Arlington, VA

December 5, 2019

December can be a difficult time for families spending their first holiday without a loved one. For those who’ve suffered loss–whether recently, or even years prior–the holiday stress can make the season more difficult.

To help those grieving in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia during the holidays, Capital Caring Health, a local non-profit, offers a wide range of free counseling and support services.

“The holidays can be a trigger for grief, depression, and anxiety, especially for families who have recently experienced a death,” said Reverend Carolyn Richar, RN, chief mission officer at Capital Caring Health. “Our grief programs are open to anyone in the community who is struggling with loss, at no charge.”

The following grief support services are available at no cost:

  • One-on-one, family, or peer group counseling sessions
  • Telephone support
  • Spiritual counseling
  • Support groups and workshops for all ages that can include music and art therapy, “sit and stitch” sessions, nature walks, and more

“Kids and teens may have an especially difficult time expressing and processing their grief,” said Richar. “We bring together bereaved kids of the same age group for activities and conversation in school or other settings. These regional community programs are available to any child at no charge.”

Arlington, VA
Coping with Loss During the Holidays
Arlington Public Library, Columbia Pike
Westmont Room, 2nd Floor
816 S. Walter Reed Dr.
Arlington, VA 22204
Monday, Dec. 9; 4-5 pm
RSVP: Jennifer Lanouette, MSW
703-351-2808

By: 32BJ SEIU

December 3, 2019

Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (HD-31) and 16 Delegates have signed a letter urging the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority to ensure contracted workers at Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport reach $15 per hour by 2023. Their $12.15 hourly wages are far lower than D.C.’s $15 minimum wage and many East Coast airports, where workers already earn $15 or more. On December 18, MWAA board members will hold a vote to determine wages for over 6,000 immigrant contracted baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, lobby agents, skycaps and cabin cleaners among others.

The letter reads: “As you deliberate an extension of your wage policy, we strongly urge you to ensure that all airport workers receive an hourly wage of at least $15 by 2023. We believe that this wage level is critical to improving public safety and to maintaining the robust economic benefits that airports provide to our state. MWAA’s current policy has already had a significant impact on decreasing employee turnover. However, turnover levels remain unacceptably high. For example, at the DCA airline-catering kitchen, almost 87 percent of the turnover in 2018 was from employees making below $15 an hour.

As the cost of living in Virginia and the D.C. metro area continues to rise, a wage increase policy that does not recognize the fact that these airport workers are barely surviving at the margins means that they will be left even further behind. The minimum wage in D.C. will move to $15 per hour in 2020, and many airports along the East Coast already have a minimum wage above $15 per hour. We urge you to move in the same direction quickly. ”

“I am alone to pay for bills, clothes, food, medicine and surgeries for my sick mother and my son,” said ramp agent, Joyce Wood, a single mother with epilepsy, caring for a son with special needs and a mother suffering from epilepsy and congestive heart failure. “A wage increase would help us immensely and we deserve it.”

“I work two jobs which is causing me many health problems. We are asking MWAA to understand our problems and help us live as human beings I can’t pay the bills and support my family, said” Tadesse Boru, a ramp ambassador at Dulles who’s the sole provider supporting six kids and his wife who’s too sick to work.

32BJ SEIU led a month-long GOTV effort by team of over a dozen union member volunteers who knocked on doors in key races. A dozen 32BJ SEIU janitors and security officers, spent all-day, nearly every day knocking on hundreds of doors per week leading up to Election Day, engaging approximately 12,000 voters.

“Workers played an important role as our eyes and ears during multiple safety scares at airports,” said 32BJ SEIU Vice President, Jaime Contreras. “A higher minimum wage is key to decreasing turnover and creating a more stable workforce to protect the public.

Contracted workers at DCA and Dulles have received support from numerous high-level leaders. Among the supporters are DNC Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Virginia Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Don Beyer, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Virginia Delegates Alphonso Lopez and Jennifer Boysko as well as Actor and anti-poverty activist, Danny Glover.

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) are ready to celebrate the holiday season with a variety of performances, giveaways and surprises for passengers throughout the month of December.

