#TBT: Local Nonprofits making a BIG Difference! (+ Tips on How you can Start your Own!)

LET’S THROW IT BACK TO 2010! Here’s an article I wrote about nonprofits!

#TBT – Cheers to Giving Back!

Do you know how much of an impact your local nonprofit is making in your community? Check out these star players from the Richmond, Virginia area!

Most people know that a non-profit is an organization dedicated to creating social changes for a particular sector of society – by raising funds to serve the public good through charity work, advocacy training, or fundraising. What many people don’t know is what goes on behind-the-scenes and the real-life differences that the local organizations around them are creating for their community.

“There are more than 200,000 people in central Virginia that are food insecure, which means they don’t know when they’ll be able to eat next,”

said Jeff Baldwin, media and public relations manager for FeedMore Inc., a locally-based nonprofit institution focused on providing a sufficient food supply to members of the community in-need.

FeedMore is composed of three different organizations: Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia, and the Community Kitchen.

FeedMore is one of many non-profit organizations that strive to provide a better lifestyle for those that are less fortunate. The institution p[ovides essential food options to thousands of people in need, serving more than 31 counties and five cities throughout Virginia.

“With community, financial and volunteer and food drive support, we are able to give out about 750,000 pounds of food a day,” Baldwin said.

However, considering one out of seven individuals and one out of six children are food insecure, Baldwin said that even though the current food supply is decent, it may only last a few weeks for the families utilizing these programs.

“[FeedMore] relies on financial contributions, grants through foundations and corporate grants, community volunteer support, as well as food drive donors to keep our programs running,” Baldwin said. “We have 92 routes for our Meals on Wheels campaign, meaning we need 92 volunteers a day just distribute these meals across the counties we serve.”

Baldwin says that FeedMore offers flexible schedules for those who wish to help out but are constricted in their availability, especially students. Those interested can visit feedmore.org or feedrichmond.com to get involved with upcoming events. From November 15-17, FeedMore will be hosting their “5th Annual Feed Richmond” food drive campaign, a partnership with Cox Media Group. Volunteers will be onsite at various Kroger locations collecting canned goods and financial donations for those in need.

Nonprofit and charity organizations are important for sustaining a variety of community needs and are especially important in providing goods and services for low-income and poverty struck individuals and families. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), as of August 2012, the county of Richmond has 41 registered nonprofits, bringing in over 39 million in revenue and over 102 million in assets.

NCCS also issued a report in 2011 encouraging local community sustainably for nonprofit organizations. According to the “Community Platform” resource, local support of nonprofit and charitable organizations become particularly essential in the quest to overcome poverty, boost education and influence leadership during times of economic struggle.

“In an era of enormous federal and state budget deficits, high unemployment, and major market failures, the limitations of government and for-profit sectors are evident—the nonprofit sector will need to take on added responsibility.”

Richmond has a number of non-profits serving an assortment of different needs of the community. Many of the top successful organizations depend on the perseverance of its founders and directors as well as the financial support from contributing donors.

“Starting a non-profit is a straight forward process as far as the paperwork goes and is within the capability of most people,” said Heather A. McDonough, business counselor at the Virginia Department of Business Assistance. “[However], the success of a nonprofit depends on many elements, including management, the cause that the organization was established to assist, as well as a strong core of supporters.”

The most recent data from the IRS from the tax years ranging from 1985 to 2008, regarding nonprofit charitable organizations, showed that large organizations received the majority of their funding from program services, while smaller organizations relied on contributions, gifts and grants as their primary source of revenue. For this reason, it is often more difficult for smaller organizations to uphold their basic expenses. This goes to show how much of an impact the support of the community and will-power of the directors can be in the success of an organization.

Renew Richmond, created in 2009, began as an educational program focusing on low-income individuals in Southside Richmond who are malnourished or unable to provide a steady sustainable diet for themselves and their families. John Lewis is a prevention specialist with Richmond’s Behavioral Health Authority.

Lewis decided to join Renew Richmond in 2010 to help build the organization’s outreach and help provide health and wellness advocacy training, as well as increasing knowledge of sustainable food practices in the hopes of building healthier and more connected communities.

“It is important to help our local economy and make our neighborhoods and communities more food—secure, especially in low-income areas that have little accessibility,” Lewis said.

