Executive Director's Corner
Our mission is “Building New Lives for Northern Virginia’s Homeless,” and while our priority will always be building and renovating homes and shelters for the homeless with our provider partners, I also think it’s important to go beyond providing a bed and a roof. For me, that mission also means focusing on supportive services that help make a person feel valued, that reduce stress and worry, or that provide the tools needed to regain independence. Maybe you’ve noticed a shift in some of our efforts. For example, our Night at the Ballpark is all about giving the gift of fun to families living in local shelters. Our Helping Hands program helps fill refrigerators and provide household essentials to make families’ move-in day feel more manageable.
In this issue of Building Hope, you’ll learn about additional ways we’re working to extend ourselves “beyond the bed.” Last month, Sight & Sound opened its doors to welcome kids and moms for lunch and a movie in their showroom theaters. This month, we’re launching another Backpack Drive to help ensure that kids start the school year out right in the fall. We’re also partnering with an after-school center to help them build out an entire floor of an Arlington Community Center, so that they can double the number of elementary-age kids they help with reading and other academic priorities. Data show that the ability to read plays a huge role in high school graduation rates—which of course has an impact on a person’s ability to support an independent life. And when we can mix in events that celebrate family, we’re constantly reinforcing that important priority too. It’s a holistic approach, and I’m so proud of our supporters and partners for helping us find new ways to make a difference. Another silver lining? We’re enhancing stakeholders’ connection with the projects, the partners, and the people we’re supporting, which in turn leads to greater giving. What’s not to love?
In the Spotlight
HomeAid’s 9th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ is in Two Weeks!
This spring has gotten off to a rocky start! First we froze. Then we were deluged by endless rain. Now summer is on our doorstep and we have one question for you: Are you as ready as we are for a fun summer outing? Then register today for our 9th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ! Your ticket will grant you access to one of the season’s best networking events, an all-you-can-eat BBQ, an open bar, cornhole games, and great raffle prizes. We promise this will also probably be your one and only opportunity all year to win a wheelbarrow full of beer!
The BBQ is one of our favorite ways to say thank you to the companies who have so generously contributed their time, resources, and expertise to HomeAid projects; as part of that celebration, we’ll also announce and honor our 2018 Trade Partner of the Year. Please join us!
All 2018 trade partners, suppliers, or subcontractors that have participated on a HomeAid project this year will receive TWO FREE BBQ registrations! Contact Cilda Pretorius for more information and to get registered!
In Your Neighborhood
HomeAid, HITT Construction Partner with Aspire! Afterschool Learning
HomeAid Northern Virginia and General Contractor HITT Construction have created a unique partnership with Aspire! Afterschool Learning and Arlington County to build out 9,400 square feet on the third floor of the Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike. Aspire! will use the dedicated space for after-school academic and summer enrichment programs, along with community dance and movement classes. Aspire! currently serves 40 upper elementary-age students each day at this site. The new space will allow them to double or even triple that capacity.
“Our program targets children who are at risk of falling into an achievement gap in Arlington,” said Courtney Reeve, executive director for Aspire! “Reading is a very strong component of our work, as research has shown that reading proficiency is strongly correlated with high school graduation. Last year in Arlington, nearly one in three economically disadvantaged fourth graders failed their reading proficiency tests. It’s a persistent pattern that we aim to change, along with providing social emotional learning and other educational support. In the last school year, our flagship program, ‘Learning ROCKS!,’ helped 92 percent of our students improve their reading ability and, more critically, 67 percent of English language learners made significant gains in their English proficiency. We know that kids who are being well served are four times more likely to graduate from high school.
“Until now,” she added, “we haven’t had any dedicated space. We’ve been operating across several sites, which really affects our ability to consistently provide services to the kids who need it. This project will of course not only give us the home and headquarters we’ve needed for so long, but it will show at-risk kids that they’re valued. We’re incredibly excited for this opportunity, and having HomeAid at the table will exponentially increase our ability to leverage different builder and trade relationships that will be so critical to the success of this project.”
