The message of Dr. Nadine Burke Harris to the 900 Virginia health, education, and human services professionals and advocates at the Voices for Virginia’s Children Summit on Childhood Trauma and Resilience last week was clear: Virginia, as well as other states, needs to move forward promptly on an evidence-based early human services program to screen for adverse childhood experiences and coordinate resources to respond to the needs. It was not a hard sell to the audience. They had already given her a lengthy standing ovation before she started her speech. Most knew of her pioneering work from her book, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, or her Ted Talk, “How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime,” that has reached over 2.8 million viewers on www.ted.com/talks. She is known for linking adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress with harmful effects to health later on in life. She founded the Center for Youth Wellness and is California’s first Surgeon General.
According to Dr. Harris, exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACE) including abuse, neglect, domestic violence and parental mental illness and substance abuse affect 34.8 million children across socio-economic lines and affect not only brain development but can change children’s hormonal systems, immune systems and even their DNA. The results are behavioral problems, learning difficulties and physical health issues. In adults, exposure to ACEs dramatically increases the likelihood of 7 out of 10 leading adult causes of death including heart disease and cancer.
For Dr. Harris early detection is key. Screening for ACEs in children is possible and with appropriate support services the existing and future harm to children’s brains and bodies caused by toxic stress can be alleviated. As Dr. Harris told the group in Richmond, “routine screening for ACEs at pediatric well-child visits should be as common as checking for hearing loss or exposure to lead paint. With early detection children can be treated and saved from a lifetime of health issues.”
Virginia currently has 19 communities throughout the state that have programs referred to as “trauma-informed community networks” that are at various stages of development of programs and services utilizing the findings of research on trauma and its impact on public health. There is little doubt that Dr. Harris’s visit will increase interest among practitioners and policy makers as to a more widespread use of the results of studies on ACEs. An effective program of ACE detection and intervention could lead to reduced health care costs, better performance of students in school, and a better quality of life for those involved. In the long-term, costs would be low or minimal as better diagnoses of conditions should lead to more effective treatments and a reduction in costs.
I look forward to working with Voices for Virginia’s Children–celebrating its 25th anniversary at the Summit–and its advocates to determine the most effective ways to make all programs trauma informed that will serve the entire Commonwealth. Such an approach will reduce the lingering harm that can come from undetected adverse childhood experiences.
A new preschool on North Village Road is bringing 35 jobs to the Reston area.
In addition to the nearly three dozen jobs, Rina Patel and Urvi and Beau Athia, the franchise owners, have invested more than $5.5 million in the local economy through building renovation costs, according to a press release.
“We’re thrilled to bring new life to this space in the Reston community and provide a much-needed service for parents in the area,” Athia said in the press release.
With 10 classrooms and a playground, the 10,000-square-foot offers early education and care to more than 150 children and their families, the press release says. The new facility — the 16th for Virginia — is part of a franchise that has more than 400 schools in 29 states and is accredited through AdvancED.
The school will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday (April 6) from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Photo via Primrose Schools
Common Ground Childcare recently opened its second Reston location earlier this week.
The new location by the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station is the first expansion by Common Ground Childcare, which debuted in Reston in 1972, according to its website. It is geared toward kids ranging from infants up to the age of 2.
A ribbon-cutting on March 30 celebrated the opening of the new spot at 11480 Sunset Hills Road.
The original location at 1700 Wainwright Drive offers before-school, after-school and drop-in care for young kids.
Photo via Facebook
Updated at 3:15 p.m. on March 8 — Corrects how many kids residents in the county may care for and the permission needed.
A home childcare center off of Frying Pan Road in Herndon wants to expand.
The childcare at 2472 Silk Court is open during regular business hours on weekdays and provides care for Reston and Herndon kids, according to county documents.
Residents in Fairfax County may care for up to four kids with a county permit, and residents who want to care for five or more kids need a state license, according to the Fairfax County Department of Family Services.