“Our mission is to help empower individuals from all walks of life cultivate healthy life styles through the growth and production of food and offering alternatives to negative health behaviors.”

Renew Richmond has held plenty of events focused on education the public about nutritional food production, sustainability and influencing community connectedness. Lewis established “The Green Team” as a component of Renew Richmond to teach agricultural education and environmental awareness for fourth and fifth graders at G.H. Reid Elementary in Richmond.

On Oct. 16, Renew Richmond partnered with other healthcare providers to host the “Health and Harvest Festival,” to promote healthy eating and obesity prevention. According to Lewis, these types of events depend on a variety of different support outlets.

“We work off grants and donors and the accumulation of donors that are very interested in our project and are consistent in helping us build capacity,” Lewis said. “[While the process of becoming a nonprofit] isn’t very difficult to get started, it is difficult to keep it sustained and relevant. If you’re trying to do something for the greater good and you really mean it, you’ll have the manpower to do it, and then you’ll try to find the resources to do it.”

Nolo, an online network providing consumer-friendly legal information relating to business inquires. In a resource article by Nolo legal experts, “How to Form a Virginia Nonprofit Corporation,” Nolo provides a step-by-step guide for individuals or groups of people looking to form a nonprofit.

First, a board of directors must be outlined, a unique title for the corporation must be proposed. After that, a number of articles must be filed and an organizational meeting must be held and registration requirements must be filed.

James Michael Wright is the manager of regulatory programs in the office of consumer affairs at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Wright said that in order to be recognized as a nonprofit in Virginia, the organizations director simply has to fill out a basic one-page form with the state corporation. However, he said, to become a tax-exempt establishment, as many nonprofits are, the organization must register with the Internal Revenue Service.

“There is about a 30-page form composed of articles, bi-laws, a proposed budget, list of officers and directors, Wright said. “This step is a very complicated process and also can be expensive. The fee ranges from about $300 to $700, depending on the size of the organization.”

Wright said that within a nonprofit, three basic expenses have to go into the financial statements. First, there are ‘programs’, which Wright said would include the funding behind the research for an organization. Then there are “administrative expenses”, including the materials necessary to keep the organization running, such as necessary lighting and a phone-line.

Lastly are fundraising expenses. “The organization must rule in the question: how much does it or will it take to raise a dollar?” Wright said.

Financing and extensive organizing for filing the necessary paperwork is the most time-consuming and work-intensive aspect of forming a nonprofit, which is why it takes a longer time for some organizations to start up than others.

BC Brew Crew is an organization in the process of becoming a charitable nonprofit. The crew started out as a group of longtime friends that were just looking to have a good time. They were known for the parties and large events they held at various locations. While at first the group may have been portrayed in a negative light, around 2010- the organization decided to recreate their public image and work to incorporate a charity aspect into process of organizing events.

“Richmond has a bad history with ‘crews’ and, [in the minds of Richmond authority], the association is thought to relate to gangs and violence,” said Corey Johnson, leader and co-founder of BC Brew Crew. “We aren’t that type of crew, we are a brew crew, here to have a good time and provide for our community, and that is really our only goal.”

BC Brew Crew shifted their focus to charity work in 2010, raising money for already established nonprofits, such as the Richmond SPCA and Planned Parenthood. The unique aspect of the crew is that all of the start-up capital for the events is provided by the actual members, either from a small standing fund or out of their individual pockets.

“We provide a link to a particular part of the Richmond community that does not exist for some of these groups, such as Planned Parenthood, which has had a hard time reaching out and sustaining a connection with our age group, which is primarily 21 to 35 years old,” Johnson said. “When we make a donation or inform an organization of our intent, there is normally a fair amount of surprise when (the organization) realizes who is actually doing the donating and fundraising.”

“I think it helps remind people of the ever present need for a greater sense of community.”

Kathryn Ray, one of the core members of BC Brew Crew in charge of event planning, said that the organization hopes to get even more involved with other organizations in making a difference in the community, despite what might seem as a small impact.

“A little can go a long way, and if anything, our contributions can at least show that a small group of people can make a large effort in helping out the community around them.”



Virginia Named #5 on “Top 10 Safest States” by 24/7 Wall St.


