On the Path to Financial Stability
Free Financial Counseling Clinics at UCM
Did you know UCM hosts Free Financial Counseling Clinics one evening each month? This effort to empower community members on their path to financial stability is a collaboration with 
Financial Counseling
nonprofit Our Daily Bread. ODB recruits and trains Volunteer Financial Planners (VFPs), many of whom are 
certified financial planners donating their time via their professional membership association.
Each client receives a confidential 45-60 minute counseling session to examine their immediate financial situation, including a credit report analysis. The result is a personal Financial Action Plan that creates a course of action to address concerns.
Paula Paige
Paula Paige, UCM Basic Needs Counselor

"Many of our participants are struggling with credit and debt circumstances," says Paula Paige, UCM's Basic Needs Counselor, who coordinates appointments. "They do not understand that their financial status and credit score affect so many aspects of life."

"Whether it's a job or rent application or purchasing a car, good credit is essential. I have seen our clients making changes and taking steps forward, because of these clinics. Some have returned to school or purchased homes because of their new knowledge and restored hope."

Our clients appreciate the personalized sessions. "The counselors break everything down so that you understand," said a single mom at the Sept. 9 session. "It really helped to get my credit report and his analysis explaining it, so I understand. Thank you so much."

Another single mom, who just started a new job as a security guard at The World Bank, was thrilled to learn her finances are on the right track: "I'm going to tell all my family and friends to sign up for a session. This really helped me understand."

The monthly clinic s are free for adults: no income limit, no referral needed.  Appointment is needed; request Spanish translation a week in advance.  The next session is Nov. 18. Email paula.paige@ucmagency.org for an appointment. Click here for event flyer.HTHOCT
Yes, It's Scary to Be Homeless ...
"Be Part of the Heart" to Help Families get Back on Track
Julia HTH
We hope everyone will enjoy a safe and happy Halloween in your neighborhood. Imagine how scary it would be if your family were at risk of losing the place you live -- and due to circumstances beyond your immediate control.  But that's how hundreds of people in our local neighborhoods feel, worrying about whether they're going to have to live in their cars or find a place in a homeless shelter. Families like Julia's, age 10:
"It was really scary when my Mom was so worried about how to pay all the bills and keep our apartment," Julia told her family's UCM counselor.  "My Mom said we'd have to move, and I would need to change schools.  I didn't want to leave my school and my friends.  It was hard for me and my sister to concentrate at school, especially when we were hungry, which was a lot of the time.  But now we're doing great because UCM helped my family when we really needed it.  My Mom has a new job she likes, and she smiles more.  That makes me smile too."
 - Julia, age 10
Join UCM this Fall for our Heart to Heart 2015 Campaign
Your generosity helps local families in crisis, families of hard-working people like Julia's mom, Rita. A divorced mother of two who had recently lost her main job as a home caregiver, Rita came to UCM when she got the eviction notice, after her abusive ex-husband cut off child support. Her other part-time job was not enough to pay the rent and didn't include health insurance. Click here to learn how UCM helped Rita move forward with a new job and positive attitude.

Our Heart to Heart Campaign is your chance to make a big difference for families facing financial crises.  Every $400 raised means one one family can stay in their home, with rental or utilities assistance. HTH  is our largest annual community fundraiser. Last year    we raised $90,000 for families in crisis -- and we're counting on your help to reach our new $100,000 goal.

HTH 2015 logo
We have many ways to help this Fall, including neighborhood and school walks and fun social events -- or make a campaign gift in any amount online or via check (designate your gift to "HTH").

Thank you to the many schools that have already signed up to host a Help the Homeless walk, including Aquinas Montessori School on Nov. 14 and  Waynewood Elementary, which raised more than $5,500 at  their school-wide Oct. 27 event! Click here for our photo album. We especially appreciate Good Shepherd Catholic Church for a matching gift of $16,000 and an anonymous couple in Mount Vernon. They know that their generosity can inspire others to give.

To learn more about how you can help this Fall -- including to pick a date for a walk or other social event -- contact Diane Hill at 571.255.8978 or diane.hill@ucmagency.org.

No one should have to experience the fear of losing their home without a place to turn to for help. For many, that caring place is UCM. NichelleOct
Note from Nichelle
How do we truly effect community change? By ensuring a better future for the next generation.
Executive Director Nichelle A. Mitchem
UCM assists the most children in need in the Huntington-Mount Vernon community - more than 5,000 kids a year. We're committed to building them a safe, nurturing community. It's reflected in our philosophy and our services.

