COVID-19 vaccines mean volunteers are coming back to help a warming shelter in Reston.
The nonprofit Cornerstones had a moratorium on volunteers for safety, but it’s been welcoming them back incrementally since August. They’re a key part of the hypothermia shelter at the North County Human Services Center (1850 Cameron Glen Drive), which assists the county’s hypothermia prevention program.
“Our volunteers are coming back. And we’re so happy to have them back because we haven’t had them in over a year,” said Khristina Koontz, who heads homeless services for the nonprofit Cornerstones.
Cornerstones started with volunteers last year, but due to COVID-19, and many of its volunteers being older, the organization clamped down on using volunteers unless it was holding an outdoor event.
Volunteers can now return to facilities if they’re vaccinated and wear masks indoors, and they’ve already been trickling in, according to the organization.
That’s not the only change for Cornerstones as its service organization and others seek to move past the pandemic. In addition, Koontz said they’re doubling their hypothermia case managers from two to four to help find long-term housing for as many people as they can.
While the hypothermia prevention program officially begins Tuesday, running from Dec. 1 until March 31, Cornerstones accepts people starting in November and has already done so this year.
But 24/7 coverage last winter will change for several sites. For the North County Human Services Center, it will return back to operating during overnight hours, from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., reverting to a pre-pandemic schedule. Several other county sites are mirroring that: County spokesperson Ben Boxer said in an email that the extended coverage was because most businesses and public facilities were closed or had limited public access due to COVID-19.
“We did it [for] 24 hours because we didn’t want people to go somewhere, contract COVID and come back, give it to people,” said Koontz, noting declines in COVID-19 numbers this year have led to changes.
For Cornerstones, the organization began its annual “no turn away” policy beginning Nov. 15, officials said, meaning people needing a place to weather the cold could visit the Embry Rucker Community Shelter (11975 Bowman Towne Drive) during the day, an additional area of coverage beyond its normal overnight hours.
The hypothermia shelter has a capacity of 25 people for single adults, and the Embry Rucker shelter has a capacity of 47, which provides for individuals and families, according to the organization.
“As the time progresses, we’re almost full — at capacity — like every night,” said Milton Rodriguez, an outreach worker with Cornerstones.
The organization is encouraging people to donate to help those in need with basic supplies ranging from socks to boots and other clothing, said Missy Norquest, supervisor for the hypothermia program and an outreach worker for Cornerstones.
Former Herndon HS Teacher Sentenced for Child Pornography — Former Herndon High School drama teacher Raphael Schklowsky was sentenced on Friday (Sept. 3) to four years and two months of jail time after pleading guilty to unlawful filming and possessing child pornography. Police said he had used dozens of hidden cameras to record at least 8,000 videos of students undressing, including one woman who testified in court. [NBC4]
Reston Man Faces Weapons and Marijuana Charges — A 30-year-old Reston man faces multiple charges, including carrying a concealed weapon and distribution of marijuana, after police found him trespassing a private property in the 2000 block of Sanibel Drive on Aug. 31. Officers reportedly found that he was unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon as well as multiple rounds of ammunition and “a large amount” of marijuana. [FCPD]
RA Seeks Volunteers for Pickleball Tournament — Reston Association is looking for volunteers who are 16 and older to serve as court monitors or runners for its inaugural Pickleball Paddle Battle Tournament, which will take place at Lake Newport and Autumnwood Tennis Courts on Sept. 18 and 19. Volunteer nurses or CPR-trained professionals are also needed to work the event’s first aid tent. Anyone who’s interested can contact Ha Brock, at [email protected] or 703-435-7986. [RA News]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Now in Effect — “A mandate that most of Virginia’s state workers will have to be vaccinated or agree to regular COVID-19 testing is taking effect. Gov. Ralph Northam’s order kicks in Wednesday and will apply to more than 120,000 executive branch employees.” [Associated Press/WTOP]
Reston Police Community Meeting Tonight — “Join the @FairfaxCountyPD Reston District Station for a Community Information Forum on Thursday, Sept. 2, 7 p.m. The virtual meeting will cover statistics, trends, cases from the previous month, and discuss upcoming events.” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Twitter]
Lake Anne Elementary Postpones Back-to-School Night — “Many families have asked for a virtual Back to School Night because people are hesitant to be around large crowds. In response to that request, we will be changing our Back to School Night to a virtual format on Tuesday, September 14, 2021…More details will follow in next week’s News You Choose.” [FCPS]
Park Authority to Honor Frying Pan Volunteers — The Fairfax County Park Authority Board will give Ronnie Billodeaux, Ed Robichaud, and Steve Williams the 2021 Harold L. Strickland Partnership and Collaboration Award, which recognizes teamwork in bringing state-of-the-art facilities to parks. The three volunteer wagon ride drivers worked over the winter to repair and expand picnic facilities at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon. [FCPA]
Photo by Ed Schudel/Twitter
A program that connects elderly people in Northern Virginia with volunteer drivers needs a new manager.
