Columns & Blogs

Habitat for Humanity Manassas ReStore needs lots of volunteers

News

Happy Valentine’s Day and Heart Month! Catholic Charities –Hogar Immigrant Services has an urgent need for ESOL teachers for the classes in Manassas. You don’t need teaching experience or speak another language to make a huge difference in the life of another. Please call Cynthia at (571) 208-1572 ext. 103 to join this great team.

· SERVE has an urgent need for dedicated volunteers with fluency in Spanish to help with food intakes on weekdays. You must be 18 yrs. +, have good computer skills and pass a background check. It’s that time of year when families aren’t getting the hours at work and you can make a huge impact at SERVE. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs.org to learn more.

· Historic Manassas has a number of super fun volunteer’s positions. Positions include assisting with the farmers market on Thursday and Saturdays from April through November. They also are looking for volunteers to give tours at the Historic Liberia Plantation from May 29 through September 4th on Sundays at noon or downtown Manassas walking tours on Thursdays and Fridays at 12 noon. There’s always lots of fun event going on throughout the spring and summer with Historic Manassas. Please call Erin at (703) 361-6599 to learn more. Keep Reading…

Threats, slashed tires challenges for beer keg delivery service

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“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

When I tell people about One Degree Capital, I often hear things like “Oh, I’d love to start my own business doing ‘XYZ’ someday.”

To the outsider, it often looks easy to own a business. The reality is that business owners face challenges and surprises all the time. It takes a lot of perseverance to overcome them and be successful.

My lessons in perseverance came to me early in life. I started my first business as a sophomore at Miami University, where I discovered an opportunity to help solve a disturbing problem in the community.

The two-lane, windy highway between small-town Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami of Ohio – go Hawks!), and the nearby City of Hamilton had been nicknamed “The Highway To Heaven” because so many college students died traveling that road. Students regularly drove to Hamilton to pick up kegs of beer for parties from local distributors. Sadly, many drove under the influence, which added to the trouble. Keep Reading…

Call to Action: Project provides homeless ‘Hope in a Bag’

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Good morning – Contract Solutions Inc. supports homeless individuals through their Hope in a Bag program. They are looking for partners in the community to help them provide little basics in a bag. This is a wonderful opportunity for scouts, teams or families to gather socks, snacks, granola bars, personal toiletry items and a positive message to these folks. This program runs through March. Please email Carole at: hrteam@contractsolutions-inc.com to learn more about this wonderful outreach to a vulnerable population.

· Mark your calendars for Monday February 8th for the Baking the Pie with YOUR Dough Program. It’s a special lively panel discussion by opinionated and engaged community advocates addressing the creation of the County’s annual budget. The event is hosted by Our Prince William and PWC SCOPE. This promises to be fun and educational. The free event starts at 6:30pm at the NVCC Woodbridge Campus- Lakeside Theater and open to all. Please register for this event on either organization’s Facebook page: facebook.com/ourprincewilliamva or facebook.com/pwcscope. Keep Reading…

Pies and wine so good, Mom’s has a great business plan

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“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

There is a perfectly logical reason for the location of Mom’s Apple Pie Bakery and Wine Shop in Occoquan: It is the first place you will want to visit when you pull into town, and also before heading back out of town.

Yep, Mom’s is that good.

Of course, Mom’s bakes some fantastic pies (second only to my own mom, of course… hi, Mom!) Strawberry, Pumpkin, Rhubarb, Apple and many other flavors are made to very exacting high quality standards under the supervision of store employees like Sharon Cardinale, who has been at Mom’s for over 11 years.

Not to be outdone, Mom’s also has a top-notch Wine Shop staffed by Certified Sommelier, Keith Bevins. It turns out Keith loves craft beer almost as much as he loves wine, which makes for a pretty darn good selection that’s sure to please everyone.

And if that weren’t enough, Mom’s also serves as a general store of sorts for the town of Occoquan, where residents can find everything from milk and butter to household cleaners and even bait and lures. Keep Reading…

10 reasons why you should be a lifeguard this summer

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“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

This week’s weather probably has you thinking that WINTER is finally here, but believe it or not, here at Parks and Recreation, we are already starting to think about SUMMER!  

We are diligently planning for summer camps, swim lessons, special events, and the 20th year of operation at Signal Bay Water Park! One of the major components in planning for summer is making sure we have the right staff to carry out our plans. It takes us months to interview, select, and train all of our employees, which is why we start in the dead of winter!

Within our department, we have many different options for part-time employment. For those who love working with children, we have summer camps leaders and aides. 

If you are passionate about a specific sport or hobby, you may be the perfect fit as an instructor for one of our athletic summer camps. Enjoy spending time outdoors? Perhaps working as a park laborer or lifeguard is the job for you. Keep Reading…

Chick-fil-A the only place for kids in Prince William County? I don’t think so

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middleSchoolMusings
Riley Kotlus is 12 years old and in 6th grade. He’s always at school, because school is at home, but he is also an active Boy Scout and member of OCCS swim. 