Our Mount Vernon Kids programs provide them with opportunities to be connected to caring, positive adults who mentor them to ensure their personal, academic, and ultimately career success. Your support for UCM gives children and families a fighting chance at creating a better life for themselves. Together, we are changing lives.

With warm regards and immense gratitude,
Signed, Nichelle

Capitol Steps Benefit Performance: Sunday, Nov. 8
Limited Tickets Available!
Our Capitol Steps Benefit  -- hosted by The Friends of UCM -- is almost sold out for the Sunday, Nov. 8  performance at the  US PTO Madison Auditorium in Old Town Alexandria! 

Doors open at 4pm. Names of paid attendees will be on the list at event check-in. Map and directions for free garage parking are at our website or click here (pdf).
We appreciate the generous support of our Diamond Sponsors:
Questions? Contact Friend of UCM Nadine Wren at nadinewren@gmail.com or 703.403.4410.  SFFOct
Scouting For Food Drive is at your Doorstep - Saturday, Nov. 14
Help Bring in More than Last Year's Total
Thanks to area Boy Scouts and scores of volunteers, this year's Scouting for Food community dirve is set for Sat., Nov. 14 --  UCM's largest single-day community food drive.  Last year we received an amazing 15,000+ pounds to stock our pantry for the long winter months.  Click here for our 2014 photo album.
Area Scouts will be out in our neighborhoods Sat., Nov. 7, Scouting for Food distributing plastic bags to use for your donations.  On the early morning of Sat., Nov. 14, please place your bag of non-perishable items by your front door. They pick up and deliver to UCM -- it doesn't get any easier than that, does it?  Thank you in advance for giving generously to stock our Pantry for the coming winter months.

Volunteers Needed at UCM 8am - 4pm on Sat., Nov. 14! volunteer!
Scores of volunteers are needed at UCM's Fordson Rd. location to help sort and organize the incoming donations. We have a morning and an afternoon shift available. Great for groups and for teen community service hours! If you can help, please email marcos.castillo@ucmagency.org.  HTHWALKSFOROCT31HolidayOct

Bring Joy this Holiday Season!
Holiday Food and Gift Room Open for Your Donations
The holiday season is  fast approaching! Once again, we anticipate serving hundreds of families
Bring holiday joy
with special holiday food for Thanksgiving and December -- as well as new, unwrapped gifts for children ages infant to 14 in our  Holiday Gift Room.  
We need your help us make the season special for families who are struggling this year.

We're happy to provide a flyer to customize, donation bins, and ornament gift tags to use for your group's holiday collection drive or giving tree.   Donation due dates are:
  • Unwrapped gifts for children are due at UCM no later than Dec. 11
  • Thanksgiving Food donations are due at UCM no later than Nov. 19.
  • December Holiday Food is due Dec. 11. 
Holiday Food Donations
Many thanks to everyone who has already organized or donated to a Holiday Food Drive. We Antioch Baptist Holiday Food are especially grateful to the Mount Vernon Knights of Columbus for the $2,400 gift to purchase holiday turkeys.  For questions or assistance with your drive, email UCM coordinator Marcos Castillo at  marcos.castillo@ucmagency.org

Holiday Gift Room for Children
We rely on your generosity to make the season joyful for the children of local families who are struggling this year. Details and flyer are at our webpage.
Amazon Wish List

It's easy to shop our UCM Books & Toys Wishlist at Amazon.com, so your donations ship directly to UCM!

If you'd like to organize a holiday drive or giving tree with your group, school, or organization, please email laurel.cunnane@ucmagency.org. We're happy to provide a flyer to customize, donation bins, and ornament gift tags to use for your group's holiday collection drive or giving tree. JobFair
Job Fair Thursday, Nov. 19
Do you know someone who is job hunting?  Invite them to meet with hiring managers from some of the best companies in Fairfax County at the UCM Work Center Job Fair work center on Nov. 19. Dress to impress and bring plenty of resumes and business cards! Free to attend. Please register in advance -- as a Job Seeker, Employer, or Volunteer.

Thursday, Nov. 19 at 10am - 2pm. Location: South County Center at Skill Source Center on 2nd floor - 8350 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria 22309. Click here for event flyer (pdf). For questions, call the UCM Work Center at 703.360.9088, x-200. THANKS
Heart-felt Thanks To ...
All of us at UCM are grateful for the outpouring of support, from so many! Click here to view photos of more of our generous supporters and volunteers.

