395 Express Lanes Community Grant Program Awards Funding to the Bright Resilient Youth Committed to Enrichment and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program
Interested organizations are encouraged to apply for next round of grants by March 31
Transurban, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s partner on the 395 Express Lanes project, today announced that the Bright Resilient Youth Committed to Enrichment (BRYCE) and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP)’s SoberRide each received a $5,000 grant this quarter through the 395 Express Lanes Community Grant Program.
The BRYCE project is an enrichment program designed to engage young women in activities that develop their social and emotional skills. The participants learn the values of the community and give back by doing random acts of kindness as individuals and in groups. BRYCE encourages friendship, diversity, and individuality and plants the seed at an early age of the importance of education.
“The BRYCE Project was pleased to receive a grant from the 395 Express Lanes grant program,” said LaVon Curtis, Founder, BRYCE Project. “As an all-volunteer organization, these funds allow us to continue our work in providing community, leadership, and mentoring to young women as they prepare for adulthood. One of our upcoming events supported by this grant is a career event which provides young women the chance to hear real-life lessons from professional women and engage in networking.”
The WRAP is a non-profit focused on using effective education, innovative programs, and targeted advocacy to end alcohol-impaired driving and underage drinking in the Washington, D.C. metro area. It is best known for its free taxi service, SoberRide, which discourages drunk driving and has provided more than 65,000 free rides to would-be impaired drivers in the Greater Washington Area. The program is credited with keeping the area’s alcohol related traffic deaths lower than the national average. (more…)
Sponsored Post Holiday Inn Express North Stafford part of growing ‘select service’ hotel catering to business travelers
It’s been about a month since the Wingate Inn in North Stafford changed its name to Holiday Inn Express, and there’s already been a noticeable improvement.
The rooms are completely renovated, and the pool went from a chlorine-filled swimming hole to a salt water oasis, and the continental breakfast is now anything but bland.
The changes are part of an $6 million renovation project at the hotel located the heart of North Staford, across from Stafford Marketplace. Changing the brand of the hotel was a significant move to attract and cater to business travelers.
“If we’re going to do a full renovation we’re going to go for a higher brand,” said Amal Lambaraa, Managing Director of Lambaraa Hospitality LLC at the Holiday Inn Express in North Stafford.
The new name not only means fresh linens and a brighter coat of paint. It means a better, healthier complimentary breakfast with low-calorie pancakes, waffles, and grab-and-go healthy options like fruit and gourmet coffee.
“Some days, the breakfast you take away can also be your lunch. You can take your food with you, and that prevents you from needing to run out to a gas station to get food or coffee,” added Lambarra.
There is over $1 billion in new hotel construction happening across Virginia right now. Leading the pack are these types of “select service” hotels. (more…)
The winter months can be a difficult time for seniors.
Cold temperatures and wintry weather conditions can make it difficult to go outside or to take regular shopping trips and excursions.
The Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor Assisted Living and Memory Care Center near Manassas recognizes this can be a problem and works to keep their residents active and engaged on gray winter days.
One of the ways it does so is by gathering residents in a dining area and playing “Arringo,” an activity that mixes aerobics with bingo to engage the mind, body, and soul.
This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas.
Sponsored Post We’re looking for a looking for a committed Jesus-follower with strong administrative skills and a servant’s heart
Chapel Springs Church
Administrative Assistant, Full Time
Please Note!: Resumes received without completed application CANNOT be considered.
A growing church in Northern Virginia is looking for a committed Jesus-follower with strong administrative skills and a servant’s heart to grow with us at our Bristow office. If you are passionate about helping people follow Jesus, keep reading.
Self-motivated, driven, and on top of things
Strong in the details while also able to understand the “big picture”?
Proficient in Microsoft Office (every bit of it) and possessing strong general computer skills?
Exceptionally organized and resourceful; able to manage multiple projects
Outstanding in interpersonal skills?
A team player
Personable, friendly, and someone who enjoys talking to and interacting with people
A mature follower of Jesus who is able to commit to the core values of Chapel Springs Church
A professional with at least 2 years’ experience as an Administrative Assistant
Does this sound like you? Download an application at chapelsprings.org/ under the tabs about us and employment and submit it with your resume to the email address listed on our website. Please follow all directions on the website carefully so that your application comes to us with complete information.