Source: Allison Landry, on behalf of The Open Door blog, Lennar Virginia

This just in- another reason why YOU should call Virginia home.

In the recent report “The 10 Safest States in America,” 24/7 Wall St. reviewed violent crime rates from FBI reports that discussed eight different types of crime to compile a list of states that  had seen notable reductions in violent crimes. In addition to this data, other factors such as median household income, poverty rates, educational attainment rates, and socioeconomic data from the Bureau’s American Community Survey, were reviewed. 24/7 Wall St.  reports that, contrary to public opinion, violent crime in the United States has been reduced by almost half what it had been in 1995 “from 685 incidents per 100,000 Americans to 366 incidents per 100,000 Americans” (Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation).

Statics for Virginia:

  • Violent crimes per 100,000: 196.2
  • Population: 8,326,289
  • Poverty rate: 11.8% (12th lowest)

The report states ” Alexandria and Virginia Beach are two of the safest metro areas in the county and help lower the state’s overall crime rate.”

One of the highlighted contributors to this ranking is financial stability. The typical (average) household earns $64,902 annually, the 8th highest in the nation. Virginia is suitable for the career-seeking individual, government workers, contractors, students, and those looking for a great place to raise a family. With a 5.3% unemployment rate, VA ranks 17th among the states in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Virginia is also home to some of the top performing counties in the entire nation. Within VA, Loudoun, Fairfax, and Stafford are among the Top 30.

Lennar has single family, villa-style, townhome-style condo and townhomes available in both the VA/DC/Metro area and in Williamsburg.



Alexandria, Virginia named #9 Happiest City in the United States

cute old town alexandria shops

Source: Allison Landry, on behalf of The Open Door blog, Lennar Virginia

Happiness is a key factor in the emotional process of buying a new home.

A report released by Gallup this past year sought out the states and cities with the happiest people living among them. Gallup used data collected by interview with over 170,000 adults  across the United States to rank the Top 100 happiest cities in the nation. 

Virginia, as an entire state, made it into the 2nd Quintile, at #14 out of the 50. Narrowing down further, at least 4 different Virginia/DC cities made it onto the Top 100.

With Washington-Arlington-Alexandria at #9, Richmond at #21, and VA Beach-Norfolk at #79.

Using a tool titled the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Gallup measured five different elements that categorize the way people feel about and experience their daily lives, including purpose, social, financial, community and physical. You can read the full report here. 

Lennar has single family homes ready NOW in the Alexandria area- at Abbots Wood.



Free Things to Do in Virginia and Washington D.C. this Summer

The Capitol Building, Washington D.C.

Summer is here but going fast! The Virginia and D.C. Metropolitan area is full of exciting things to do: attractions, parks, museums – but sometimes, the price tag on our preferences can add up.

Here’s a list of FREE things to do in VA and Washington D.C.!


A Collection of Lennar Blog Posts

A Collection of Blog Posts submitted by me for Lennar Virginia:

A Model home at The Preserve at The Goose Creek. Lennar VA
Model home at The Preserve at The Goose Creek, Ashburn VA (c) Lennar VA

Virginia’s Active Adult Communities among Top 50 Best Master Planned Communities


Lennar Virginia hosts block party for grand opening of Goose Creek Villa models


Duplex homes at Groveton Woods are Coming to Lennar Virginia!


In the News: Lennar Virginia and UAMC team up with Home Aid


Valentine’s Day weekend open house event


Single family homes from Lennar Virginia are coming soon to Abbots Wood


Virginia Heritage at Lennar Virginia is offering a special $99 introductory Discovery Program!


Virginia Heritage at Lee’s Parke boosts up existing Lennar Virginia referral program


Lennar Virginia sponsors art and crafts fair at Virginia Heritage


#PROJECTELECTION- Learn about your candidates for the Nov. General Election in VA!

ImageGarrisonville Supervisor, Schieber Wants to Add Jobs, Expand Research and Development Centers 

Ty Schieber, Republican incumbent for the Garrisonville district on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, has served on the county’s board since January 2012. This is his first regular election. He was appointed by the Stafford County Board of Supervisors to the Garrisonville seat after Mark Dudenhefer (R-Stafford) was elected to the House of Delegates. Prior to being elected as a supervisor, he was a representative on the Stafford County School Board. His opponent in the November Virginia General Election is Democrat, Laura Sellers.