NV Rides manager Jennifer Kanarek left her position in mid-July, Pozez Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Northern Virginia Executive Director Jeff Dannick said yesterday (Monday).
“We started this program a little over 7 years ago, and Jennifer was our first manager,” Dannick said, crediting Kanarek for helping build the program. “The community owes a great debt to Jennifer for her years of service.”
Housed at the Pozez JCC in Fairfax, NV Rides is a network of volunteer driver programs that formed in 2014 after a Fairfax County survey identified access to safe and reliable transportation as a top concern among the county’s older residents, a population that is expected to continue growing over the next two decades.
In its 2020 demographic report, the county projects that people 65 and older will constitute its largest age group by 2025, eventually making up 17.5% of the total population in 2040.
“I have learned so much over the last seven years and knowing the impact that the NV Rides program has had on vulnerable adults in our community is what gets me out of bed in the morning,” Kanarek said in a statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our community partners, stakeholders, and my staff in building, developing, and growing this crucial program.”
Kanarek announced that she was stepping down from her position with NV Rides last week, saying on her LinkedIn page that the decision comes with “mixed emotions.”
“I am proud of all I and my partners have accomplished, and I have made the decision to pursue other opportunities,” she wrote.
NV Rides consists of 15 partner organizations, ranging from local Shepherd’s Centers and religious organizations to Reston Community Center’s RCC Rides service, which has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the NV Rides website, the network has provided close to 40,000 rides since it began.
“They’re not taxi drivers. They’re coming to help you get to your appointment. They’re coming to help you shop for groceries. So, it’s really a companionship piece,” Kanarek said in a July video about the program, noting that while many elderly people can use ride-hailing apps such as Lyft or Uber, there can be varying levels of trust with a paid stranger versus a volunteer.
According to Kanarek, NV Rides has looked to recruit younger drivers because the average driver has been around 67 years old, and they may not want to return when the pandemic subsides.
After seeing ridership decline when Virginia went under a stay-at-home order in the spring of 2020, Dannick says NV Rides has now returned to “around pre-COVID levels” for volunteer drivers.
In June, NV Rides partnered with the Reston-based Dulles Airport Transportation Association on an outreach effort to provide transportation to medical appointments for veterans in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.
The Pozez JCC is currently advertising for a long-term successor to Kanarek. The job posting lists the position’s annual salary as $45,000 to $55,000.
Meanwhile, the program’s interim manager is Tom Eversole, a retired naval officer who serves on the NV Rides Advisory Council.
