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Building Hope Newsletter, June 2019

Left to Right: Amanda Helena & Robin Keesal-Arnett (HomeAid America), Kristyn Burr (HomeAid Northern Virginia), Laura McKenna (HomeAid America), and Mandy Trowell-Crater (HomeAid Atlanta) in San Francisco for the HomeAid America Board Meeting.

I just returned from my second HomeAid America Board meeting since I was appointed to the Board in January. Held in San Francisco, it was again an incredible opportunity to get to know more of the 30-plus members who represent homebuilders, other HomeAid chapters, trades, and partners to the industry, such as bankers, insurers and investors. Together, we are all making life-changing differences around the nation, and I was particularly honored to provide the “Mission Moment” at the start of the meeting. Mission Moments are a great way to share the story of an organization’s work, challenges, and successes, and I chose to focus my comments this time on individual male homelessness, the stigma that is often (unfairly) associated with men facing homelessness versus women, and how one of our recent projects – the K. Hovnanian renovation of Christ House in Alexandria, Va. – made such an enormous difference to the 14 men who call that space home while they regain their footing, and to the hundreds of men, women, and children who benefit from Christ House’s food pantry and evening meal service year-round. I shared a lot of eye-opening statistics about male homelessness, which many on the Board asked for in follow-up, and it felt good to have this opportunity to share and further educate colleagues on the unique challenges that so many of our fellow humans face. Of course, no discussion about homelessness is complete without also focusing on the solutions provided to us through our partners, and I was proud to give props to our Builder Captains and trade partners who have made it possible for us to complete 136 projects and invest over $16.8 million into the Northern Virginia community. And while my gratitude for their dedication is always top and center in my mind, in two weeks we’ll be rolling out the red and white tablecloths for our 10th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ, which is entirely dedicated to saying thank you in a far more public way. I hope to see you there – your generosity is unequaled, and this BBQ is for all of YOU to gather, support and celebrate.

With Gratitude,

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]The Barn at One Loudoun
(FREE event parking at 44679 Provincetown Dr., Ashburn)
Thursday, June 20, 2019
4:00 to 7:00 p.m.



In two short weeks, we’ll kick off our 10th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ at The Barn at One Loudoun, and we can’t wait to see you there! Please join us for the summer’s best networking event in a relaxed and fun environment—and enjoy all-you-can eat BBQ; an open bar with craft beer from Old Ox Brewery and Lost Rhino Brewing Co., as well as mixed beverages; live music by the band Liberty Street; cornhole games; and great raffle prizes! All this, for just $50, unless you are a Builder Captain, trade partner, supplier, or subcontractor that has participated on a HomeAid project in the last year, in which case you are eligible for TWO FREE BBQ registrations! (Contact Cilda Pretorius for more details!)

Our pile of raffle prizes is growing thanks to donations so far from the following:

Don’t miss out! Register today, and we’ll see you on June 20![divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Students in high-poverty schools do worse on standardized tests and are more likely to be chronically absent during the school year, more likely to be held back in their grade, and less likely to graduate on-time. Only one-third (34%) of high-poverty schools in Virginia were fully accredited by the state in 2013-2014 compared to almost all (99%) of low-poverty schools. This stark contrast shows the unequal outcomes on test performance that result from giving students with some of the greatest needs the fewest resources and supports.
Source: The Commonwealth Institute[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

On left, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey cuts the ribbon with Aspire! kids. On right, Aspire! Board Chair Steve Manlove (R) welcomes HomeAid Board Chair Gary Chandler (L).

HomeAid Northern Virginia joined in a much-anticipated ribbon cutting at Aspire! Afterschool Learning yesterday, Thursday, June 6, celebrating the completion of a $1 million capital campaign and the opening of a third-floor, 9,400 square-foot learning space at the Arlington Mill Community Center. The space, which will be dedicated to offering after-school academic and summer enrichment programs for at-risk upper elementary school students, was completed in time for the July 1 start of summer camp, ensuring that 120 kids from low-income families, ranging in age from rising third to sixth grade, will have access to a six-week academic program designed to prevent summer learning loss. Students in the program and their families joined HomeAid, Aspire! staff and volunteers, project partners, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, and supporters to mark the project’s completion and tour the beautiful new space.

HomeAid Northern Virginia and General Contractor HITT Construction provided a significant source of pro bono project management; in-kind materials, service, and labor; with additional donations from foundations and individuals helping Aspire! reach its ambitious goal and complete construction in three years.

