Silver Sparkles Family Fun Day 2016

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Published: 02/29/2016
Join us for an awesome day of family fun with all the funds we raise after expenses going to support Brain Cancer Research.  (Can you still get your business at this event? Yup! Email me.) 

A special thanks to our sparkle sponsor, Drayer Physical Therapy Institute

Throughout the day we'll have free classes in the community room, lots to do in the gym, and even a few outdoor activities, weather permitting.  There will be food and raffle tickets for sale, so bring cash (we will take credit cards for raffle tickets, too).  Every vendor table has a fun thing for your kids to do, so you can check out local businesses and kid-friendly venues while your kids have a great time playing!
Why should you come? Well, come to have fun, come to meet local businesses and find places to plug your kids in.  Come to support local Mom-run businesses.  Come to support me because I run this insane website.  Come because cancer sucks.  I don't care, really, all that much about your motivation, just come!! 

TICKETS ARE PER FAMILY- you will need one ticket for everyone that lives in your home as part of your family.  If you bring grammy and grandpa and they don't live with you, they'll need their own ticket.  I really want this event to be accessible for families, so please be honest about your ticket purchases so that I don't have to start charging per person! Remember, too, we donate ALL the profit we make at this event, so it's all for a good cause!

Here's what's on tap so far:
Classroom Space:
Ballet Class with Academy of Russian Ballet
Mincraft Class with Animated Child
Special Storytime with Prince William Libraries
**Please note, admission to these is NOT guaranteed because we have space limitations**

Thanks to Just Between Friends for sponsoring our DJ!

Main Event Space:
We're updating this list as vendors sign up! Keep checking back for more fun! 
GMS Gymnastics- Flexed arm hang challenge
Jessica Salazar Photography- Family Fun Photo Booth
Bach to Rock- Musical Performer and instrument play
Chick Fil A Bristow and Chick Fil A Sudley Manor (and the cow!) Will be selling their Original Chick-fil-A Sandwiches -- all profit will go to brain cancer/brain tumor research. And the Chick-fil-A Cow will be there =) PLEASE BUY SOME CHICK FIL A :) this is a really big deal for our fundraiser!
Animated Child- Hosting our minecraft class, their table will be awesome, too! 
Soccer Shots- Score a goal challenge
Academy of Russian Ballet- hosting our ballet class, and their table will be awesome, too! 
Athlete's Addiction-  Agility Ladder
Game Truck- Full game truck play will be available outside during our event! 
Michael Chamberlin, Magician from 2:15-4:45pm
Kingdom of Azuria (Princess!) 
Brunos Bounce House- indoor bounce
DPGolf Academy- Putt Putt Golf
Pampered Chef with Doina Heinz- Food Fun
Gainesville Pediatric Dentistry- PlayDoh Dentist
JustJump Outdoor bounce
Megan Keys Photography- Temporary Tattoos
Kids Chemistry with Des & Desi
Drama Mama Cupcakes
Smoothie King of Woodbridge/Colby's Ride
DoTerra with Leah Zapata 
Stella and Dot with Melisa
MOMS Club of PWC

Raffle Items- We'll have awesome Swag Bags from Katherine Breyfogle and Got Posh for the first 200 people who purchase $10 or more of raffle tickets! (Cash or credit  cards will be accepted!) 

Raffle items include: 
We're updating this list as vendors sign up! Keep checking back for more exciting prizes! 
4 classes at The Little Gym
A one year membership at The Little Gym
Swim Kids gift baskets
Scentsy warmers
DC United Tickets courtesy of Soccer Shots
Barbie DVDs from Universal Home Entertainment
Summer Camp from Edgemoor Art Studio
Gift Certificate to Abrakadoodle
Gift Baskets from Waterworks Water Park
Gift Basket from the Primrose School of Bristow
Birthday Party with AviationEd
Free PeeWee Golf Registration from DPGolf Academy
$105 Gift Card to DPGolf Summer Camp

Introducing 100 WWC Gainesville Area Chapter

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Published: 01/25/2016
100 Women Who Care is trying to open a Gainesville Area Chapter.  Read more about this organization and learn how you can get involved below. 

It’s a very simple concept: We gather 100 women who care to make a $100 donation during a 1 hour meeting.  

The impact: $10,000 to a local charity, four times a year!  

Formation of a Gainesville chapter of 100 WWC is in the works. Please join us for our first meeting, held in partnership with the NOVA chapter of 100 WWC, on February 4th, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the Centreville Regional Library, located at 14200 St. Germain Dr., Centreville, 20121). A good turnout from our area means all future meetings will be held in Gainesville! For more information, check out our Facebook page at, or contact Julie Beal at or Hasna Ridwan at

Featured Organization Friday: Keep Mothers Alive

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Published: 09/04/2015
A new non-profit based in Prince William County is aimed at saving expectant mothers in Africa.

Dr. Diagaunet Dodie's Keep Mothers Alive pilot project aims to save at least one more expectant mother in Africa.  The program will officially begin in the fall of 2015. 

Dr. Dodie's project will begin in Duekoue, Cote D'Ivoire.  

Per their press release, Duekoue is a small town of about 72,000 people in the Western part of the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In 2011 during the Civil War, the city experienced the largest massacre in the history of the country. Over 1,000 people were killed in a single day and many of the country’s infrastructures were destroyed. Women and children paid the heaviest price in this war. Four years later, the consequences of the civil war still persist. Maternal mortality crisis is now one of the highest in the country. The community has endured hardship, the women have become even more vulnerable and something needs to be done immediately. 

“The economic challenge in some west and east African countries is so severe that pregnant women hardly get the right drugs, infrastructures or medical help needed. Delivery is like having one leg in the grave. I lost a dear cousin and her twins to preventable maternal death. KeepMothers Alive is to give families the chance to happiness and the joy of having one more life full of potentials added to them.” Stated, Dr. Diagaunet Dodie, the KMA Founder and CEO.

Keep Mothers Alive will kick off their DESPAIR TO HOPE campaign with the primary aim of saving an African mother’s life through a PIIPE approach:
·      Provide medical supplies and equipment.
·       Improve the quality of data.
·       Increase antenatal care, skilled birth attendance and postpartum visits.
·      Provide additional training for health workers.
·       Empower women.

