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Call to Action: Want to help improve the dog park?

Good morning  – Mark your calendars for Thursday June 2nd for the annual Do More 24 Day. Please visit DoMore24.org to learn more and of course support a kid and a toy at Volunteer Prince William’s Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift program with just a $24 contribution.

· Catholic Charities- Hogar Immigrant Services is urgently seeking teachers for the English classes in Manassas. These classes are held Monday-Thursday which gives you lots of flexibility to what class works for your schedule. Training provided and you do not need to know any other language. Please call Cynthia at (571) 208-1572 ext. 103 to learn more.

· Historic Manassas needs volunteers for the 12th Annual Wine & Jazz Festival on June 19th. This super fun event offers all kinds of volunteer positions throughout the day including- early shift of 11am-3pm or the second shift of 3pm-7pm. Locations throughout the event at the VIP Tent, will call/wine pick-up, hand out glasses or ID check. It promises to be a warm sunny day. Please email Erin at erin@historicmanassasinc.org to learn more.

· The K9 Gunner Memorial Dog Park and adjacent buffer project have their next work day on Sunday June 5th, 2-4pm. Wear long pants, sturdy shoes and sun block for this fun get your hands dirty project. You can email Vinetta at: vpaul@pwconserve.org to learn more.

· Keep Prince William Beautiful needs volunteers on June 4-5 at the Occoquan Arts and Crafts Fair and on June 15th for the 4th quarter litter survey from 8:30am-1pm. Please Claudia at (571) 285-3772 to learn more.

· PW Soil & Water Conservation District is having their next volunteer certification training for stream monitors in northern Virginia. It’s June 11th at Manassas National Battlefield Park Hdqtr. From 9am-3:30pm. This training is free but you must register with Veronica at: (571) 379-7514. Very cool!

· SERVE needs volunteer groups to provide weekday activities with the shelter kids when school is out. Come play games, do crafts, read stories and other fun stuff. Teens must be at least 16yrs old. Sounds like super fun way to offer safe fun to neat kids. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs.org for more info.

· The Community Health Network at the Manassas Park Community Center needs volunteers on Tuesdays from 8am-12noon. Duties include assisting patients with medical forms, assisting with tracking information on electronic software and other admin jobs. Great training is provided by the VA Dept. of Health. Please call Valda at (703) 792-6755 to learn more.

· Habitat for Humanity has started the new home makeover on Central Park Drive. Lots of volunteer opportunities on this home. Please visit the volunteer calendar for all the specifics at: habitatpwc.org for all the specifics. They especially need lunch donors to bring lunch to the other volunteers. It’s easy- just make some sandwiches, a bag of chips, few cookies and a drink to make their day.

· Helping Neighbors Outreach Center in Dale City needs volunteers to help in the office on Thursdays from 9:30-3:30. Duties include answering the phone, mailings and other admin duties. Please call Pastor Edmonds at (703) 964-7725 for more info.

· The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program –RSVP has a new email address- it is: rsvp@volunteerprincewilliam.org

· If you are looking for other opportunities, please don’t forget to call my wonderful team at Volunteer Prince William. Mary can help you with the Retired and Senior Volunteer (RSVP) opportunities at (703) 369-5292 ext. 1, Shelley can help with any individual or group project and send you weekly updates if you’d like. Shelley is at (703) 369-5292 ext. 0, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 3. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Call to Action is a column written by Volunteer Prince William Director Mary Foley.

We’ve got cloggers, belly dancers, wintry princesses, and train rides at the Heritage Railroad Festival in Manassas

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The Heritage Railway Festival is back in Manassas for its 22nd year! Enjoy the rich railroad history of Manassas Saturday, June 4 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. surrounding the Train Depot.

A day full of family-friendly fun, the Railway Festival will feature a community stage on West Street hosting Premier Martial Arts, Wildlife Ambassadors, Bull Run Cloggers, and Magnificent Belly Dancers. Take an excursion train ride to Clifton and back featuring two wintry princess.

