We love the idea of partnering with great, local organizations that are doing great work in the community, and we hope to encourage community service that makes a difference in people’s lives.
One important note: as we talk about service, it's very important that we remember that immigrants and refugees contribute to our society – enriching our culture, making our society more dynamic, and adding to our economy. They are our neighbors and are often very, very successful. However, it's also important that we realize that some immigrants and refugees, particularly the recently-arrived and those with weak language skills – struggle to make ends meet in expensive Northern Virginia. So even as we appreciate the fact that 45% of U.S. Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants (that's lots of opportunity for us all!), let's come together and serve our neighbors who are in need of support.
Join us to serve with some great, local organizations:
The Falls Church Presbyterian Church has a wonderful tradition of Welcome Table dinners, open to all comers, on the first and third Wednesday of each month. FCPC needs volunteers for their dinners, particularly on the third Wednesday of each month. This is a twice-monthly service opportunity, suitable for one-time or regular volunteers. Register to serve on the FCPC website, or, if you have any questions, contact Hannah Jordan for more information about getting involved.
Another great organization is our partner Comunidad, which operates afterschool reading and youth leadership programs at the Willston Multi-Cultural Center, a Fairfax County government community center located behind Target at Seven Corners. Comunidad is in need of volunteer reading buddies on Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons. This is a regular, once- or twice-weekly service opportunity that is open to students as young as seventh grade and to adults. Email Comunidad Founder and Executive Director Maralee Gutierrez for information about getting involved.
Spend Yourself Food Pantry (which is sponsored by Columbia Baptist Church) is another well-organized organization that has significant volunteer needs. We organize a group of eight volunteers to serve together at Spend Yourself on the third Saturday of each month. This service opportunity is suitable for one-time or regular volunteers – and is good for families with children as young as third or fourth grade. Register on Signup Genius here.
Finally, the Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS) is a great partner and is doing good work with international families. FCCPS's creation of a Family Resource Center (FRC) to serve these families is a great story. FCCPS does have one volunteer need: the schools are looking for volunteers in the community who have the ability (and time) to translate for parents who are in need of support. If you can potentially help with this, please contact Dr. Jennifer Santiago, FCCPS Coordinator of EL Services, here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said memorably that, The time is always right to do what is right. We can start now by doing our small part to treat people with dignity, courtesy, and respect, and to come together to serve our neighbors.