We Accepted the Challenge - Now We Are Relying on Your Support to Help Us Help Our Neighbors

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You may not be going home for the holidays, but you can help ACTS give a home for the holidays to one of our neighbors! The county's most vulnerable homeless individuals are on the verge of losing their temporary shelter on December 31st.  ACTS is stepping in to find permanent housing for these individuals.  We have funds to help them move in and cover their rent for an extended period of time (six months to a year - because these individuals are more likely to be on disability than to find employment), but we have no funds to furnish their new homes.  How You Can Help   Due to COVID, homeless individuals throughout the county who are elderly, have underlying health conditions, or have been exposed to COVID-19 have been placed in a hotel rather than emergency shelters, such as ours.  Even though they are not residing in our shelters we...
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Children are constantly exposed to domestic violence

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Hardly a day goes by that we do not read or hear about an act of domestic violence or tragedy involving children in our community or across the country. Children are constantly exposed to domestic violence and the aftermath can be devastating to the child’s emotional growth and future behaviors. For example, children and domestic violence studies show the following: 3 to 4 million children between the ages of 3 to 17 are at risk of exposure to domestic violence each year.Childhood abuse and trauma has a high correlation to emotional and physical problems in adulthood.Childhood domestic violence experiences can negatively affect a developing brain, creating a series of negative beliefs lasting into adulthood.Childhood exposure to domestic violence is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.Up to 90% of children living in homes with domestic violence, know what is happening. Don’t ever think “they...
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ACTS partnership with PWCPD is an effective collaboration for identifying high-risk victims of domestic violence.

Ofc-Guindon-memorial- Memorial for Officer Ashley Guindon, killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic violence call
Domestic violence is an insidious problem that negatively impacts everyone, even if you are not directly involved in a domestic violence situation. The CDC has classified domestic violence as a public health crisis and it’s easy to see why. Victims often have lifelong emotional and physical scars; children who grow up in violent homes can suffer developmental, cognitive, and emotional deficits; communities are impacted by violence through increased healthcare costs, and increases in female head of household homes are common. What’s more is that domestic violence is incredibly dangerous not just for victims and their children but for the helping professionals who intervene. It is extremely important to address this public health crisis on a community level in order to be effective.  In 2018, ACTS Domestic Violence Services partnered with Prince William County Police Department (PWCPD) to implement LAP- the Lethality Assessment Program. LAP is a multipronged approach to assess danger for domestic violence victims, safety-plan, reduce...
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I don’t understand why they just don’t leave.

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Leaving an abusive relationship is never easy. Even when survivors of domestic violence get to a point of feeling like they are ready to walk away countless barriers stand in their way. Things like finances, children, and housing are all practical concerns for the abused partner but there are deeper, unseen barriers too. Love and bonds don’t turn off like a light switch. It’s not as simple as just walking away and you may find yourself wondering why. Trauma bonding is a phenomenon where an abuser and victim become bonded through traumatic experiences. It goes without saying that being abused by the person you love is traumatic. Abusers manipulate their victims to rely solely on them for love, intimacy and connection. Abusers keep their abused partner isolated and reliant on them for any small act of affection, no matter how rare it may be. They often use a technique called “dosing”...
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Operation Give Thanks

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The Hunger Prevention Center is accepting food donations for Operation Give Thanks now through November 20th. Donations may be dropped off Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm at the Hunger Prevention Center, 17958 Dr. David Cline Lane, Dumfries, VA.  The Hunger Prevention Center provides gift cards to clients, to purchase their own turkeys, but we rely upon donations to provide for all the fixin’s.  Pie crust Corn bread or biscuit mix Green beans / canned vegetables Instant mashed potatoes Can or jar of gravy, or gravy mix packet Stuffing Cranberry sauce Yams or sweet potatoes Pumpkin or fruit pie filling Evaporated milk  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Phil Edney at 703-441-8606 Ext. 288 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  
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10th Annual Virtual I-Walk

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Let's face it. 2020 has been a challenge.Nothing's the same and we're all going a little stir crazy. It's time to get outside. Time to move with a purpose.Time to make a difference at this year's IWALK for ACTS.Click here to learn more!https://www.iwalkforacts2020.com/To keep everyone safe during the pandemic, we're going virtual.Instead of gathering at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center, this year you can walk, run, or roll anytime between Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 11.Pick the place that works best for you — your neighborhood sidewalk, a trail through the woods, a path along a stream, or even a treadmill at your gym or in your own home.And you’re not limited to running or walking. You can bike, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, rock climb, chase the kids around the house — whatever gets your blood pumping for 5K.Better yet, sign up with a group of friends and make it a socially-distanced...
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‘Just because COVID hit, we didn’t quit’