Perkins + Will, an international design and architecture firm specializing in education and health spaces, designed the space pro bono. Plans include an option for multi-phased construction based on existing resources, but Aspire!’s goal is to build out the space and move in advance of the 2018-19 school year. It is expected that the total project cost will near $1 million, with seed money for the project being contributed by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Philip Graham Fund, the HDR Foundation, and the Washington Forrest Foundation, in addition to pledges and gifts totaling about $450,000. Aspire! seeks to raise an additional $200,000.
In 2015, 43% of fourth grade public school students in Virginia performed at or above the proficient level in reading. In Arlington County, 89% of fourth grade public school students performed at or above proficiency. BUT, look more closely: Within the fail rate among fourth graders, 29% of economically disadvantaged students failed, compared to 5% of non-disadvantaged kids.
Sources: The Nation’s Report Card (Virginia state statistic) and Aspire! Afterschool Learning (Arlington County statistic)
In Your Community
Play Ball! Support HomeAid’s Annual Night at the Ballpark
HomeAid’s Annual Night at the Ballpark is one of our most popular summer events. Over the past eight years, we’ve sent hundreds of families from local shelters to enjoy a Potomac Nationals baseball game on us. It’s a night dedicated to making memories for families who rarely enjoy a night out together, and we need your help to make this summer’s event a success!
Your sponsorship can help send families from local shelters to the baseball game—and you will receive complimentary tickets to the game, signage, recognition, and more, based on sponsorship levels.
Donate a backpack or coordinate a Backpack Drive! About a quarter of the homeless population that HomeAid’s non-profit partners serve are children. This summer, we will once again give a backpack to every child who attends our Night at the Ballpark. Here’s how you can help:
- Contact HomeAid to let us know that your organization would like to participate in the Backpack Drive.
- Share/print the Backpack Drive flyer and add your company details to help spark interest in participation at your organization. (Contact Cilda Pretorius at HomeAid if you would like an editable version of the flyer.)
- Drop off your collected backpacks (or schedule a pick-up) during the last two weeks of July.
In addition to giving families tickets to the game and a backpack for each child, we offer parking and concessions vouchers; coordinate pictures with the Potomac National’s mascot, Uncle Slam; and one lucky guest will get to throw out the first pitch. All the kids will get to run the bases after the game, and families will enjoy a post-game fireworks show put on by the Potomac Nationals.
Making It Count
Sight & Sound Builds Hope through New Family Memories
We say it a lot: Finding a way to support HomeAid Northern Virginia is limited only by your imagination. On May 20, trade partner Sight & Sound Systems showed us once again that support can come in a wide variety of ways, when they invited a dozen children and their moms to their two beautiful showroom theaters for a movie, pizza, and priceless memories of a day out with family.
“Movies have, since their invention offered a respite for people – the chance to escape reality for a while,” said Kris Kaymanesh, president of Sight & Sound. “While we know that throwing an event like this doesn’t put money in anyone’s pockets, we figure it puts smiles on their faces, and that makes it worth it.”
The families, who are currently living at the Kate Hanley Family Shelter at Shelter House, had their choice of seeing “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Peter Rabbit.” Kaymanesh plans to offer the movie outings again following this successful launch.
“Shelter House has been a proud partner of HomeAid of Northern Virginia for over 10 years, and HomeAid has provided so much more than bricks and mortar to our families experiencing homelessness and domestic violence,” said Laura Woody, LCSW, division director of Family Homeless Programs for Shelter House. “And now, through the leadership of Executive Director Kristyn Burr, they are providing even more. In May, [the movie day] at Sight and Sound Systems gave our families the chance to enjoy a pizza party along with a movie, and having such an outlet for these families is extremely important as they face the day-to-day stress of finding permanent homes. Thank you, HomeAid of Northern Virginia and Sight and Sound, for providing our families an experience they will not soon forget.”
“There are so many people right in our own backyards who need our help,” Kaymanesh added. “Homelessness has so many different tentacles that touch many lives, and I’m glad we could provide a fun day out for families who probably don’t get that opportunity very often. We are proud to help our community in this way.”
Sight & Sound Systems is a home automation and home theater company, founded in 1994 by Kris Kaymanesh and based in Loudoun County.
It costs, on average, $60 for a family of four to go to the movies, assuming standard seating, four separate drinks, and two orders of popcorn to share. Add in transportation costs, some extra snack bar purchases, or upgraded seating, and that number can easily double or triple.
Source: Peachtree Financial Solutions
Long-time Supporter Howard Bomstein Values HomeAid's Measurable Community Impact
Anyone who has worked in the Northern Virginia homebuilding industry over the last 40 years has probably crossed paths with Howard Bomstein—and while all may not have realized it, all have surely benefited from his work in helping advance and market the local real estate market. The native Washingtonian launched a career in marketing for a national homebuilder, co-founded what would become a buyer’s and seller’s bible for advertising properties, and now is one of our most consistent supporters. Howard’s long-time involvement with the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA) has helped us expand our network of Builder Captains. We are as grateful for his support as we are for the builder recruitment and appreciation event he co-hosts with us at Nationals Park every summer. Read on to find out how this DC-metro institution found us and why he remains one of our most tenured partners.
Q: You were one of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s earliest board members. What interested you about the then-new nonprofit?
A: I joined the HomeAid Board of Directors at the behest of my client, Don Knutson, when he was at Beazer Homes. For me, HomeAid represented the type of charity that had a measurable impact on our local community. The more new facilities that were built, the more families and individuals could be served when they most needed it—and we could easily know exactly how many people used the facilities and over what time period they used them. This was both meaningful and measurable, and it is what I find important and relevant for any charity effort.
Q: How does HomeAid today compare to the HomeAid then?
A: HomeAid in the early days, back in 2000/2001, was tiny. We completed one project over a six-month period with limited participation by the local homebuilding industry. In time, multiple projects were engaged, and industry-wide support from Builder Captains to suppliers ensued. Momentum continued to build, and today, HomeAid is integral to the mission of NVBIA.
Q: The Washington Post has been a long-time supporter; how has HomeAid’s mission fit with the Post’s philanthropic efforts?
A: The Washington Post reports the news and offers features that engage and enlighten readers. In the case of Real Estate, our weekly section is designed, written, and produced for those of our readers who follow trends in homebuilding; resales; and topics like mortgage rates, neighborhoods in which we live, and the latest in new home construction. Lastly, The Washington Post is a good corporate citizen in our community, so it behooves us to support charities that help our citizens lead better lives. We cannot support everything, but HomeAid in our opinion is deserving of that support.
Q: How did you get involved with NVBIA, the homebuilding industry, and the people who work in the industry?
A: I am a lifelong Washingtonian. My first real job after military service and graduate school was for U.S. Home (now Lennar) in marketing. I co-founded the New Homes Guide in 1975. I then spent 35 years in advertising for my own company, The Bomstein Agency, and we were NVBIA members for the company’s entire existence. We provided advertising and marketing communication services to nearly every major homebuilder in the market from 1977 until 2009.
When I joined The Washington Post in 2013, I renewed our support of NVBIA through my position as advertising category manager for real estate and property management. I am also an adjunct professor for the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where I teach branding and design.
NVBIA, I firmly believe, serves its builder and associate members in ways too numerous to mention here, but it has without a doubt helped me and The Washington Post connect to builders, developers, and Realtors. I believed that way back in 1977, and I continue to do so today.
NVBIA’s Triple Play Picnic
In partnership with HomeAid’s Night at the Ballpark, which is on Friday, Aug. 3, NVBIA will again host the Triple Play Picnic, where guests receive tickets to the game, an exclusive baseball cap, 10% off at the Potomac Nats National Mall Team Store, and an all-you-can-eat buffet of burgers, hot dogs, and non-alcoholic beverages. The event is held just inside the stadium gates, starting at 5:30. The cost is $38 for adults and youth (ages 6-12); admission for children 5 and under is $16. Contact Alex Whitson for more information about NVBIA’s Triple Play Picnic.