You may also mail your resume and application to:
Chapel Springs Church
11500 New Life Way
Bristow, VA 20136
Resumes received without completed application CANNOT be considered. No phone calls, please.
Sponsored Post We need a detail-oriented person to perform clerical, technical work preparing records
Looking for a detail-oriented person to perform clerical and technical work involving the preparation and maintenance of financial records. Must have a thorough knowledge of: bookkeeping terminology and methods, standard office procedures and practices, and computer programs. 24 hours per week, T-Th, 8:30 — 5:00.
To apply please send in a completed application. You will find this at chapelsprings.org under the tabs “about us” and “employment.” Please note that resumes received with out a completed application will not be considered. No phone calls please.
Sponsored Post 3rd Annual Historic Manassas Bridal Show
The 3rd Annual Historic Manassas Bridal Show is taking place on Sunday, March 12, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory. This free event is proving to be that the third times a charm for this growing event with a wide variety of 30 wedding-related vendors. In years past, the event has been held at two other potential wedding venues in the City – the Harris Pavilion and the Manassas Museum Lawn. This year will be the first indoor show at another great downtown wedding venue – Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory.
This year’s Bridal Show will make the most out of this unique, gorgeous location. The first floor of the Center for the Arts features a gallery ideal for a happy hour before the reception. Hop on the elevator to the third floor featuring the perfect space for a reception. With gorgeous exposed brick walls and hardwood floors, this space is perfect for a reception with around 120 guests.
This year’s show will feature 30 vendors located on both the first and third floors. Local downtown merchants including Amy’s Bridal Boutique, Shining Sol Candle Company, Scatter Seeds, Jirani Coffeehouse, Travel Place, and Okra’s Cajun Creole will be set up along with popular venues such as Morais Vineyards and Airlie. Photographers, bakers, entertainment providers, specialty gift providers and more will be set up as well. A complete listing of all participating vendors can be found here. (more…)
- Manassas Park Community Center
- Address: Manassas Park Community Center
- Phone: 703-335-8872
- Website: http://www.manassasparkcommunitycenter.com/
Ask any Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation staff member what is the most popular program offered and without hesitation, they will respond, “The youth basketball league.”
The Manassas Park Youth Basketball League (MPYBL) is going into its 20th year, and lots of credit is owed to the community spirit the residents and employees of Manassas Park exude.
“Whenever we come there’s always a sense of family,” writes 2016-2017 MPYBL Coach Steve Gaskins, “There’s something here for everyone. It’s like a second home. The staff is always friendly and knowledgeable, and the building is organized and clean.”
Gaskins is not exaggerating. Generations of families have grown up with Manassas Park Parks and Recreation including children who enrolled in Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) preschool before the current building was built and are now graduating from high school. Children who participated in Extended Care and MP3, afterschool programs for school-age children and teenagers respectively, are now working part time jobs at the Community Center.
Many players return year after year to participate in the league. High school freshman Jonathan Ojo enjoys the basketball league for its great level of competition. (more…)
Sponsored Post Manassas City businesses shine, take home top awards
This past Tuesday evening, the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce hosted its 6th annual business awards dinner at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas to honor the best of the local business community. Awards recognize excellence in business, innovative practices, outstanding contributions to the community and businesses/organizations that stand out among their peers.
The City of Manassas presented its first “Business of the Year Award” to Management and Training Consultants Inc. (MTCI). For more than 15 years MTCI has specialized in federal and military recruiting, retention and personnel management. MTCI is led by Dalena Kanouse, President and CEO. Under Dalena’s leadership, MTCI has received a number of national and international certifications. She is passionate about ensuring the principle upon which MTCI was founded — “maximizing human potential” is at the core of everything they do. She truly believes the greatest asset of MTCI is the people who carry out the mission. 76 percent of the company’s associates are veterans; of those, 50 percent are retirees and 26 percent are combat veterans.