Tickets are available for purchase online and in person at the Train Depot. Excursion trains will leave at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.. After your train excursion, walk over to the Harris Pavilion and view the memorabilia and model train displays. Stop by the Farmers Market, enjoy children rides, shop novelty vendors and more!

A new addition to the festival this year, is the chance to win a tea party with the two wintry princesses between the morning and afternoon trains. Bags of Hershey Kisses are being sold at numerous downtown merchant locations with winning bags containing blue Hershey Kisses. Winners will have a one-hour tea party at The Things I Love for additional time with the princesses.

Back again this year is the Norfolk & Southern J-Class 611 Steam Train. The Steam Train will take passengers on a half day excursion to Front Royal and back Saturday morning and return around noon to remain as a static display for the duration of the festival. The Steam Train will then take two excursions on Sunday, June 5. A limited number of tickets remain for the three Steam Train excursions and can be purchased online at www.fireup611.org.

Whether you love trains and railroads or are just looking for some family fun, this event is a great way to spend your Saturday and see all that Historic Downtown Manassas has to offer. For more information on this and other events in the City of Manassas, go to www.visitmanassas.org.

Mall walking keeps seniors fit, healthy (and humorous!)

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You can see them bright and early, at 8 o’clock most mornings — walking, talking and laughing in Manassas Mall, enjoying the new layout and the mall extension. They are the mall walkers, an informal group of retirees who are into staying active and getting some social time in, too.

This particular group of mall walkers met each other initially by good, old fashioned, in-person introduction, and before long they formed a strong bond. Members have been walking the mall anywhere from five years all the way up to 20 years. They range from ages 65 to 90 years old and tend to walk alongside those who have similar paces.

While they may not have discovered the fountain of youth, these seniors recognize a healthy habit when they see one. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “The loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging is in part caused by reduced physical activity. Inactivity increases with age. By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity.” These stats don’t apply to the mall walkers.  

The benefits of walking are substantial. A study by University College London suggests that walking for an hour or two daily might lower the risk of stroke in both men and women by as much as one-third. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston say women who walk 30 minutes a day reduce their risk of stroke by 20 percent. If they engage in brisk walking, that benefit increases to 40 percent. And a study at the University of Colorado at Boulder found that post-menopausal women who walk up to two miles a day can lower their blood pressure by about 11 points in 24 weeks.

Walker Ruby Willbanks may or may not know about the stats, but she does know what advice to give. “Never give up,” she says. “Just keep moving.”

The benefits of mall walking are substantial.
The benefits of mall walking are substantial.
The benefits of mall walking are substantial.
The benefits of mall walking are substantial.
The benefits of mall walking are substantial.
The benefits of mall walking are substantial.
The benefits of mall walking are substantial.

The Social Side

Charles Willbanks half-jokingly says he started walking because his wife Ruby told him to. But he is evidence of what the CDC reports on seniors staying fit: “Social support from family and friends has been consistently and positively related to regular physical activity.”

“I come to the mall because I know where it is,” jokes Richard Perry, who also belongs to a gym. On a more serious note, he adds, “This is social. I don’t know anyone at the gym.”

Mary Griffith, who says she has seen a lot of changes in the mall over the years, has been a faithful mall walker for two decades. Twice a week she also goes to the Manassas Senior Center to take a class called “Stand Tall and Don’t Fall.” She meets her walking friends at the food court for coffee and conversation after their brisk walks.

Most of the group grew up in the area, but there are people from all over the world and from different backgrounds.

Jacob Mathai is from India. He has been walking the mall for about four years. Sporting an iPhone he uses to track his miles, he says, “We come here for exercise, networking and fun. We’re here for each other. The people who come just feel better about life.”

“Every day is a good day,” says Ruby Willbanks.

Rev. Ralph Benson, Pastor of Brentsville Presbyterian, joins the group. He is former military and a former Pentagon chaplain. When asked what the group talks about, he says frankly, “politics and religion.”

The walkers also go on what they call field trips. On the last Friday of each month, they eat at IHOP in the mall. They visit museums together, like the Air and Space Museum, the Marine Corps museum in Quantico and others. They carpool together. Fridays are “hat days” when everyone wears different hats.