When the new Chick-Fil-A opened in Lake Ridge this month, someone commented on PotomacLocal.com that the only place to take children to have fun in Prince William County is a playground inside a fast food restaurant.

I don’t want to say that is a lie, but it’s not correct.

I have been dragged all over Prince William County so my mom can write her blog (you might know her, she’s PwcMoms) about every new kid friendly business, so if there’s anyone who knows that there are billons of things to do other than playing in some greasy play area, it’s me!

#Truth Keep Reading…

Volunteers needed to check on neighbors after blizzard

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Be a good neighbor this week! The weather forecast looks frightful, but please check on your neighbors especially the elderly. We will get lots of requests from seniors for help shoveling their walkways so it’s the perfect opportunity for you to get a little fresh air and exercise while helping emergency management focus on those that don’t have that special neighbor like you! We greatly appreciate all you can do for our neighbors.

· Snow storm volunteers will be needed! – Please check out our website: volunteerprincewilliam.org for all the specifics as the storm comes through and it’s safe for you to be out and about. Keep Reading…

Your business should be creative & unique, something no ‘big box’ store can do

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“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

In today’s “big box” retail world how do small business owners stand out and compete?

One way is by building their own community of champions and collaborators.

All around us are great examples of how small business owners have created their own community (or One Degree World, as we call it around here).

One of my favorite examples comes from a small cafe alongside the deceptively calm Upper Youghiogheny River. Keep Reading…

Passionate about hunger relief? How you can help

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Good morning – Are you passionate about hunger relief? If so, SERVE Food Assistance Specialist opportunity is the role for you. Duties include: greet clients arriving for assistance and get them checked in, welcome them to the self-serve shopping area and assist them as needed, prepare food packages and check clients out before they leave, among other duties. Volunteer hours are flexible Monday-Saturday. Youth under 16 must volunteer with a parent. Must be able to lift up to 30 pounds.

For more info, please contact Jan Hawkins at jhawkins@nvfs.org

· Please join in the Joe 15 Team 9th Annual Blood Drive on Saturday January 23rd 9am-2:30pm at the Manassas Church of the brethren on Nokesville Road. This great group of kids continues to volunteer throughout the community in memory of Joe Page. Come celebrate his life by saving a life. Please call Debbie at (703) 895-1606 to schedule your appointment or you can email her at: debd509@aol.com.

· Disaster Recovery Training designed for Places of Worship to help us in times of disaster. Come learn how we can work together in community recovery. This valuable training is Wednesday February 3rd, 8:30am-1:30pm at the George Mason Prince William Campus. It’s free but please register with Bonnie at:bnahas@volunteerprincewilliam.org or by phone at (571) 292-5302. Keep Reading…

Local beans, great atmosphere key to Manassas coffee shop success

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“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

groundscentralstationPssst, slow down. Take a moment and smell the coffee… or the tea or even the great breakfast sandwiches made by Matt Brower and his team at Grounds Central Station in Downtown Manassas.

Go there for the coffee, go back again and again for the great people and experiences.

I originally found GCS in March 2015 while in Manassas on business. I had time between meetings and wanted a great cup of coffee and an equally good experience. Not being too familiar with Manassas I turned to Yelp for guidance and boom – I found GCS (with a 4.5 star Yelp rating to boot).

Over the past year, I have been back to GCS, oh, a couple of times! I have gotten to know Matt and his merry band of baristas pretty well.

One thing Matt serves – above and beyond a great Americano – is “community.” Keep Reading…

Futrell: We fought for the sick, veterans, school children, commuters

On today, the final day of my term in the Virginia House of Delegates for the 2nd House District, I wish to say, thank you.

My family and I are grateful to have been trusted to serve the Commonwealth of Virginia in this capacity. When I began working in the community, I never intended to run for political office, I was just a young guy who wanted to help improve my community. Our community.

It has been a blessing to work with so many of you. It has been inspiring to see so many of the accomplishments, and it has been humbling to be given the opportunity to be your voice when the time was needed in the General Assembly. Thank you.

Thank you to all of the Stafford and Prince William delegation for your advice and guidance no matter where we stood philosophically. Thank you to Delegate Luke Torian for all he has done to help guide my political career and for always being someone I could depend on.

Thank you to Harry Wiggins and Bill Card, the chairs of the Prince William Democratic and Republican committees, for pushing me and giving me the thoughts of those that represent.

Thank you to Bishop Lyle and Deborah Dukes and the Harvest Life Changers Church family for praying with us and keeping us encouraged. My Christian walk and work I strive to accomplish in this community is a direct reflection of you.

To my beautiful wife and wonderful children, thank you for allowing me to share the one thing that I cannot get back: my time. You made sacrifices that no one will see, but you did it because you knew the task was great. I love you with all that I am.

And to the people of House District 2: While I am grateful for all we have done together, I look forward to all we will accomplish together in the future. Thank you for trusting me with your voice. I love you all. If you’re ever around, come visit me at Harvest Life Changers Church some Sunday, I would love to have you as a guest!