Phil Edney, HPC Manager
Work has ramped up at the Hunger Prevention Center in Dumfries since the Coronavirus outbreak began.  Watch this video produced by What's Up Prince William to learn more.El trabajo se ha intensificado en el Centro de Prevención del Hambre en Dumfries desde que comenzó el brote de Coronavirus. 
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Gaslighting

Gaslighting
You’re crazy – that never happened.” “Are you sure? You tend to have a bad memory.” “It’s all in your head.” The term “gaslighting” has gotten thrown around a lot recently, mostly in reference to people in power claiming something had (or hadn’t) happened, and refused, when confronted with contradictory evidence, to acknowledge otherwise. It is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders to make a victim question their reality. The term Gaslighting comes from the 1938 stage play Gas Light, in which a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights (which were powered by gas) in their home, and then he denies that the light changed when his wife points it out. In 1944, the play was made into a movie of the same name. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay; winning two for...
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We Will Not Be Silent

We Will Not Be Silent
No matter who you are, you are welcome at ACTS.  We serve our neighbors - all of our neighbors, and you are our neighbor.  If you come to us, you will be welcomed without prejudice. PERIOD. Many of those who come to us are victims of violence, and one form of violence is SILENCE in the face of another's suffering.  At this time, ACTS is not standing by silently.  While we do not deal directly with issues of race, it is certainly a factor in why many need our services.  We stand with all of those who have suffered at the hands of injustice and those who are suffering still, including many of our own Team.  Our neighbors are grieving, and we grieve with you. Steve LigaACTS CEO 
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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Attention generated during this time helps energize and expand ACTS Sexual Assault Services efforts throughout the year. The video posted here is part of ACT’s efforts to enhance awareness during SAAM. It features Sarah Fenno (a volunteer with ACTS) who, in her words, will describe the highly important role she and other volunteers like her provide. Sarah also offers some insightful information and encouragement to the victims who feel horribly alone during the Covid-19 crisis.
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ACTS Commitment To Our Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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While some of ACTS services will be reduced, the demand for others will likely increase - in particular, our Senior Link and Hunger Prevention Programs (especially home delivery to shut in seniors). This will be occurring at the very same time many of our most consistent older volunteers will choose to stay home.  Thus, we are asking staff to consider redeploying to one of these areas: Senior Link: These are simple five to ten minute calls to home-bound seniors to check in to see how they are doing, offer services, or simply to provide personal contact. The demand for these is likely to increase (as we will be advertising the service), and we do not expect to be able to meet the demand with current staff and volunteer levels.It requires very little training to make these types of calls - the are NOT crisis calls.These calls can be made from either...
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Human Trafficking Symposium

Human Trafficking Symposium
In a standing room only meeting at the McCourt building, volunteers, educators and elected officials attended a human trafficking symposium to learn about what is happening in Prince William County to help prevent and address Human Trafficking. Mary Ellen Smith is the Human Trafficking Prevention Specialist for PWCS. Previously a social worker, Smith coordinates the Human Trafficking Program for the schools. This program is in the middle and high schools, case management for identified victims and public awareness and education for students and community agencies. Click HERE to read the rest of the article. By Rebecca Barnes Wednesday 1/29/2020
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TIPS FOR FAMILY GIVING

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By Anna Hargrave, Executive Director for Montgomery County “How can we get our children involved in giving?” This is one of the questions we hear frequently from our donors, especially around this time of year. We hear it about children of all ages—because parents never stop thinking about how to pass on their values. And we have plenty of ideas to offer from our many years of working with individuals and families to maximize the benefits and impact of their giving. Here’s a taste: TAKE YOUR CHILDREN WITH YOU when you volunteer or attend an event sponsored by an organization you care about, such as a site visit, presentation, or fundraiser. The rides to and from the event provide the perfect opportunity to prepare them for the experience and then to debrief. Be sure to tell them why you care, and ask about their reactions. HOLIDAY GATHERINGS are the ideal setting...
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HPC Holiday Hours

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ACTS Hunger Prevention Center will be CLOSED from December 24, 2019 through January 1, 2020.  It will reopen on January 2nd from 1:00pm - 3:00pm and resume regular operating hours beginning January 3rd.  Thank you to all who donated food items over the past two months giving us the ability to distribute 2,300 pounds food to 1,832 individuals during Operation Give Thanks! Of those we helped, 579 were children and 189 were single adults. We are ready for another year of helping the food insecure in our community. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year from the entire HPC Team!
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Today is #GivingTuesday