“This was a different kind of project for us,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr, “with so many of our trade partners providing materials rather than materials and labor. We never could have done it without all of them – they really stepped up to the challenge, donating or providing at-cost countless products that were critical to making this project financially feasible. The new site will allow Aspire! to serve three times the number of children it previously could serve. That means fewer kids at risk of falling into an achievement gap in Arlington, stronger readers, stronger English language learners, and more consistent social-emotional learning and educational support.”

“This project really exemplified the very best that public-private partnerships can offer,” added Courtney Reeve, executive director for Aspire! “With Arlington County, non-profits, the donor community, private developers and architects, and HomeAid with its foot in both worlds of non-profits and the private homebuilding industry, it was a feel-good story with everyone coming together for the kids. Perkins + Will, the pro bono architect firm, put together a beautiful design that included so many elements important to us; the space is so warm and welcoming, and the kitchen is a natural gathering place, just like it is in a private home. Everything came together so smoothly and everyone worked together so well. It’s a project that no one wanted to see come to an end.”

“Community involvement is a core pillar of HITT’s Corporate Responsibility Program, so we were excited to participate in this initiative and give back to the community where we live and work,” said HITT Assistant Project Manager Ana Sierra. “Working alongside the Aspire! team, project partners, and subcontractors has been a rewarding experience for our team, and we look forward to seeing the impact this new Community Center has on the youth attending camps and afterschool programs at Arlington Mill.”

The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Philip L. Graham Fund, the HDR Foundation, and the Washington Forrest Foundation provided anchor funding for the project.

This fall, Aspire! will welcome students back to its flagship Learning ROCKS! Afterschool Program in the new space as well.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

A night out with family brings smiles to all who attend HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark!

HomeAid Northern Virginia to host 9th Annual Night at the Ballpark, an event for our non-profit friends and the families they serve.

Saturday, July 20, 2019
Potomac Nationals vs. Fayetteville Woodpeckers
Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, VA
Gates open: 5:30 p.m.
Game time: 6:35 p.m.


There’s just one more month until HomeAid’s Annual Night at the Ballpark, and this will be our last summer cheering on the Potomac Nationals before they move their operations to Fredericksburg. So, please join us in knocking our ninth year at Pfitzner Stadium right out of the park!

With your support, families will receive:

Here are the two best ways to help:
Sponsor the event: Your donation will help cover game tickets, concession vouchers, and parking passes for all of our guests. In return, you will receive complimentary tickets to the game; signage; recognition; and more, based on sponsorship levels.

Donate a backpack or coordinate a Backpack Drive: Schools will open about a month after our Night at the Ballpark, so we will once again give a brand-new backpack to every child who attends as our guest. Please contact Cilda Pretorius at HomeAid if you would like to coordinate a drive or just donate on your own.

For non-profit executive directors and case managers, please bring your team! We’d love to celebrate all that you do every day to help client families regain their footing; contact Cilda Pretorius (703.953.3525) at HomeAid to let us know how many tickets your organization will need.

Thank you to our 2019 sponsors to date:

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

The Urban Institute reports that one in five children ages 6 to 12 are regularly left without adult supervision after school or in the summer. That’s nearly 3.5 million children left unsupervised and possibly faced with temptations to engage in drug experimentation, gang-related activities, or other risky behaviors.
Source: The Urban Institute

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Jason & Melissa Dorsey

Melissa Dorsey, office manager for Darvish Companies, and her husband, Jason, have been dedicated supporters of HomeAid Northern Virginia ever since the first time they helped out at one of our Galas, and all of us at HomeAid – most importantly the men, women, and children we help serve – have all benefited enormously from their dedication of time, love, commitment, good humor, and dedication to serving. Whether they’re helping with the Gala clean-up crew or praying for good weather for a golf tournament, they’re an important ingredient for our success and a wonderful reminder that some of our biggest contributors are quite often the very definition of behind-the-scenes volunteers.

Q: How did you first learn about HomeAid, and what attracted you to the idea of helping support the organization?

A: I think it was right around 2006, when John [Darvish] was invited to become a board member by, at the time, the president of K. Hovnanian Homes. John has always had such a huge heart and has always wanted to leave his mark on the world by serving those who are less fortunate. He told me about HomeAid, and since we had been long-time contributors to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, it sounded like a good fit. But it wasn’t until about 2009 that John came in and said, ‘Oh, by the way, would you volunteer at the registration table for HomeAid’s Jeans and Jewels Gala?’ I’m from Texas, so of course he pushed the cowboy theme! But I’ve been hooked ever since. That night, we helped at registration, worked the room during the paddle challenge, and generally filled in wherever we were needed. I walked away that night with a feeling of total euphoria that I can’t really even describe. Jason said I was glowing, and I couldn’t stop talking about it for days.

