Volunteer Event to Focus on Local Artists, Coincide with McAuliffe Inauguration
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Terry McAuliffe has called for a statewide day of service on Jan. 4 ahead of his inauguration as the 72nd Governor of Virginia.
In Dumfries, the Make The Future organization that works with at-risk youth and college students, and also helped to propel Delegate-Elect Michael Futrell (D-Stafford, Woodbridge) to political prominence as the organization he co-founded, has answered the call.
“Doing our pART, Giving with our heart” is slated to take place Jan. 4 at the Dumfries Boys and Girls Club. The event aims to draw local artists, as well as performance artists, and dancers, to show children the importance of volunteering.
“It will be a day of volunteers talking about volunteering,” said Dr. Bernadine Futrell, who runs the non-profit organization with her husband, Michael. “It’s exposing children about a bigger world and showing them that this volunteering effort is about community, and that it’s bigger than just you.”
The event will also include Zumba, information on healthy living, and children will make special tokens for those with illnesses who are admitted to Children’s Hospital.
The volunteer day comes as Delegate-Elect Michael Futrell is preparing to head to Richmond to be sworn in to the General Assembly law-making body. He’ll represent Woodbridge, where he lives with his wife and son, as well as portions of Dumfries and North Stafford.
Make the Future became a campaign issue earlier this summer when the IRS incorrectly noted the non-profit had not filed its taxes since it was founded three years ago. Futrell initially told Potomac Local News that he took full responsibility for the tax oversight. Later, the IRS issued an apology and stated the organization was removed from the IRS’s auto revocation list, and that erroneously listed Make the Future as a private organization. That letter is now prominently featured on the organization’s revamped website.
Labor of love
That revamped website is the first of multiple new efforts not only keep the organization appealing to newcomers, but to extend its reach in the community. The Futrells both continue to work full-time jobs and then come home each night to raise their son and work on their non-profit.
They hope to reach more high school students to help them apply for college, especially the ones who don’t think they are college material. Getting donations to help offset the cost of college applications is also big on the non-profit’s wish list.
“The schools do a great job, but there so many kids, and because they’re so many kids what ends up happening is you see the ones who know [about the college application process] are the ones who are reaching out and going out, and there’s a group that gets lost in the shuffle and they don’t know what questions they’re supposed to ask,” said Michael Futrell.
Several of the day-long basketball camps Make The Future holds attracts anywhere between 20 and 50 children, and as many as 15 volunteers on an ongoing basis. The camps are broken up between athletic instruction with Michael “Coach” Futurell during the mornings for team building and exercise, and then academic instruction and help with Dr. Bernadine Futrell for help on class work, as well as college application and guidance.
The organization is constantly accepting new volunteers, and the Futrells – who have paid for the organization’s expenses out of their own pockets – hope more donations in 2014 will allow them to turn some of the those volunteers into paid staffers, as well as provide marketing dollars to reach new youth who can benefit from the program.