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We are able to provide FREE services to over 80,000 individuals every year through the generosity of our Donors!   Today is a special day for giving.  Would you be willing to consider making one more donation as the year comes to an end?  Every dollar makes a difference. 85% of our Revenue --> Programs and Services15% of our Revenue --> Operational Expenses Your donation provides:  food, housing, emergency assistance, domestic violence and sexual assault services, 24/7 crisis helpline support, court advocacy, suicide support, and emergency shelter for our neighbors in crises.   We hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!   ------->  Donate Now <-------                                           
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Milestone: 100,000 Pounds of Food Rescued!

Milestone: 100,000 Pounds of Food Rescued!
For Immediate Release: 100,000 Pounds of Food Rescued by Prince William Nonprofit Prince William Food Rescue announces the milestone of 50 tons of food diverted from landfills and into food pantries. Dumfries, Virginia – 12/2/2019 – Prince William Food Rescue, a local initiative to mobilize volunteers to reduce food waste, is excited to announce the delivery of its 100,000th pound of food rescued. This benchmark comes less than four months from its inception in August 2019. A program of Action in Community Through Service (ACTS), the Prince William Food Rescue organizes small deliveries - or “rescues” - from grocery stores and restaurants to distribution locations that include churches and schools. Volunteers are notified of rescues through a mobile app, where they can claim and track their rescue. “We’re amazed by the support that our community has given to the Food Rescue program”, says Aaron Tolson, Director of Development for ACTS.  “The...
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Operation Give Thanks 2019

Operation Give Thanks 2019
ACTS Hunger Prevention Center seeks to help food insecure families enjoy the upcoming holiday season.  November 1st - 20th is our annual Operation Give Thanks initiative where we provide Thanksgiving bags to families we serve, in addition to the regular bags of food they would normally receive.   Last year we provided Thanksgiving meals for 1,000 families in our community and we anticipate reaching that number again this year.  Our goal is to ensure every family we serve has a meal to share on this special holiday.  Every year we rely on donations from our community in order to share the joy of the season with our neighbors who may be struggling, and we are looking to you again this year!  Individuals, families, faith-based communities, schools, civic groups, businesses and other organizations are welcomed to donate items from the list below and can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 9:00 am...
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IWALK for ACTS 2019

IWALK for ACTS 2019
The 9th Annual IWALK for ACTS is taking place this coming Saturday, October 5th at Stonebridge at Potomac Center!  The day begins with a 5K Run/Walk starting at 8:00am followed by a free Family Festival from 9:00am to 1:00pm down the main street at Stonebridge.  There will be vendors, activities for kids, police and fire vehicles, face painting, live music, food and more!  Additionally, all 5K participants will receive a $5 Off Coupon to attend Youth For Tomorrow's Country Fair that same afternoon in Bristow!  So, grab the family and have fun this Saturday supporting two amazing organizations serving our community. Registration is still open online and you can even register Saturday morning before the race.  Visit www.iwalkforacts.com/register and signup today! Image Church founded the event eight years ago with the idea to raise funds for the many programs of ACTS directly helping thousands of individuals and families hurting in our community.  Last...
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ACTS Helpline: Ready to Listen Every Hour of Every Day

ACTS Helpline: Ready to Listen Every Hour of Every Day
According to the Center for Disease Control, 44,965 people died by suicide in the USA in 2015; that is approximately one suicide every 12 minutes. One of the top 10 causes of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years, suicide is a disease that is preventable with some help and assistance. ACTS Helpline is one of the tools available to the Prince William community and is a tool for all to use. As September is Suicide Awareness Month, knowing more information about our services can be beneficial. What ACTS Helpline Offers   A free, confidential, 24-hour help line for people to call when they need someone to talk toTrained, compassionate staff and volunteers who are ready to listen any time of the day or nightNon-judgmental, non-advice-giving staff who listen and offer information about resources availableCrisis intervention for trauma, suicide,...
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How to Make the Most of Assisted Living

How to Make the Most of Assisted Living Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Guest Blog by Sharon Wagner Moving to an assisted living facility is a wonderful way to find an instant community of people who are in your age range and share your interests. Such a built-in social network becomes especially valuable in your golden years. According to this National Poll on Healthy Aging, one in three adults aged 50 to 80 feels lonely. It’s further been shown that older adults who are isolated from the world are more likely to experience depression. Get inspired by the tips below and make the most out of the wonderful opportunities offered by assisted living. Take Advantage of a Chance for Exercise Most assisted living centers offer some sort of physical activity program. This could include anything from nature walks to senior yoga or even swimming excursions. If you’re able, take part in these course offerings on a regular basis. According to the Centers for Disease...
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ACTS: On a Mission to End Homelessness in Prince William