1.     Attend a musical performance – Local bands and choirs will be performing throughout the month of December at Dulles International and Reagan National. Scheduled performances include Beltway Brass (DCA, IAD), Flint Hill School (IAD), Ft. Hunt Elementary School choir (DCA), the Georgetown University Superfoods a cappella group (IAD), Lunsford Middle School strings (IAD), Sandburg Middle School orchestra (DCA), Stone Bridge High School jazz band and jazz choir (IAD). Performances are held pre-security in the main terminal at both airports.

2.     Grab a (free) cup of hot chocolate – As part of Dulles International’s “Comforts of Home” holiday campaign, cozy up on a sofa in front of a fireplace and sip a cup of complimentary hot chocolate. The hot cocoa pop-up will happen at different times throughout the month in concourse B, near gate B50.

3.     Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus – Before he travels around the world, Santa will be visiting Dulles International Dec. 17, 18 and 19 and Reagan National Dec. 20 and 23. Find Santa as he strolls throughout the airport and pass along your travel wish list.

4.     Sing along to holiday favorites – A strolling group of carol singers will be roaming throughout both airports spreading holiday joy.

5.     Create an ugly “sweater” – Make your very own ugly holiday shirt with a workshop held on Dec. 20 at Dulles International (concourse B near Estee Lauder) and Dec. 23 at Reagan National (near Il Viaggio).

A complete list of dates and times for all activities is available on the airport websites: FlyDulles.com/HolidaysatIAD and FlyReagan.com/HolidaysatDCA

By: Virginia House Democrats

December 2, 2019

Majority Leader-elect Charniele Herring has appointed key leadership positions within the House Democratic Caucus. The whips and policy chairs will help guide the new Democratic majority through the 2020 legislative session as well as long-term policy goals, and the campaign chair and inclusion officer will work to ensure a diverse, robust, and inclusive caucus in years to come.

Majority Leader-elect Herring announced the following appointments on Monday:

  • Co-Whips:  Mike Mullin (D-Newport News) and Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington)
  • Chief Deputy Whip:  Hala Ayala (D-Woodbridge)
  • Deputy Whips: Kathy Tran (D-Springfield) and Karrie Delaney (D-Centreville)
  • Policy Chair: Vivian Watts (D-Annandale)
  • Deputy Policy Chair: Cliff Hayes (D-Chesapeake)
  • Campaign Chair: Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg)
  • Inclusion Officer: Don Scott (D-Portsmouth)

“I am so pleased and proud to announce these appointments,” said Majority Leader-elect Charniele Herring. “These members will be instrumental in carrying out our vision for Virginia as we continue to make history and build a House for all Virginians.”

By: AAA Mid-Atlantic

November 26, 2019

The big exodus is on. With each passing day, the Thanksgiving holiday-related traffic back-ups and traffic delays will become progressively worse along freeways and major corridors across the Washington metropolitan area. Then there is the spill-over effect, as mind-numbing gridlock is visited upon “all types of roadways across the metro area, such as arterial roads, highways and city streets,” details INRIX, a global transportation analytics company. The worst of the worst travel delays on area freeways is yet to come, warns AAA in collaboration with INRIX.

That dubious distinction both becomes and befalls Thanksgiving Eve. That is to be expected as nearly 1.35 million people depart the area for the holiday. Here is the thing, of that tally, 1,221,000 Washington metro residents are expected to travel to their Thanksgiving holiday destinations by automobiles. This represents an increase of 2.1% from the 1,195,500 area residents who traveled by automobile over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2018. Thanksgiving also means “crowded airports and bus and train stations.”

“Over 3.6 million persons residing in Virginia, Maryland and the Washington metro area will embark on Thanksgiving road trips,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “As a result, holiday travelers exiting the area and those staying put for the holiday, will encounter heavier traffic congestion, as well as travel delays that are almost three times longer than the normal delays – if there is such a thing around here – during the afternoon rush hours on any given Wednesday.”

The Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving are the worst days and times to travel. Traffic delays will treble on the afternoon before Thanksgiving Day on freeways across the national capital area, warn AAA and INRIX, a traffic research firm. Commuters caught up in the mix on the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway around 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve will have hell to pay. They will experience and encounter travel peaks nearly 500 percent longer than normal delays on that stretch of roadway, INRIX is projecting.