Additionally, many of the City’s businesses were nominated in the eleven categories of Chamber awards, including local favorite Jirani Coffeehouse for its commitment to enriching the lives of those in our community as well as Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Services for providing outstanding professional services in the Greater Manassas region.
Four City businesses received top honors:
- Tech Company of the Year: Aurora Flight Sciences
Headquartered at the Manassas Regional Airport, Aurora Flight Sciences is a world-wide leader in the research and development of unmanned aircraft systems, robotics and autonomous flight technologies.
- Emerging Business of the Year: KO Distilling
Craft distillery KO Distilling opened their doors in the City of Manassas on September 12, 2015 with a 12,000 square foot facility featuring a state-of-the-art distilling plant, barrel storage, and tasting room. Co-founded by college classmates and long-time friends Bill Karlson and John O’Mara, KO Distilling is part of the emerging craft spirits industry in Virginia, providing exports as well as tourism revenue.
- Business Excellence Award (11+ Employees): Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, PC
From their start in 1986, one of Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian’s goals was to become a sophisticated law firm providing top-notch work for the community’s legal needs. Over the years, Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian has grown to include twelve practice areas and 29 employees who all work in concert to provide every client with the best possible outcome for their legal needs.
- Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Award, Arts and Education: Center for the Arts
The mission of the Center for the Arts is to enrich the creative community by engaging people of all ages; celebrating diversity, fostering innovation and cultivating collaboration and communication. Where similar organizations may be focused solely on visual arts, or dance, or theatre with programs for either adults or children; the Center for the Arts is proud to offer programs for all ages, in a multitude of mediums.
Additional Nominees from the City of Manassas:
Innovative Practice/Partnership of the Year: Historic Manassas Inc., Novant Health UVA Health System
Community Outreach Award: Jirani Coffeehouse, Mr. Handyman, Apple Federal Credit Union, Transaction Expert
Government Contractor of the Year: MTCI-Management and Training Consultants Inc.
Outstanding Professional Service: Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Services Inc., Twin Air LLC, Mr. Handyman
Tech Company of the Year: Tracen Technologies Excellence in Small Business: Transaction Expert Business Excellence Award: Hepburn and Sons, Apple Federal Credit Union
Chuck Colgan Visionary Award: Mike Vanderpool
Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards: Health and Human Service: Action in Community Through Service (ACTS), Apple Federal Credit Union
Sponsored Post Take these numbers to heart
There are important numbers that can give you an overall picture of your heart health. Keeping track of your numbers provides you with a history of your health and encourages you to continue working toward your goals.
Here are the healthy numbers you should aim for and what they mean:
BMI: Based on height-to-weight ratio, body mass index (BMI) is an overall indicator of healthy weight. BMI does not distinguish between women and men. Your BMI should be between 20 and 24.
Waist circumference: Extra waistline inches can indicate heart disease risk because abdominal fat has a harmful effect on vital organs. People with a normal BMI but a high waist circumference are encouraged to reduce abdominal fat. Women should have a waist circumference of less than 35 inches, and men should have a waist circumference of less than 40 inches.
Waist-to-hip ratio: This ratio is sometimes used instead of waist circumference. To calculate, measure the circumference of your waist at its smallest point and measure the circumference of your hips at their widest point. Divide waist measurement by hip measurement. (Example: waist circumference = 35, hip circumference = 40, 35/40 = .88). Women should have a waist-to-hip ratio of less than 0.8, and men should have a waist-to-hip ratio of less than 0.95. (more…)
Sponsored Post Check out Mad Mondays in March at Chick-fil-A Bristow
Each Monday in March, there’s something special going on at Chick-fil-A Bristow!
Mad Hatter Monday — Monday, March 3, 2017
Wear your craziest hat and get a FREE chocolate chip cookie!
Luck O’ the Irish Monday — Monday, March 13, 2017
Wear green from head to toe and get a FREE soft drink!
B-Ball Jersey Monday — Monday, March 20, 2017
Wear your favorite team’s B-Ball Jersey and get a FREE Chick-fil-A Sandwich!