He says there are three main challenges that come along with the development and growth coming to Stafford County: schools, transportation and safety.

“The more people you have, the more focus you have on the roads, the more kids you have in school and all of that has to be done within the context with a safe and secure environment,” says Schieber. He says there are challenges that come along with those three primary areas have a lot to do with the growing development and the available resources in the county.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/14/garrisonville-supervisor-schieber-wants-add-jobs-expand-research-development-centers/#sthash.AKTLx306.dpuf

Kidby Focuses her Campaign for Garrisonville School Board on 21st Century Learning and TechnologyImage

Nanette Kidby, current Stafford County School Board member representing the Garrisonville district, has served the district since 2007. This year, she is being challenged by R. Pamuela Yeung. Previously, Kidby served as a mathematics high school teacher in Prince William County for 21 years. She says her experience and dedication to education makes her a successful school board member.

“Education isn’t what I do, it’s who I am,” says Kidby.  “I can bring experience of working on the board and there’s definitely something to be said for that. With that background coupled with my background in business and accounting, I can not only bring the educational experience, the managerial experience, but also the budgeting experience.”

She is focusing her campaign on areas such as teacher retention and pay, overcrowded class rooms, and maintaining modern learning and technology in the schools.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/kidby-focuses-campaign-garrisonville-school-board-21st-century-learning-technology/#sthash.1HNxp94c.dpuf

ImageDudenhefer Calls for Long-term Improvements in Transportation, Education

Mark Dudenhefer, Republican delegate representing the 2nd Virginia house district in Stafford and Woodbridge, has participated in major legislative changes since he was first elected in 2012. He is being challenged by Michael Futrell (D) for the 2nd district seat, which includes Prince William and Stafford counties.

This past session, he is responsible participating in the passing of legislation that helped give teachers raises, veterans more opportunities, as well as initiated “Gwyneth’s Law,” which was inspired by a woman named Gwyneth Griffin who passed away in July of 2012 after going into cardiac arrest at her middle school.

“One particular piece of legislation that I carried and spent a lot of time getting passed was a requirement for school teachers to receive CPR training and for high school kids to have CPR training as part of their graduation requirement,” says Dudenhefer.

He says, if reelected, he will continue to focus on areas such as transportation, education and the economy.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/delegate-dudenhefer-long-term-investments-transportation-education/#sthash.BPs3ss4m.dpuf


Falmouth Supervisor Candidate, Setzer says County Needs Smarter DevelopmentImage

Valerie Setzer, Democratic candidate for the Falmouth district seat on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, is running up against Republican Mary “Meg” Bohmke and Independent Robert Belman in the November General Election. She is running for the seat because she says that she believes she would be able to facilitate a more balanced perspective on the board of supervisors.

“I look at things in a more well-rounded perspective,” she says. “When considering developments, I will ensure that the people that are willing to develop new projects in this county take into consideration and compensate the county with the necessary infrastructure needs that accompany those projects. This includes roads, schools, public transportation and accessibility to fire and rescue services (and so on).”

Setzer recently retired as a terminal air space manager at the Federal Aviation Administration. She says her professional skills would be a beneficial aspect for the board.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/14/falmouth-supervisor-candidate-setzer-says-county-needs-smarter-development/#sthash.z2e6NJ8v.dpuf

ImageManassas Park City Commissioner, Debra Wood Says Relationship with Community will Help at Polls

Debra Wood, (R) is the current Commissioner of Revenue for Manassas Park City.  Her job requires providing taxpayers a variety of services, including: assessing the value of property and taxes, issuing business licenses and processing state income tax returns. She has lived in the city for over 35 years and has spent 22 of those in the Commissioner of Revenue’s office.

This year she is being challenged by Patricia Trimble, an independent nominee. Wood says her experience and workmanship make her a qualified candidate in the November general election.

“My years of experience and knowledge of the duties of commissioner surpass that of any candidate,” she says. “I attend yearly training sessions on income taxes, auditing, personal property assessment, computer training, legislative changes, as well as numerous commissioners association training to ensure that I stay abreast of any changes in the law.”