Together we fought for veteran and military families, not just by adopting our Veteran and Military Family Bill of Rights, but by adding action to policy and working to create Veteran Resource Fairs to help vets do everything from find employment to mental health screenings.

I was blessed to work with organizations like Women’s Veterans Interactive, community activist Tami Lambert and Councilman Derrick Wood to start this initiative and adding on Delegate Rich Anderson has only helped grow out our vision for those that have sacrificed so much more than we will ever imagine. This program will continue to help be a resource to our service men and women. Please add the group on Facebook if you would like to assist our upcoming events.

Together we stood hand and hand with our schools and educators. On the day I announced, I said, “as a former teacher, I realize it doesn’t matter what issue you come up with, it all traces back to education” and that is why as an elected official I spent so much time with our children in the schools.

I enjoyed reading to over 1,500 students and visiting all of our schools. I was excited to drive home every Friday during session and work the concession stands for our local high school athletic games. Rather fighting for better funding for our school systems to raise teacher pay or Dmeeting with parents and educators to discuss their thoughts on SOL reform, I have always done it with our kids best interest in mind.

While my legislation to create Regional Innovation Business Councils that would bring together business owners, educators, and community activists to discuss the jobs and skills of the future may not have passed, I am encouraged to see some of the things we attempted to do being done in the Prince William Chamber of Commerce with our schools. As my father always told me, “once a teacher, always a teacher!”

I love our schools, and will continue working to improve the lives of our young people, rather through my nonprofit Make The Future, or through my latest duty, coaching the 9th grade boys basketball team at Gar-Field High School (come check us out this season!)

Together we fought for the well being of the voiceless.

We took on the Medicaid Expansion fight, not because it was the popular thing to do, but because it was the right thing to do. Many of you know that I lost my mother two weeks before the Senate Primary. She died of cancer.

When I went with her to her final meeting with her Oncologist, I asked how did we get to this point, and the doctor said that they found her cancer so late, but did the best they could. When I asked my mother why they found it so late, she said it was because she could not afford health insurance and was unable to get the routine checks that would have normally caught it.

Well before I ever found out about my mother’s cancer, I used to say in speeches to those opposing Medicaid Expansion that the longer we wait, the more people that would die. I knew it to be fact, but I never imagined that I would see first-hand the impact of a state refusing to expand Medicaid. Though I may not be taking a vote on legislation, I have reached out to my counterparts on both sides of the aisle to discuss what can be done to save lives.

I don’t care what they call it, I don’t care who get the credit, but what I do care is that no other child has to look a dying parent in the eyes and hear those same words that echo to me every time I see my mother’s picture.

Together we confronted the topic of social justice with the Community Policing bill, which brought a sensible approach to tracking complaints and created ways to utilize body cameras to protect both citizens and law enforcement. While this did not become law, Prince William did agree to bring in body cameras, and I have been told by our Attorney General’s office that a lot of the frame work from our approach to the bill was taken for their plan on body cameras.

Together we hosted a special screening of the Oscar nominated civil rights motion picture Selma before it was in theaters. The panel discussion discussing the recent issues of police brutality was nothing short of powerful. I made sure that this event was free of charge because I wanted everyone to join the conversation. I am grateful that Paramount Pictures saw my vision for this discussion to happen in our community, and I am thankful that you were a part of it all.

Together we fought for relief from being prisoners in our own homes due to traffic gridlock. From creating a program that would connect Stafford and Prince William’s bus systems to working to fund our transportation projects; I wanted to make sure that you were able to spend more time at home with your families.

It was no secret that I wanted to bring the metro to Woodbridge, and all I ever heard was “we can’t afford it,” so I created a way that we could! I put in legislation that would create a State Infrastructure fund. The fund would allow private investors or other states to invest in medium to low risk infrastructure projects.

This has potential to bring in billions of dollars to the Commonwealth that could be used on any number of projects. I will continue to work with the Governor’s office to help bring in these and other dollars that can improve our economy.

Together we worked to make a difference. I am thankful for each and every one of you. Everyone who walked into our office got the same speech “before you walked through that door, you had a pretty good idea on where we agreed and disagreed.

You are well within your rights to yell at me and tell me why I am completely wrong, but the only thing I ask is that before you walk out, we identify 2-3 things that we can agree to work together on, because it is impossible to disagree on everything.” This has always been my motto. This is why I sent my staff to both Democrat and Republican monthly meetings some time, because I was elected to represent EVERYONE.

We may not agree on 95% of things, but we can work together on that 5%. As we move forward, let’s strive to work on the things we can come together on instead of what separates us. This is not goodbye, more like see you later! I’ll catch up with all of you on the other side of the Delegate title! Be blessed.

 

Care packages for homeless being made prior to head count

News

Good morning  – The Annual Nationwide Point in Time Count of the Homeless population is January 27th here in our community.

The wonderful folks at Streetlight Ministries are preparing care packages for the homeless and need your help. They are collecting new gloves, hats, socks, hand/feet warmers, small blankets, head lights and backpacks for the care packages. These donations are needed by January 14th and then volunteers will assemble the packages. So here’s two ways to help a neighbor by gathering or assembling these basic winter products. Please call Gabriele or Rose at (703) 491-2288 to volunteer or simply drop off the donations by January 14th.