The quote they chose for their particular little group?  “Everyone makes us happy — some when they come, some when they leave.”

But, Charles Willbanks adds more seriously, “Everyone is welcome.”

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas.

Manassas wants to know what keeps you coming back to Downtown, and what more you want to see.

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Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI) is in the process of re-branding itself and wants public input.

HMI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit contracted by the City of Manassas, but many people are unaware of what HMI does for the community.

However, much of what the community participates in is planned and coordinated by HMI.

“Many people hear ‘Historic’ Manassas and automatically think we run the museum and the historical landmarks in the City, but that’s not us,” said Executive Director Debbie Haight.

HMI created a short survey to gather a general idea of what people that HMI is, what draws them to a great downtown area, and more. The survey is designed to take no longer than 15 minutes of one’s time and also provides for an opportunity to win a gift card to the shops and restaurants in historic downtown Manassas.

HMI’s survey has only been up and running for less than a week, but the response has been incredible.

“The responses we’ve received so far have already shown us that people are confusing what our organization does,” said Haight. “However, it’s exciting to see so many people invested in the downtown district and we can’t wait to show them what they are helping us to create.”

After a brief look at the results many people are excited about all that has happened in Downtown Manassas over the last few years with new events and art initiatives and all that is to come.

If you have a few moments, consider taking this short survey and getting your opinions and thoughts heard here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FB3XSZ6.  The survey will be up through Sunday, May 29.

 

News
Call to Action: Help needed for food drive pickup

Good morning – The Community Health Network at the Manassas Park Community Center needs volunteers on Tuesdays from 8am-12noon. Duties include assisting patients with medical forms, assisting with tracking information on electronic software and other admin jobs. Great training is provided by the VA Dept. of Health. Please call Valda at (703) 792-6755 to learn more. (more…)

Fiducial building in Downtown Manassas sells for $1.3 million

New Owners to Combine Best of Past, Present and Future to Transform 100-Year-Old
Hynson Department Store Building Into Flagship Office Space

“The possibilities and opportunities it offers are almost endless”

ECU Communications, a full-service digital marketing and advertising firm, and Whitlock Wealth Management, a full-service Ameriprise financial planning firm, have jointly purchased the historic building located at 9073 Center Street in the heart of Downtown Manassas. ECU and Whitlock Wealth Management will share the second floor of the building, and rehabilitate the ground floor for future rental.

The unoccupied building sold for $1.3 million. 

Built in 1915, the building occupies a prime location at the intersection of Center and Main Streets, just two blocks from the Manassas train station and parking garage and surrounded by restaurants, shops and art galleries. The building will serve as Manassas-based ECU Communications’ headquarters and a second location for Whitlock Wealth Management, which has its main office in Lake Ridge. City Manager Pat Pate underscored that “the addition of these two professional firms to Downtown Manassas exemplifies the continuing diversification of the City’s business base, as more and more firms choose this historic, vibrant location”.

“We’re working with the City to make the most of the building’s location, history and character. The possibilities and opportunities it offers are almost endless,” said Jackie Krick, president of ECU. “This acquisition will also help ECU continue to grow our private sector and local client base,” Ms. Krick added. Bennet Whitlock, principal of Whitlock Wealth Management, concurred. “Not only is this a great location,” Mr. Whitlock said, “but it allows us to significantly expand our business footprint into the City of Manassas and central Prince William County, which will help us serve more investor clients.”

As an Ameriprise Advisor, Whitlock Wealth Management specializes in retirement and estate planning, wealth preservation strategies and comprehensive investment planning. ECU Communications specializes in digital and multicultural advertising and marketing, serving government, corporate and nonprofit clients. For more information about Whitlock Wealth Management, please phone 703.492.7732 or visit online at whitlockwealth.com. For more information about ECU Communications, please phone 703.754.7728 or visit ecucomm.com.

 

News
Call to Action: Help needed for new home makeover

Good morning – The Community Health Network at the Manassas Park Community Center needs volunteers on Tuesdays from 8am-noon. Duties include assisting patients with medical forms, assisting with tracking information on electronic software and other admin jobs. Great training is provided by the VA Dept. of Health. Please call Valda at (703) 792-6755 to learn more.