That is almost unfathomable. Perhaps the pain will be less palpable along the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway, starting at 4:45 p.m. on Thanksgiving Wednesday. But that is only a matter of perspective, as travel delays increase a staggering 225%. But we are only kidding ourselves. Just keep in mind, around 251,340 vehicles traverse some segments of the Outer Loop day after day. “But once local Thanksgiving holiday travelers escape the ‘gravitational pull’ of the Washington metro area, they will encounter gridlock in every major metro area along their paths,” Townsend explained.” In some cases, trips through some major cities will be as much at four times longer than the normal commute in the workaday world.”

Backups and bottlenecks will crop up along I-95 South on Thanksgiving Eve beginning at 3:30 p.m. as holiday travelers and local commuters encounter travel delays 224% longer than normal. That compares to delays that swell to only 111% longer than normal on I-95 north beginning at 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. It is proof that Thanksgiving week is among the “busiest long-distance travel periods of the year.”

The picture won’t be pretty along I-270 in either direction on the day before Thanksgiving. Expect absolute gridlock Wednesday afternoon from Maryland 190 to the Interstate 270 Spur to points west. Segments of I-270 racked up traffic counts of 265,633 vehicles on any given day of the year during 2018. Come Wednesday afternoon, travel delays will increase 205% on I-270 North, starting at 4:15 p.m. Holiday travelers are encouraged to travel during off-peak times – early morning and/or later in the evening. But the morning holiday getaway traffic will peak 122% on I-270 South, beginning as early as 6:15 a.m.

The accelerated, around-the-clock pace of work along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge rehabilitation project will continue unabated through Thanksgiving week, forewarns the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA). Motorists along U.S. 50 Eastbound will experience a 93% increase in travel delays, as highway speeds drop along the roadway to a snail’s pace all the way up to the Easton Municipal Airport. Day-trippers on westbound U.S. 50 will see heavy traffic starting at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, as travel delays increase as much as 53% over normal delays on the stretch of roadway from the Easton Municipal Airport to the periphery of the Bay Bridge. It is a reminder that “Thanksgiving Day is a more heavily traveled day than Wednesday,” explains the United States Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Holiday travelers and daily commuters will cross paths throughout the busy travel week. For example, trekkers and local holidaymakers alike can expect peak congestion on Tuesday along I-95 and I-66 in Northern Virginia from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., based on traffic data at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).  Heavy congestion and traffic delays will crop up from 2:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday on I-66 west between I-495 and Route 234/Prince William Parkway, warns VDOT.

Heavy congestion will rear its ugly head Wednesday, on I-95 north between Richmond and Fredericksburg from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The same is true that day on I-66 west between I-495 and Route 234/Prince William Parkway from 1 to 5 p.m., warns VDOT. The misery continues on Thanksgiving Day too as travelers try to beat the crowds to the Thanksgiving table from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. along I-95 south around Fredericksburg, VDOT notes. Black Friday will present traffic challenges. Black Friday traffic congestion will manifest itself from noon to 6:30 p.m. on I-95 north in Northern Virginia, according to VDOT.

Thanksgiving Wednesday is typically a heavily congested travel day due, in part, to the fact that some parents with children in school can’t hit the roads until the Thanksgiving break begins or ‘early release day for students’ occurs. It all started as early as yesterday, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The pattern repeats itself, during the afternoon rush hours of Monday, which is normally considered “the best day to drive in most major cities,” and then on Tuesday afternoon, and with a vengeance on Wednesday afternoon, especially between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Here is the upshot: avoid afternoon and early evening travel the Wednesday before Thanksgiving; same for the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Winter weather is a wild card.

By: Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam

November 22, 2019

Governor Ralph Northam today highlighted his administration’s progress in enhancing the quality, availability, and affordability of housing in the Commonwealth.

Speaking at the 2019 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference in Hampton, Governor Northam announced several  accomplishments since he signed Executive Order Twenty-Five in November 2018. The executive order outlined the administration’s priorities to confront the Commonwealth’s unmet housing needs by increasing the supply of permanent supportive housing, addressing the shortage of quality, affordable housing, and reducing the rate of evictions across Virginia.

“Having a stable, safe, and affordable place to live is a key part of keeping a job, getting an education, and leading a healthy, productive life,” said Governor Northam. “I am proud of the progress we have made to address our most pressing housing challenges, but we know there is much work left to do. I remain committed to ensuring that we meet the demand for affordable housing so that all Virginians have an equal opportunity to thrive in our Commonwealth.”