Seeing the impact of HomeAid and Women Giving Back [at the time a program of HomeAid’s, before it became its own 501(c)(3)] and learning about the people HomeAid’s work had impacted was just incredible. We were up until 4am talking about everything that I had experienced that night, and every year since then, I’ve kept with it. Jason has helped do the morning setup since about 2010, I continued with registration, we’ve worked as the clean-up crew. No matter how we’ve helped, the one thing that just keeps resonating is the insatiable need for housing in Northern Virginia. After leaving Texas, I lived for a long time in Charlottesville, and maybe I just lived a sheltered life … but I had no idea. HomeAid has opened my eyes to a life I’d never seen before.

Q: If someone was thinking about attending the Gala for the first time, what would you tell them?

A: The experience and the euphoria of attending is worth the time spent. I strongly believe that the value of a man isn’t measured by what he does for himself but by what he does for others. The Gala gives us all the opportunity to make a substantial impact to so many different people in situations so very different than our own.

Q: You’ve also been instrumental in planning (from scratch!) Toll Bros’ Golf Tournament, as well as K. Hovnanian’s—both of which have made HomeAid their sole beneficiary this year. How did that come about?

A: Here we go with John Darvish again! John was one of a couple of people who started a Trade Partner Council (TPC) for K. Hovnanian, and they used a golf tournament as an annual fundraiser for the TPC and to gain the opportunity to network and work through challenges in the more relaxing golf environment. Another TPC member organized it for years but, when he needed to step down, John volunteered me! I took it over and then, two years ago, when they decided to think of a more purposeful way to appropriate the funds raised, they chose Boulder Crest (an organization to help veterans and their families) and, this year, HomeAid. The success we had there rolled over into the Toll Brothers’ tournament, which is the brain child of Toll Brothers Division Vice President Scott Canan. John and Scott thought would be a great way to bring in homebuilders and trade partners for a builder-specific tournament. Since HomeAid is something John is so passionate about, it also quickly became a Home-Aid-focused fundraiser, with Brook Alsdurf, Scott’s executive assistant, and I taking the lead. We’re partners in crime together, and it’s been fun working on a tournament with the Toll Brothers organization. My dear father, he’d be so proud … he tried to teach me, and although I was a great softball player, those skills didn’t translate so well to the golf course! But, I’m happy to be on the golf course this way, and I view all tournaments as tremendous opportunities to raise money, socialize, and network in a beautiful place. What better way is there to spend the day than that?

Q: Tell us a little more about yourselves …

A: I’m from the great state of Texas, the daughter of the union of an Army Corps of Engineers Vietnam Veteran and the FBI. Jason and I love to camp and kayak. He is an avid hunter; I shop. I’ve worked for John Darvish for 23 years, and I would say it’s been the best years of my professional career. He’s an amazing man with a heart of gold, who would give the shirt off his back to anyone, and that’s how he’s built his business … with quality and integrity. There are few like him, and it’s what has anchored Jason and me here for so long.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

In a study conducted by UC Irvine, elementary school students who regularly attended high-quality after-school programs (alone or in combination with other activities) across two years demonstrated significant gains in standardized math test scores, compared to their peers who were routinely unsupervised during afterschool hours. Regular participation in the programs was associated with gains of 20 percentiles in math achievement test scores over the two-year period for kids enrolled in after-school programs vs. those with low supervision.
Source: University of California, Irvine

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Welcome

Congratulations and welcome to NVBIA’s recently named Chief Executive Officer Mark Ingrao, CCP, CAE, who will officially join NVBIA’s staff in July! Mark most recently served as president and CEO of the Reston Chamber of Commerce and, prior to that, served as vice president of government affairs for the National Apartment Association. A warm welcome as well to Debbie Rosenstein, who has joined NVBIA as vice president of business development and events. Debbie has been a longtime member of NVBIA, served as its 2007 president, and is an ardent supporter of HomeAid. We look forward to working with both of you in your new roles!

