Creekside Community Center Mentors Changes Lives!
U.S. Rep. John Lewis Honors Fourth Grader Rejean
Rep. Lewis & Rejean On Nov. 16, fourth grader Rejean -- who attends the after-school program at UCM's Creekside Village Community Center (CVCC) -- was celebrated at a visit to her school by civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia. She was recognized for the essay she wrote about Rosa Parks last spring.

Pictured at the school are (from left): UCM Executive Director Nichelle Mitchem, fourth grader Rejean, Congressman Lewis,, and UCM CVCC  Supervisor Deborah Finley.

Community Center longtime volunteer mentor Kathy Lehner, who works as an instructional aide at the school, heard about Rejean's essay. Kathy was so inspired by her academic progress that she sent it to Rep. Lewis, often called "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced."
Signing her essay The Congressman spoke about his life with the fourth graders and autographed Rejean's essay. His advice to the students included: "Be kind. Never hate or become bitter. The way of peace is better. Never give up." He said education is the key to any success and credited his teachers with his own.

"Rejean is truly an example of a resilient 
child," say CVCC Supervisor Deborah Finley. "Despite her environmental influences and academic struggles, she has persevered and accepted support to improve her reading and writing skills."

"Rejean is one of many young people in our community who face an opportunity gap," says Nichelle Mitchem. "Two of the older girls at Creekside became a mentor to her, in addition to the caring adults like Deborah and volunteer Kathy. The changes they helped create for Rejean were immediate, notably in her behavior and the dramatic improvement in her reading skills and her grades. These changes have a long-term ripple effect that will extend far beyond today to her ongoing self-confidence and future academic success."

UCM's Mount Vernon Kids programs like CVCC help our young community members to thrive. Congratulations, Rejean! Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, We are Grateful for You!
More than 600 Families will Enjoy a Holiday Meal
Are you in prep mode for a big Thanksgiving meal tomorrow? Well, thanks to your awesome community support ... so are 600+ UCM client families!

Heart-felt thanks to everyone who donated Thanksgiving holiday food (including turkeys) and
Woodley Hills Elem
Woodley Hills Elementary
to the many groups that hosted a special 
collection drive.  We appreciate the food drives by Oliff PLC, Intelsat, Islamic Saudi Academy, Woodley Hills Elementary, and so many others -- as well as the Mount Vernon Knights of Columbus  for the generous financial gift to purchase turkeys and to  Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station for the donation of dinner fixins' for the families in our transitional housing programs. 
 
ISA Girls
Senior girls at ISA
Thanks for being "Part of the Heart" with UCM to make the season special with a real Thanksgiving feast for our families. 
In this season of giving thanks & giving back, we are grateful for the ongoing commitment of our supporters and volunteers who help us help our neighbors in need.  

Thanksgiving Reflections
If you know me, you probably know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And that's because it is all about food. But it's not about pumpkin pie, or Grandma's special stuffing, or even that organic turkey. It's about sharing food with family and friends. It's about taking a few minutes to remember that the meal we are eating is something to be grateful for. It's about reflecting, maybe even out loud, about how rich our lives really are, putting all in perspective. I hope you enjoy this uniquely American holiday. Family, community, our country -- all celebrated this day. 
                                    - Christine Lucas, UCM Director of Development & Communications GivingTuesday
Fun Ways to Support UCM on #GivingTuesday Dec. 1
Black Friday, Cyber Monday.... Giving Tuesday for Giving Back!
We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. And there is #GivingTuesday -- a  global day dedicated to giving back for a new "tradition of generosity." The idea is simple: find a way for your family or group to come together to give something more. Then, spread the good word about how you are giving back this holiday season.
 
How can you "Be Part of the Heart" to support UCM on #GivingTuesday? Here are some ideas for Dec. 1:


 
Shop to benefit UCM at Ten Thousand Villages in Old Town Alexandria on Dec. 1, from 7 to 9pm, Ten Thousand Villages and stop by our UCM table. A percentage of UCM customers' sales will benefit our programs. Or you can shop in advance, anytime from Nov. 27  through Dec. 1 and mention UCM before you checkout! Click here for the event flyer.