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/manassas-park-city-commissionerdebra-wood-says-relationship-community-will-help-polls/#sthash.G9nRhlK6.dpuf

Griffin Wants to Boost STEM-based Programs, Food-Pantry Services in Stafford CountyImage

Vanessa Griffin is an active member of the Aquia community. She currently serves on a variety of different community boards and committees and helped organize and initiate the first North Stafford Farmers Market.

“Our community had a need for the production of local produce so I made it happen. I found the funding; I ran through all the red tape and was able to deliver that to the community,” she says. “Not only have we been able to partner with the local food pantry (S.E.R.V.E.) and provide nearly 500 pounds of produce per week, but are planning to implement the SNAP (food stamps) program next year to further extend our services to the lower income families in Stafford.”

Griffin is running for the Aquia seat on the Stafford County school board because she says she wants to continue to produce results for her community.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/griffin-wants-boost-stem-based-programs-food-pantry-services-stafford-county/#sthash.bCZA37IE.dpuf

Keen Wants Better Board Relations, Teacher Benefits in Prince William County

ImageSteven Keen, incumbent by special election for the Woodbridge seat on the Prince William County School Board, has been elected to the school board before, serving two terms from 1995 to 2003. He says that this time around his main focus is on the direction of the schools and how the Board of County Supervisors and school board can work together to resolve the issues facing the county.

“I looked and saw that the current economic crisis is as fragile as it was when I was first elected. I thought that my experience would be valuable to the board,” Keen said. “However, the economy is now gotten to a place where it’s time for us to start asking what the implications are for the schools.”

Keen says that the relationship between the school board and Board of County Supervisors needs to revert back to the respectable relationship that it once had. He said one of the main problems was that the board of supervisors made tax cuts that didn’t abide by the conditions outlined in the Revenue Sharing Agreement, a five-year budget plan that was negotiated between the school board and board of supervisors.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/keen-wants-better-board-relations-teacher-benefits-prince-william-county/#sthash.7ppUc8kn.dpuf

Kitta: More Support for Teachers, Better Capital Improvement Planning, Fundamental to Campaign for Stafford School Board Image

Mark Kitta, candidate for the Falmouth seat on the Stafford County School Board, says he was motivated to run for the board after observing some of the major problems in the schools. Among the issues he wishes to address are: the teacher turnover rate, poor budget oversight and planning and most importantly to Kitta – addressing the planning behind the “Stafford County Rebuild Project.”

Kitta is not affiliated with a particular political party. In fact, he believes politics should be taken out of the school board decisions.

“I was approached by a number of political parties and I respectfully declined their endorsement,” he says. “I gave them the same answer; I’m more interested in providing for the citizens of Falmouth and ultimately the citizens of Stafford County then I am a political party of their agenda.”

Kitta says he is passionate about the “Stafford Rebuild Project” because it is dealing with a large amount of money and he says the plans were poorly communicated with the public.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/kitta-support-teachers-better-capital-improvement-planning-fundamental-campaign-stafford-school-board/#sthash.fVXpCX12.dpuf

ImageBelman Wants to Make Stafford More Business Friendly, Improve Transportation Infrastructure 

Robert Belman, former school board member of eight years, is running for the open Falmouth seat in this November’s General Election. He says his experience serving as a school board member and desire to work for the county independently of a political party will make him a valuable representative of Stafford.

“I wasn’t talked or coerced into running. I’ve always wanted to give back to the community and I think I have the pulse of the people,” says Belman. “People know who I am and I am accessible to people. I’m not representing any political party, I’m representing the people.”

Belman participated in the initiation of the Adopt-A-Classroom program in Stafford County, which is a service that joins donors with teachers to help provide funding for supplies for the classroom.

“The opportunities are unlimited when you create partnerships between your communities in your schools,” says Belman. “When we signed on to that program we had a lot of ties to different businesses in Stafford County. With the schools, you get the people into the schools to see what they need and create opportunities for expansion in the future.”

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/14/belman-wants-make-stafford-business-friendly-improve-transportation-infrastructure/#sthash.ADGU2zWc.dpuf

Improve Public Transportation, Strenghten Anti-Discrimination Policies, Key to Foltz CampaignImage

Jerry Foltz, Democratic candidate and church minister, is challenging Republican Delegate Tim Hugo this fall for the 40th seat of the Virginia House of Delegates. The district, which includes Prince William County and Fairfax County, has been occupied by Hugo since 2003.

Foltz is very active within his community as a protestant minister at the United Church of Christ.

“I’ve dealt with building communities; I’ve dealt with decision making among people in our churches that don’t always see eye to eye with their points of view,” says Foltz. “I try to build consensus with decision making and not divide churches – they don’t last long if you start dividing every time you make a decision and that division (also) hurts our state.”

Foltz has also served as chaplain for the Centreville Station #17 Volunteer Fire Department for over 16 years, providing support to fire personnel and aid for victims of tragedy. He says in the end, his motivation all comes back to the families.

“I would like to deal with issues that are really important to our families,” he says. “There are a lot of things that relate back to the families; our schools, transportation, our healthcare, and I’d like to overall build a sense of community.”

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/foltz-wants-improve-public-transportation-better-enforce-anti-discrimination-policies/#sthash.pXksbXYo.dpuf

ImageCandidate for VA House, Heddleston Seeks to Diversify industries, Improve Transportation 

Reed Heddleston is the democratic candidate for the 51st VirgiiaHouse District, which includes Prince William County.

“This elction is going to be about choices,” said  Heddleston.

He’s up against incumbent Richard Anderson, who has held the seat since 2010. Heddleston says there is a stark difference between his and his opponent’s overall approach in the upcoming General Election.

Although Heddleston says he respects Anderson’s military service, as both candidates have served for the U.S. Air Force, Heddleston says his experience within his industry will make him a better candidate. Anderson retired from the Air Force a Colonel in 2009.

“I’ve hired people into jobs and I know what it takes to win contracts and to build business,” says Heddleston. “It’s not something I’ve read about in a book or that someone gave me in a ‘talk and pat’. My opponent can talk about things but I have done them.”

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/candidate-va-house-heddleston-seeks-diversify-industries-improve-transportation/#sthash.ytwSMd25.dpuf

Hazard: Investment in Public Education Good for Business Development Image

Holly Hazard, current incumbent of the Hartwood seat on the Stafford County School Board says her interest in the county and ensuring that students receive a good education is what motivates her to run for reelection in November. Hazard has two daughters who attend Stafford County Public Schools and is very involved in the schools in her community.

She says that being able to work locally and be visible and active in the schools is something that is valuable to the community and her role as a school board member.

“I believe part of a school member’s job is to be in the schools, active and visible and to promote the schools themselves, be a little bit of a cheerleader for the school system and for the students,” she says. “It gives you an insight of some of the challenges that are faced on a daily basis and how (the school board) can be helpful.”

Hazard is centering her campaign on areas such as prepping students for the future, retaining quality teachers, and school safety.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/15/hazard-investment-public-education-good-business-development/#sthash.D7xhSNq9.dpuf

Yeung Says She Will Bring the Stafford County School Board Diversity, Opportunity and Transparency Image

Pamuela Yeung, candidate for the Garrisonville seat on the Stafford County School Board, has been living in Virginia for over 30 years and in Stafford since 1983.  She is originally from the Netherlands and speaks Dutch, Spanish, English and Portuguese.  She says she was originally inspired to move to the county to raise her children in an area known to have an excelling academic environment.  She says her background and experience will be a valuable attribute to the school board.

“I can bring the board diversity, a business and technology background, an opportunity for critical thinking and decision making and I could bring transparency and trust working with the board of supervisors,” she says. “I’m focused on continued growth and achievement and ensuring that the mission is to build students as leaders of tomorrow and provide resources for acceleration for improvement in needed areas.”

Yeung says she choose to run for the school board because she is looking for changes in the current school system.

“I believe there needs to be an adequate balance of individuals that are on the school board members to help improve the educational experience of children, parents and teachers,” she says.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/16/school-board-candidate-yeung-says-will-bring-board-diversity-opportunity-transparency/#sthash.r36RK5S0.xodxjPLd.dpuf

Marymount Graduate, Mara Sealock Hopes to Put Political Education Into Play as Aquia Supervisor 

ImageMara Sealock, (D-Aquia) running for the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, is not the average candidate As a 21-year-old graduate of Marymount University, Sealock represents a stark contrast from her opponent, current incumbent since 2010, Republican Paul Milde III.