Since the signing of Executive Order Twenty-Five, Governor Northam worked with the General Assembly to increase the Virginia Housing Trust Fund to $11 million, strengthening one of the state’s most flexible tools to combat homelessness and provide affordable housing and permanent supportive housing. As a result, the Commonwealth was able to finance more than 15 additional affordable housing initiatives that support moderate- and low-income families this fiscal year. There has been a continued drop in homelessness across Virginia, with the most recent data showing a 36 percent reduction in overall homelessness since 2010.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly authorized an eviction diversion pilot program that will launch in four communities in July 2020 to help address the high eviction rates in Virginia. An additional $1.3 million in legal aid has been allocated to fund 17 housing attorneys in legal aid offices around the state. The Virginia Poverty Law Center also received private funding to create an evictions helpline, growing the legal aid opportunities for individuals facing evictions.

“The Governor’s executive order is key to continuing our efforts to create strong, sustainable, and thriving communities for all Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We look forward to continuing our work together with members of the General Assembly, as well as our public and private partners, to address these priorities and to provide affordable housing throughout Virginia.”

The Commonwealth was recently awarded additional funding from public and private partners, bolstering Virginia’s efforts to increase affordable housing and decrease homelessness, especially among the most vulnerable populations.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded nearly $5.9 million in annual funding to public housing agencies throughout Virginia, providing permanent affordable housing to an additional 729 residents living with disabilities through the Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program. This funding is part of $131.3 million awarded to 325 local public housing authorities across the country to provide permanent affordable housing to nearly 15,363 additional non-elderly persons with disabilities.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta also recently announced that it will award Virginia $6.9 million in affordable housing funds and partner with local for-profit and nonprofit developers to assist in the acquisition, new construction, rehabilitation, or preservation of over 1,200 affordable rental and homeownership units the Commonwealth.

By: Virginia State Police

November 21, 2019

As Virginians take to the roads this Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, Virginia State Police is urging motorists to put down their phones and buckle up so everyone makes it safely to the holiday table.

With the onset of the 2019 winter holiday season, state police is proud to support the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office and AAA Mid-Atlantic with its new traffic safety campaign aimed at heightening awareness of the deadly dangers of distracted driving. Earlier this month, Virginia State Police Superintendent, Col. Gary T. Settle, and Trooper-Trainees of the 131st Basic Academy Session signed a banner to pledge their support to the “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign and its life-saving messaging.

“The choices you make as a vehicle driver impact not only you and your passengers, but everyone else you happen to be sharing the road with at that given moment,” said Settle. “Avoid distractions, ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up, comply with speed limits and never drive drunk. If we drive like every car is filled with our friends and family, we can make sure there are no empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table this year.”

To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. As part of the state-sponsored, national program, state police will be increasing its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period, Nov. 27, 2019 through Dec. 1, 2019.

The 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 599 individuals who failed to obey the law and buckle up, as well as issuing 199 citations for child safety seat violations on Virginia’s highways statewide. In addition, state police cited 7,629 speeders and 2,192 reckless drivers. A total of 102 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

There were 12 traffic fatalities during the 2018 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period and 14 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2017. *

With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

By: George Mason University

November 21, 2019

George Mason University’s Arlington Campus celebrated its storied past during a 40th anniversary commemoration in Van Metre Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 20, with an eye on an even more promising future.

Mason Interim President Anne Holton joined other university, state and regional leaders in recognizing the university’s positive presence in Arlington since 1979, and its prominent role as a hub for current and future regional innovation.

Holton referenced the “glorious past and present and our exciting future” and Mason’s consistent role within the community over that 40 years when she recalled the origin of the campus in the old department store building next door; its current home in Van Metre Hall, Vernon Smith Hall and Hazel Hall; and the upcoming Institute for Digital InnovAtion. She cited the extraordinary work that has been done on the campus since its outset.

“We’re a partner to this whole Ballston/Rosslyn corridor that is such a factor,” Holton said. “We like to think that Mason has grown up throughout Northern Virginia, growing up helping lead the community and being led by the community. We have a lot to be proud of right here, right now on this Arlington Campus.”

At the heart of the expanded campus will be a state-of-the-art,  400,000-square-foot building that will be home to the new School of Computing, as well as the Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA), a university think tank that will welcome more than 1,200 entrepreneurs, researchers, technologists and business leaders from the public and private sectors to anchor the Arlington Innovation District.

