Executive Director & CEO Corner
As so many parents did, I sent my tiny human back to school last week…a little anxious about a new school, meeting new friends, and her new teacher but with her new backpack, her healthy lunch, and all the required school supplies in tow. I realized how often things like this are taken for granted. For so many in our community, all of those things and more- are out of grasp. For kids living in crisis, whether in a shelter, in their family car, or even on a relative’s floor, the list of stressors goes way beyond what’s ‘normal’. Kids experiencing homelessness, poverty, or domestic violence can suffer lifelong effects on their mental and physical development, as well as on their ability to form relationships. This is why HomeAid continues to find new ways to support non-profits in our community and who they serve – big and small. A healthy, equitable community is a happy community!
This week, we delivered a custom playhouse build by Van Metre B.A.S.E. to Bethany House, a domestic violence shelter in Fairfax that we recently renovated and that serves women and children. Project Playhouse is an important part of our mission because a playhouse is so much more than a playhouse when its gifted to a shelter; it’s a symbol of holistic healing, creativity, laughter, and play. Of normalcy. The people we are helping may be small, but the impact we are making is enormous!
In the Spotlight
Join Us at Our Biggest Party of the Year
September is here – which means fall has arrived, and our 20th Annual Gala & Auction is right around the corner! Registration and sponsorship opportunities are now open, and we don’t want you to miss our biggest fundraiser of the year and your best opportunity for meeting hundreds of movers and shakers from the homebuilding industry under one roof. Put yourself – and your company’s name – in the spotlight!
As much as we enjoyed our virtual Maskerade in 2020, we are very much looking forward to our in-person “Masquerade 2.0” themed event, which will celebrate 20 years of making a difference in Northern Virginia and beyond. Whether it’s your 20th Gala or your first, there will be something for everyone: To start, we’ll enjoy a cocktail reception featuring a DJ and signature drink, as well as a silent auction with items at every price point. We will honor our 2021 Presidents’ Circle awardees over a three-course dinner and open bar; raise our paddles for live auction items and auctioneer-led paddle challenge; and put our hands together in celebration of two decades of impact in our community. We can’t wait to see you there!
Want to make a weekend of it? Reservations for our special room rate are also being accepted now – we have a limited number available, and reservations must be made by Thursday, October 14, to lock in this special rate, so be sure to book your room today.
In Your Neighborhood
A Second Act for ACTS
HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain K. Hovnanian Companies, and 26 trade partners have completed the renovation of ACTS’ Thrift Store in Dumfries, VA, transforming the metal shed building – formerly an auto parts supply store – into a beautiful retail shop with a showroom and separate administrative areas.
The project was a critically important one for ACTS and the people they serve: Donations and purchases from the thrift store result in unrestricted funding that ACTS uses to support those experiencing poverty or homelessness or who are survivors of domestic abuse or sexual assault. Yet, three years ago the store was at risk of closing down entirely as sales performance was falling and the physical building was increasingly worn and cramped.
Recognizing that having a flexible source of funding was too important to lose, ACTS reached out to HomeAid for help with the building and reached inward to retrain staff, revamp internal processes, and ensure that shoppers and donors alike felt seen and treated with dignity.
To ensure no loss of revenue during the construction process, K. Hovnanian and its partners committed to working around staff and shoppers, completing the entire project without having to close down the store. Interior aisles were widened to make for a more pleasurable shopping experience, while decorative molding, new lighting, paint on the walls and ceiling, and sparkling new windows further elevated the retail experience. The new office area, featuring built-in cabinetry, storage, and dedicated workspace, as well as a beautiful breakroom and renovated bathroom, provides staff with the professional environment they need to provide great service. And, to welcome shoppers in, the exterior was totally transformed from a dingy warehouse into a show-stopping store with a new brick façade, landscaping, lighting, and signage.
Foot traffic and sales numbers are already exceeding ACTS’ stretch goals, meaning the all-important flexibility of funding is secured for the people ACTS serves from three local shelters. Some may come with only the shirts on their backs, needing every basic necessity. Others may have urgently escaped their homes, having to leave behind their work clothes. No matter the situation, ACTS Thrift Store can provide vouchers to cover everything one might need – including clothing, shoes, toys, household wares, furniture, jewelry, and accessories – in addition to using funding from the sale of donated items to provide further support through programming.
The Thrift Store renovation marks the 10th project we’ve completed with ACTS, totaling a $2 million investment in their facilities and in support of their many life changing programs.
See more photos of this top to bottom renovation by visiting our Flickr page.
In Your Community
HomeAid, Van Metre Give the Gift of Play
This week, HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Van Metre Homes, and Van Metre B.A.S.E. delivered a custom-built playhouse to a home owned by Bethany House in Fairfax County, much to the delight of the women and children survivors of domestic violence now living in the home. The playhouse is the finishing touch on our largest renovation project of the year but, most importantly, provides the gift of play, the outdoors, and imagination for kids and their moms.
With a beautifully rejuvenated and landscaped yard to also enjoy, gifts like these are a critical component to reaching our mission of rebuilding lives, especially for children who have faced intense trauma in their young lives. The playhouse provides a place where kids can be encouraged to play outside, promotes the joy of playing in a space that is uniquely theirs, and enables kids to enjoy playing with their siblings, other children, and their mothers.
This is the third “Project Playhouse” that Van Metre and B.A.S.E. have built for HomeAid partners – thank you for giving the gift of play! If your company is interested in participating by building or funding a playhouse, please contact Kristyn Burr!
Did You Know?
September is suicide prevention month, and COVID has forced us all to reckon with the very real crisis of pediatric mental health. A new CDC report released in June shows a distressing picture of the pandemic’s impact on America’s youth: Emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts among U.S. girls age 12-17 rose by nearly 51% between February and March of this year versus the comparable pre-pandemic period in 2019. The rate for boys age 12 to 17 also increased but by a lesser amount (3%).
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
As you’ll read about in this issue, we have several third-party fundraising events coming up, with golf and cornhole tournaments planned and hosted by some of our biggest supporters – K Hovnanian, Pulte, and Van Metre. All three have named HomeAid their beneficiary, which will directly support our operations and help fill gaps throughout the year. Operational
As you’ll read about in this issue, we have several third-party fundraising events coming up, with golf and cornhole tournaments planned and hosted by some of our biggest supporters – K Hovnanian, Pulte, and Van Metre. All three have named HomeAid their beneficiary, which will directly support our operations and help fill gaps throughout the year. Operational support is extremely important to HomeAid because we are not a direct service organization and don’t qualify for most grant programs.
But there’s so much more to them that doesn’t always meet the eye. From my seat, I also see them as saving our small staff of five from what would require an unsustainable amount of planning, registration, and on-site logistics, allowing us to instead focus on the details of our building and renovation projects, events, and fundraisers like the Gala & Auction.