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Here are some frightening stats about homelessness in Prince William County and beyond: On any given night in the state of Virginia there are 6,067 people suffering from homelessness.In the general population, 7.2 out of every 10,000 people are homeless.Prince William County’s homeless numbers represent 7.8 out of 10,000 people alone, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness organization, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. Homelessness is a national problem. However, here in Prince William, ACTS is helping change our neighbors’ lives through the shelters and services offered one person at a time. ACTS Works to End Homelessness From emergency shelter to transitional housing to permanent housing, ACTS is providing services throughout Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. Whether it’s a safe place for just the night, or a few weeks, ACTS provides not only the shelter necessary during a difficult...
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Anxious. Heartbroken. Unbearable. Angry. Painful

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That’s how women described listening to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified that Supreme Court nominee (now Justice) Brett M. Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. Dr. Blasey’s story triggered strong emotional reactions of fear, shame, shock, anger and worry – common feelings when survivors are made to remember something bad that happened to them in the past. Triggers can be physical too; chemicals and hormones released in the body during a traumatic experience can also be released when the experience is remembered. It should come as no surprise that The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reported a 201 percent spike in calls the day Dr. Blasey testified as well as “unprecedented wait times” for its online chat. Their Crisis Text Line, which provides crisis intervention, saw the numbers of people reaching out with stories of sexual abuse...
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ACTS Celebrates 50 Years Serving Prince William

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by Olivia Overman Action in Community Through Service (ACTS), a Dumfries-based non-profit, celebrated 50 years of service in Prince William with a 50th Anniversary Gala event held on Feb. 28 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Local officials, partners, donors, volunteers, and staff celebrated the past, present and future of an organization that contributes in so many ways to the community.    Created in 1969 after 13 churches came together to help a family whose house had burned down, today ACTS provides assistance to thousands of families in crisis in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park. In 2018 alone, ACTS assisted nearly 80,000 individuals in crises, providing food to over 700 families a month, nearly $300,000 in utility assistance and taking 40,000 calls through their Helpline. ACTS also helps people with housing assistance, those dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as offering items through their thrift store. “It was exciting...
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ACTS 50th Anniversary Gala

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Tickets Available! We are just a few weeks away from a once-in-a-lifetime event to celebrate ACTS 50th Anniversary!  Plans and preparations have been underway for months to create a moment where the past, present, and future are recognized and celebrated simultaneously.   What a wonderful evening this is going to be at the Hylton Performing Arts Center! The Gala will begin with a cocktail hour accompanied by live music provided by the Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra’s string quartet.  While guests mingle in the grand foyer, they can enjoy delicious hors d'oeuvres and an open bar, place bids on the silent auction gift baskets, browse the history of ACTS through photographs, or explore the tables of information about all the programs and services offered to our community.  A photographer will be making the rounds to capture the tuxes and evening gowns that are sure to make the evening sparkle. Soon the doors to Gregory...
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Food Waste: How Finding A Solution Could Improve Lives in Prince William

food-waste-landfill Fresh food dumped at a landfill
Shocking Statistic Alert! One-third of all food produced in the world goes to waste! That is enough food to feed three billion people in a world where 805 million people go hungry every year. Statistics reveal that 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted on an annual basis. That leaves one in seven people hungry. According to the United Nations, if we recover all the food that is lost or wasted, we will have enough to feed all those who are hungry, four times over.  Read More
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What A Whir

Sound-Machine Sound machines provide privacy for our Crisis Listeners
I impatiently wait as my computer logs onto our server, mentally preparing for the emails that need a response.  I already know what they are – my cell phone was kind enough to deliver them to me earlier.  I sip on coffee and enjoy the temporary calm and quiet of the office.  The only sound I hear is the muffled whir of several small sound machines located outside of our Helpline rooms just down the hallway – evidence that some staff have been here all night long, behind closed doors, answering crisis phone calls. Prior to working at ACTS I had no idea there even was a crisis helpline in the county.  I didn’t know that, for over thirty-five years, there have been staff and volunteers on a constant rotation talking to people in our community dealing with all sorts of crisis – many contemplating (or about to go through with)...
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Answering Crisis Calls This Holiday Season