“This campus will integrate business, community and education to launch a true innovation district,” said Liza Wilson Durant, the associate dean for strategic initiatives and community engagement in the Volgenau School of Engineering. “Our vision is for people to live, work and play here.”

State Senator Barbara Favola, a Democrat whose 31st District encompasses parts of Arlington, delivered a unanimous resolution commemorating the anniversary and lauding the Arlington Campus for its achievements.

“You articulated a future that Arlington was proud to buy into,” she said before reading the proclamation.

Christian Dorsey, chair of the Arlington County Board, said the region’s current anticipated growth and dynamism will require “constant innovative thought” that Mason would provide.

“A key hub of that [growth] is a learning institute, which is attracting the kind of individuals who are going to learn and participate in this innovation economy, but who are also going to lead in attracting others to this culture of growth and change and doing so in a responsible way,” Dorsey said.

The campus expansion comes on the heels of Amazon’s decision to open a second headquarters in Northern Virginia.

Virginia’s largest public research university, Mason currently enrolls more than 6,500 students in its computing programs, but expects to grow that to more than 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students in computer science, computer engineering, information technology and other related fields by 2024.

To meet increased demand for highly skilled graduates, the university has pledged to invest more than $250 million over the next five years to grow programs, hire additional faculty and expand its physical presence in Arlington from its current 700,000 square feet adjacent to the new Amazon headquarters to 1.2 million square feet.

Most recently, the state pledged $235 million over 20 years to invest in undergraduate and graduate tech talent degree programs.

“It is an ongoing effort to make sure Virginia is the best educated state in the nation,” Holton said. “Mason is a big part of that.”

Mason has help in the effort with partners like Growth4VA, a broad, bipartisan coalition founded by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council. It includes state business, education and political leaders who see education as the state’s top competitive asset.

Ardine Williams, Amazon’s vice president of people operations and Amazon HQ2 workforce development, said that her company has long held that the region’s abundance of tech talent was why Northern Virginia was selected as the site of its second headquarters. Williams also lauded Mason for its major additions that will produce even more job-ready graduates.

“Integrated real-world challenges will assure that Mason students are ready,” she said.

Mason officials envision the IDIA and the Arlington Innovation District serving as an engine of research development, economic growth, job creation and new tax revenue, while drawing on the university’s strong relationships with other organizations in the region, including private, nonprofit and public-sector partners.

“We will be using all of our different talents to raise up this corridor from Ballston all the way to Rosslyn, and we are so proud of it,” Holton said.

By: Arlington Presbyterian Church

November 19, 2019

Arlington, Virginia, November 19, 2019–On Sunday, November 17, Arlington Presbyterian Church (APC) celebrated their homecoming. APC returned to their former site opening a new worship, office and multi-use space on the ground-floor of Gilliam Place, a 173-unit affordable housing community developed by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) along Columbia Pike.

APC’s move back to their former property where they worshipped for over a century, completes an 8-year journey for their congregation in discerning new ways they might be called to be church in the community. After their bold decision to sell their existing church building and property to APAH for the development of affordable housing in 2014, the congregation returned to lease a portion of the ground-floor retail space from APAH in the completed building.  “APC’s new worship space is a communal, Spirit-filled gathering area that invites participation, creativity, and equality for the sake of South Arlington,” said Pastor Ashley Goff.  The brand-new multi-use building is named in honor of Ronda A. Gilliam, APC’s first African-American elder, a community leader and clothing ministry founder.

In the spring of 2017, APC purchased back from APAH two single-family home lots preserving open space for the neighborhood. APC is committed to using this space as gathering, garden and prayer space available for all the neighbors to use. “We were called to create a sacred green space for our neighbors and our community. Our garden is an evolving landscape. Our desire is to offer this garden as a place of restoration: a place where life, people, and native plants can find stillness, peace, and healing,” said Susan Etherton, Elder.

APC also looks forward to strengthening their support of La Cocina VA, a nonprofit, bilingual culinary training program for low-income individuals, who will move in next door to APC on the ground floor of Gilliam Place. “We discovered in La Cocina, a like-hearted, mission-oriented non-profit who along with us desires South Arlington to be a place of zero barriers to justice and equality. We’re excited to grow alongside them,” said Susan Etherton.
For over 100 years, Arlington Presbyterian Church has been a place where people of vision, connected with the community, have heard and responded to the needs of our neighbors along Columbia Pike.  Arlington Presbyterian Church is also a More Light congregation working towards the full participation of LGBTQIA+ people in the life, ministry, and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA) — and in society.  For more information on Arlington Presbyterian Church, visit www.arlingtonpresbyterian.org, for more information on Gilliam Place and APAH, visit www.apah.org.