Founded in 2015, Keep Mothers Alive was born from the pain of losing a close cousin to eclampsia and driven by the passion of ending every birthing experience in joy. 

“Keep Mothers Alive is an international partner of public health specialists who is committed to preventing maternal mortality in the most economically challenged areas of Africa by improving women’s accessibility to health care; engaging communities to prevent mother and child mortality; strengthening the health care system to provide quality of care for women; advocating for a call for action on maternal death; partnering with community leaders, government officials, and other NGOs to raise awareness of maternal mortality and its economic and social impact; empowering women about maternal health issues and the risks of home births; applying mobile technology to increase prenatal care utilization and healthy behaviors.” 

To learn more about Keep Mothers Alive, visit

Got Toys?

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Published: 01/05/2015
One of the more popular questions we go during the holiday season was about where to take previously loved toys.  Here's what our readers suggested for places in Prince William County to take your gently loved playthings that need a new home.

The ACTS waiting room can use new toys.  Children often have lengthy waits here with their caregivers.  ACTS is located in Dumfries and can be reached at 703-441-8606.

SERVE is a family and individual shelter in Manassas.  They can be reached at 571-748-2537.

Ask your doctors office or OB/GYN if they need any new toys for their waiting rooms.  They'll be most interested in hard plastic toys that can be bleached/disinfected on a regular basis.

Purple Heart will come and pick up at your home.
The Lupus Foundation will come and pick up at your home.
American Veterans will come and pick up at your home.
National Children's Center will come and pick up at your home.

House of Mercy off Wellington in Manassas 703-659-1636.

Daycares and Preschools may also be interested. Again, especially in toys that can be cleaned and disinfected easily.

Village Thrift off Smoketown in Woodbridge.
Savers Thrift 

Eme's Army hosts a sight-impaired playgroup and will take tactile, light-up, or talking toys.

Featured Organization Friday: Street Light Winter Clothing and Tent Drive

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Published: 10/17/2014

Featured Organization Friday: Fundraiser for Isla the Brave

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Published: 10/10/2014
Isla the Fierce
Though she may be little, she is Fierce
Isla’s Story
Give Back 2 Others has chosen to honor a newly diagnosed child named Isla Kate Lucks.  Isla lives in the community and is in the fight of her life.  On July 31, 2014, just shy of 15 months old, Isla Kate was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. This is a rare pediatric cancer affecting the nerve cells. For Isla, her diagnosis came through the discovery of a large tumor on her left adrenal gland in her abdomen. This beautiful little girl now has a long and difficult treatment plan ahead of her. Her strong willed personality has given her the nickname, “Isla the Fierce”.  She fights with grace and dignity and has been lauded by the medical team as one of the best babies they have ever served. Her tenacious spirit and love of laughter has kept the staff on their toes. Isla is a ‘Mama’s girl’, a chatterbox, and she loves to sing and dance.  Her favorite foods are marshmallows and olives. She loves Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and her family; especially her best friend and older brother Elliott.  Throughout the next year and a half, she will be in and out of hospitals, enduring painful treatments and traveling far to receive the best care available.  Give Back 2 Others desires to rally around this amazing little girl and her family to show them how much they are loved and supported.  Our fundraising event on November 21stwill be the opportunity we have to support this family in tangible ways.  We hope to see you there!
About GB2O
Give Back 2 Others started as a simple holiday party at the home of Holly & Jason Andrzejewski in 2009.  The focus each year was  to “give back” to someone in need. Holly and Jason asked guests to bring donations or  gifts to be given to a designated family.  Each family chosen had a member struggling with a life-threatening illness.  Through the incredible generosity of friends, Holly and Jason were able to make a difference in ways they had never dreamed possible. Holly and Jason began to wonder if it would be possible to do more.  In 2011 they decided it was time to take it to the next level. With the help of a local 501c3 charity, Trevor’s Treasurers, they organized a party that received more than 300 guests and raised a large sum of money for Trevor’s Treasurers. This incredible experience solidified their desire to continue the event and ”Giving Back 2 Others” was born.  On August 20, 2014, Give Back 2 Others was created as a legitimate Non-Profit organization.  They are currently waiting on their 501c3 approval from the IRS, which is expected any day. With the help of the Board of Directors and many active volunteers, they have big plans for the future of GB2O and look forward to helping many families in the future.

Donating to GB2O and tickets for the Holiday Gala
Donations can be made through the GB2O’s website or by check made payable to: “Give Back 2 Others”.
Tickets for the Gala are $75 and include: Open Bar, Food, DJ, and Silent Auction
Tickets can be purchased on GB2O’s website or by check made payable to “Give Back 2 Others”

7524 Rio Grande Way, Gainesville, VA 20155        Give Back 2 Other EIN: 47-1660704

Youth For Tomorrow's Country Fair

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Published: 10/09/2014

We had such a great time at Joe Gibb's Youth for Tomorrow Country Fair and Auction.  Tickets were $10/adult, $5/kid, and ages 3 and under were free.  There was a $5 off coupon on their website, and several people mentioned they got their tickets from an online deal site (not sure if it was living social or groupon). I'd never been before, although I see their folding board signs all over the county every year. This is a very, very well done production.  Some of the fun included:

  • Bounce Houses/Inflatable Obstacle Courses (more than I cared to count, probably upwards of a dozen)
  • Junior Firefighter Challenge
  • Redskins Players Play60 Challenge
  • Washington Nationals NatMobile
  • Hog Races
  • Petting Zoo
  • Rides
  • Crafts
  • Vendor Fair
  • Huge Food Court (additional fee)
  • Horse Carriages and Mini Train Rides
  • Entertainment on various stages including cheerleading, gymnastics, and dance
There was probably more.  Honestly, we spent from 11-3 at the fair and probably could've stayed longer and still not seen and done everything.  The lines were manageable for all the rides, except perhaps laser tag, which got a little out of hand because of some "spot saving" for a "family" of 20 or so, but other than that the wait was generally okay.  

I would definitely recommend checking this out in the future! Not only was a it a great time, it's for a charity, and that's a great combination. 