2018-EndYear-Helpline-DonateNow-4 ACTS HELPLINE Donate Now
The holidays can be extremely tough for those who have lost loved ones, are struggling to pay bills, or dealing with other stressors in their lives.  Our Helpline Program allows us to come alongside our neighbors as they work through deep mental and emotional pain.  It is run by a dedicated staff of seven and volunteer team of fourteen.  Our trained Crisis Listeners are available 24/7 and receive nearly 2,000 calls per month - 39% of which are suicide related.   Encompassing four different resources, the Helpline program, with the help of donations received, provides: Crisis Listeners: Thirty-nine percent of calls received per month by the Helpline are suicide related. All ACTS crisis listeners are trained to help people deal with their feelings and to talk through their issues.Resources Listeners: Providing a wealth of information on the availability of resources available to people who are in crisis, such as hospital locations etc.Senior Link: A completely...
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DAWSON Helps Organize ACTS’ New Hunger Prevention Center

October 16, 2018 A group of about 30 employees from the DAWSON company came down from Alexandria, VA on September 20th and spent the entire day at our Hunger Prevention Center (HPC).  They helped move food from other storage locations into the HPC, then sorted, organized, and shelved pallets and pallets of food.  Once they had gone through all of the pallets and boxes of donated foods, they noticed several shelves were still empty.  Going above and beyond, the team of volunteers chose to go shopping and then returned to stock those shelves with the needed items!  This group of employees rocked it at our warehouse and we are so thankful for their support in such a tangible way! In addition to having a group volunteer at the HPC for a day, DAWSON has also begun helping ACTS through sponsoring training, supporting our Sexual Assault program, and sponsored the IWALK just...
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Working to End Domestic Violence in Prince William County

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Step out with ACTS Domestic Violence Services (Turning Points) by joining our 2018 Purple Purse Challenge! Together we can help put an end to domestic violence in Prince William County! 2018 was a big year as we launched a new and vital partnership with the Prince William County Police. The LAP program, or Lethality Assessment Protocol, allows us to reach high danger victims with safety planning and advocacy as never before. But the need is greater now. Many have no where to go in order to stay safe. Your support will provide needed resources to help high danger victims who need safe shelter and transportation, sometimes in the middle of the night. Your gift will help people like Laura, a survivor of domestic violence:  “My bruises were in my head.” Laura told us. “It felt like love at first, but then he became jealous and suspicious of me,” she said. “He kept...
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Operation Turkey 2018

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Now that ACTS' Hunger Prevention Center is officially open, Thanksgiving will soon be around the corner, and we'll need your help to ensure that every family receives a Thanksgiving meal this year! Last year, 783 Total Families were assisted, which included 1,379 adults and 1,123 children. This year, our goal is to provide meals for 1,000 local families, and we hope that, with your help, we can achieve this! Thank you for helping us alleviate hunger this upcoming (though it doesn't feel like it!) holiday season!
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Operation Turkey '18 Underway!

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Now that ACTS' Hunger Prevention Center is officially open, Thanksgiving will soon be around the corner, and we'll need your help to ensure that every family receives a Thanksgiving meal this year! Last year, 783 Total Families were assisted, which included 1,379 adults and 1,123 children. This year, our goal is to provide meals for 1,000 local families, and we hope that, with your help, we can achieve this!  The following items are what we need most:Canned Sweet Potatoes (15oz)Boxed Corn Muffin Mix (8.5oz)Boxed Stuffing Mix (6oz)Boxed Pie Crust Mix (9oz)Canned Pumpkin Pie Mix (15oz)Gravy Mix PacketsCranberry Sauce (14 oz)Instant Mashed Potatoes (13.75oz)Pie FillingEvaporated Milk (12 oz) Please bring all donated food to ACTS Hunger Prevention Center location at 17958 Dr. David Cline Lane in Dumfries by October 12th during the facility's hours of operation. These times include: Drop Off Hours:Monday: 9-11:30am / 1-3pmTuesday: 1-3:30pm / 5-6:30pmThursday: 9-11:30am / 1-3pmFridays: 9-11:30am...
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ACTS To Hold Grand Opening of Hunger Prevention Center

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We did it! After two years of planning, purchasing, constructing, and more planning, I’m very happy to tell you that our Hunger Prevention Center (an expansion of our food pantry program) has now been operational for a month. It makes me even happier to say that we will be holding our official grand opening of this massive undertaking this week on August 15th from 11am-1pm, and you’re invited. Two years is a long time to be committed to a project. Thanks to your donations, the Hylton Foundation, and the unwavering support of ACTS’ volunteers, we were able to achieve something spectacular. I think the first lingering question in the community is, “Why did we do it?” On the outside, our food pantry was running pretty well. There was a location for clients to pick up food, as well as one for donors to drop off food. Local grocery stores and individuals...
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Suicide and Self-harm in the Media Today

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If you’ve been struggling with thoughts of suicide, feeling hopeless, feeling lonely and isolated, worried about someone you care about, you have help available through ACTS Helpline. Your call will be greeted by a compassionate trained listener. This person is there to help clarify your problems, offer suggestions, and most of all, listen. Call our helpline, day or night, at (703) 368-4141. Anthony Bordain, Kate Spade and 13 Reasons Why have all brought attention to something we should all have awareness of by now; suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 45,000 Americans die by suicide yearly. Numbers are expected to be higher since under reporting is known to occur. Impacts of these tragedies shock people in different ways. Kate Spade and Anthony Bordain were both lost within one week of each other. There has also been discussion in...
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Raising Awareness in Prince William County with International Belly Dancing

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In May, ACTS Domestic Violence Services took part in the world’s largest international belly dance event – the Shimmy Mob! Created to raise awareness about domestic violence, the Shimmy Mob celebrates world Belly Dance day by joining groups across the globe in dance performances designed to raise funds for shelters and victims of abuse. On May 12, patrons of the Manassas Mall were treated to a performance by the Prince William Troupe that included all styles of Belly Dance, and a short show full of fun and variety. Tina Bauch, Team Leader for Shimmy Mob Prince William 2018, said that each year her dance troupe participates in the Shimmy Mob, along with groups across the country. One of their goals is to break the record for flash mob Belly Dancing, which they do each year. On the same day, having the same goals, troupes unite by dancing the same song, using...
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Life After Losing Your Spouse

Life After Losing Your Spouse
Read the whole article at: ACTS Helpline provides numerous support lines to ensure that no one is ever alone.Your call will always be greeted by a compassionate, trained listener. This person is there to help clarify your problems, offer suggestions, and most of all, listen. All calls made are confidential and anonymous, allowing you to be completely open about what you’ve been going through. If you would like to sign up for ACTS Senior Link service, call 703-441-8606 ext 210 and ask for Senior Link. Introduction The death of a spouse is one of the most difficult challenges many of us will have to face. Your world is turned upside down, and it’s not easy to come to grips with the many emotions that you will inevitably feel. This is especially true if you had been married to your spouse for a significant amount of time. Nobody likes to think about...
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Updates & News about the Volunteer Program

Volunteer with ACTS!
As ACTS fiscal year comes to a close, we're excited to share that our volunteer program is being revamped! Currently:  We are working on ways to expand our Senior Link program by means of senior visits. Our intention is to have friendly visits of fellowship or an activity, like BINGO where we give out gifts or treats and information about Senior Link. This event is open to all including youth and families. Registration will be offered via sign-up sheet and dates will be announced on Facebook. July is the launch of volunteer orientations. This is a one-time hour session offered on Monday Mornings or Thursday Evenings to give an overview of ACTS, our services and information about the various ways to volunteer and give back within the organization. Sign up We continually look for ways to improve our volunteer programs and recently emailed a survey to active volunteers that can be...
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Volunteer Spotlight: June

Anita-Cooper
This month’s Volunteer Spotlight is on the Volunteer Program. I have been a part of the ACTS team since September 2017; in my short time, I have had a lot of assistance making sure that our vast number of volunteers have undergone intake, feel appreciated and have information about our growing number of events and programs. I want to especially thank, Ethan Vick, who is a staff member and has been incredibly patient and helpful as I learned and developed within the Volunteer Program. The volunteers I want to spotlight are new to my program as Group Leaders but not new to ACTS, as they worked previously under the manager of the Thrift Store for the last few years. The Group Leaders are Natita Knight and Anita Cooper. The purpose of a Group Leader within this program is to assist groups during their day of service. Leaders also give instructions on...
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My Partner Is Trying to Make Me Seem Crazy. Am I Crazy?