· The Retired and Senior Volunteer program is looking for volunteers’ age 55+ to play disaster jeopardy or bingo to the residents of senior living facilities to better prepare them for weather or other disaster event. We need many Vanna and Pat teams for this fun project. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 to learn more. Keep Reading…

Find people you know, trust who have your success in mind

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“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Building a Business is a Team Effort — With a Little Help From Our Friends

My first lesson in the value of mentors came early – and hard. On July 3rd, 1985, I was enduring the first grueling week (called “Ground Week”) of the U.S. Army Airborne School. My Student ID – printed boldly across my helmet – was 141 (yes, 30 years later I remember my Student Number).

No matter the reason, I was a “NO GO” and did not qualify to advance to the second week (Tower Week) of training. The choice was mine – give up or repeat Ground Week.

Ugh! I wanted to quit, to give up, go back home and drink some beer with my friends and work so I could actually afford my next year of college expenses. Worse yet, if I decided to repeat Ground Week my Student ID label on my helmet would become 141”G” and everyone would know that I was “recycled.”

One of my Airborne Drill Instructors (we called them “Black Hats” ( I’ll leave you to guess why) came over and said to me) “Cadet, I know you are thinking about quitting. Heck I would be thinking it too if I were you.”  Keep Reading…

Stay on the path to a New Year, New You at Manassas Park Community Center

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“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center Marketing Manager Jason Shriner. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

With the New Year, now is a great time to think about the year ahead. When I was younger, New Year’s Day didn’t really mean much more than partying, but now it’s a favorite time of mine where I like to set goals for myself. I especially like resolutions that involve learning something new or that result in a tangible finished product.

Over the past few years my resolutions have included listening to more podcasts and TEDtalks, learning to sew (this includes sewing a costume from scratch), creating my own board game, and learning sign language, photography and how to indoor rock climb. When you’re a kid, school can really make learning feel like a chore, but after I graduated college, I realized how much I missed learning new things and challenging myself. You don’t realize how easy it is to stand in one place until you look back on the year and realize it!

Make a promise to yourself this upcoming new year; find the new you! Here are some tips and strategies on choosing resolutions and seeing them through.

1. Be true to yourself and set resolutions you’ll enjoy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that if something feels like a chore, then I will find every excuse in the world not to do it. Motivation is an incredibly powerful thing, but it doesn’t come externally. Even when somebody else is encouraging you, you must ultimately want to do it for yourself in order to see your goals through. If you are an extrovert and you have fitness goals, participate in fitness classes! There is nothing more isolating than wearing headphones and working out – totally toxic to an extrovert’s success. Remember to set yourself up for success when choosing your resolutions!

One of my favorite fitness classes at the Manassas Park Community Center is bootcamp. In this high intensity class, the instructor challenges my classmates and me to perform a variety of strength training and cardiovascular exercises, all while maintaining an elevated heart rate. As a self-identifying geek, I never knew I was capable of doing some of the exercises until I participated. It’s not all excruciating work! I feel like we laugh constantly in the class as we awkwardly try new exercises and tease the instructor. Other popular fitness classes at the community center include Zumba, Aqua Zumba, and yoga.

2. Create a plan

Aside from fitness and learning something new, financial responsibility is another popular resolution. Whatever your resolution is, make sure you actually plan out how you’re going to achieve it. Ask yourself these questions to start. Is it fitness related – Where do I want to work out? Should I hire a personal trainer? If it’s learning something new – What time can I dedicate? What expenses are involved? If it’s fiscal What is a budget I can manage? Do I have monthly expenses that I can do without?

One method that helped me save money was to track my spending on a spreadsheet. True, this is a chore (although I do love a good spreadsheet), but knowing that I would eventually have to input a purchase into a spreadsheet where it will be staring back at me – possibly judging me – has been enough to deter me from certain purchases. Plus it’s pretty rewarding to see a year’s worth of spending slowly declining throughout the year! Another tip that I use to talk myself out of a purchase is equating how much an item costs to how much I make hourly. Is this new gadget really worth 2, 4, or 8 hours of my time at work? Cash and especially credit cards can be intangible concepts, but your sweat is pretty real!

Consider incorporating a class into your plan like the programs at the Manassas Park Community Center. INOVA will be teaching a free class called “Eating Better on a Budget” on January 5 or come check out People, Inc.’s free “Credit and Budgeting Workshop on January 20. Talking with professionals and researching ideas online, including articles, videos, and podcasts, are great ways to get fresh ideas to incorporate into your plan.