Police Seek Help in Search for Missing Lorton Woman — Fairfax County police are offering a $20,000 reward for information about the disappearance of 72-year-old Lorton resident Emily Lu, who was last seen at an Aldi in Woodbridge on June 3. Homicide detectives are now involved in the case, as police suspect foul play. [WTOP]
Woman Robbed at Herndon ATM — “Town of Herndon Police are investigating a robbery that took place recently at an ATM on Elden Street, according to the weekly crime report. Around 8:30 a.m., on June 5, a woman told police she was at an ATM in the 300 block of Elden Street when to people approached her and demanded money.” [Patch]
Attorney General Nominees Hold First General Election Debate — Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring and Republican challenger Jason Miyares each presented the other’s vision as “radical wrong turns” for Virginia in a debate yesterday, the first since the Democratic primary wrapped up last week. Herring highlighted his support for police reform and stricter gun regulations, while Miyares criticized his opponent as having “a criminal first, victim last mind-set.” [The Washington Post]
Reston Community Center Recognizes Volunteers — “We love our RCC volunteers! Thank you for all that you do to build community. We enjoyed being with you June 12 for the Volunteer Appreciation celebration.” [RCC/Instagram]
Reston Hospital Gives Scholarships to Local Students — South Lakes High School students Virag Ellen Murphy and Emma Lynch are among 16 high school seniors in Fairfax and Loudoun counties to receive scholarships from Reston Hospital Center. The hospital’s medical staff awards $13,000 in scholarships every year to local high schools in support of students who plan to pursue a career in health care. [HCA Virginia]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Leslie Painter, a volunteer at Frying Pan Farm Park, is one of three recipients of an award honoring volunteers at Fairfax County parks.
The county announced the winners of the Elly Doyle Service Awards last week. “The purpose of the award is to publicly recognize a volunteer or group of volunteers for outstanding contributions to Fairfax County parks,” the announcement noted.
From the announcement:
Leslie Painter has been a volunteer at Frying Pan Farm Park for more than a decade. As secretary of the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park Board, she has provided a wealth of technology support for the Board and park staff.
The avid horsewoman also teaches equestrian sessions, helps manage shows at the park, and is quick to volunteer when any work needs to be done — from serving meals to cleaning the barn to running major events. She has made a major impact on the Friends’ fundraising efforts by increasing participation and managing the paperwork and responses to the group’s many donors.
The other winners included volunteers with Colvin Run Mill and the Olander and Margaret Banks Neighborhood Park.
The award is named after a former Fairfax County Park Authority board chairman, who helped preserve parkland and create natural and recreational areas in the county.
The county plans to honor the three winners during a virtual ceremony in November.
Photo via Fairfax County
Virginia Reopening Starts Tomorrow — Although Northern Virginia will not reopen or another two weeks, the rest of Virginia will start the first reopening phase on Friday. Gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned and telework is encouraged when feasible. [Reston Patch]
Colvin Run Mill Churns Out New Products — “The 200-year-old Colvin Run Mill is set to begin selling its stone-ground products at the Reston Farmers Market. Fairfax County’s historic mill will be offering bags of cornmeal, white grits and soft, locally grown wheat flour that are produced using the technology of ages past. The mill is currently accepting phone orders for its products Sundays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.” [Fairfax County Government]
Summer Entertainment Series Canceled — The summer series by the Fairfax County Park Authority will be canceled through June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Park Authority and Park Foundation will be reaching out to performers and generous local sponsors as the park system plans for a phased reopening of the park system and evaluates all options to continue this series later this summer,” according to FCPA. [Fairfax County Government]
High Honors for Local Volunteer Serve Award Community Champion — “William “Bill” Farrell has been selected as the 2020 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Award Community Champion representing the Hunter Mill District. Each year, the Board of Supervisors selects an individual to be recognized for their commitment to promoting volunteerism within their community while addressing specific needs. For the past five years, Bill has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Shepherd’s Center.” [Volunteer Fairfax]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Lane Closures This Week — Work on phase two of the Silver Line will prompt several lane and ramp closures this week, including Herndon Parkway, Edmund Halley Drive, Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
If Farsi Is Your Tongue — Fairfax County is seeking volunteers who speak Farsi to help older adults in the community with their groceries. Volunteers are needed in Reston twice a month on weekends or weekdays. [Fairfax County Government]
Feedback on I-95 Corridor Study Sought — “The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, under the leadership of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), are developing a plan to study Virginia’s 179 miles of the Interstate 95 corridor between the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Alexandria, Virginia and the North Carolina border.” [Virginia Department of Transportation]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
A Recap of Reston Association’s Volunteer Awards — “In Reston there is more than live, work and play. “Its volunteers are the backbone of Reston,” said Hank Lynch, Reston Association CEO. In a celebration of Reston Association’s outstanding volunteers from 2018, its board of directors and staff extended their appreciation and thanks to the more than 1,423 volunteers, businesses and community partners who gave of their time to make a positive impact on the community.” [The Connection]
55+ Bike Ride Around Old Town Alexandria — Join RA for a multi-modal ride from Reston to Old Town Alexandria tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. [Reston Association]
Transportation Committee Seeks Members — Reston Association’s Multimodal Transportation Advisory Committee seeks new members to help shape transportation in Reston. Applications can be submitted online to RA’s Board of Directors. [Reston Association]
Flick pool photo by vantagehill
Herndon’s Farmers Market Opens Today — The market kicks off the 2019 season today. As usual, it will be held on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Lynn Street from April to November. [Town of Herndon]
Reston Association Volunteer Service Awards Reception Set for Tonight — “Two individuals were named as Volunteers of the Year. Doug Britt, who has been instrumental in collecting environmental data, and Cindy Metcalf, who coordinates and leads class instruction on how to start a garden, both won the top honor.” [Reston Association]
Evelyn Mo Returns to CenterStage Tonight — In this “Meet the Artists” event, the Harvard junior and pianist returns to CenterStage. The event starts at 2:15 p.m. and is open to all ages. [Reston Community Center]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
The Reston Association recently unveiled the winners of the Volunteer Reston Service Awards, which recognize people, groups and community businesses who helped serve the community through various volunteer projects each year.