Sami Pabley & Jad Abutayeh

Welcome to HomeAid’s busy staff for the summer, Sami Pabley and Jad Abutayeh! Sami and Jad will be working as our events management and communications/marketing interns, respectively, and we’re so glad to have them.

Sami is a student at the College of William & Mary, class of 2021. She chose HomeAid because she has personally worked with many of HomeAid’s partner organizations, including Women Giving Back and Northern Virginia Family Service. “I love HomeAid’s mission,” she said, “and I thought it would be a great way to spend my summer! I hope to learn more about non-profit work and to gain meaningful experiences that I can carry with me to help me excel in my future career. I am not yet sure what I want to do in the future, but I am hoping that this summer will help me get closer to figuring it out!”

Jad is a rising second-year student at the University of Virginia, with a double major in media studies with a focus on media marketing, and psychology. He selected HomeAid because he knew that he needed to gain more experience in the work field, especially in a path relevant to his interests of marketing and communications. “I also wanted to gain this experience with an organization that I felt connected to, and that I would love working for. Due to HomeAid’s mission and goals, accomplishments, and all they have done to benefit the community, I felt this would be a great way to contribute to an organization that is doing so much good while also gaining hands-on work experience.”

In the future, Jad hopes to focus his career in the entertainment marketing field, eventually transitioning to becoming a teacher/professor after obtaining a teaching degree.

Thank You!

We love to recognize our projects’ trade partners every chance we get, and at the end of every project, we host a lunch and distribute plaques to everyone who helped us make an enormous difference. Most recently, we gathered representatives from 28 trade partner organizations who worked on the $83,000 renovation and upgrade of the Catholic Charities’ Christ House in Old Town Alexandria, all of which was 100% donated. Thank you for coming out to celebrate with us!

It was a picture-perfect morning on May 20 for NVBIA’s Golf Scramble, and it was a great opportunity to spread the word about our mission, hand out some HomeAid swag, and secure some early sign-ups for our Golf Tournament on September 20. Thanks to all who stopped by, and thank you NVBIA for your $2,500 donation!

Many thanks to NVBIA’s Custom Builders Council, who kick-started our annual backpack drive with the collection at your Summer Mixer last night! All will be distributed at our Night at the Ballpark in July so that schoolkids in need will be ready for September!

A round of applause for Stanley Martin Homes, who dropped two car-loads of housewares for our Welcome Home Baskets! We so appreciate the bountiful supplies of towels, pillows, art, lamps, sheets and blankets, and assorted kitchen supplies, all of which we will distribute to families coming out of homelessness and into a HomeAid-completed project as they come on-line this summer.

Spreading the News

Ever heard of a Mission Moment? It’s an important concept, especially for non-profits, giving us the opportunity to put a face on what we do through short, inspirational, and memorable stories. These ‘moments’ are easy to remember and re-tell, ensuring that every time someone repeats it, our story and our mission is spread. On May 28, our Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr was selected to share a Mission Moment at HomeAid America’s Board Meeting in San Francisco – putting HomeAid Northern Virginia in the spotlight amongst the national board’s 30+ members.

Save the Date

10th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – Thursday, June 20, 2019, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., The Barn at One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

Toll Brothers Charity Golf Event – Monday, June 24, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Belmont County Club, Ashburn, VA (All proceeds benefit HomeAid Northern Virginia!) SOLD OUT!

9th Annual Night at the Ballpark – Saturday, July 20, 2019, 5:00 p.m., Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, VA (For staff, individuals and families of our non-profit partners.)

NVBIA Crab Fest – Thursday August, 22, 2019, The Farm Brewery at Broad Run, 3:30 p.m. (Collecting diapers for HANV Builders for Babies Initiative!)

K Hovnanian Golf Tournament – Friday, September 13, 2019, Pleasant Valley Golf Course, Chantilly, VA  (All proceeds benefit HomeAid Northern Virginia!)

5th Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament – Friday, September 20, 2019, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, Leesburg, VA

NVBIA Food Truck Festival – Monday, September 23, 2019, Ferguson Enterprises, Chantilly, VA

HomeAid Northern Virginia 18th Annual Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 9, 2019, 6:30 p.m., Lansdowne Resort and Spa, Leesburg, VA

In this newsletter:
Executive Director & CEO Corner
HomeAid’s BBQ is in 2 Weeks! Are You Registered?
HomeAid, HITT, Aspire! Celebrate the Very Best of Public-Private Partnerships
Make It a Night to Remember!
Dorsey Duo, HomeAid Supporters for 10 Years and Counting