Belly dancing: Learning new dances, like belly dance, is a great new year’s resolution!
Try group exercise classes or working out with a friend if your routine gets stale
The Manassas Park Community Center recently built a second fitness room featuring all new exercise equipment – come try them out!
The personal trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center love finding new ways to shake up your workout – like boxing!
You can get 2 30-minutes personal training session as part of your membership to the Manassas Park Community Center
Try something you’ve always wanted to, like scrapbooking, by taking a class at the Manassas Park Community Center
Taking classes, like sign language, gives you a chance to meet people who share your interests and can help practice your new skills
Zumba is one of our most popular classes at the Manassas Park Community Center

3. Set realistic and measurable goals

Businesses are successful because employees have somebody holding them accountable. Excellent managers use plans with defined goals to set expectations that both the employee and the manager can agree upon. Similarly, anytime you sign a contract, you’re actually setting a level of expectations. These are expectations you are expected to perform as well as what you expect the other party to perform. Plans, goals, expectations, and accountability all result in getting things done. So why not do the same for your resolution?

I don’t expect you to draw up a contract between you and yourself for your new year’s resolution, but you should at least create an event in your phone’s calendar eight weeks from now that says, “Lose this many pounds,” “Save this much money,” or “Be able to ask for help in the grocery store in a foreign language.” When you have a goal, you have a real expectation with a real deadline for yourself to work towards as opposed to some nebulous concept of “lose weight,” “save money,” or “learn Spanish.” Don’t just set one goal either – set milestones leading up to your final goal so you have a timeline to reinforce your plan.

When setting fitness goals be sure to consult a professional so that you are setting safe and healthy goals. Your Primary Care Physician and the Personal Trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center are two good resources, and a fitness assessment is included free of charge with every membership at the community center.

4. Celebrate accomplishments and be flexible

Willpower is a limited resource. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can only deprive yourself of ice cream for so long. Torturing yourself like this is a surefire way to turn your resolution into a chore. If you reach a fitness milestone, treat yourself! Be flexible and don’t punish yourself for accommodating unexpected events. If your car gets a flat, replacing a tire isn’t a hindrance to your financial goal – emergencies are a reason you wanted to save money in the first place!

5. Don’t stop, won’t stop

It’s going to take persistence and practice to reach your final goal, so don’t give up! It’s said it can take an average of 66 days to form a habit – although this number can vary vastly depending on the habit. [1] If you find your motivation waning, try to focus on the end goal or try to find ways to make the project fun again. Getting a friend involved, changing locations, or switching up your routine can help keep your resolution enjoyable.

Finally, don’t stop once you’ve achieved your resolution. Keep working out, keep saving money, keep practicing that language, but also set a new resolution for yourself! Yes, even in the middle of July! Have you reached your target weight? Why not try hiking or indoor rock climbing? Keep learning and keep moving forward so that next December 31st you can look back and reward yourself for all the resolutions you’ve accomplished – and look forward to all the resolutions you want to try.

Happy New Year from Volunteer Prince William

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HAPPY NEW YEAR  – Thanks to YOU, the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program served OVER 5,500 children this year! Thank you for your kindness and generosity. When you reach out and give of yourself, you never know just how far the ripples travel. What we know for sure is this, you made the season brighter and merrier for many. After all, isn’t giving how it all started?

· Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions for 2016? Here is an idea that potentially can 1) help you lose weight, 2) make new friends, 3) lower your stress level, 4) become better informed, 5) learn new skills, 6) feel more connected to your community, and 7) enhance your time management expertise. Yes, I am talking about volunteering!

A 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of United Health Care indicates all of the above are benefits of volunteering. Not only that, but the study showed volunteers make better employees. Perhaps your place of business might like to encourage or sponsor some volunteer activities in 2016? We can help with that. Be sure to visit www.VolunteerPrinceWilliam.org and Like us on Face Book to keep up with all of our trending ideas.

· If you are looking for some volunteer opportunities to get your 2016 off to a good start, please don’t forget to call my wonderful team at Volunteer Prince William. Coleen 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 very active website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org and Like us on FB. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

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

How knowing ‘Why’ led website developer WIX to $1 billion

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“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year! Well, almost! The New Year is a great time to evaluate our business goals and make sure we know the answer to the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

Here is a great example: Avi, a business associate I met in 1999, said to me at the time, “Rod, I want to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

In 1999 that was easier said than done. But Avi and a few of his associates started a company that set out to do just that. While his company attracted millions in venture funding, they never gained a critical mass and eventually sold to a competitor.

Flash forward several years later to a phone call I received from Avi who proudly claimed, “Rod, I have finally found a way to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

Now, those who know me know that I am a bit of a tech snob. I remember looking at the phone thinking, “WOW, that is a big claim to make!”

Sure enough, Avi’s tenacity paid off. Today his company, WIX, trades on NASDAQ and has a value of just under $1 billion – that’s right – just under $1 billion.

One Degree Capital is a customer of WIX.com, and we love it.

Across three businesses and over 16 years, Avi always knew his “Why” and stuck to it. As quoted from the company’s website, Wix’s vision is “We make it easy for everyone to create a beautiful, professional web presence.”

A common thread that runs through most successful companies is that they know their WHY – the main reason they do what they do. They know and stay committed to their “Why.”

So here is a question for you: As a business owner do you know your “Why?” If you need some help, ask yourself the following questions:

— Why? Why does your business exist? Are you passionate about this?

— Who? Do you enjoy working with your target audience?