Featured Organization Friday: ACTS iWalk

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Published: 09/19/2014
Fall is around the corner and it’s time to mark your calendar for the 4th Annual IWALK for ACTS on Saturday, October 18. ACTS of Prince William and Image Church are excited to team up with the Potomac Nationals to host this year’s event at our new location Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge. This year’s event is shaping up to be a day of fun, fellowship, and fundraising that you won’t want to miss!

The details …
4th Annual IWALK  for ACTS
Saturday, October 18 
Pfitzner Stadium * Home of the Potomac Nationals
7 County Complex Ct, Woodbridge, VA 22192
Registration @ 9 a.m., Walk @ 10 a.m.
Free community festival – 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
$20/person or $50/family
Register now at

We are encouraging groups to sign up together and create a group fundraising goal. This year, the highest group fundraiser and the highest individual fundraiser will each win a prize! This is a great opportunity to give back to your community and help our neighbors in need.

Funds raised through this year’s event will support ACTS of Prince William. ACTS provides relief, fosters hope and promotes self-sufficiency for our Prince William area neighbors in crisis due to hunger, homelessness and personal violence. By joining as a participant, your support will help:
... keep ACTS' Help Line open 24 hours a day so that our community members in crisis have somewhere to turn.
... give individuals facing abuse resources and reassurance that they are not alone.
... keep the doors open at our shelters so that families have a place to call home until they are back on their feet
... feed hungry children in our neighborhoods through the ACTS Food Pantry.
... families keep the lights on through Emergency Assistance and provides resources for making ends meet.

Thank you in advance for joining us. With your help, we can make a difference, one family at a time.

Seed Stomp Volunteers Wanted!

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Published: 09/12/2014
Join Leesylvania State Park on October 4th from 11am-1pm at the Lee's Woods Trailhead to help establish a field of wildflowers while having fun at the same time! Questions, call 703-583-6904 or email

Summer Food Pantry Crisis

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Published: 07/17/2014
I know we talked the other day about how House of Mercy was running low on food.  It's not just them.  I'm gonna use the word crisis here.  On purpose.  Because this (Pictures taken from the ACTS Facebook Page):
 That is a crisis.  There is NO RICE AT ALL. There's no pasta sauce.  There are two shelves of pasta.  ACTS serves hundreds of people a month. It's only the 17th.  This is not Old Mother Hubbard going to the cupboard, guys, these are our neighbors and their children.
Now you know I have a particularly soft spot in my heart for ACTS, but you can go to wherever your favorite organization houses their food.  I am willing to bet money that they won't turn you away.

Here's a list of most-needed items (I'm emailing some frugal blogger friends to see if I can align this list with current grocery deals):

Most Needed Items
Peanut butterJelly
TunaBoxed Mac and Cheese
SpaghettiPasta Sauce
Canned FruitCanned Vegetables
Canned SoupMilk
Diapers (larger sizes 3+)Deodorant
ToothpasteToilet Paper

Please help if you can.  Nobody cares if it's brand-name spaghetti or the 10 for $10 stuff at Giant.  Nobody cares if it's Del Monte Green Beans or the ones from Wegmans (what's that, like $.29/can?).  Just Be Awesome And Help.  Thanks.

30 Acts of Kindness Task 14: Hypothermia Shelter Dinner

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Published: 03/14/2014
During February, March (because snow is not my friend) I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

The Bill Mehr Drop-In Shelter is run by the Cooperative Council of Ministries (CCOM) and is located at 14730 Potomac Mills Road.  If you're on Telegraph Road just past Toys R Us, where you could turn left onto Opitz/Smoketown to go to Wegmans, but you go straight towards the bus depot instead, you will eventually dead-end into the shelter.   From November 1-March 31 from 6:30pm-7am, this space is also used as a 50-bed hypothermia shelter.  This allows area residents who typically sleep in tents or other makeshift spaces to come in from the cold and sleep safely.  The space also offers shower facilities.  Patrons are offered a ride to churches on some nights where dinner is provided, but some cannot or prefer not to go, and some nights there's not a dinner option, so I was very excited that you guys helped me to bring a simple meal over.  Chick Fil A Sudley Manor Drive happened to be celebrating their 50th Anniversary of the Chick Fil A Sandwich by giving away 50 of them.  To win, entrants just had to say what they'd do with the sandwiches and have friends/family/facebook vote for their idea.  You guys are an awesome flash mob ;)  I picked up all 50 of my sandwiches at once and drove them over to Woodbridge one fine Wednesday evening.

My car smelled so buttery and delicious.  

I needed to take the heated bag back to CFA, so I had a good excuse to sit and chat with folks while they ate.  I love talking to people, and there were a lot of really great stories shared around the table.  This was a really easy and quick way to do something positive.  We actually did this as an impromptu family project when the "Polar Vortex" first came though.  My mom really has a heart for people not being cold- it's actually an ongoing joke with us that she cannot drive through DC in the winter without "losing" her coat.  She and her BFF brought over materials to my house and with my kids we packaged PBJs, Cup of Noodles, Crackers, and a treat up so the shelter could hand them out.  There's a kitchen in the facility, so hot water, microwave, and fridge are available. Simple, easy, and still helpful- this was definitely an easy act for anyone to try!! I bet it'd work just as well with $5 pizzas from Little Caesar's if you don't have a contest to win! 

PS- while the shelter will be closing at the end of the month for evenings, they'll still have the drop-in shelter open during the day.  They have a list of needed items, including boots in various sizes, on their website, so be sure to check that out! 

30 Acts of Kindness Task 13: ACTS Thrift Shop

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Published: 03/13/2014
During February, I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

I feel like I owe ACTS another day of Thrift Shop work- I ran late in traffic and arrived 20 minutes after I should have and then I had to duck out early because my son had a hockey tournament in York, PA and we were told that we should leave extra travel time.  I actually really liked working at the thrift store- first because I had a few readers join me and it's always so cool to chat with you guys, and second because we got to organize books, which I loved! I really like jobs where I can see that I'm accomplishing something, so watching books and boxes and bags get emptied out was really satisfying! 