Sealock says that she found out about the open seat from Alane Callander, chairwoman on the Stafford Democratic Committee. She says she had worked with the committee before, volunteering at primaries and attending board of supervisor meetings.

“I started talking to people about the things I’ve learned while getting my degree in political science and a lot of the issues that came out within the county (were the same),” she said. “I spoke to Alane Callander and she told me the Democratic seat was open so I decided to go for it to reach out to the other voters in the community.”

Sealock works over 65 hours a week between two part-time jobs. At the age of 16, she graduated from Hayfield High School in Alexandria and immediately enrolled in classes at Marymount University. Her experience leads her to focus for her campaign on areas of education, government transparency and employment development.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/24/marymount-graduate-mara-sealock-hopes-put-political-education-play-aquia-supervisor/#sthash.T5z8TIf3.dpuf

Unopposed O’Neal Wants to Improve State-Funded Staffing in Office as Treasurer for Manassas Park

ImageWinifred “Winnie” O’Neal is the current treasurer of Manassas Park City. She first worked as a banker in Tidewater, Va. for over 12 years and after relocating to Manassas Park City she worked for the parks and recreation department as an aide. In 2008, she was appointed by City Council to serve as treasurer and then elected to serve her first official term in 2009. Her experience as the City’s Treasurer motivates her to want to continue serving Manassas Park.

“Now that I have some experience under my belt and I’ve taken some classes, I’ve gotten the office to a good position with our collection rates and customer service and I want to keep that going,” she says. In short, the City Treasurer works with the commissioner of revenue and is responsible for handling the tax collections and funds coming into the area.

“The commissioner of revenue basically assesses the taxes, hands the book over to us and we bill and collect the taxes,” says O’Neal. She says that many people don’t realize that a large part of the responsibilities of the treasurer’s office is tax collections.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/24/manassas-park-city-treasurer/#sthash.Nns57FbU.dpuf

Del. Jackson Miller: Create More Opportunity for Business in Virginia, Focus on Security in Schools 

ImageDelegate Jackson Miller, Republican representing the 50th district (Manassas and Prince William County) has served the Virginia House of Delegates since 2006. This year he is running for reelection against Democrat Richard Cabellos. He will continue to center his campaign on public safety, criminal justice and business.

As a former police officer for 17 years, he is experienced with issues of criminal justice and public safety. He is responsible for sponsoring legislation that would protect victim and witnesses of crimes by requiring that the defense attorney not be able to publically disclose the personal information of the victim and witnesses. He said this exemption is only currently intact for gang crimes. His bill would include victims and witnesses of drug crimes and violent felonies.

“A lot of people assume that a violent felon who has been charged that they would not have access to the victim or witness’s information, but in fact they do,” he says. “Right now we only allow it for serious gang crimes. We should allow it for all crimes.”

Although these three areas are aligned with his professional level of expertise, Miller says he strives to represent all the issues important to his constituents. Having served as majority whip in the Virginia House of Delegates, he had the opportunity to influence legislation that he may not be a part of otherwise.

– See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/24/del-jackson-miller-wants-create-opportunity-business-virginia-focus-security-schools/#sthash.YdeuLTT4.dpuf

Need something AWESOME and Family-friendly to do for the Holidays?

Now a ‘Giant iPad,’ Hylton Planetarium Offers New Shows, Attracting New Audiences –

ImageWOODBRIDGE, Va. – This month, the planetarium at C.D. Hylton high school in Woodbridge will host exclusive presentations as a part of the facility’s annual Halloween and Christmas events. The planetarium is the only educational facility of its kind in Prince William County. It is operated by a projection system capable of producing high-quality laser light shows, equipped with special effects and audio stimulation.

But what many people don’t know is the guy behind the program, Anthony Kilgore. With less than 500 active planetariums in the United States, Kilgore’s role as director is one-of-a-kind

See more at: http://potomaclocal.com/2013/10/09/now-giant-ipad-hylton-planetarium-offers-new-shows-attracting-new-audiences/#sthash.oFgHgySd.dpuf