Doug Britt, who has helped collect environmental data, and Cindy Metcalf, who coordinates and leads classes on how to start a garden, both nabbed the top honor as “Volunteers of the Year.”
Here are the rest of the winners for the different categories:
- 55+ Volunteer: Don Coram
- Group Volunteer Service: Southgate Community Center Advisory Council
- Community Partner of the Year: Public Affairs Support Services, Inc.
- Committee and/or Work Group Volunteer of the Year: Pony Barn Working Group
A reception on April 18 at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue) will celebrate the volunteers.
Photo via Facebook
You may have noticed some new faces this February around McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive).
About 15 volunteers from Fannie Mae’s Reston office have been helping out at the school.
“As a new partner, the firm has offered to provide volunteers on a monthly basis as a way to give back to the Reston and Herndon communities,” according to Fairfax County Public Schools.
The volunteers have been busy supporting read-aloud initiatives and the school’s holiday luncheon, according to FCPS.
The school community can expect the volunteers to help through the end of the year.
Image via Google Maps
Calling all Fairfax County volunteers — nominations recently opened for the 2019 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards.
Established in 1993, the awards honor individuals, groups and organizations that have volunteered through a broad range of activities and programs that primarily benefitted the Fairfax County community.
The nominees are required to have completed their service hours in either Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, the Town of Herndon, the Town of Vienna or the City of Falls Church, unless nominated for the RSVP Competitive Award.
Individuals and groups can be nominated in one of 14 competitive categories and four non-competitive categories. Some of the categories are broken down by “youth,” “adult” and “senior” awards.
The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m.
All nominees will receive a complimentary invitation to Volunteer Fairfax’s annual county-wide volunteer recognition event, which takes place on April 24 at the Waterford in Springfield.
Photo via Volunteer Fairfax
The covenants committee is looking for one volunteer to fill a vacancy for the North Point district seat for a three-year term. The panel administers the use and maintenance covenants detailed in the Reston Deed of Dedication by reviewing violations, developing use and maintenance standards, and considering requests for temporary exception permits, among other duties. Meetings are typically held the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in RA’s headquarters.
The elections committee is also seeking volunteers to serve on the panel, which administers the annual election of RA Board of Directors. It meets periodically before, during and after each election cycle. Every spring, RA members are given the chance to elect three new individuals to the board.
Volunteers are needed to help put on Flavors of Fall, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s annual festival, which is set for Oct. 6.
Although most of the 200 volunteer positions are filled, organizers say there are some opportunities open.
Individual volunteers will receive a volunteer T-shirt and twelve Flavors of Fall tickets. The festival includes a full day of food, entertainment and fun in Reston Town Center. Corporate teams will also receive a featured slot on the festival’s website, selected event signage, and the event guide.
Interested individuals can sign up online. Volunteers serving alcohol or checking identification must attend a mandatory alcohol service training.
Anyone with questions should email Alicia Liddle at [email protected].
Photo via Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce