Spring2ACTion is celebrating its 11-year anniversary and highlighting stories about the impact of Alexandria’s Giving Day has had on our community. If you have a story to share, send in your story here.
Imagine moving to a new country where you do not know how to speak the language and you’re starting 1st grade through a computer screen all by yourself in your home.
That’s how Lucia* began her first year of school after her family recently immigrated from Guatemala. As Kids Club Director, I see first-hand the many hurdles young children have to navigate when it comes to online learning. For Lucia, these challenges are greater since she doesn’t speak English.
There have been many students throughout the years, similar to Lucia, who have joined Kids Club with very little experience with the English language. With the help of Kids Club staff and volunteers, students would complete homework assignments and improve on their reading skills in person, making it easy for students to make progress on their English.
Due to safeguards against COVD-19, Lucia hasn’t had that same in-person experience with Kids Club. However, she has faced this school year with determination. Not once has she missed an online Kids Club tutoring session or online Family Room time. She has been very consistent with school and Kids Club attendance, despite the challenges she faces every day.
Lucia is very responsible; she knows what days and times she needs to log on for Kids Club by using her very own calendar. Most children her age require parental assistance getting logged on, but for Lucia, it’s her brother who helps her while their mother works. She also attended all the Kids Club in-person learning hubs we hosted for the first-grade students this fall where she received extra help from our attentive Casa team during her online school days.
I have been impressed by her confidence and how well she communicates with me and other Casa staff. She speaks up to let others know whenever she does not understand something or whenever she needs a translation.
You wouldn’t know how challenging this year has been for her because she’s full of joy and excitement anytime you see her. She lives close to me and makes sure to shout “Hi Miss Diana!!” whenever she sees me out and about in the community. She tells me how excited she is for Kids Club and how much she really likes it!
Lucia’s mom works a lot and is very thankful for Kids Club. During our first parent meeting, she shared about wanting to participate in the Parent Committee. She went on to say how amazed she is with Casa and what we’re doing with Kids Club, and was very appreciative. She said, “this is an amazing program that’s really helping our kids.”
Lately, I’ve noticed the reward Lucia’s hard work and determination have produced. She has picked up a lot of English and can understand so many words and phrases. I look forward to the day we will be able to have conversations in English, which, with her eagerness and intelligence, will be very soon.
Whether it’s online, on the street or at the community center, we’re cheering on Lucia and every child we have the privilege of knowing and working with at Kids Club as we enter a new year!
– Diana Segovia, Elementary Programs Director
The Alexandria Singers bring artistry, education, and service to the City of Alexandria and the greater metro area through the unique choral genre of pops! As an education organization, we not only perform popular music, show tunes, and well-known traditional choral works, we also aspire to teach the many physical and mental health benefits of group choral singing within our membership and patrons communities. Spring2ACTion has historically been our largest and most important individual donor fundraiser, helping us fund our educational initiatives, community singing workshops, and musical programming. The pandemic has required us to radically rethink how we perform and deliver our mission in a time when singing has become a super spreading event. With the support of the 2020 Spring2ACTion campaign, the Alexandria Singers were able to pivot operations online, master new technical and production skills, develop virtual choir pieces with individual home recordings, and deliver full online productions. In a time when many choral groups shuttered, we continue to keep the art of pop choral music alive thanks to ACT for Alexandria and Spring2ACTion. We are so grateful to this community of donors for raising us up during this challenging time.
"Spring2ACTion was vital in helping us overcome the challenges we faced due to the pandemic! In addition to having to cancel all art-making programming, we had to close the UpCycle Shop for three months.
Because of the generosity of Spring2ACTion donors in 2020, we were able to reopen the UpCycle Shop in the Durant Center once safety restrictions were relaxed and pay our shop and donation employees. This enabled us to pivot away from programming and events (our main focus pre-pandemic) to our shop as our main area of service to the greater Alexandria community.
Spring2Action donors also enabled us to do virtual programming and pay shop employees to create materials kits for creative art projects available via curbside pickup. We were also able to create mask-making kits and provide them for free to the community."
Jane Franklin Dance celebrates movement and makes dance accessible to a wide range of audiences through performances, education, community engagement and collaborations with artists from other disciplines. We’ve been a staple in the Northern Virginia and Greater DC arts community since the company was founded by Artistic Director, Jane Franklin, in 1997. Through JFD’s programs, audiences, students, and professionals of diverse backgrounds find a safe, inclusive space where they can share learning, engage in creative collaboration, and stage accessible yet complex art-making.