The ACTS Thrift Store is located at the Route 1 split in Dumfries and staffed by the lovely people in red vests. 
You can donate, shop, and volunteer at the Thrift Store.  I'm going to tell you right now- they had amazing prices!! There was a special sale the day we were there, so books (normally 5 for $1) were 10 for $1! People got hardcover collectors books, the entire Twilight Series, 50 Shades of Grey, The Help, and more! Kids books were 5 CENTS EACH, and there were tons of nice books! I saw people snag Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, unopened Sesame Street and Dora music books, and more! I didn't spend a lot of time in the clothes, but I did notice some really nice work shirts if your husband has to wear a button-down for his job. 

Donation Hours:

Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Retail Hours:

Monday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

To volunteer, contact Robin at  This work can involve some lifting/moving, so it's best suited for older teens and adults- but it really was satisfying work! 


30 Acts of Kindness Task 11: The 25th Project

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Published: 02/27/2014
During February, I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

Do you like to tailgate? No, seriously, this is a legitimate question.  Why? Because if you do, The 25th Project might be the PERFECT place for you to volunteer your time.  

Organizer Jay Herriot started The 25th Project by handing out meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family.  Since they both happened to fall on the 25th, they decided to keep going, and provide home-cooked meals each month on the 25th.  You can come out with your family and help out this fun organization every month on the 25th.  There is basically zero prep work involved.  You show up (we brought socks, but there's a list of needed items available here), you split into groups, and you hang out in a parking lot and eat some really really tasty soup and chat with people.  More than anything, I've learned as I do this 30 Acts series, people really just want to connect with other people.  

I took my boys (ages 7 and 10) with me, and we had an awesome time.  This isn't a "heavy lifting" type of volunteering, but it's very personal and fun.  

So, here's the process:
1) Check the facebook page.  RSVP that you're coming and if you want to bring some needed items, stop at Walmart on the way.  
2) You're going to meet up with the big group BEHIND Home Depot.  I drove past Kohls and Global Food to the end of the shopping center, and there was obviously a group of people doing something! People meet up starting around 4:15-4:30.
3) Volunteers divide up.  A group stays behind Home Depot, another group heads to Kmart, and another group heads to the shelter.  
4) Chat and help out.  Hand out socks, first aid kits, soup and bread.  Talk about the Redskins.  Talk about whatever.  Be a friend.  It's awesome.
5) Can't actually show up? The 25th Project is a 501c3 and you can donate to them, which helps to pay for things like Propane Tank Refills- so very vital in the cold weather and not cheap!  Mail checks to: 

  The 25th Project
  6908 Sydenstricker Road
  Springfield, VA  22152

30 Acts of Kindness Task 10: Organize/Donate

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Published: 02/24/2014
During February, I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

Between the snow, the ice, and that thing I did on Saturday (#SilverSparkles!) I have gotten way behind on writing about my 30 Acts of Kindness, but that doesn't mean that I forgot about them!! Since several had to be rescheduled due to weather, I'm going to end up going into March, but I figure that as long as I get them done, I'm good! 

I had several people write in to suggest that I round up unnecesary items around Casa di Kotlus and make a donation to Lupus/AmVets/Goodwill or some other organization that will come to you and pick up your items.

Now, this was a fantastic suggestion for several reasons.  First, since we currently live in a townhouse, I make it a regular habit to get rid of anything that we aren't using- with the exception of Christmas decorations- and so I'm always getting calls asking if we have anything to donate.  Second, since we are currently in the process of selling our house, there's nothing wrong with fewer things to move and put away! We were able to round up 3 garbage bags of clothes, toys, shoes, and other items, and have them picked up at our home! Easy peasy lemon squeezy! My kids are actually great at doing roundups of unwanted toys now- we keep repeating we're "so blessed we have to give things away" to them from the time they're born ;) and the best way to help them is to give a one minute challenge and have them find something, which removes the temptation of agonizing over which teddy bear won't "miss" them. 

Thanks so very much for that Toy Story 3.

If you'd like to clear out your home and benefit others in our community here are a few resources of organizations that will pick up at your home:
Vietnam Veterans of America
Lupus Foundation
National Children's Center
Salvation Army

These organizations will schedule a date/time for pickup and even leave a donation slip so you can claim your donation value on your taxes.  Note that the Salvation Army gives guidelines on what you can claim for various items on their website, which can be tremendously helpful.

Happy Donating!! 

30 Acts of Kindness Task 9: Helping Hands of Grace

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Published: 02/09/2014
During February, I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers.  The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

Our American Heritage Girls (AHG) group helps out periodically at the Helping Hands of Grace meals held at Grace Baptist Church in Woodbridge. Helping Hands of Grace holds dinner for those utilizing the winter shelter each Friday evening from November-March.  Guests are picked up from the winter shelter and brought back to the church for a short devotional and meal.  HHG also helps with the drop-in shelter (Bill Mehr Drop-In Center) from April-October, which provides access to showers, restrooms, and a light meal before and after typical work hours.  Grace takes meals on Tuesday evenings. They also help out at the Hilda Barg Center providing meals.
Serving dinner at the Helping Hands of Grace Friday evening meals is a fantastic project.  Again, there were no age limits, so as long as you have adequate adults to supervise you can bring your whole family.  Our AHG troop had a great time.  As with any service opportunity where there are lots of people in and out of a space, you'll want to make sure you're managing your children well and not letting them wander, but that goes for any activity.  For our Friday night project, each family signed up to bring a casserole, a side dish, salad, bread, or dessert.  We brought our food prepared, although there an oven and a microwave are available for reheating items.  Kids helped set up the tables, adults laid out food and prepared drinks (lemonade, coffee, I believe there was iced tea).  During dinner, both children and adults served guests food and children went around refilling drinks.  After dinner we all helped with cleanup and packaged the leftovers into provided containers to be taken back to the shelter for those who couldn't/didn't take the shelter over to eat.

We originally planned to go as a whole family, but Logan and Savannah had been in the car all afternoon and weren't feeling well, so Riley and I stayed, while Austin took our little two home.  Riley is 10, and he was really a rockstar doing this- I think 9 or 10 is a great age for kids to be engaged in service like this because they're old enough and experienced enough to do a lot of work on their own.  Granted, younger kids can obviously serve salad or bread and greet people with a smile, but I really enjoyed watching Riley keep himself busy and working- he's got a good heart :)

If you'd like to get involved with Helping Hands of Grace, contact ministry leaders Steve and Melissa Brooks to volunteer or for information at or 703-403-8612.