Crazy Bunny Ears Monday — Monday, March 27, 2017
Wear your craziest Bunny Ears and get a FREE IceDream!
Sponsored Post Retail space for rent on Zimbro Avenue in Manassas
Retail space for rent on Zimbro Avenue in Manassas. This is a high-visibility, attractive leasing opportunity.
The space is situated along heavily trafficked Route 28 and is surrounded by many neighborhood amenities. Space is ideal for a bookstore, tutoring services, laundry mat, pet hospital, food services, or restaurant.
I’m looking to rent this 2,000-square-feet of retail space. Please call Irene at 703-225-9824.
Sponsored Post The Prince William K-9 Unit: Ready at a moment’s notice
1st Sgt. Michael Blake and K-9 partner Luke make a great team. Blake has been with the Prince William Police Department for almost twenty years. Luke is a German shepherd rookie – he will only be two in March. But Blake has already said when it’s time, he wants to retire with Luke.
The Journey and Training Begin
The Prince William County Police Department doesn’t buy dogs like Luke at the local pet store. They bring these intelligent animals from the Netherlands, Slovakia, Czech Republic and parts of Eastern and Western Europe. The male dogs bought from this region are worth the $7,000 price tag because there is less chance of them having inherited conditions like hip dysplasia. Since German Shepherds are active dogs, a condition like hip dysplasia could limit their mobility early in life.
The dogs have an average lifespan of ten to twelve years. This means that K-9 German Shepherds are career dogs because they typically work until they are nine to ten years old unless they get hurt.
Dogs that work in the K-9 unit undergo training to go out “on the job.” Luke completed fourteen weeks of full-time training to graduate to support the patrol officers. Luke continues to attend reinforcement training two days per month.”
K-9 officers get to bunk with their handlers. The dogs do best if they are integrated with the family, Blake said, so Luke lives at home with Blake and his family. Blake and Luke bond over playing in the backyard, and tummy rubs. But when it’s time to work, Luke can be at attention and sprint off in a matter of seconds.
“The bond you create with these guys is incredible,” Blake said. “We’re inseparable at home.”
Luke loves to play with his toys. His favorite toy is a “Kong,” a kind of rubber ball. “He’ll do anything and everything for that ball,” said Blake, “but he has to do what I ask him to do first.”
In this way, Luke learns discipline in both work and play.
On the Job Experience
On and off the job, Luke follows verbal commands like “heel.” He also follows hand signals to sit and stay.
But a police K-9 isn’t there to do tricks. Police dogs are trained to sniff out different things. Luke supports the Patrol Unit by sniffing out the human scent to help locate suspects and items a suspect might have touched. And when it comes to apprehending a suspect, dogs like Luke are taught to bite.
Like most police dogs, Luke is trained on a “bite sleeve,” a special padded sleeve that protects an officer’s arm during training. During the interview, Luke demonstrated some of his bite sleeve skills.
Sgt. Heath Oyler volunteered to wear a bite sleeve. Luke first started on a lead when he lunged and bit onto the sleeve. After he was let off the lead, he sprinted towards Oyler, bit the sleeve hard and would not let go. Blake encouraged Luke, saying, “Hold him, buddy!”
Then Oyler let the sleeve slip off while Luke held on to it. When the dogs bite, they bite to hold, not to tear, Blake said.
In another practice drill, a credit card was thrown into the field at the Manassas Western District Station, and Luke ran around the field, sniffing and hunting. When he found the card, he didn’t pick it up in his mouth – he laid down next to it, waiting for Blake.
Even though Luke must stay alert, be prepared and ready to go, Blake said the department is only allowed to use dogs in certain circumstances.
When they do, they must announce to the suspect that they are releasing the dog. They give the warning in English and Spanish. Blake said most suspects are smart enough to stop and put their hands in the air once they know the dog has been released.
A Popular Unit
The K-9 Unit is often coveted by recruits eager to work with the dogs. However, not all on the waiting list will be eligible for the position. First, officers must serve two to three years in the Patrol Unit before applying.
Then, they must pass a specific agility test. Those with tactical experience are preferred. They must also live in the county in order to be ready at a moment’s notice.