— How? Do you serve your customers in a unique and valuable way?

If you are interested in learning more about how to build your “why” here are several great resources:

Simon Sinek, internationally acclaimed author of “Start with Why,” has a powerful TED Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE that is sure to inspire you to action.

Jeff Parks, a Prince William County-based seasoned consultant and a Coast Guard veteran, says “Live your passion, give your gift.” www.performancebreakthroughs.com. Jeff has helped over 200 organizations define their purpose and build “High-Performance Organizations.”

Margie Warrell wrote this incredible article “Know Your Why – 4 Questions to Tap the Power of Purpose.” Also, she has written three books on Leadership, Life, Courage and Purpose.

Sharon Dilling, owner of Fairfax-based Ability Potentials helps people identify their unique skills, energies, and passions. It works! I took Sharon’s assessment test years ago, and it said I should be the general manager of a commercial finance company. She was right!

As the owner of One Degree Capital for the past six years, I can tell you that I LOVE working with my third hero: The American Small Business Owner. Sharon’s test was so helpful that I have paid for a number of people to take it.

The people who are open and willing to explore the suggested career paths have told me they later that they have truly found their “life’s work.”

What is your “Why?” If you know of any locally owned businesses that have a strong “Why” please share them in the comments section – I would love to learn more about the amazing business owners in our local area.

Sharing is caring: How businesses can give back to charities

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“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

One day not long ago a Dad was getting his daughters ready for school, and he couldn’t figure out why the lunch foods were almost gone. It was only halfway through the week and already they were low on lunch meat.

The next morning he found his daughter making two lunches. When asked what she was doing, she shared that another student’s mom was very ill, and her dad was usually too tired and too busy to make lunch. So this little seven-year-old took it upon herself to start bringing this other student lunch every day. That little seven-year-old girl was my daughter, Olivia, now 14.

It is amazing how much we can learn from our kids and their wonderful hearts full of willingness to share (as long as it is not with their siblings). Sharing really is caring.

Prince William County is home to a number of caring businesses that share their success with a variety of dedicated not-for-profit organizations.

Here at One Degree Capital, we donate roughly 2% of our annual profits to charitable causes throughout the year. In the past, the charities were chosen either by me (usually from seeing a need in the community) or by a charity approaching us for corporate sponsorship of an event.

Both ways have been great, but as I am all about “One Degree Relationships” I started to wonder what charities our team members would choose. So at a recent team meeting, I announced a new charitable program where our team members get to decide which charity we support monthly.

I asked the group, “So, team, where should we start? What are your ‘One Degree Communities?’”

Our team member Caitlin Hughes was excited to offer the first suggestion.

“As a survivor of Aplastic Anemia myself, it would mean a lot to me if One Degree Capital would support The Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation, “ explained Caitlin. “The Foundation makes it possible to bring awareness and education to local communities regarding bone marrow failure, and donations help support continual research of these diseases. The Foundation’s efforts really helped me through a tough time in my life.”

We all agreed that was the perfect place to start!

I encourage other business owners to find unique and valuable ways to give back to our community throughout the year. A great resource regarding local charitable organizations who need our support is Volunteer Prince William.

Here are a few great nonprofits here in Prince William County:

The Streetlight serves the poor and the homeless.

ACTS – Action in Community Through Service of Prince William, Inc. operates a food pantry and other services (ACTS) 

Prince William SPCA (my daughter’s favorite charity) helps homeless animals.

Sharing is indeed caring. What are some other ideas on how businesses can give back to their own “One Degree Community?”

Please share your insights and success stories in the comments section so we can all learn and find new ways to give back to our community.

Parades, pancakes, ornaments, & Santa pet photos: Don’t miss holiday fun at the Manassas Park Community Center

manassas park holiday 1

 

‘Tis the Season at the Manassas Park Community Center!

There’s just something about the holiday season that makes it one of my favorite times of the year. Maybe it’s because this is the season for spreading happiness, togetherness, and well-wishes to everybody you meet. To help you get into the spirit of the season the Manassas Park Community Center has lots of special events lined up!

The festivities kick off on Thursday, December 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. where you and your family can decorate dough ornaments for only $3 a person. You can literally create a lifelong memory to include on your Christmas tree or to keep at your desk all year round.

As a baking enthusiast, nothing brings me more holiday cheer than gingerbread houses! You and your family can decorate your own gingerbread houses Thursday, December 10 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for just $5 per participant. We’ll supply everything but feel free to bring your own special candy to make your houses extra unique.

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Our popular 10th Annual Light Parade is on Saturday, December 12 starting at 5:45 p.m. There’s a new route this year! It will start at the General’s Ridge Golf Course and follow Manassas Drive to the Manassas Park Community Center. There’s still time to have your vehicle be a part of the parade. Contact Tony Thomas at t.thomas@manassasparkva.gov for more details.

Santa will be visiting the Manassas Park Community Center for a pancake breakfast on Saturday, December 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. It’s only $5 per person for Breakfast with Santa and kids 2 years old and under can join us for free. Make sure to bring your wishlist!