Benefit Day 12-2

Eat at our Fordson Rd. neighbor Mamma's Kitchen, which will donate a percentage of your purchases to UCM, all day long! Just let your server know you're there for UCM. And you can drop off your Holiday Gift Room donations there too. We hope to see you there!

 

 

Start your holiday shopping at UCM's Back Porch Thrift Store for unique treasures at great prices. 100% of store proceeds stay in our community to benefit people in need. Open until 6:30pm on Dec. 1 (and every day!)

Use igive.com when shopping online to support UCM during the holidays -- and all year long! Get set up once with your email address and a percentage of your purchases at hundreds of shopping sites will automatically benefit UCM.  Click here to get started.

 

Consider a financial gift to UCM this holiday season.  A gift to UCM in a friend or family member's name is a perfect gift for the people on your list who "have everything." Make your year-end gift early.... and enjoy the peace of mind of checking that off your crowded "to do" list early this year!

 

And remember to share UCM's facebook posts or re-tweet @UCMAlex to raise awareness of supporting our local community this holiday season -- that's helping too!

 

Thanks for being Part of the Heart of Community with UCM on #GivingTuesday!  HolidayGiftRoomNETWORK1126
Bring Joy this Holiday Season!
Holiday Gift Room Open for Your Donations
Thank you to everyone who has already donated  toys, books and warm clothing  gifts for children -- and
Bring holiday joy
Unwrapped gifts are due Dec. 11.
expecially to all the groups and businesses hosting a Holiday Gift Room collection drive or bin for UCM!

Once again, we anticipate providing gifts for more than 1,000 children ages infant to 14, which are selected by their parents. We rely on the generosity of our community to make the season joyful for the children of families who are struggling this year. There's still time to start a collection or giving tree! Details and flyer are at our webpage.

Unwrapped gifts for children are due at UCM by Friday, Dec. 11. To make other arrangements for a later delivery date for your large drive or holiday event, email laurel.cunnane@ucmagency.org no later than Dec. 10. Amazon Wish List

Shop our Amazon.com Holiday Wishlist
It's easy to shop our UCM Books & Toys Wishlist at Amazon.com. Your donations ship directly to UCM. We are amazed at all the Amazon packages already arriving daily -- thank you!

Convenient UCM Collection Bins at Area Retailers
We appreciate all the retail locations that are hosting Holiday Gift Room Collection Bins for UCM  -- including many evening and weekend dropoff hours, for your convenience. The list of retail locations is at our webpage and at our UCM of Alexandria facebook page.
Five Below
We are especially grateful to store manager Jimmy at Five Below at Mount Vernon Plaza: not only is the store hosting UCM collection bins, but the cashiers are also proactively asking customers if they'd like to purchase a gift for our Mount Vernon Kids. And we've already received more than 6 big bins of great gifts for all ages, including teens! Thank you, Five Below! UCMad
New UCM Ad Campaign Launches Nov. 30
Look for UCM Around Town!
We're excited about our new UCM ad campaign that launches this Mon., Nov. 30! Look for UCM inside area Metro buses and on the platform at the Huntington Metro station... and more!
His success starts with you ThankYous
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.

Capitol Steps Raises Record-Breaking $90,000+
Heartfelt thanks to The Friends of UCM, who hosted a sold-out crowd on Nov. 8 at the US PTO in CapSteps 11-15 Old Town to raise more than $90,000 -- breaking all records for our annual Capitol Steps Benefit!  Thank you to all our guests. We appreciate all our event sponsors, especially Diamond Sponsors DIRECTV, Doug and Eileen Kennett, and Elaine Kolish and David FitzGerald.  See the full list of sponsors at our webpage. Read our press release at the UCM Newsroom. And save the date for our 2016 benefit:  Sunday, Nov. 13, which is the first Sunday after the presidential election!

Scouting For Food Success
SFF 15
Thanks to area Boy Scouts, caring community members, and close to 200 volunteers here at ourUCM Food Pantry, the Nov. 14 Scouting for Food community drive resulted in more than 11,000 pounds of donations! That will go a long way to feed the 80-100 families who visit our Food Pantry every weekday during the long winter months. 


Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) 
Thank you to the leadership of Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) for stopping by this week with a very generous $15,000 gift! That will make a big impact to stock our UCM Food Pantry this year with fresh dairy products for hungry families. Pictured (from left): Ryan Conrad, Thanks NVAR! new NVAR CEO; Mary Bayat (Bayat Realty), Chair of the NVAR Board; Nichelle Mitchem, UCM Executive Director; and Virgil Frizzell (Long & Foster), Chair-elect of the NVAR Board.

We are grateful to NVAR's ongoing generous support.  Every October at its educational convention, the NVAR asks members to bring a bag of nonperishable groceries (or a check donation) to support UCM, in lieu of an admission fee -- this year, totaling more than $2,400 and more than 5,400 pounds of food! Realtors are truly the heart of our community -- we appreciate the important part they all play to help us help families achieve financial stability.

Helping Families on the Brink of Homelessness
HTH Poster
Thank you to all our donors and to the many schools and students that have donated to our Fall  Heart to Heart campaign! We are grateful to schools that hosted a  Help the Homeless walk, including  Waynewood Elementary, which raised more than $6,000 at  their school-wide event, and  Aquinas Montessori School where the students designed inspiring posters and t-shirts to raise more than $1,000. Each school also hosted a Cereal Drive for our Food Pantry. And thank you to Good
A Gift from Your Heart
Each Waynewood student drew a picture of "a gift from your heart" to help a homeless family.
Shepherd Catholic Church for including UCM at the Nov. 14 "Super Service Saturday" event and for the generous matching gift of $16,000. 
Click here for our 2015 HTH photo album. 

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 . There's still time to make make a campaign gift in any amount online or via check (designate "HTH"). Every $400 raised means one one family can stay in their home, with rental or utilities assistance. To learn more, visit our HTH webpage. 

Winter Coat Drives
Thank you to all the groups and businesses hosting Coat Drives to keep our Basic Needs families warm this winter -- including Core Wellness Physical Therapy, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Sands Anderson, PC (McLean), and Vornado/Charles E. Smith. Jennifer Martin's family invited guests at their Fall pig roast to bring a used coat -- and then "matched " those coats with a personal donation of 60 new kids' coats for our Holiday Gift Room! Other community coat drives in progress include:

McEnearney Associates, Inc. Realtors is generously collecting winter coats and warm accessories for UCM clients at its NoVa office locations in Old Town Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, Leesburg, and Middleburg; and Kensignton MD; and Washington DC. We appreciate
Cindy & Leslie Weichert
Thank you, Cindy & Leslie!
the local newspaper ads they're running about the coat drive -- and the banner ad at the website!


Cindy Baggett and Leslie Rodriguez, Weichert Realtors based on Old Town have been conducting a Coat Drive  this Fall, including ads and postcards that featured the UCM drive. This week, they delivered 125 used and new coats -- thank you, everyone! 

Calibre Systems, Inc. for a $5,000 gift to support our Mount Vernon Kids programs, helping our youngest community members to grow and thrive. 

Mount Vernon Evening Lions Club
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a health cause close to the hearts of Lions Clubs. Thank you to the Mount Vernon Evening Lions Club members for a thoughtful donation of therapeutic compression socks for our UCM clients who suffer with diabetes. Pictured is Lion member Andrea with Richard Dobber, our UCM Director of Social Services 

Banks Family Foundation
Banks Family Gift Thank you to Harald Mangold and the Banks Family Foundation for their generous gift of $5,000 to help our UCM of Alexandria families in need. Pictured presenting the check to our UCM Housing Program Manager CJ is (left) Louise Habib, Director of Marketing at Scott Management, Inc., and Property Manager Theresa Scruggs.


We Love our Young Volunteers!
Daisy Troop 211 Thank you to Daisy Troop 211 from Fort Hunt Elementary School for the thoughtful donation of 14 "Birthday Party in a Bag" kits, which the Scouts created for kids in our transitional housing program families. They took a tour of our Food Pantry too and  had lots of great questions for us. Thanks for making our Mount Vernon Kids feel special!


Check out our 
 
 for community service projects by our young volunteers!

Join Us At the Heart of Community!