Many thanks to Builder Captain Toll Brothers and 18 trade partners, who completed a $126,000 renovation on 12 individual apartments and a children’s activity center at Catholic Charities’ St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences. During our appreciation luncheon on May 31, we thanked all of our contributors, as well as offered tours of the completed space. All of the families are referred to Catholic Charities from regional emergency shelters and domestic violence programs; the majority of residents are mothers with young children.
Thank You to the Following Trade Partners who Contributed to this Project:
- American Disposal Services
- Atlas Plumbing, LLC
- B&K Distributors, Inc.
- Buhl Electric Company, Inc.
- Doug Construction, LLC
- Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning
- GE Appliances
- L & P Carpenter, LLC
- Mid South Building Supply, Inc.
- Poe Porcelain Repair
- Precision Drywall Services
- Premier Surfaces
- Price Construction
- Staged Interior
- T.A.C. Ceramic Tile, Co.
- Titan Erosion Control
Local Emerging Leaders Getting Recognized
Congratulations to Executive Director Kristyn Burr, for her nomination by Shelter House Executive Director and CEO Joe Meyer for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Award in the Emerging Influential Leader of the Year category! The awards honor individuals, businesses, and non-profits for above-and-beyond business leadership and corporate social responsibility and will be announced at the awards luncheon on June 13. More information and tickets to the luncheon are available from the Chamber of Commerce.
BBC Video Features HomeAid Director’s Commitment to Community
According to a report by BBC, two-thirds of released U.S. prisoners end up back in a cell within three years. But through the power of mindfulness and the benefits of practicing yoga, Seva Prison Yoga (the Virginia affiliate of Prison Yoga Project) hopes to change that. HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Executive Director Kristyn Burr—who founded Seva Prison Yoga and was recently featured on a BBC video report—teaches yoga at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where she works with incarcerated men and women to help them find peace, balance, and new hope. The program has quickly expanded to seven classes at two local facilities, including the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center, with four teachers donating their time and passion for yoga.
Danielle Emhof and Nick DeSimone have joined our staff as event and communications coordinator interns, respectively.
Emhof, who just completed her freshman year at Penn State University, came to HomeAid due to her interest in nonprofit organizations and the impact that HomeAid has on the community. “The atmosphere during my interview made me feel it would be a great place to work,” she said. “I am interested in learning all aspects of the job and believe it will allow me to expand my knowledge and gain valuable experience that will be helpful in my future.”
Emhof plans to major in accounting and hopes to utilize the experience gained at HomeAid in a career with a nonprofit.
Nick DeSimone, a rising senior at Virginia Tech who is pursuing a B.A. in public relations, chose to intern at HomeAid to get involved with a hometown-based organization and gain work experience in communications, marketing, and event planning.
“Knowing that the work I do will simultaneously benefit the community and ultimately contribute to alleviating the very real homelessness issue we have in Northern Virginia is extremely attractive to me,” DeSimone said. “I hope to acquire valuable experience formulating news media and organizational writing, while also learning more about the marketing side of nonprofits.”
DeSimone hopes to eventually secure a communications position for a professional sports organization, or land a communications or marketing position at an amusement park.
Save the Date
9th Annual Builders and Friends BBQ – June 21, 2018, The Barn at One Loudoun
NVBIA 2018 Scramble Golf Tournament – June 25, 2018, River Creek Club
8th Annual Night at the Ballpark – August 3, 2018, Potomac Nationals Pfitzner Stadium, for families living in local shelters.
NVBIA Crab Feast – August 23, 2018, The Farm Brewery at Broad Run
4th Annual Golf Tournament – September 21, 2018, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club
17th Annual HomeAid Northern Virginia Gala & Auction – November 10, 2018, Lansdowne Resort & Spa