Your pups can meet Santa on December 19 as well! From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. bring your dogs to take pictures with Santa during our Santa Paws special event! It’s only $5 per dog and you’ll get a high quality digital photo to keep for years to come.

In addition to all of our special events, our monthly promotion gets in on the holiday action! Get 12% off an annual Basic or All-Access membership or 12% off any rental you book during the month of December! For more details on memberships and rentals you can visit our website at www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call the front desk at 703-335-8872.

We hope to see you soon here at the Manassas Park Community Center!

Call to Action: Children in need of healthy sack lunches

News

Good morning  – The Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program needs your help- Come share the joy of the season with a child.  We provide the child’s name, age and their 2 wishes from Santa. This promises to put you in the spirit!  I still have over 1200 children needing toys and warm clothes.  Please visit our website at: volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info and fill out a donor form.  I can provide all the info on the child right away.  You can be shopping tomorrow!

• The Manassas Christmas Parade still needs a few volunteers to help out along the parade route in Old Town Manassas on Saturday December 5th. This is tons of fun. Please email Nora at: nora@greenteaminc.com for more info.

• Contract Solutions is looking for groups of volunteers especially youth groups to assemble bags of needed essentials for individuals staying at the Woodbridge homeless shelter. This is the perfect off-site project! Lunch size bags should be filled with new socks, snacks, candy bars and personal toiletry items. The folks at Contract Solutions deliver these Hope in a Bag every other week from now through March. It’s an on-going project of simple joy to our neighbors. Please call Carole at (703) 686-4846 for more info or via email at: pwlcarole@gmail.com • SERVE is looking for 3 groups who can make 80 sack lunches for a Nutrition Education Outreach for children on December 5th. The sack lunches need to be assembled and delivered to SERVE on December 4th. Groups provide the food, lunch bags, sandwich bags and napkins. Come be part of the solution of teaching our kids good eating habits. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs,org for more info.

• NBC 4 is looking for volunteers at their next community shredding event on Saturday December 12th at the Manassas NVCC Campus from 7am-12 noon. Volunteers age 14+ are most welcome. Please register with Claudia at: charris@kpwb.org or give her a call at (571) 285-3772 to learn more.

• The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring the bells at Red Kettles at area Walmart, Giant and Safeway stores between now and Christmas Eve. This program helps people throughout the year. Please call Katie at (703) 618-0511 to learn more.

• Meal on Wheels is looking for a volunteer to coordinate the service to the Gainesville/Haymarket area. Duties include picking up the meals at the Manassas Senior Center and delivering them to the warming station in Gainesville so other volunteers can deliver them to the seniors in the area. There has been a tremendous increase of seniors in the Gainesville area needing nice warm lunchtime meal and this volunteer opportunity sounds like a wonderful solution. Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

• The Novant Health Foundation is looking for volunteers to serve on their Gala Committee. Duties include securing donations for the auction at their Annual Gala onFebruary 27, 2016. This is a big event that helps tons of people in our community. Please call Abby at (703) 369-8201 to learn more • Historic Manassas needs volunteers at the Visitor Center during traditional business hours. This is fun place with people from all over the world stopping in to gather historical information on our community. Please call Erin at (703) 361-6599 for more info.

• The VETS Program of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is looking for volunteer’s age 55+ to drive veterans and/or their spouses to their doctors’ appointments. Most of these appointments are local. They do have one client needing a ride from Manassas to Landsdown on December 8th. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 to learn more about these vets and how you can give them the ride they need.

• Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers to get the brand new ReStore ready to go as well as the current location. Tasks include getting donations on the floor- especially all the holiday decorations. Please visit their website at: habitatpwc.org for all the specifics and to register for any of these fun events or email Tammy at:volunteer@habitatpwc.org

• Nominate your volunteers! The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism & Community Service Awards Program is open for you to nominate your wonderful volunteers. It’s really easy to do right on-line at: vavolunteerismawards.org. The deadline for nominations is December 16, 2015 so you have a little time but don’t forget to do it.

• If you are looking for other opportunities, please don’t forget to call my wonderful team at Volunteer Prince William. Coleen 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 atwww.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.

Meals on Wheels needs help in Gainesville, Haymarket

News

Good morning Prince William – The Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program is underway- sponsors are needed to provide holiday gifts to needy children in the community. We provide the child’s name, age and their 2 wishes from Santa. This promises to put you in the spirit! I still have over 1400 children needing toys. Please visit our website at: volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info and fill out a donor form. I can provide all the info on the child right away. You can be shopping tomorrow!

· The Manassas Christmas Parade still needs a few volunteers to help out along the parade route in Old Town Manassas on Saturday December 5. This is tons of fun. Please email Nora at: nora@greenteaminc.com for more info.

· SERVE is looking for 3 groups who can make 80 sack lunches for a Nutrition Education Outreach for children on December 5th. The sack lunches need to be assembled and delivered to SERVE on December 4th. Groups provide the food, lunch bags, sandwich bags and napkins. Come be part of the solution of teaching our kids good eating habits. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs,org for more info.