· Don’t forget to buy your tickets to the 2nd Annual Cajun Occasion Crawfish Boil on Sunday May 15th. This year’s event benefits the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift program for needy kids. Please register by May 10th! This promises to be great fun and for a great cause. It’s a family picnic with authentic Louisiana Buffet and a Crawfish Boil, music by Kitty and the Fat Cats and the beer and wine garden. All you can eat is $40/person or just $10 to be a tourist with limited concessions of burgers, dogs, drinks and ice cream but access to the wine and beer garden. Please purchase your tickets online at: missiontix.com (more…)

City of Manassas celebrates its business community in May

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Recognizing that businesses are the backbone of Manassas, the Manassas City Council recently issued a proclamation night declaring May “Business Appreciation Month.”

“The strength of the City of Manassas relies on the strength of its business community,” says Mayor Harry J. Parrish II. “Our businesses create jobs and make the City a great place to live, work, and do business.” (more…)

News
Call to Action: Luggage needed for foster children

Good morning – Volunteers are needed for the 2nd Annual Cajun Occasion Crawfish Boil on Sunday May 15th. This year’s event benefits the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift program for needy kids. Jobs include serving beer and wine, checking ID’s, set up and take down to name a few. This promises to be great fun and for a great cause. Work a couple of hours then enjoy all the fun. Please call Mary at (571) 292-5303 to register.

· Helping Neighbors Outreach Center in Dale City needs volunteers to help in the office on Thursdays from 9:30-3:30. Duties include answering the phone, mailings and other admin duties. Please call Pastor Edmonds at (703) 964-7725 for more info. (more…)

7 reasons to choose sports camps at Manassas Park Community Center

In Samurai Warriors Camp, campers defend their emperor from the invading army using Nerf toys and water balloons.

It’s that time of year. Summer camp season is upon us, and the excitement builds up in the household.

I can recall my youth and the constant annoyance I became to my parents to please put me into a summer sports camp. I attended Elite basketball camps in Pittsburgh all the way down to Orlando, Fla. I also participated in sports camps from soccer to football and I met a variety of great coaches and staff.

I developed numerous friendships with other campers whom would later turn out to be some of the same men and women that became star athletes respectively in their sports. (more…)

Dance, improv comedy, music part of bigger Manassas Gallery Walk

Gallery Walk Slider

Gallery Walk is back and bigger than ever in historic Downtown Manassas on Friday May 6 from 6 to 9 pm. Residents and visitors are invited to come out and explore all of the arts this vibrant downtown has to offer.

This year, along with stationary visual arts, there will also be live performances of dance, music, and improv comedy throughout the streets.

Partnering with the Prince William County Arts Council, this year’s Spring Gallery Walk event has attracted a larger number of artists thus adding excitement for all that there is to see throughout the evening. (more…)

News
Call to Action: Help needed to install smoke alarms

Good morning – Meals on Wheels has an urgent need to volunteers to deliver a mid-day warm meal to homebound seniors. This fabulous program serves hundreds of folks Monday through Friday every week. Your route only takes about 2 hours to do so it’s perfect for a retiree or anyone who can just flex out of their workday for a long lunch. If you are age 55+ please join RSVP for added benefits while delivering the meals. To join RSVP, please call (703) 369-5292 ext. 1 or call Melody at (703) 792-4583 at Area Agency on Aging for the Meals on Wheels Program. (more…)

Artists are being drawn to Manassas for the City’s energy

Artists are thriving in the City of Manassas.  