The greater lead time a suspect has to get away, the harder it is for the dogs to find the suspect’s scent or items the suspect has left behind, so K-9 Unit officers must be local.
For more information and to apply online, go to joinpwcpd.org
Read more from our series
Sponsored Post Historic Manassas reveals new logo
Featured photos in slideshow: New logo, old logo
Over the last year, Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI) has worked endlessly on their rebranding efforts and are excited to announce the release of their new logo. The new logo features a streetscape of Main Street as well as the welcoming historic water tower. To represent Historic Manassas’ close partnership with the City, their new tag line ‘Historic Heart. Modern Beat.’ was also incorporated into the logo.
Patrick King, CEO of Imagine, worked to create the perfect logo.
“We are humbled to be a part of this rebrand, excited that Manassas is undergoing a wonderful amount of growth and change, while still staying true to its history. We felt it was fitting to create a logo that married a vibrant energy to its beautiful architecture, and we are very proud of the result,” said King.
HMI began their rebranding efforts within the community by creating a survey last spring to determine who the community thought HMI was. The former logo, the downtown train depot, gave many the impression that HMI was just those who ran the train station or a committee involved with the museum and historic preservation within the City. Very few realized the involvement HMI has in the community including the numerous events that take over the streets of downtown each year.
Historic Manassas, Inc. was formed to promote a positive image of Historic Downtown Manassas and to perpetuate its revitalization. HMI feels this new logo helps to push forth its mission statement to engage the community in promotion, preservation, and enhancement of our vibrant Historic Downtown. Those interested in learning more about HMI’s four committees can find information here on their website.
Keep an eye out for the new logo and be sure to check out all of the events coming up in downtown. Next up is First Friday – March Madness on March 3!
Sponsored Post Prince William, Manassas partner for History Symposium to highlight depth of local history
Photo by Flickr user Jimmy Emmerson.
On Saturday, March 25, the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division is co-hosting a day-long history symposium with the Manassas Museum, Historic Prince William, and the Prince William County Historic Commission.
Join us for an educational and interesting Symposium that will highlight various local history topics that spread the breadth of the history of Prince William County and the City of Manassas.
The topics and speakers include:
“The Washingtons of Prince William County” by Dr. John Maass, “The JEB Stuart Christmas Raid” by Robert O’Neill
“The Great Manassas Fire” by Lisa Sievel-Otten
“The Marines of World War I” by Stephen Girard
“The Courageous Four, Desegregation of Prince William County Schools” by Norma Fields.
Sponsored Post Now hiring full-time assistant engineer in Manassas
FULL-TIME ENTRY LEVEL ASSISTANT ENGINEER POSITION for government facility in Manassas, VA
Must be able to speak English, a US Citizen/Permanent Resident, pass a background investigation and drug screening. $14.00/hour to start. Includes health benefits, vacation, and holiday pay. Please send your resume and/or previous work experience to firstname.lastname@example.org. For telephone inquiries, please leave a message with your name and contact information at (703) 475-EV4U.
Sponsored Post Request for community support in honoring local superheroes
On March 23 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. the members of the and , together with the police, fire and rescue communities serving Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, will gather for the .
The event, which is open to the public, is held annually to recognize the men and women in uniform who go above and beyond the call of duty in keeping our community and its people safe and secure: the local superheroes. For the third year in a row, the event will be held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, located at 10960 George Mason Circle in Manassas.
“This year we are hoping to fill the auditorium of the Hylton Performing Arts Center with the people of this community who appreciate the sacrifices made by public safety officials,” says Chamber Chairman C.C. Bartholomew, a local realtor and Prince William County Resident. “In a year when the climate on social media and across the country has been charged with fear and uncertainty, the Prince William region has been blessed to be served by forward-thinking and fair-minded public servants who also put their lives on the line in ways that we almost never hear about. Our Valor Awards shine the light on these brave and selfless individuals. I am asking that if you are at all able to attend the 2017 event, that you would strongly consider buying a ticket and joining us to show your appreciation.”
What should you expect when you attend the Valor Awards event?