30 Acts of Kindness Task 8: Help @ An Elementary School

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Published: 02/08/2014
During February, I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers.  The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

Whoohoo is this 30 Acts of Kindness keeping me busy!! Listen, if I can fit 30 of these suckers into a 28-day month, I hope some of you will consider getting in one at some point in 2014! Hopefully more, but at least one! I'm trying really hard to give you lots and lots of options so that you'll find something that is a perfect fit for you!

I cannot find the email, but someone wrote in and suggested I volunteer at an elementary school that doesn't get a lot of volunteers.  When Riley, my 10 year old, went to school (we haven't always been those weird homeschoolers, you know) I volunteered as much as I could at his base school.  It's not always easy when you've got younger kids at home, but there is truly no better way to understand what's going on at your child's school, and to know which teachers you want, than to be there!!  

I put up a post on Facebook asking for teachers that could use a few volunteer hours, and the first response I got was from Mrs. Rupay-Dean of Neabsco Elementary, who invited me to help out in the library for a few hours.  

Holy holy holy, people.

If you've got kids, and I assume you do since you're reading my website, you know what they can do to a bookshelf.  Now imagine a few hundred of them over the course of a day.  

Yup, we've got some shelves to stock :) This was actually a really nice way to pass a few hours- the kids come in and out, but clearing the carts really made me feel like I actually accomplished something, even if I knew it wouldn't last.

I'm in touch with that concept- I keep cleaning my house, and my kids keep messing it up.  However, I feel really good for the five minutes it lasts :) 

Anyhow, volunteering at a  school can work for just about anyone! Love kids? Great! They can use you in a classroom, as a reading buddy, or helping with an after-school activity.  Don't love kids? You can make copies, cut pieces for file-folder games, or stock books in the library.  Want to help but don't have a babysitter for your little kids? Call the school- there's probably something you could do from home, whether it's prepping a project or cutting out bulletin board pieces.  If you have a special skill, like computers, robotics, or any passion you'd like to share, the school might have just the place for you!! Just call the front desk and let them know you want to help out!

I think that volunteering at a school could be a great fit for lots of mommas, whether you're checking out the school your little ones will go to, helping while your children attend, or just going to help because you can! Teens could be a great help too, especially homeschoolers who have extra time, although I remember helping at the Lake Ridge Elementary French program when I was a high school junior- I just had to make sure I beat the buses out of the parking lot!  

Thanks for the great idea, and thanks to Neabsco Elementary for having me (and for the fire drill! Those were always the coolest when I was a kid!)  

30 Acts of Kindness Tasks 3-6, Show Some Love

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Published: 02/05/2014
During February, I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers.  The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

One of my greatest hopes in doing this series was that just ONE person would be inspired to take their family out to make a difference.  I had three different mommas write in and suggest showing appreciation to our local police, firefighters, and library staff.  We made triple chocolate chip and oatmeal Craisin cookies and delivered them to Lake Ridge Neighborhood Library, OWL Station 14, and Logan's scout leader, who's a PWC Police Officer, was kind enough to deliver our cookies to the station for us.  However, the big news, for me, was an email that I received from a momma who decided she'd do the same.  I cannot tell you how this made my day :) I knew someone had done the same thing because they mentioned it on the Manassas Park Fire and Rescue Page. I had a few readers email/message to ask if the cookies were mine, and I was so excited to say no! I was even more excited to get the full report from mom Julie sharing their amazing experience taking part in this "assignment".  Rather than share my prepared post, I'm going to share her email, with permission, of course!

Thank you so much Julie, for sharing your story- that was such an act of kindness to me, as I always wonder if anything I do is making an impact. 

  I'll begin with yesterday (2/2/14), busy busy and more busy. Sunday School, church, home to change and get coupons, "quick" (lol) 4 hour trip to Wal-Mart on Super Bowl Sunday, back home, gramma starts mixing the dough as I put away groceries, settle kiddos down. The nightseemed like it never ended, why you may ask, well my 4 yr old didn't fall asleep till 2 hrs past norm, about then the 2 yr old woke from his 2 hour night nap at 9:30pm and up till like 4(am)!!!!! So my 3hr
sleep was precious!

Noon on 2/3/14 I set off with only my 4 yr old because the little one isn't feeling great. Cookies all packaged up and ready to go, I thought it would be fairly quick since everything was close by (NOT) :). 
We started at the police station where Ms. Bunge greeted us with a smile. As we were talking, mainly my non stop 4 yr old son William, she asked if he had a children's id. We don't, so she asked if we wanted to, sure that sounds great since we are already here. That was the beginning to the wonderful experience we had at Manassas Park police station. About the time we were done with making the id officer William was standing there talking away to William, he gives us free passes to the community  center for the whole family and then asks if we are ready for the tour- I wasn't even aware we were going on! He took us around showing William everything from their newest police vehicle to pulling up a cruiser close to the building so we could see it but not get wet, all the while picking up different things to take with us, a photo of a police vehicle, cups, pens, sticker/picture game, I was running out of hands. Then he shares with me his job which is community outreach, says he has a office at the rec center where he was when we arrived but to my surprise Ms. Bunge had called him and asked if he could come over to give us a tour!!! I was in awe of their kindness they showed us when we were the ones trying to do the kind act for them, officer William didn't even know he had cookies waiting for him!!!

After that, it was off to the fire house. EMT Lee greeted us with a warm smile as we handed over the tasty cookies. Asks William if he wants to see a fire truck, he says yes as if you needed me to say that! Lee was awesome showing us around, sharing his knowledge about how those big red fire trucks work and letting William roam all around from one vehicle to the next! From there William got a cool plastic glove balloon with a painted face made by Lee and his own pair of plastic EMT gloves!! (Way past time to eat so we break at Starbucks for a quick snack).
 Now to the library!!! Started by returning a book, then to the information desk where William hands cookies to the "nice lady" he calls her. She was excited to get cookies, said the peanut blossoms were her favorite!! William and the"nice lady" talked for a few minutes until he inched his way toward the kid area anxiously wanting to start doing puzzles, she says what a wonderful boy he is and that he could stay there all day talking to her, I share that he talks from the time he wakes till his eyes close, so she says well in moderation(lol), she shares that her daughter was that way and even talked in her sleep!! (We stayed at the library doing puzzles and reading books for a little while). Not sure what "nice lady's" name was.
5 o'clock we finally get back home!! So much to share with little brother and grandma about it fantastic day that turned into a kindness act from both sides that was pure and from the heart!
~ Julie 

30 Acts of Kindness: Task 2, Become a Cancer Mentor

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Published: 02/04/2014
During February, I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers.  The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

I'm not sure I'm any kind of authority on how to have cancer.  In fact, the type of brain tumor I had, which is called an Ependymoma, may actually be or not be cancer depending on who you ask.  My health insurance, for example, seems to think I'm peachy-keen and don't need MRIs to check for regrowth.  My oncologist (that's a cancer doctor) and radiation oncologist (that's a cancer doctor with lasers) both say the mass in my brain that tried to kill me is probably coming back to try again. 