A once little known community, the City’s art programs are gaining recognition across the state.  Staying true to the City’s motto of having an “historic HEART and modern BEAT,” the City is no longer attracting artists based solely on its history.  (more…)

News
Call to Action: Help teach soccer to disabled children

Volunteers are needed for the 2nd Annual Cajun Occasion Crawfish Boil on Sunday May 15th.  This year’s event benefits the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift program for needy kids.  Jobs include serving beer and wine, checking ID’s, set up and take down  to name a few.  This promises to be great fun and for a great cause. Work a couple of hours then enjoy all the fun.   Please call Mary at (571) 292-5303 to register. (more…)

News
Call to Action: Volunteers needed for riding camp

Good morning – Virginia Cooperative Extension invites volunteers to their next Master Financial Education Training on Monday May 2nd for 9 sessions.  This certificate requires 24 hours of training and regular volunteering annually.  It’s a super life skill program to empower families with financial education.  There is a registration fee and background check required for this important training.  Please call (703) 792-4765 or email them at: smartmoney@pwcgov.org to learn more. (more…)

2 main reasons to workout with a trainer at Manassas Park Community Center

manassasparkpersonal

With the temperatures warming up outside, it’s natural to feel the urge to get up, get out, and get active.

There is still plenty of time to reach your fitness goals before beach season hits, but as we get closer and closer to summer, you may find it difficult to stay on task and stay motivated. That’s where personal training can come in handy.

To help you reach your fitness goals, the Manassas Park Community Center will give you an additional 10 free 30-minute personal training sessions when you renew or purchase an annual Basic or All-Access Passport membership throughout the month of April.

If you’re like me though, you may not exactly understand what personal training is or how it can benefit you. I sat down with our Deputy Director, Jay Swisher, who has worked as personal trainer and oversees our personal trainers here at the community center and asked him some questions I had about personal training.

Shriner: So, what exactly is a personal trainer?

Swisher: A personal trainer is someone who provides not only guidance in the technical sense but also moral support to someone in an effort to help them reach their fitness goals.

Shriner: I’m fully capable of going to the gym and working out or running on the treadmill. What is the advantage of using a personal trainer versus just going to the gym on my own?

Swisher: There are two main reasons to work out with a trainer:

First, you’re working with somebody who is specifically trained in an exercise science based discipline. That specialized knowledge will allow them to prescribe the most effective program to help you fulfill your fitness goals. Exercise prescription includes everything about your workout routine – the recommended exercises, repetitions, sets, weights, frequency, and so on. This knowledge is derived from different places including past experience or background, which can include education and formal training.

Second, you’re gaining a support system. A trainer will motivate you and hold you accountable. Sure, you can go online and download sheets of exercises or watch YouTube videos but those videos aren’t going to text you to make sure you’re keeping up with your routine or encourage you to keep going when you feel like you’ve plateaued. In addition, your trainer will be able to monitor your form by demonstrating how to properly perform exercises. You can put yourself at risk by performing exercises incorrectly, but also incorrect form means you aren’t achieving your maximum potential and getting the most from each exercise.

Shriner: Okay, so I’m convinced. What do I need to look for in a personal trainer? How can I make sure I’m picking a good trainer?

Swisher: The first thing you want to do when you’re considering using a trainer, or even when you want to work out on your own, is figure out what your fitness goals are. Search for a trainer whose skill set best matches your needs. If you have very specific fitness goals, you’d want to seek out a personal trainer who has expertise in that same area.

It’s important to vet your trainer to make sure they are truly qualified. Check their background, ask about their experience and certifications. When it comes to certifications, check for reputable agencies such as AAFA, ACE, or ACSM. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a mini session. Tell them about yourself. Say you’re a 44-year-old male with high blood pressure who has been sedentary for the past 15 years and one of your goals is to lose 10 pounds. Listen to what the trainer would recommend and see what they demonstrate. How do you feel about their training style? Ask them about their fitness philosophies – do they make sense to you? What it boils down to is you need to ask questions, listen to the answers, and observe their style. (more…)

Live Well Festival to feature health and wellness activities, farm to table brunch

Spring has sprung and it’s time for the year’s first festival in historic downtown Manassas! The 10th Annual Live Well Festival, formerly known as Spring Cleaning Day, will be held Saturday, April 16 from 9 a.m. – 2 .p.m in the Harris Pavilion and along West Street. Health and wellness information, exercise classes, a farm-to-table brunch, and more will be available. (more…)

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