Support from previous Spring2ACTion campaigns has helped us sustain our after-school movement classes with ACPS LINK Club partner schools, as well as serve older adults with in-person and virtual movement workshops at St. Martin de Porres Senior Center and for Alexandria Senior Services. We enjoy a strong partnership with the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association at the Athenaeum, located in Old Town Alexandria, to broadcast free live performances during a time when in-person viewing is not yet safe. We look forward to deepening ties in the Alexandria community and participating in Spring2ACTion once again this year!
Getting Free Computers to CORE Students
CORE’s 2020 Spring2ACTion campaign focused on the imperative to get computers into the hands of our students as soon as possible after all our in-person classes were paused over a year ago on March 13, 2020 due to the pandemic. Spring2ACTion’s annual online giving campaign allowed us to quickly pivot to this all-important objective. Funds were used to purchase refurbished computers until we re-established a steady stream of donated computers to be refurbished. We met students one by one in the parking lot outside our office and handed them free laptops they could keep – for the purpose of accessing online learning and a variety of pandemic related social supports, such as telehealth. Over 350 computers have been given to our low-income adult students since March 2020.
Carpenter’s Shelter has historically relied on Spring2ACTion as our sole fundraiser for David’s Place. David’s Place is operated by Carpenter’s and serves as the only day shelter in the City of Alexandria, allowing chronically homeless individuals a safe place to shower, do laundry, access a free medical clinic, and have a physical mailing address. In 2020, we placed our focus on general fundraising, as we adapted to an ever-changing landscape without lapses in our service to the community. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and exceeded our goal of raising $40,000! These funds went to supporting our emergency residential shelter, providing shelter for families and individuals, and keeping our residents safe throughout 2020, even as we transitioned into our new, purpose-built shelter. Through our fundraising efforts, we have been able to provide services to those in need 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We are so thankful to be a part of such a generous community, ones who are willing to extend a helping hand to their homeless neighbors. Thank you to Spring2ACTion and all of our supporters.
At our core, Local Motion Project is about bringing people together in dynamic, collective movement experience to effect personal and social change. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our definition of and methods for gathering had to evolve. With the support of ACT for Alexandria and Spring2ACTion donors, LMP was able to develop new skills to offer virtual and outdoor classes, produce creative dance videos for ACPS elementary students, and continue to pay dance artists in a time when many arts organizations have struggled. The Spring2ACTion community of donors has always been special to LMP as they have lifted up the important presence of dance in our city.
The Covid-19 pandemic launched Space of Her Own, Inc. into a new and scary place. We are a mentoring organization for vulnerable girls in grades 5-8, and suddenly had to put a stop to all in-person programming. Our staff started working from home and developed virtual group meetings and classes, but we quickly learned from our girls that many of them and their families were suffering mightily due to job losses and health issues. We decided to redirect a great deal of the year’s funding toward emergency support for our girls’ families just as Spring2ACTion was getting underway, and we weren’t sure how donors would respond to this shift. The support showed during the campaign was nothing short of overwhelming! Thanks to Spring2ACTion and the generosity of donors, we were able to deliver family meals, Target gift cards and essential household items along with art and science project supplies for our virtual afterschool programming.
Through this challenging time, we have managed to develop an effective approach to virtual programming, strengthen our organization and community partnerships, and continue to offer essential aid to SOHO families. Thank you to Spring2ACTion and SOHO donors for helping us make the most of this year.
As a small non-profit that is fully volunteer run, Alexandria Families for Safe Streets relies on Spring2ACTion as our main fundraiser for the year. In 2020 we wanted to be respectful and encourage donors to only give if they were able and donate to COVID-related causes first. We were overwhelmed with the generosity of our community however when we exceeded our goal of raising $2,500. With those funds we were able to purchase and distribute over 1,050 three-way blinking lights to community organizations such as ALIVE!, Casa Chirilagua, Carpenter's Shelter, Senior Services of Alexandria, West End Food Pantry, St Joseph Church and more. This helps pedestrians be visible at night and during the dark days of winter when car crashes are more common. We also completed a volunteer audit of crosswalks in Alexandria over 3 months in coordination with the City's Vision Zero program. Through our fundraising during Spring2ACTion we were able to continue our important work of making Alexandria's streets safe for all in our community. We are very grateful to ACT and our generous donors.