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Anyway, since some cancer centers classify ependymomas as cancer and others don't, I was actually really nervous about this task, suggested by Meaghan H., because I could see myself being really devistated if I reached out to an organization and they told me I wasn't "cancery" enough.  

We make up adjectives here on PwcMoms.  It's okay. 

 Anyhow, there are a few organizations out there designed to help people facing a health crisis by connecting them with survivors.  Tell us about it Beyonce!
Not really, that's actually her singing "Survivor" to a girl with brain cancer....but it's a good Kleenex moment.

Two organizations that I'd like to mention are Immerman Angels, which is the group that I registered through, and  What Next.

Both of these groups are designed to offer patient to former-patient connection to help make decision making easier, or just to let people know they're not alone in what they're going through.  While all the healthy people that rally around you are incredible, sometimes they just don't understand (and you hope they never have to) what you're actually dealing with.  People tell me all the time that I seem so healthy and energetic they'd never guess I was sick- which is what I want them to think, but it's a lie because I don't want people to see me struggle or complain, and I think a lot of us do that in our lives, no matter what we're struggling with.  That's why it's so beneficial to link people up who can take off the mask and be real with each other to offer support through shared experience. 

This assignment took me about 15 minutes total.  I filled out the volunteer form and got a call from a coordinator who asked me a few questions and explained that I could be matched with someone tomorrow or in two years, so to just hang tight.

If you've gone through a tough experience, whether it's cancer, domestic violence, loss of a loved one, or anything else at all, I hope you'll take this as an invitation to reach out and let your experience help someone else cope.  Showing there's a light at the end of the tunnel for someone else's journey can be a tremendous thing.  

Thanks for the idea, Meaghan!! 

(If you participate in my 30 Acts of Kindness by doing one of the activities, or one of your own, shoot me an email or send me a picture to share!! You don't have to do all 30 things with me, just one act of kindness makes a huge difference in the world!)  

30 Acts of Kindness: Task 1, StreetLight

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Published: 02/03/2014
During February, I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers.  The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me! 

My very first "Act of Kindness" was to go and help out at StreetLight Community Outreach Ministries.  This was such a fantastic experience, and I want to give a huge shoutout to the fabulous volunteers from All Saints Church who were also there the night we went to serve, which was January 29th. 

Bonus- you get gloves to wear! How cool are we?
There is a lot going on at StreetLight, and things might seem a little chaotic/unorganized when volunteers initially arrive, but everything ends up working smoothly. 

StreetLight offers supportive housing, crisis aid, a pantry, weekly "Harvest Banquets" (this is where I went), an at-risk youth group, Thanksgiving Eve Dinner, and Children's Holiday Banquet. There are tons of opportunities for volunteering, including a need for daytime administrative help, which would be a great part-time volunteering gig for a momma with kids in school but not ready to go back to work quite yet.  The office experience would look great on a resume, and you'd be helping facilitate programs for the homeless and hungry in PWC! Love it!

The weekly "Harvest Banquets" occur each Wednesday and serve a HEARTY meal to about 125 men, women, and children.  Prince William County social workers also attend the dinner so they can ensure they are providing services and information to those that need it.  Volunteers are needed during the day to set up and cook, as well as in the evening to serve food and help clean up.  Dinner is served at 7:30 and volunteers arrive at 7.  StreetLight is housed inside Vineyard Church, which is at the corner of Route 1 and the PW Parkway. 

What's great about the Harvest Banquets is there's no age limit.  Austin (PwcDad) and I took Riley (10), Logan (7) and Savannah (5) to help, and they weren't the youngest by any stretch.  Obviously there are a lot of people coming in and out during this event, so you'll want to make sure that you have adequate adults in your family to work close beside your children, but everyone was able to have a task.  We handed out deserts, but other families with young children were assigned to pouring drinks, scooping out salads, or serving main dishes with a smile.  You can volunteer as a family, or you can sign up with your church, youth group, scout pack, or just a group of friends. We really had a great time.
Handing out cake :) Our friends from Scouts and American Heritage Girls attend All Saints and snapped a few candid shots of me working.  The tiny purple girl in front of me is Savannah.
If you'd like to help but can't attend, StreetLight keeps a list of needed items and volunteer opportunities on their website.  You can make a donation through your CFC Campaign, come to their fundraisers, or volunteer to pick up groceries. 

Thanks so Jennifer M. for the great first task! I hope that if StreetLight's mission speaks to you, you'll take the time to go volunteer, as well!

Featured Organization Friday: Wreaths Across America

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Published: 12/20/2013

We were so fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday with my daughter's American Heritage Girls troop.  I have to be honest and admit that I've been going to Arlington my entire life because my grandparents are buried there, but I never knew that the wreaths and flags that appear during Christmas and 4th of July/Veterans Day are put up by volunteers.

Wreaths Across America raises the funds to place wreaths on the graves of American veterans at veterans' cemeteries across the country, at sea, and 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil.  Quantico is also a participating site.  Wreaths are $15, and our AHG troop actually raised money as a fundraiser, which helped our organization and helped fund the wreaths we would be going to lay.  Arlington actually has to rotate the sections that receive wreaths each year because there are not enough to go around.  This year, there was a bit of a crisis at Arlington because while wreath sponsorships were up overall, they were down at Arlington until a huge last-minute donation from Google.  (Holla at Google!)