- Manassas Park Community Center
- Address: 99 Adams Street
- Phone: 703-335-8872
- Website: http://www.manassasparkcommunitycenter.com/
You’ve heard it before: planning a wedding can be expensive. According to costofwedding.com, the average cost of a wedding is $26,645. Most couples plan to spend less than $10,000 for their big day, but the cost of everything associated with planning weddings adds up – and guess what, this price does NOT include the cost of the honeymoon!
So what money saving tips are out there for couples on a budget? How can they keep costs down and quality high? In other words, are there any corners you can cut while providing a top-notch, well presented, beautiful day for yourselves, your friends, and your families?
“After looking at between 15 and 20 venues, we chose the Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) Banquet Hall because the price was good,” says newlywed Anna Sandara. “The MPCC Banquet Hall fit into our budget, and although there was a limited amount of reviews on renting the Banquet Hall, we took a chance, and boy am I happy we did,” Sandra exclaimed.
“I really think the Manassas Park Community Center Banquet Hall is the best kept secret in our area,” stated Sandara, “Couples planning a wedding should really check it out because they will be pleasantly surprised just like we were.”
When you rent the MPCC Banquet Hall space, the price also includes access to a caterer’s kitchen and pre-function and patio areas. (more…)
Sponsored Post Souper Bowl is Back in Manassas for a third year
First Friday is back and it is time for the Third Annual “Souper Bowl!”
On Friday, February 3, from 6 to 9 p.m., merchants in Historic Downtown Manassas will be hosting restaurants and serving up soup. This year, 10 locations will feature soups, ranging from chili to gumbo and more.
Tickets can be purchased for $10 at any participating merchant location and will entitle attendees to unlimited soup samplings. Once you have sampled the wide assortment of soup, you’ll be asked to vote for your favorite to crown the winning restaurant “Souper Bowl Champion.”
Last year, downtown’s newest restaurant, Mariachi’s, took home the crown with their Tortilla Soup. After being open for about a month, they also took home second place with their Spinach and Chorizo soup.
February kicks off the first First Friday of 2017. Souper Bowl is a great kick off for the year and gets the community excited about what is to come for future First Fridays. Street closures for First Friday will begin in April and run through October to allow pedestrian traffic in the streets.
The event is a great way for people to get a little sample of what each restaurant has to offer. A list of participating merchants and restaurants for Souper Bowl can be found at visitmanassas.org. This event will be held rain or shine. Don’t forget to also stop by Ameriprise while on your tasting tour and sign up for a $25 membership with HMI! Memberships entitle cardholders to a discount at your favorite downtown restaurant and shops!
If you are looking for something to do on a First Friday, or any other day of the week, be sure to check out Historic Downtown Manassas – you just may find your new favorite restaurant and shops!
Celebrate Black History Month with Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division
Prince William County has a unique and extensive African American history that is preserved and interpreted through its surviving buildings. Enslaved African Americans worked at plantations within the county including Rippon Lodge and Ben Lomond. At Brentsville, both enslaved and free African Americans were placed on trial for various crimes, though they were unable to testify against their white neighbors.
Lucasville and the Barnes House preserve examples of how free African Americans built homes and communities to establish a life for themselves, and began to challenge racism and segregation after the Civil War in Prince William County.
Throughout the year, the community can visit Prince William County’s Historic Sites to learn about the African American experience in this region. Visitors may also join us in February as we celebrate Black History Month at many of our sites.
For more information, please call Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division at 703-792-4754.
Weekends in February
Lucasville School Open House
On Saturdays and Sundays in February from 11am-4pm, visit the only surviving building of the Lucasville community and learn about the people who were impacted this small, but significant, symbol of the community. With a special performance by the Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 11, at 11 a.m., visit the 19th century schoolhouse and learn surprising facts about African American history in Prince William County and the Northern Virginia region.
Each weekend, enjoy several different activities in the schoolhouse including tours, photograph exhibits, and crafts. Lucasville School is located at 10516 Godwin Drive, Manassas, VA, 20110; admission is free.