Shop Innisbrook to Support UCM
Thank you to Friend of UCM Elin Bohn for benefiting UCM with purchases made at Innisbrook! Innisbrook for UCM Click here to shop the Innisbrook online store for wrapping paper, gifts, food, magazines, and so much more. And here's the best news: 40% of your purchase total will benefit UCM! When you shop online via this link, your purchase automatically credits to The Friends of UCM.

Norther Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) 
Thanks NVAR Every October, NVAR asks its members to support UCM, in lieu of paying an admission fee to its annual convention.  Realtors bring a bag of non-perishable groceries or a check donation -- this year totaling $2,410 and more than 5,300 pounds for our Food Pantry.  We are grateful to retiring CEO Christine Todd and NVAR for their ongoing generous support.  Realtors are truly the heart of our community -- we appreciate the important part they play to
help us help families achieve financial stability!

The Fun Runz
Pumpkin Pace Food Race Thank you to everyone who came out for last Sunday's Pumpkin Pace Food Race, hosted by The Fun Runz, at Mason Neck State Park to support UCM!More than $200 was raised towards our  Heart to Heart Campaign to assist families in crisis on the brink of homelessness.  Click here for our photo album.

Gerry Hyland Lobsterfest 
Hyland Lobsterfest Thank you to retiring Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland for donating proceeds from his 25th annual Lobsterfest at Justice Snowden Farm on Oct. 10 to support UCM.  Funds raised will help provide financial assistance for rent and utilities to struggling families, part of our 2015 Heart to Heart campaign. Click here to view our photo album.

Smiles for Life and Mount Vernon Center for Dentistry
Dentistry SmilesThank you to the team of Drs. Geren and Mady at Mount Vernon Center for Dentistry for a gift of $3,075 from the Smiles for Life Foundation, as proceeds from the annual teeth-whitening campaign that benefits children's charities. This gift will provide enhanced services at our UCM Early Learning Center. Read our press release at the UCM Newsroom.

Hope UCC and Shoppers Foot Mount Vernon
Thank you to volunteers from  Hope United Church of Church  for hosting the Sat., Sept. 19 UCM Food Drive at Shoppers Food at Mount Vernon Plaza.  They collected 1,236 pounds of food and $397.57 in cash donations from store customers in only 4 hours! We appreciate the ongoing support of store manager Mary Ann, who also donated fresh bananas for our Oct. 18 Pumpkin Pace Food Race participants.

Hilton Alexandria Old Town
Hilton Blue Energy Thank you to the employees of Hilton Alexandria Old Town Alexandria who spent a recent Friday morning at UCM, bagging up this month's USDA food commodities order for our Basic Needs clients. "Our volunteers today are part of our Hilton Blue Energy Committee," says Elvia Maxwell, Human Resources Director. "Blue Energy is an expression of the unique spirit and passion we at Hilton show our guests, our communities, and each other as Hilton Team Members. Volunteering to help people in our community is just one way we live our values. We enjoyed being here today at UCM, working with Food Pantry Manager Jose Flores. "

Pictured from left to right are: Pat Benign, Audio Visual Manager; Elvia Maxwell, Human Resources Director; Ed Smith, Engineering; Ann Zhao, Hotel Starbucks Manager; Ben Speech, Restaurant Manager; and Chevanie Soerodinedjo, Front Desk. Hotel employees are also hosting a Thanksgiving Food Drive and a Holiday Gift Room collection for UCM this year. And the team of volunteers plans to be back at UCM on Sat., Oct. 31 to help out at our monthly Free Veggies Distribution, which is at UCM in partnershp with Capital Area Food Bank. Thanks for being Part of the Heart with UCM!

Ocktoberfest at Port City
09-29 sponsors
Thank you to everyone who came out to the UCM Ocktoberfest benefit evening at Port City Brewing Company  on Oct. 29.  Thanks to the brewery, Rockland's BBQ Food Truck, our host Bob Kuletz with KW Commercial, and raffle proceeds, $500 was raised to benefit our Heart To Heart campaign to help families avoid homelessness. 

We Love our Young Volunteers!
Aquinas Montessori Students  from Aquinas Montessori School are coming over one morning a month this Fall to do community service at the UCM Food Pantry. Pictured from left are: Ryan (this year's Sixth Grade Leader), Jake, Garrett, and Sophie.

Check out our  "Kids in the Community" webpage for other community service projects by our young volunteers!

Join Us At the Heart of Community!