During Spring2ACTion 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic had already started affecting many of the residents at all our Alexandria Housing Development Corporation properties. Residents started losing their jobs in March and had their places of employment closed without any severance pay or immediate assistance. Many of the children of our communities were out of school and daytime childcare became a concern for roughly 50% of our families. Since many of our residents had no form of income, they were unable to pay rent normally (in addition to other bills and essential items for their families), so the funding we received in 2020 was essential to helping keep residents’ balances down. With the assistance we were able to provide for rent assistance, residents were able to keep themselves sustained though the pandemic. For most of our residents 2020 and 2021 have been unpredictable and devastating, but with help from ACT for Alexandria and our Spring2ACTion donors, we have been able to keep all families effected by COVID-19 hardship, safe in their homes.
"On April 15, 2020, the Center for Alexandria’s Children had its’ most successful Spring2ACTion Campaign to date! In just 13 days, 142 donors gave over $46,000 to support Alexandria’s kids and their parents through our Learn and PlayGroup Program.
Previously in-person, over the last year we have hosted 5 ZOOM LPG’s each week, providing virtual LPG’s in real time via Zoom, provided access to pre-recorded YouTube videos of Learning Together activities and disseminated weekly text messages with parenting tips, as well as provided one-on-one support as needed. 88 children from the New Brookside, Brent Place and Chirilagua neighborhoods participate in our Learn & PlayGroups with their parents.
“Salvacion,” one of our participant mom calls it. “Because there’s nothing else to do.” “This is good because my little girl was jealous because my older girl had activities with their school.” “My daughter is so happy when she sees the videos and sees Ms. Aida singing the same songs because she misses the PlayGroups a lot.”
For those families who have been unable to join us during our live online playgroup, they have been able to access our recorded lessons on YouTube. And we can see that we average about 10 views a week for the English and Spanish videos, and as many as 20 during some weeks. One parent has said: “I apologize we haven’t been at playgroup. It’s hard with me managing all three kids since my husband is back in the office and traveling a lot for work. I just wanted to let you know we watch the videos sent to us and we really appreciate it even though we can’t make it on Thursdays. Thank you guys for all you do we really appreciate it.”
2021 will mark our 11th year of participating in Spring2ACTion and each year we outperform our results from previous years. Every dollar that we raised in the past year thru Spring2ACTion has enabled us to keep our Learn & PlayGroups going for the 88 Alexandria children and their parents that we reach each week."
Spring2ACTion was critical for Neighborhood Health in 2020. Just as Spring2ACTion was kicking off, our Covid-19 Response was ramping up quickly. We were transitioning to telehealth, adapting our clinics for safer in-person visits, and starting Covid-19 testing. All this came with unplanned expenses like purchasing new cell phones and laptops, installing glass at our front desks, extra cleanings and cleaning supplies, and PPE. The funds that we raised through Spring2ACTion served as an essential bridge between the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the development federal funding streams. These donations enabled us to continue to provide comprehensive primary care to our over 40,000 low-income patients many of who have chronic conditions and require on-going care.
2020 and now 2021 were not the years that any of us were expecting. But with the help of ACT for Alexandria and the generous donors who supported us through Spring2ACTion we have been able to nimbly adapt to the needs of our patients and the community during this pandemic.“ – Dr. Basim Khan, Executive Director, Neighborhood Health
Spring2ACTion has been such a gift to us. As a small organization, Spring2ACTion gives our supporters a reason to rally around us, while also giving us a platform to tell our story and share our impact. Last year, alone, we were able to fund one third of our annual budget through Spring2ACTion.
Maury Schoolyard Initiative was a specific, focused PTA effort led by parents of Maury students. For years, the playground had deteriorated to an unusable state. The parents mobilized, developed a world class plan with Gensler, and targeted Spring2ACTion for a major fundraising push led by Amy Rutherford. The team masterfully engaged, entertained, and combined our grassroots base of parent, neighbor, grandparents, friends and neighbors with a highly strategic fundraising effort. With Free Agent Fundraisers and ongoing appeals, we engaged 859 donors, raising more than $75,000! This put our public private partnership on the course for success.
Two years ago, the Lee-Fendall House Museum faced a profound threat. The house's original foundation was badly degraded, the result of time, moisture, and the constant rumble of traffic on adjacent Washington Street. It was clear that it wouldn't hold on much longer, placing at risk the original 1785 structure and its many-layered history.
Through the generous support of Spring2ACTion donors over two consecutive years, we were able to secure the funds to work with a mason with experience in historic craftsmanship to stabilize, repair, and restore the full foundation. It's because of Spring2ACTion that we've ensured Lee-Fendall House will still be standing for generations into the future.