Each year, Wreaths Across America selects a date (a Saturday) and all of the cemeteries are provided with wreaths on that day.  Truckers from across the country ship the wreaths to the sites, and volunteers come out to help lay the wreaths.  You don't have to sign up to volunteer, you can just show up the day of.  Even the tiniest kiddos can help out- as long as they're big enough to put a wreath down, or hang out in a backpack/wrap/stroller while you do.  Note that strollers looked to be a little difficult to negotiate on the wet ground today, so you might want to plan for an option that's mud-friendly depending on the weather.

We drove to Pentagon City Mall and parked, and then we took the metro to Arlington.  I actually have a parking pass that lets me into the cemetery grounds, but we were told the line to get into Arlington can be massive with people trying to park in the limited visitors center spots, so we opted to do a short metro ride instead.

So did a lot of people.  Metro was, unfortunately, doing system maintenance on the blue line, so trains were only running every 20 minutes.  They also only have a few entry/exit points at Arlington, so the bottleneck and wait to get OUT of the station was pretty intense.  It took us about 20 minutes, and the trains were standing room only coming in.  I mention this, again, as a caution to those of you with strollers :) It was actually neat that there were so many people coming to volunteer.
This was just to get off the platform, not even to exit the station.
Our group met up at 8:30 so they could get good spots for the opening ceremony at 9:30 (Note that times vary by location).  I know I'm going to frustrate someone by saying this, but I didn't find the opening ceremony all that worthwhile.  It was standing room only, so my daughter couldn't see and just wanted to get to the business at hand.  There were a few speeches, a non-sectarian prayer, the national anthem, mention of dignitaries, and then God Bless America, oh, and the Presidential Helicopter did a fly-by.  It just didn't really do anything for me.

By the time we were done with the opening ceremony, people who skipped it (I venture to say the majority) had already been putting wreaths down for a few minutes, so my daughter and I opted out of a group photo and hi-tailed it to the section my grandparents are in so that we could place their wreath.  If you have a loved one in any section, you can lay a wreath for them, and you are able to skip the line at the trucks, walk to the front and ask for a wreath for a loved one. No one will give you any trouble, and in fact, the Army volunteer who gave us our wreath thanked me for my grandfather's service to our country and thanked my daughter for coming out.  (I found that moving- I teared up a little).
That's my grandfather's stone- my grandmother is listed on the back.  Not related to this story- but she was Anna and my daughter is Savannah in her honor.

We were actually able to lay numerous wreaths because we walked back to their section.  The lines can be incredibly long at the sections closest to the entrance, and in the newest sections.  Section 60 had a line a block long.  I know a few of our friends only made it through their lines once or twice, but we actually were able to go through our line six times, getting two or three wreaths each time, depending on whether Savannah felt like carrying her own wreath or not.  They got heavy for her after awhile!

Several of our friends sponsored wreaths, and she was very thoughtful in placing wreaths for them, finding someone who had a name that started with the same first initial as one friend who donated, and finding "USMC" on stones for Marine friends who sponsored others.  Because we're an interfaith family, it was a little hard for her to understand why we weren't giving wreaths to everyone (because Daddy is Jewish and he does Christmas with us), and it's a little hard to explain that we ARE being fair to everyone by honoring their traditions, even if it seems unfair that "everyone isn't getting one".  However, after a talking for awhile, she finally got it, and we did make a point of stopping at graves marked with a Star of David and reading the names and inscriptions as a way of honoring those veterans, too.  One of my favorite things about Arlington is the beauty of all the white stones, all the different ranks, branches, and faiths, all together peacefully at rest.  I hope that she understood a little of that, although I know it's a big concept for a Kindergartner!

There is a closing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at noon, which I hear was very beautiful, but Savannah was exhausted, so we opted to head back home at around 11.

If you would like to get involved with Wreaths Across America, you can visit their website to sponsor wreaths or find volunteer information for next year's wreath placement.  You can also get involved this year by helping to remove wreaths, clean up at Arlington takes place in January, and you can email the site leader for details or to get involved.  I hear that clean-up is not nearly as well attended, and it would still be a very easy job for even little hands.

Did you attend, or have you attended in the past? Leave your tips or advice in the comments.

Featured Organization Friday: Help the PWSPCA Food Pantry!

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Published: 11/08/2013

In June 2009, the Prince William SPCA opened its community pet food pantry. Since then local families have relied on the service to help feed their pets. The pantry receives no subsidy from state, city, federal or county agencies and relies entirely on the public to stock its shelves. The program is not meant to be a long-term solution for feeding any family’s pet, but rather a helping hand when times are tough. We hope that everyone who uses this program will give back to it when their circumstances change. Needy families in Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William County may visit the pantry anytime during regular hours.  Food, treats, litter and other supplies are available while supplies last.  This expanded policy will run through two weeks after the shutdown has ended.  The Pet Food Pantry is located in the front lobby of the Manassas City Animal Adoption Center.  More information on the Prince William SPCA:

How to Start a Pet Food Collection

Neighborhoods, churches, schools and workplaces are great resources for pet food collection drives. They can be held any time of year and coordinated by anyone. Parents, teachers or scout leaders should note that collecting donations for the pantry is a fantastic way to get children and teens involved with helping animals, especially during the summer months or on school vacations.

What to Donate

The pantry is currently only accepting unopened food items. We cannot accept opened bags or food not in its original, sealed container. Items needed: any wet or dry pet food for puppies, dogs, kittens and cats; bird, rabbit, and other small animal food. We prefer cans, pouches and smaller bags of food so more families can benefit from the donations. However, we will accept large bags. Also accepted based on space and as long as they are new and unused: toys, beds, litter and other pet supplies. Donations of gift cards from Wal-Mart, Target, Wegmans, and other stores where pet food is sold may be mailed directly to the Prince William SPCA at PO Box 6631, Woodbridge, VA 22195.

Hours of Operation:

Monday, Tuesday and Friday: 10:00am – 1:00pm AND 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Wednesday: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Sunday, Thursday and Holidays: Closed

Directions For When You Collect Your Pet Food

Located in the front Lobby of the Manassas City Animal Adoption Center, 10039 Dean Dr. in Manassas, Va. 20110. From Route 28 (Nokesville Road) turn eastbound onto Wellington Road. Make the first right onto Dean Drive. They are the second business on the right.