Madhuri Peddi is seeking a special exception that will allow care for up to 12 kids.
The county is expected to consider the special exemption request with a hearing on June 19.
Image via Google Maps
RA election starts — Voting begins today for the Reston Association’s Board of Directors. [Reston Association]
Community conversation — Want to help Fairfax County on its strategic planning process? Join a meeting tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Reston Community Center. [Eventbrite]
Youth Art Month — Exhibits open today at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery and the 3D Gallery at RCC Lake Anne featuring artwork by kids from eight Reston elementary schools. “National Youth Art Month has been observed annually since 1961. It emphasizes the value of art education and encourages support for quality school art programs.” [Reston Community Center]
(Updated at 5:05 p.m. on March 4) Starting Saturday (March 2), a student art exhibition will be on display at the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE).
The exhibit features art by students at Fairfax County public schools, who are participating in GRACE’s education program called “Emerging Visions.”
GRACE reworked the program to include grades K-12, inviting elementary and middle schools to participate for the first time, according to a press release from the arts center.
“We are now able to take the best parts of our existing programs, expand those in close conversation with FCPS and make a greater impact on more young artists,” Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel said in the press release.
In addition to the three longstanding participating FCPS high school schools — Herndon, Oakton and South Lakes high schools — the exhibit includes student art from Dogwood, Hunters Woods and Hutchinson elementary schools and Rachel Carson Middle School.
The exhibit is based on Caitlin Teal Price’ exhibit last year titled “Green is the Secret Color To Make Gold.”
GRACE worked with art educators at the schools to develop content and concepts to include into the curriculum, according to the press release. After educators, students and their families had the chance to view the exhibition and meet the curator and artist, students were able to respond to the theme by creating their own artwork.
FCPS released additional information about the students and their art on March 4:
One student, who is non-verbal, experiences art and, primarily painting, as a ritual or routine, according to this teacher. He makes repetitive marks with varying color and layers them to refer to different subject matter, such as a landscape. Another student has made at least one artwork a day for multiple years on topics from space-like environments to designs that involve flags of the world. South Lakes students shared their artist statements, explaining the process for creating their works.
[Another] student described the artwork as expressive of the mental illness she has been diagnosed with and says her work shows “that I’m locked inside myself and can’t get out of the emotions in my head.” She uses symbols indicative of psychological and emotional states. A team of two students uses found objects to which they apply paint, glue, and other materials, embracing their sense of humor and love of experimentation to provoke a sense of play and curiosity in their audience.
A third student uses her art to define herself through her own values and beliefs, not through the culture of her home country. She uses layering as a metaphor for memory and experience relevant to her life today. One student used a found piece of wood to which she responded with color and brush strokes ranging from tumultuous to more gentle; another uses her responses to daily events, observations, and feelings to create her paintings. One student submitted a photography display using a camera from a bin of broken cameras, kept by his teacher for spare parts, and fabricated a pinhole lens for the camera. Using a 30-second exposure, he took a series of photos that didn’t meet his expectations but he came to like for their abstract quality and colorful texture that “had a kind of painterly approach.”
Several free events are based around the exhibit.
The opening reception for the exhibit is set for tomorrow from 5-7 p.m. GRACE plans to host an open mic for kids on March 16.
The exhibition will be on display until March 30 at the gallery located at the Reston Town Center (12001 Market Street #103).
Photo via FCPS
PM Pediatrics held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last night (Feb. 26) to celebrate its new Herndon spot.
The ceremony came about two weeks after PM Pediatrics opened at 905 Herndon Parkway on Saturday, Feb. 16, according to a Facebook post.
The after-hours urgent care center advertises itself as an alternative to the emergency room for children and young adults. The staff of pediatric emergency specialists can treat kids in urgent situations, including earaches, fevers, infections, asthma, wounds and more.
PM Pediatrics has 39 locations spanning Alaska to New York and 10 more “coming soon,” according to the website. The Herndon location is open every day until midnight.