PK Move is small, fairly young parkour nonprofit, but thanks to the support of our community and Spring2ACTion, we have been able to do BIG things including offer free-to-the-public parkour lessons for all ages and abilities especially the underserved, develop PK Silver, an innovative parkour-based fitness and falls prevention program for older adults, and become the subject of the world’s first dual, blind study on parkour in the entire world. Spring2ACTion helps get our story out to many more people who many not be aware of our work and its importance in the community.
Spring2ACTion is an amazing way to connect with our community and spread the word about how anyone can improve the life of an animal in need. Donations from Spring2ACTion last year paid for healthy meals, bedding and toys, veterinary care, behavioral support and so much more. When you donate to Spring2ACTion, you are truly making a difference right here in Alexandria, and for animals across the city!
Because of Spring2ACTion, we were able to prepare 138 low-income children for success in kindergarten and in life. Children who would otherwise fall through the cracks and enter elementary school with a huge achievement gap. For children andfamilies hovering just above the poverty level, a high-quality, free early education in Alexandria is often inaccessible. That’s why Spring2ACTion is so important to the community. Because of Spring2ACTion, CFNC is able to continue providing a bilingual, high-quality early education and wraparound health and family services to the kids in our community who need it the most. Kids just like Luis.
Luis is the type of boy who puts a smile on your face. His excitement when he learns something new is contagious. Luis’ parents don’t speak any English at home, and when he came to CFNC, Luis spoke only Spanish. One day in April, Luis’ Family Support Worker burst into the office and announced that Luis scored a 29/30 on his English Language Learning assessment for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) – one of the highest scores you can get! Without access to a high-quality, free preschool education, Luis would likely have struggled to keep up in kindergarten, and likely for years to come. Spring2ACTion is helping children just like Luis realize their potential.
Because of Spring2ACTion…in 2017 Friends of Guest House was able to replace the siding and make other structural repairs to our nearly 100-year-old house, which is home to our Residential program. “Alexandria truly is an extraordinary city,” said Executive Director Kari Galloway, “and we are so grateful to be a part of this community and part of Spring2ACTion, Alexandria's Giving Day!"
We completed siding repairs and replacements. The House, an “iconic” yellow for so many years, is now a cool and comforting gray. Porch repairs were also completed.
Two years ago, as part of our Access4All Project, ASA launched a free After School Soccer League in partnership with ACPS. The goal was to bring soccer to kids at Title 1 schools. After a successful pilot season, in 2019 ASA set a goal to expand the program by supporting more kids, adding additional coaches, enhancing the curriculum and introducing a Saturday game component at a walkable location (in addition to the after school practice). On Spring2Action 2019, 745 donors came together to raise over $50,000! This allowed ASA to expand the league to serve 424 kids from six Title 1 elementary schools. The addition of a game on Saturday at several locations allowed families to come out and cheer on their kids in a fun festival environment. Listen to this podcast episode to hear how the kids felt about this! The league introduction and expansion would not be possible without the community of donors who believe in providing access to safe and active after-school activities. All contributions from Spring2Action 2020 will fuel initiatives in our nationally recognized Access4All project! Read more about the project here.
Local Motion Project (LMP), an Alexandria dance organization, would not be here today without the many supporters who rallied around the organization during Spring2ACTion 2019, and the support of ACT for Alexandria. A young organization
committed to bringing people together through meaningful dance and movement experiences, LMP was suddenly faced with the possibility of losing their space, and ultimately ceasing to exist, in early 2019. Through the amazing dedication of Free
Agent Fundraisers including students, parents, faculty, and board members, combined with LMP’s first ever business sponsors (Fairlington Dental, Heather Carlson with Re/MAX, Homes of Alexandria, and The Jen Walker Team) and day-of matches
(Fibre Space, Bradham Automotive, and Breathe Pilates) LMP went on to surpass their S2A goal of $45,000 and keep their home in Alexandria.
Because of these efforts, LMP has lowered prices for adult classes at the Local Motion Movement Arts Center (LoMAC), awarded its first need-based dance scholarship, grown their dance integration residency program with Alexandria City Public Schools, hired dancers for their first-ever dance ensemble production in Alexandria, started a youth ensemble, provided community dance and movement workshops, and applied for and received a racial equity grant from ACT for Alexandria to center racial equity in dance as they move into the future. Spring2ACTion 2019 proved that Alexandrians value the presence of dance in their community, and LMP is honored to be moving forward with such support.