Am I crazy?
As seen in: ACTS Domestic Violence Services' Adult Advocacy Program focuses on your safety, helping you set boundaries, and empowering you to lead an abuse-free life using resources we can help you attain. Individual and group support are both available. Call anytime: 703-221-4460 Sarah’s* abuser made her sleep facing him in bed. It started innocently enough. He said he liked it when she slept facing him so he could watch her fall asleep. It was romantic. But what started out as a request quickly turned into a demand. He convinced her that rolling over meant “turning her back on him,” and he’d become furious, even if she did it unthinkingly in that period between wakefulness and slumber. Sarah used to lie awake until she was certain he was asleep and then quietly roll over onto her right side, which is how she preferred to sleep. Sarah had to take two Tylenol PMs...
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Make IMPACT

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ACTS makes the impact it does in our community because our staff, volunteers, supporters, faith communities, businesses, and other partners have joined together.  We could not do what we do alone, but together we each do our part, and it adds up to something spectacular. A year ago, I joined a brand-new organization that has taken this concept to a whole new level.  It is called IMPACT Club.  Founded right here in Woodbridge, it has already spread around the world, with local chapters as far away as New Zealand!  The concept is simple: four times a year, individuals commit to donating $100 to a local nonprofit.  Three nonprofits are then chosen at random from a pool of nominees and invited to give a five-minute presentation to the group.  The club votes, and the winner takes home the entire collection. It’s simple.  $100 is a nice donation to a nonprofit.  One hundred...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Joline Doedens-Combs

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Co-written by (listed alphabetically): Tamika Martin, Linda Neice and Gine Ryan. This month’s volunteer spotlight is: Joline Doedens-Combs. Because of her incredible services, she is also the Volunteer of the Year for Domestic Violence Services (DVS). We cannot begin to describe how Joline’s selfless work assists both ACTS and our clients; so I want to describe a day at our offices: Nearly every day at the ACTS Court Office, there is a flurry of activity in brief crisis counseling for walk-in clients who are seeking protection from their abusive family members. Because of the nature of the cases, often it is necessary that we operate within a very short window.  It is a race against time for: preliminary protective order hearings, faxing the client’s paperwork to qualify for pro bono legal aid, finding an attorney who will represent a client for their permanent protective order hearing. Often, we receive pro bono...
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ACTS Partners with Birdies for Charity for Dominion Energy Charity Classic

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From now until October, ACTS will be participating in a charitable fundraising program offered by the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. The program, called Birdies for Charity Presented by TowneBank, will pay us a 10% bonus on the funds that we generate! When you donate through Birdies for Charity, we receive your donation plus the 10% bonus. Birdies for Charity offers the option to gift a flat amount or an amount based on the number of birdies made by PGA TOUR Champions players at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in October (a birdie is one stroke under par). PGA TOUR Champions players made 789 birdies at the last year’s tournament. So as an example, if you donated $0.10 per birdie in 2017 your total donation would have equaled $78.90, to which the PGA TOUR adds the additional 10% bonus. If you would like to make your donation online, please click here for...
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SAAM VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Edward McGovern

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), ACTS Sexual Assault Services will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  This week’s Volunteer Spotlight features Edward McGovern, ACTS Sexual Assault Services Volunteer of the Year. Ed not only volunteers his time on our hotline, he is also a powerful speaker, which has enabled ACTS to connect with an audience that is typically hard to reach. In addition, Ed serves on the Sexual Assault Awareness Month committee and represents ACTS at community outreach events. According to Terry Swirchak, Community Educator for ACTS Sexual Assault Services; “Ed is kind, humble, gracious, empathetic and willing to put himself out there in an effort to help others. Those who have worked with Ed know him to be a great teammate and someone who can always be...
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SAAM Volunteer Spotlight of the Week: Iris Coleman

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), ACTS Sexual Assault Services will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  It is never easy to hear someone’s story of sexual assault. This is what Iris Coleman has been doing over the last 2 ½ years as a Volunteer Crisis Listener for the ACTS Sexual Assault Hotline. Sometimes, Iris is the first person the survivor tells about their assault. Her job is to let the caller know that she is there to listen, believe them, and provide support. Sometimes support means offering resources, such as how to reach ACTS Sexual Assault Services. Other times it involves helping the person to make their own decision as to whether or not to seek medical attention, or involve the police. But often, listening is the best...
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SAAM Volunteer Spotlight of the Week: Paige Meade

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), ACTS Sexual Assault Services will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  This week’s Volunteer Spotlight highlights Paige Meade. Paige first learned of ACTS Sexual Assault Services in 2006, when she joined a survivor’s support group to help her work through the aftermath of a violent sexual assault that happened in Manassas in 1992.  “I was at my lowest, and the group welcomed me and helped me work though long-buried issues,” says Paige.  “I’m not sure what I would have done without that support, so I believe it’s important for me to give back to my community.”  Currently, Paige volunteers 96 hours per month. She is routinely on call for hospital accompaniment visits to provide support during the sometimes-lengthy forensic exam. Paige...
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#MeToo: 25 years ago in Prince William County

