.
Donors can pledge online the number of backpacks they would like to donate.
Groups planning a collection can email [email protected] to request a personalized flyer to distribute.
Backpacks should be delivered to Cornerstones’ offices, 11150 Sunset Hills Rd., Suite 210, Reston VA 20190 Aug. 8-12, 9 to 5 p.m.
Virginia tax free school shopping on backpacks will also be in effect Aug. 5 to 7.
Questions? Contact Cornerstones at 571-323-9568 or [email protected].