Reston, VA

After 30 years serving kids in Reston, the Robert E. Simon Jr. Children’s Center prepares to celebrate its upcoming anniversary.

Though they don’t have their own celebration planned, Emily Riordan, one of the center’s board members said that they are planning on celebrating during Reston’s Founders Day later in March and April. 

So far, Riordan said they are unsure what surprises are in store for the celebration, but they will have a better idea after the board meets to discuss details in the following weeks. 

Looking back, the center’s largest “contender” and struggle has been real estate changes, according to Riordan.

In 2015, the center relocated from its original location near Reston Town Center at Cameron Glen Drive and took over space at 12005 Sunrise Valley Drive.

The former site allowed kids to interact with senior citizens at a nearby facility — fulfilling Robert Simon’s dream of multi-generational interaction, Riordan said.

Within the last year, the center decided to switch spaces in the building to accommodate more kids.

“We have our own entrance and access to our playground,” she said. “We are able to make our mark in that space.”

Though Riordan couldn’t speak to changing demographics within the community, she said the center, which is under capacity, can accommodate 110 kids between ages three months to 5 years.

Photo via Robert E. Simon Jr. Children’s Center/Facebook 

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The Reston Association has decided to rename its camp program and add more options for people hoping to get involved next summer.

Now called Reston Camps, after rebranding from RA Camps, the program decided to institute several new camp opportunities after receiving feedback from kids and parents.

In 2020, the camp will offer new programming including a boating camp, aquatics camp, a young naturalist program and several others along with their traditional programs, according to Laura Kowalski, the director of recreation and environmental education for Reston Camps.

The organization also plans on revamping its lifeguard program.

Kowalski said that camp organizers will look at camp offerings and make changes to programming based on parent feedback, national trends and registration statistics from past years.

Regarding the name change, Kowalski said the organization decided it better suited their mission. “With any company, sometimes you just need to refresh.”

Reston Camps was originally founded in 1974, according to Kowalski and is the oldest camp in the area.

Katherine Caffrey, the camp director, said the program is constantly trying to evolve and suit the wishes and needs of campers.

A while back, Reston Camps instituted a ride service that picks kids up and drops them off at their home or parents’ work. Caffrey said that many parents aren’t aware of the program and encourages people to use it.

One thing that makes Reston Camps unique is its partnership with local scientific organizations, according to the organization’s staff.

“We have a pretty unique relationship with the United States Geological Survey,” Caffrey said.

Reston Camps works with USGS to schedule tours for kids and encourage an appreciation for science.

The new program announcements and registration can be found online. A lot of parents sign up their kids early, around January or February in anticipation for summer programs, Kowalski said.

Photo via Reston Association

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Seeing Santa is a Christmas tradition, and there are lots of places in the Reston area where people can meet him and possibly snap a few photos.

Roe & Co. Portrait Studio is hosting a session with Santa from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 14) at their Reston studio (11985 Market Street). People are invited to come and take photos of their families with Santa. Picture packages start at $25.

For people over the age of 21, there will be a Santa-themed bar crawl on Saturday (Dec. 14) from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. beginning at the Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street). Coordinators ask that people bring gifts for Toys for Tots.

The Winter Wonderland at Worldgate Herndon (13037 Worldgate Drive) features a free meet and greet party with Santa on Saturday (Dec. 14). There will be hot cocoa, snacks, an igloo and games on-site. The event will run from 1 until 4 p.m. but attendees must arrive by 3 p.m. if they would like a photo with Santa.

People in Herndon have the chance to take a wagon ride with Santa at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road) on Sunday (Dec. 15) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and people can help themselves to hot cocoa and roast marshmallows after the half-hour ride.

The following Sunday (Dec. 22), Santa will make an appearance on Sunday at the Reston Farmers Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue) from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to take photos.

If anyone doesn’t get the chance to see Santa in person, people are always welcome to track his whereabouts on Christmas Eve thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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Later this month, people in Reston have the chance to celebrate the holidays with a day of festivities.

The Reston Holiday Parade is set to take place on Friday (Nov. 29) in the Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street) and includes family-friendly events that are scheduled to take place throughout the day.

Festivities will kick-off with a half-mile parade beginning at 11 a.m., which will last an hour and feature “Macy’s-style balloons, musicians, dancers, antique cars, characters, community groups, dignitaries, special guest emcees,” according to the event website.

Children will be given bells along the parade route.

The route will run along Market Street and finish up with Mr. and Mrs. Clause, which kids will have the opportunity to interact with later.

People can enjoy mini train rides, street entertainment and take photos with Mr. and Mrs. Clause from noon until 4:30 p.m, following the parade.

At 6 p.m. there will be a Fountain Square tree lighting and sing-along, followed by horse-drawn carriage rides from 6:30 until 10 p.m.

All proceeds from the paid activities will benefit local charities.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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A charity event later this month in Reston invites guests to hear from keynote speakers and vote for their favorite non-profit presentation.

Together We Give is an annual event that donates money to a local charity supporting kids. The fourth annual event will take place this year on Thursday (Oct. 17) from 6:30-9 p.m at the Leidos Conference Center (11951 Freedom Drive). Tickets cost $25.

The exact organization receiving the grant money will be decided that evening by attendees following pitches from Heeling House, Hispanics Against Child Abuse and Neglect and Kids R First. Funding will come from audience donations and ticket sales, according to the event page.

The keynote speech will be given by Victoria Vrana of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the event Facebook page said.

Together We Give is organized by Giving Circle of Hope, a Reston-based organization that focuses on small nonprofits in the Northern Virginia area.

Image via Giving Circle of Hope

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Several Reston schools will participate in the annual walk-to-school day tomorrow.

Kids across the country are encouraged to walk or bike to school on Wednesday, Oct. 2, in order to limit their carbon footprint, live healthier lives and learn safety procedures, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School website.

“When families decide to lace up their sneakers or strap on their bike helmets to get to school instead of riding in a car, they help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles,” the center said, adding that the program began in 1997 and now has participants from all 50 states and more than 40 countries.

So far, six schools around the Reston area are signed up to participate and are listed below.

  • Aldrin Elementary
  • Dogwood Elementary
  • Forest Edge Elementary
  • Hunters Woods Elementary
  • Sunrise Valley Elementary
  • Terraset Elementary

For parents or guardians concerned about safety, the website says parents can accompany their children to school or see if there are any “walking school-buses” organized by fellow parents.

Contact phone numbers for adults leading walks to specific schools can be found online.

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Scrawl Books is hosting a family-friendly party to benefit an organization that high-quality early learning for kids.

The Reston bookstore will have fun activities for kids and parents scattered throughout the store and each half-hour a staff member will read a book for the audience. The event will run from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 11911 Freedom Drive on Saturday (Sept. 7).

Donations will be accepted on-site and a portion of sales will benefit the Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children.

The organization’s goal is to create a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for every kid under the age of eight.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Wood

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum, who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

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.

File photo

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A new preschool on North Village Road is bringing 35 jobs to the Reston area.

Primrose Schools, a private preschool franchise, recently expanded its reach by opening at 1309 N. Village Road in January.

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 

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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

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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

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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]

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(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

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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

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FCPS delays opening — The county’s public schools will open two hours late today after being closed yesterday as a snowstorm hit. [FCPS]

Dogs in the snow — ICYMI: “Locals put their photography skills to use for the snow-covered landscape, with some catching pets and cross-country skiing on camera.” [Reston Now, Reston Now Instagram]

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

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