Image via Google Maps
FCPS delays opening — The county’s public schools will open two hours late today after being closed yesterday as a snowstorm hit. [FCPS]
Spruced up Safeway — “The Great Falls Safeway at 9881 Georgetown Pike reopened after renovations with a ribbon cutting on Saturday, Feb. 16.” [McLean Patch]
Blood pressure PSA — Did you know kids can have high blood pressure? The American Heart Association has a short video about health screenings to protect kids. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Photo via @greatfallsva/Instagram
Students from a private performing arts school in Reston recently took home prizes at the 2019 Junior Theater Festival.
The festival, which ran from Jan. 18-20 in Atlanta, celebrated student-driven musical theater programs. In addition to watching students’ performances, the more than 6,600 students and educators were able to partake in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals.
The Lopez Studios Inc. Performing Arts Preparatory School (11425 S. Isaac Newton Square) won a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Ensemble Work.
Three students from Lopez Studios — Jillian Felder, Victoria Felder and Marisa Lopez — received call-backs for future Broadway Junior shoots that will be taped this summer in New York City. The shoots will be “how-to” choreography videos for soon-to-be-released Broadway Junior musicals.
Marisa Lopez and Marcus Pennisi were some of the students named to the Junior Theater Festival All-Stars. They performed in the All-Stars song during the festival’s closing ceremony.
Students from the school also performed “Seusical Jr.” — the musical version for kids based on the books by Dr. Seuss.
This isn’t the first time Lopez Studios has won awards at Junior Theater Festivals. Students from the school have won awards or made it to the final call-back every year of the festival going back to 2014.
López Studios brings home the “Excellence in Ensemble Award” for 4 Consecutive years and 3 consecutive years under the direction of Michael Fowle! We could not be prouder! Continuing the Lopez Legacy! Congratulations!
— Lopez Studios, Inc. (@LopezStudiosInc) January 22, 2019
Photo by James Barker Photography
Four schools in the Reston and Herndon areas are part of 39 Fairfax County public schools taking part in a new after-school food program that provides free meals or snacks to any student.
Fairfax County Public Schools’ Office of Food and Nutrition Services announced the sponsorship of the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program yesterday (Feb. 4).
One school in Reston and three in Herndon requested that the program provide them with meals. They include:
- Herndon Elementary School (630 Dranesville Road)
- Herndon Middle School (901 Locust Street)
- Hutchison Elementary School (13209 Parcher Avenue)
- Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive)
Alexandria topped the list with the most requests from 16 schools, followed by 10 in Falls Church.
The program is part of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which is backed by the United States Department of Agriculture. It is managed by the Virginia Department of Health’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Photo via @fcpsnews/Twitter
(Updated at 8:30 a.m.) Fairfax County public schools are set to open two hours late tomorrow (Wednesday).
FCPS tweeted that tomorrow’s scheduled delay is due to “unexpected refreeze of roads and sidewalks overnight.”
School offices and central offices will open on time tomorrow.
Morning preschool classes will be canceled while afternoon preschool classes are set to start on their regular schedule. Full-day preschool and Family and Early Childhood Education Program-Head Start classes will start two hours later than the regular schedule.
Adult and community education classes are set to start on time.
Due to the expected refreeze of roads and sidewalks overnight, all Fairfax County public schools will open 2 hours late Wed., 1/16/19. School offices and central offices will open on time. (Condition 3B) More at: https://t.co/GqzuZiNx8f.
— Fairfax Schools (@fcpsnews) January 15, 2019
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Furloughed federal employees affected by the government shutdown now can pay a reduced cost for summer camp.
The Reston Community Center announced today (Jan. 15) that it will offer special summer camp fee waivers for affected families, allowing them to pay $10-$20 per child per week this summer.
Families can pay $10 per child per week of camp, with some camps planned with half-days. They can also pay an extra $10 for “Zen Zone,” an after-care option for those in less than a full day of camp.
“Reston is home to many people who have been affected by this event,” RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon said in a press release. “We know that discretionary spending for summer activities would be among the first things families would likely cut back on or eliminate in trying economic circumstances.”
Gorden said that she doesn’t want the shutdown — now the longest one in U.S. history — to deprive kids of their summer fun. She added that RCC will offer the fee waivers even if the government employees are called back to work soon.
“The economic impact has already been profound for federal employees,” she said.
Reston Community Center’s summer camps include a variety of half-day and full-day options.
Full-day camps let campers go on daily adventures to museums, water parks and more; create art; or practice theatre for a performance at RCC’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). Options for half-day camps include cooking, woodworking, magic, community service, photography, STEM and more.
RCC plans to host the Reston Camp Expo, which will have exhibitors from area nonprofits and Fairfax County government agencies, at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Registration for summer camp begins on Feb. 1 for Restonians and on Feb. 8 for everyone else. Families who live or work in Reston must present their federal government employee identification when registering for 2019 camp sessions.
Photo via the Reston Community Center
Ethan Berlin has written for various comedians’ shows including George Lopez, Jon Stewart and Sarah Silverman. But his latest venture is writing a children’s book.
Berlin will be returning to his roots in Reston on June 2 (Saturday) to read his debut children’s book “The Hugely-Wugely Spider” at Scrawl Books. The reading will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The story tells the tale of the Itsy-Bitsy’s spider’s larger counterpart, who can’t fit into the water spout.
Part of the idea for the story came about when he was singing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider to one of his two kids. Berlin added that he was typically the bigger kid in his class growing up and always wondered if a bigger version of the Itsy-Bitsy Spider existed.
A 1995 graduate of South Lakes High School, Berlin said he loved doing theatre and comedy during his time at SLHS.
“The thing I lived for at South Lakes was theatre,” he said.
Berlin described himself as a “weirdo” in high school and said he’s grateful for how nicely he was treated at SLHS.
Now living in New Jersey, Berlin said he’s excited to read to kids in Reston and catching up with old friends. And if he could somehow maintain his comedy and writing career from Reston he said he would move back.
Image via Scrawl Books’ website.
The Reston Community Players’ 2017-18 season opens tonight as the curtain rises on their presentation of Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical “Aida.” The show, winner of four Tony Awards, will be performed through Nov. 11 at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).
This weekend, the show is being performed at 8 p.m. both tonight and Saturday night. Tickets are $27, with student/senior tickets available for $23.
For more information about the show or about other upcoming events from the Reston Community Players, call 703-476-4500, ext. 3.
There is plenty else scheduled to take place this weekend in the area as well. Take a look at our list below.
(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)
- A trail of illuminated hand-carved pumpkins is welcoming visitors to “THE GLOW: A Jack O’Lantern Experience,” now through Oct. 29 at Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive). Presented by Townsquare Live Events, the “enchanting Halloween wonderland” features a third-of-a-mile trail decorated with more than 5,000 pumpkins. Tickets, which are $16 for kids ages 3-12 and $22 for adults, are available online and must be purchased in advance.
- The South Lakes High School football team, 6-1 on the season and ranked No. 13 in the region by the Washington Post, return home tonight for a 7 p.m. game against McLean.
- “Sue Wrbican: Well Past the Echo” will be on view at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through Nov. 18.
- The Woodland Park Crossing HarvestFest will take place from 1-4 p.m. Saturday in the plaza, located at 12960 Highland Crossing Drive in Herndon. The event will feature strolling performers, tenant giveaways, face painting and entertainment, and participating restaurants will offer specials and samples.
- A digital scavenger hunt is planned in downtown Herndon from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Participants will explore various businesses and areas in downtown Herndon to find what they seek. Prizes will be given to winners who discover all the hidden treasures. The event is open to all ages, but parents must accompany any children who play.
- The bluegrass series at Holy Cross Lutheran Church (1090 Sterling Road, Herndon) will present a performance by The Blue Moon Cowgirls at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $15, with children 12 and under admitted free.
- At 11 a.m. Saturday, kids ages 6-12 are invited to take part in the “Halloween Science Spectacular” at the Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive). Kids will explore fun Halloween science experiments that are “gooey and foggy.”
- During “Giraffe-toberfest,” celebrate fall with animals at Roer’s Zoofari (1228 Hunter Mill Road) on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can meet the zoo’s giraffe, “Waffles.” Tickets are $20 and all proceeds will support giraffe conservation.
- The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
- Fashion illustrator Joanna Baker will be at Scout & Molly’s (11944 Market St.) from 2-6 p.m. Saturday. Her prints will be available for purchase and she will be on hand to answer questions.
- Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m; and Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) every Saturday from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
This letter was submitted by Reston resident Alexandra Kenny South. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.
As a working parent with young children enrolled in Reston Association’s Fit Kids After-School Program, I was deeply dismayed by the Reston Association Board of Directors’ recent decision to end the program mid-school year. I followed with interest the discussion at the Board meeting as well as the Reston Now reporting on the ruling and the comments posted online. I thought I would provide my perspective on the matter as one of the families directly affected.
I have two children who attend Reston Association’s Fit Kids After-School Program, ages 8 (3rd grade) and 5 (kindergarten). They ride the bus to the Lake House from Lake Anne Elementary School every afternoon, where they spend the next few hours engrossed in experiential learning activities, homework help, outdoor play and creative arts. Dan Merenick, Katherine Caffrey and the rest of the Fit Kids staff bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the RA Fit Kids Program, and perhaps most importantly, my husband and I know as working parents that we can trust them 1,000 percent to take excellent care of our children.
We were taken aback to hear the Board’s Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative, Victoria White, state that, “Quite frankly, we’re a homeowners’ association. We’re not a child-care provider.” Reston Association has, in fact, long been a child-care provider, offering a wide range of summer and other school holiday educational programming which we and many other Reston families have benefitted from. The Fit Kids Program is an extension of the programming that the Reston Association has offered for years, and it is a lifeline for us as parents with two small children and two full-time demanding jobs that require a lengthy commute. It has been especially vital to us on the many days during the school year that are teacher workdays/student holidays, for which we would otherwise have to take leave. With the program now being discontinued midway through the school year (Dec. 15, we’ve since been told), we will be left high and dry, as public school-based after-care programs (SACC), which have similar costs, carry a very long waiting list, and spots at other private after-school care providers are few and far between, particularly in the middle of an existing school year. The decision obviously impacts the Fit Kids staff as well, many of whom gave up other afterschool positions to work at RA.
I understand, of course, the need to look at the bottom line when considering which programs to continue or not, particularly when the Lake House renovation costs were not budgeted appropriately from the start, leading to an overall loss in revenue over time. However, it’s not clear to me how RA envisions bringing in greater revenue by eliminating the Fit Kids Program at the Lake House. I would expect that any increase in revenue through special events, such as weddings, office parties, and the like, would be gained outside of the Program’s working hours (3:30-6:30 p.m. on weekdays). On the rare occasion that the Lake House was reserved during those hours, perhaps the Fit Kids Program could be moved to Brown’s Chapel or elsewhere to accommodate it.
On a more personal note, I grew up in Reston and I moved back here in 2011 in large part because I wanted my kids to experience the sense of community that RA contributes to. It saddens and disappoints me greatly that the RA Board cut such a valuable resource to our family because they don’t believe that other Restonians care to pay an additional $6-7 per household per year – paltry in comparison to the sums paid to the Reston Association for other goods and services, including use of recreational facilities. There must be another way to boost revenue that does not harm the many children that are gaining so much through their participation in RA’s Fit Kids Program.
Alexandra Kenny South