· The FH Furr Coat Drive for needy children is well under way and we need your help. This week all of the United Bank locations in our community will have specific sizes of NEW coats needed right now for underprivileged kids. Those locations are: Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Liberia Road and Balls Ford Road. We will gladly find a deserving child for any donated coat for age’s birth to 12yrs old but how fun to shop specifically for a child as winter approaches! Other drop off locations includes the Kelly Leadership Center, Battlefield Garden Center and of course Volunteer Prince William. Please call Mary at (703) 369-5292-ext. 4 with any questions.

· The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring the bells at Red Kettles at area Walmart, Giant and Safeway stores between now and Christmas Eve. This program helps people throughout the year. Please call Katie at (703) 618-0511 to learn more.

· Meals on Wheels is looking for a volunteer to coordinate the service to the Gainesville/Haymarket area. Duties include picking up the meals at the Manassas Senior Center and delivering them to the warming station in Gainesville so other volunteers can deliver them to the seniors in the area. There has been a tremendous increase of seniors in the Gainesville area needing nice warm lunchtime meal and this volunteer opportunity sounds like a wonderful solution. Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

· The Novant Health Foundation is looking for volunteers to serve on their Gala Committee. Duties include securing donations for the auction at their Annual Gala on February 27, 2016. This is a big event that helps tons of people in our community. Please call Abby at (703) 369-8201 to learn more

· Historic Manassas needs volunteers at the Visitor Center during traditional business hours. This is fun place with people from all over the world stopping in to gather historical information on our community. Please call Erin at (703) 361-6599 for more info.

· Birthright of Manassas needs volunteers to help in the office with basic admin tasks. This organization provides services to women in the Manassas area. Please call Kathy at (703) 361-9769 for more info.

· The VETS Program of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is looking for volunteer’s age 55+ to drive veterans and/or their spouses to their doctors’ appointments. Most of these appointments are local. They do have one client needing a ride from Manassas to Landsdown on December 8th. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 to learn more about these vets and how you can give them the ride they need.

· Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers to get the brand new ReStore ready to go as well as the current location. Tasks include getting donations on the floor- especially all the holiday decorations. Please visit their website at: habitatpwc.org for all the specifics and to register for any of these fun events or email Tammy at: volunteer@habitatpwc.org

· Nominate your volunteers! The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism & Community Service Awards Program is open for you to nominate your wonderful volunteers. It’s really easy to do right on-line at: vavolunteerismawards.org. The deadline for nominations is December 16, 2015 so you have a little time but don’t forget to do it.

· If you are looking for other opportunities, please don’t forget to call my wonderful team at Volunteer Prince William. Coleen 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.

Manassas Park Community Center starts ‘thank you’ pandemic to spread gratefulness

Manassas Park community center

Don’t be alarmed, but in case you hadn’t heard summer is over and the Thanksgiving season is here.

Now is the season where people make a special effort to recount all the things they are thankful for in their lives. For many, it has become a tradition to share this list at the dinner table on Thanksgiving before eating.

Being mindful of your gratitude helps make you a happier person and, as happiness is contagious, it will make others around you happier as well. While it’s a wonderful and fun tradition to practice during Thanksgiving, the benefits of gratefulness can be enjoyed year round.

However, being grateful and focusing on what you are grateful for isn’t enough.

It’s easy to neglect to use the phrase, “thank you,” but those two simple words carry so much meaning. Thank you can reinforce and strengthen bonds we share with others.

When you say thank you to the person who makes your lunch in the morning, to your child who finishes their chores, or to your favorite cashier ringing up your purchase you express that you value that individual. Regardless of how monotonous, simple, or mandatory the task is, it should always be acknowledged and appreciated verbally.

Remember, gratefulness spreads happiness, but how can you express gratitude if you never say “thank you?”

Why do people neglect to say thank you? There are probably a myriad of reasons beyond my scope of knowledge and it’s easy to compile a list of cynical reasons – but let’s not create an anti-grateful list during the season of gratitude.

Instead let’s challenge each other to say a sincere and genuine thank you every day. Say it 10 times. Say it 100 times. Thank you is a rare phrase that has meaning no matter how frequently it is repeated.

Once you start saying thank you to others you’ll instantly notice others will start saying thank you to you. If happiness is contagious, and gratitude creates happiness, then it shouldn’t be surprising gratitude is contagious as well.

I’d like to start this gratitude pandemic. From me and on behalf of the entire City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, we’d like to thank you for all that you do. Even if we haven’t met yet, thank you. If we have met, thank you. Thank you for visiting our parks and our community center and giving value to the work that we do here. You are our community and we are here to work together to build our community up together.

To add further meaning behind our gratitude and to help spread our gratitude we are offering two specials this month. On Thursdays (through November 19) you can donate 10 non-perishable food items in order to receive 10% off a Basic or All-Access membership at the Manassas Park Community Center.  

From November 27 through December 4, we will be launching our ‘Friends and Family’ promotion where we share our employee discount with all of you. During that week only, you can get a Basic membership for 25% off.

For more details please contact us at 703-335-8872.

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