Volunteering With Your Kids

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Published: 11/06/2013

I get a lot of requests for volunteer opportunities for kids/with kids, and that makes my heart so happy.  You guys are awesome.

Shout out to Volunteer Prince William for helping me with this list!! Please go like their facebook page (that's what the link is to) for more updates on volunteer opportunities in the county!!

From VPW:
 Our good friends at Habitat for Humanity are always looking for volunteers to make or buy lunch for their volunteers. Lunch donors have made bagged lunches, grilled hot dogs on site, brought deli trays, donated money, and even had pizza delivered! Please contact Tiffanie at or 703-369-6708.

New Creatures in Christ Ministries Food Pantry in Woodbridge needs volunteers to help Tuesday evenings 5-7pm and Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am-2pm. Teen volunteers are very welcome. Please call Josephine at (703) 409-3022 for more info.

Habitat for Humanity has the perfect job for youth clubs! They need volunteers to hang door hangers around the community to educate us all on their super programs. It’s a fun job, gets us out in the fresh air and all for great cause. Please call Tiffanie at (703) 369-6708.

 Keep Prince William Beautiful is gearing up for the Fall Cleanup Campaign.  Volunteers from communities and HOA’s just need to pick your day and Keep Prince William Beautiful will provide all the supplies for the day including grabbers, vests, gloves, trash bags and landfill vouchers. All you need is the manpower. Please call Anna at (571) 285-3772 to schedule your event.

The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring the bell at various stores throughout the community. Come as a single volunteer for a 2 hour shift or bring your friends and colleagues. The Red Kettle program runs from November 9th – December 24th. Please call Catie at (571) 580-8995 to learn more.

Hey scouts and teens- ACTS would love your help in securing recycled grocery bags for their food pantry. Look around your school or neighborhood to collect this valuable little item so families in need have proper bags to take their groceries home. You can drop them off at the ACTS Pantry or call Robin at (703) 441-8606 ext. 213 for more info

Other Great Resources:
Check out the PWSPCA- we'll have a Featured Organization Friday on them this week, and they also run a Pet Food Pantry you can collect items for.  It's also a great place to take any unopened items (either because Fido didn't like that flavor or because Fluffy passed away and you just purchased a new bag of food) to get them off your shelves. 

SERVE of Manassas has various opportunities available:

ACTS of Prince William County can frequently take family groups, or can help you set up a project for your youth or scout group!! Email 

Relay for Life isn't until the Spring, but you can get involved and start fundraising and prepping your group now!! It's an overnight event, but groups set up tents and sleeping bags, so when younger (or older) members get tired, they can snag a nap! 

Seasonal Resources:

Send out cards for those serving overseas.  Cards must be in by December 6th, 2013, so hop on it!! Mail your cards to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456 Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Project Untrim a Tree helps to provide a happy holiday for children who might not otherwise receive gifts.  UTAT is run by Volunteer Prince William.  Take your kids out shopping with you to pick out gifts for another child!! Fill out a donor form here. 

You can also participate in a similar program through the Salvation Army called "Angel Tree".  You can find the trees with requests in Potomac Mills Mall November 22-December 11 or in Manassas Mall during the same dates. 

For either program, please be sure you return the gift you select so that no child is forgotten!! 

Finally, don't forget our local nursing homes/assisted living facilities!! They love little visitors!

Are we missing your favorite? Leave a comment with details on where you like to volunteer!! 

Featured Organization Friday: Keep Prince William Beautiful/ Prince William Recycles Day

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Published: 11/01/2013

We attended this year's Prince William Recycles Day and Paper Shred, and had a truly fantastic time.  There were lots of activities set up, and the kids could earn tons of "swag" by participating in games like litter clean up, recycle/compost/trash sort (it was a beanbag toss- not real trash!) and more.  There was also tons of information from various local groups, as well as bus tours of the dump, which were very interesting!! Below, find a press release about the event.  I'd definitely put this on your radar for next year!! 

Recycles Day and Paper Shred Achieve Record Participation
Prince William, VA, October 28, 2013 – 
This year’s Prince William Recycles Day, a local celebration of American Recycles Day, brought a record 850 guests to the annual landfill event. The accompanying paper shred also broke a record with more 500 citizens that took advantage of the paper shred service at the Landfill and the Balls Ford Road facility.
Prince William residents were entertained by regionally known environmental “edutainer” Billy B. In addition visitors learned about the importance of recycling valuable resources from numerous displays, games and activities, had hands on experience with trash trucks, took landfill tours, voted for the best recycled art project and enjoyed door prizes, food and face painting.

Many residents look forward to this annual event and return year after year. The event was so well attended that even Billy B was impressed with amount of community participation—guests and display sponsors. He noted, “Even though I have been in this business for many years, I picked up several new ideas for organizing a successful event.” He along with several other participants and sponsors especially liked the recycling trading cards that were distributed at each table display. The trading card collection encouraged guests to visit all the tables and learn about the organization or business and its role in recycling or “greening” the environment.
Prince William Recycles Day was sponsored by Fortistar, Broad Run Recycling, Solid Waste Services Charlie and Sons Trash Service, SCS Engineers, Davis Industries and supported by donations from American Disposal Services, AshBritt, Atkins North America, Bates Trucking & Trash Removal, Call2Recycle, Daniel H. Barrett Trucking, Davis Industries, Eastern Clearing, EnivroSolutions, GBB, Golder & Associates, Keep Prince William Beautiful, R. E. Daffan, Madera Farms LLC, SP Recycling Southeast, Trash Away, Veolia ES Technical Solutions, and Waste Management.

Prince William Recycles Day is the local celebration of America Recycles Day, which is officially November 15 each year. For photos of Prince William Recycles Day activities visit 

Featured Organization Friday: Mainly Music Fundraiser to Support SIDS Education

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Published: 10/11/2013
In honor of a lost child, a local mom is hosting a special fundraiser to help fund SIDS educational services.  Join the Mainly Music Fundraiser on November 8, 2013 for a fun family show, dinner, and desert, $20 per family.

Featured Organization Friday: FARE Walk for Food Allergies

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Published: 09/13/2013
For more information, or to register, click Here.
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