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According to Susan Sullivan, Prevention Campaign Specialist for The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), “With the #MeToo movement transforming the way our society is talking about the issue of sexual violence, the theme of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), Embrace Your Voice, feels like a perfect fit.” The voice you will hear below is that of Paige, a former ACTS client and current volunteer.  In 1992 a man followed me home from work and broke into the basement of my dad’s townhouse in Manassas.  I was 19.  It was my dad’s birthday.  These are the facts that are easy to recount.  Harder to tell is what one human being has to do to another to earn two (two!) life sentences in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  But I did tell those things – to the police, and eventually in a courtroom to secure those two life sentences.  Afterward?  I packaged up those awful facts and tried to hide...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Alexis

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Helpline is a free and confidential 24/7 crisis service. Since the Helpline does not close, it is crucial that there are an adequate number of staff and volunteers to cover the Helpline at all times. There are certain times of day that callers tend to call in more frequently and more listeners are needed during those times. The topics of conversation are varied and listeners need to have the ability to discuss different types of crises. Volunteers are always appreciated. Alexis is an intern for the Helpline. She has to complete 120 hours for her internship and is more than halfway done at the time of this writing. Alexis has been willing to do her internship hours based on the needs of the Helpline. Whether that means a shift that begins at 5 AM or at 5 PM. She has a full-time job and she goes above and beyond to make...
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How Police Are Trained to Respond to Domestic Violence

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Last year, ACTS Domestic Violence Services initiated the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) to help train Prince William County officers how to respond to situations involving domestic violence. The LAP is a multi-pronged intervention program that consists of an evidence-based tool called the Lethality Screen that helps law enforcement more clearly assess a victim’s risk of intimate partner homicide, and an accompanying referral process that proactively connects victims to community-based domestic violence services. The Screen is adapted from Dr. Campbell’s Danger Assessment, a screening instrument used by clinicians and counselors to assess a victim’s risk of being killed by an intimate partner (Campbell, 1986). The LAP aims to translate clinical research on lethality predictors into practical tools that will help first responders respond more effectively to dangerous and potentially lethal incidents of domestic violence.  As seen in:  Domestic violence has been found to constitute the single largest category of police calls in some cities. When police officers respond, they know...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Byron Ross

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In this month's Volunteer Spotlight, we are highlighting the selfless work of Byron Ross, who volunteers with the Children's Program for ACTS' Domestic Violence Services Program. The Children's Program provides a support group to youths ages 5-17, and its focus is on building self-esteem, growing problem-solving skills and exploring one's feelings. April Vandover, who is the Children's Program Specialist, describes Byron as a great asset to her program; "He has volunteered for over a year, working well with youth of all ages but he shines with the teen group. Byron has an effortless way with connecting to youth, his guidance helps those around him open up, share, and feel comfortable. Byron's efforts with the teenagers has not gone unnoticed by ACTS or those in the group.  Any time he is away (which is an extremely rare occasion), his presence is truly missed. Part of the success of the teen's group can...
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Change on the Horizon for ACTS' Housing Program

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By: Denarsha Clarke and Laurel Turay; ACTS' Sustainable Housing Case Managers As ACTS prepares for its 50th Anniversary, one of our longest running programs, the Beverly Warren Emergency Family Shelter, will be experiencing some changes this year. Our organization began at the Emergency Shelter, and during ACTS' history, it has been the site of a thrift store, a hub for families to receive emergency financial assistance, but most importantly, it has been a refuge for all who would otherwise be homeless in our area. The change has already begun. Last year, Valria Martin became the supervisor for the Emergency Shelter as well as the Domestic Violence Shelter. Ms. Martin has been with ACTS for 10 years and her dedication to its residents has been unparalleled. The shelter will also be under renovation soon. While the building has been a beacon for those needing a safe place to stay, 50 years of...
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Life Unlocked

Life Unlocked
As seen in: At a recent women’s conference in Phoenix, Ariz., Erin Brockovich was one of the featured speakers—you know, the woman made famous when Julia Roberts portrayed her life story in the 2000 Academy Award-winning film Erin Brockovich. Brockovich was there to talk about how women can overcome even the toughest of situations. “We have to learn to persevere when we want to give up,” she said. During the Q&A that followed, Suzanna Quintana, 49, raised her hand. She had a story to tell about persevering. She had been stalked by her abusive ex-husband, she said, for two years, maybe longer—she couldn’t be exactly certain when it started, or even if it was over. In part, he had used the identity theft protection company, LifeLock to do so. Quintana had explored every avenue to get him to stop—the police, the court system, anyone at LifeLock who would listen. It seemed no...
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