Every Day Full of Work: The African American Experience at Ben Lomond
During this special tour, explore the historic home and slave quarter to learn about the enslaved population living at Ben Lomond in the years before the Civil War. Visit spaces not ordinarily open to the public, and participate in hands-on activities to learn about some of the chores that enslaved men, women, and children were expected to complete.
Learn how, under slavery, they were forced to live emotionally and physically challenging lives in which freedom and choice were taken away. Tours will be offered on the hour from 11am-4pm. Ben Lomond Historic Site is located at 10321 Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas, VA 20109; admission is $5 per person.
Barnes House Hard Hat Tours
Get a hard hat tour of Prince William County’s newest “old” building. The Barnes House was the home to an African American family after the Civil War. Learn about the family’s amazing history during the Reconstruction-era and about the restoration of the building. This is a rare opportunity to see preservation in action!
Tours will take place at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. Barnes House is located at the Montclair Community Library, 5049 Waterway Drive, Dumfries, VA; $5 suggested donation.
Sponsored Post Smart Beginnings supports starting children off strong
Many people can remember the days of working on reading skills in school and the wonderful adventures that opened as a result. But that’s not every child’s experience, because not every child is ready for Kindergarten. And it’s often not just about age or maturity. The fact is, children who enter Kindergarten healthy and ready to learn have better success educationally and as adults.
Kendra Kielbasa, Director of Smart Beginnings of Greater Prince William (SBGPW), knows this and wants to make sure every child is prepared for a quality education. To do this, parents, caregivers, and educators need to start early.
Crucial Needs of Children Ages 0-5
According to Kielbasa, 90 percent of a child’s brain has formed by age five.
“We need to get the word out and raise community awareness of the importance of early childhood,” said Kielbasa. “This is the time in which the foundation is laid for future learning.”
A loving, secure environment where children are engaged and social-emotional bonds are formed with parents and caregivers has a profound effect on a child’s future, said Kielbasa. Unfortunately, underserved children in the community are found to have a 3-million-word gap compared to children that have access to strong social-emotional supports and quality early learning environments. This gap can mean the difference between successful learning and an environment that a child finds frustrating and inaccessible. Parents and caregivers should talk, sing, and read to young children every day.
Kielbasa said that children in the literacy gap may need remedial care in other ways, too. Social-emotional bonding affects kids ages 0-5 and may be lacking for many reasons, putting children in a position to perform poorly in an educational environment.
“Children that are consistently behind are often unable to catch up by grade three,” she said. “This inability to close the gap can lead to grade repetition, leading to higher incidences of expulsion, dropout or late graduation. Other social problems, such as health issues and criminal behavior, also are tied to the literacy gap.”
Using the Tools
SBGPW encourages routine screenings that address both developmental milestones and behavioral skills at key developmental increments. The sooner a delay is identified, the greater the opportunity for support and optimal outcome for the child, Kielbasa said.
SBGPW encourages the use of these screening tools in childcare centers and health centers. They also partner with GMU MAPs clinic at Manassas Park Community center to provide screening to all children under age five.
Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is a tool used to aid in finding literacy gaps. PALS is given to children at the start of Kindergarten to gauge which children have reading deficiencies, including number and letter recognition. The assessment is not about reading levels, but more about recognition issues that may lead to reading problems.
Closing the Literacy Gap
SBGPW has set three priorities to support kindergarten readiness: pre-literacy; high-quality childcare/early learning programs; and initiatives or programs that support health and well-being.
Strong pre-literacy tools help children to be ready for school, and reading to children beginning at birth supports healthy brain development. That’s why SBGPW has distributed over 4,000 first books through the Books 4 Babies program at Novant Health UVA Prince William Medical Center and Greater Prince William Community Health Center. It’s also the reason they support and partner with other literacy projects such as the Prince William Public Library System’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
SBGPW is also supporting early childhood professionals who want to focus on continuous quality improvement for the children and families they serve. They provide critical professional development training in conjunction with NOVA-Manassas. They also offer an ongoing Director’s Forum for early childhood directors to collaborate, learn and obtain resources for their staff, families, and centers.
Organizations interested in becoming a community partner should email Kendra Kielbasa at email@example.com. More information can be found at smartbeginningsgpw.org.