A-SPAN announces the retirement of its President & CEO, Kathy Sibert. After leading the organization for 11 years, Sibert will continue her role through January 31, 2020.

Sibert became the President & CEO of A-SPAN (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Inc) in 2008. Beginning with a budget of only $800,000, Sibert has expanded the now four-million-dollar organization from one site providing Day and Outreach services, to a multi-program organization providing a continuum of services 24/7, 365 days of the year, for homeless individuals and veterans. This culminated in the award of the Homeless Services Center contract and its Grand Opening October 1, 2015. The County’s Homeless Services Center is much more than a shelter. It has a day and outreach program, 50-bed shelter program, a 25-bed additional winter shelter program, a 5-bed medical respite and nursing services program, a full production kitchen serving 3 meals/day, and has all A-SPAN’s housing programs located in one place. The Center is a national best practice model to end homelessness as it facilitates moving someone quickly from being homeless into a home. A-SPAN has been instrumental in reducing Arlington County’s homelessness population by 60% in the last 7 years. The organization has been recognized locally, regionally, and nationally as being a leader in solving homelessness issues.

“Kathy has inspired us to support those less fortunate from streets to stability,” said Michael Garcia, Chair, A-SPAN Board of Directors and Agent for State Farm Insurance. “Kathy has done an outstanding job building the organization into an invaluable resource for our community and beyond, and she will certainly be missed, but she leaves the organization on sound footing with a strong future.”

Sibert has received numerous awards for her achievements. She was selected locally by Arlington County’s Commission on the Status of Women for its Women of Vision award in 2012 and was honored by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement for the regional 2015 EXCEL Award. Harvard Business School admitted her for the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management course in 2017 and Bank of America chose her to attend their Neighborhood Builders Leadership course in 2019.

Under her direction, A-SPAN has won several awards including the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Nonprofit Award in 2010 and the Leadership Center for Excellence Legacy Award in 2014. The organization received Honorable Mentions for the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management 2015 and Center for Nonprofit Advancement AIM Award 2016. In 2018, A-SPAN was awarded Bank of America’s prestigious Neighborhood Builders award with a grant of $200,000. In addition, the A-SPAN Board of Directors won the coveted Center for Nonprofit Advancement Board Leadership Award in 2015.

Sibert has an MBA from the Thunderbird School of International Management and is a graduate of the Leadership Arlington Class of 2010 and Leadership Greater Washington 2017.The Board of Directors has identified Betsy Frantz as Interim President & CEO as of February 1, 2020.

By: Arlington Food Assistance Center

November 8, 2019

After 13 years working to bring fresh local produce to food insecure families, Associate Director of Programs and Plot Against Hunger Manager Puwen Lee will be retiring from the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), effective November 15.

“I started at AFAC as a volunteer, helping on Wednesday mornings with distributions,” says Lee. “I loved it because of the team of volunteers I worked with and because of the relationships with clients. After a year, I took a part-time position in the Volunteer Department and the rest is history.”

Lee has served in her current role in the Programs Department since 2014, overseeing the growth of the Plot Against Hunger program that she established in 2007. In Arlington, there are 55 of Plot gardens located at libraries, congregations, community centers, apartment buildings, and private residences. She also forged relationships with local farmers’ markets and area farms, who then allowed us to glean their excess harvests to help AFAC feed families in need. Since its inception, over 600,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables have been donated to Plot Against Hunger.

“Puwen has through her leadership and stewardship of volunteers helped create an atmosphere of generosity, community, and a deep care for all our families that has become a hallmark of all that AFAC does,” says Charles Meng, AFAC Executive Director & CEO.

In addition to her accomplishments at AFAC, Lee has been at the center of all things urban agriculture in Arlington. She served on Arlington County’s Urban Agriculture Task Force, assisted Arlington Central Library in establishing an organic vegetable garden which later encouraged the library to open a Tool Lending Library at that site, and worked to help establish Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture (FOUA). Lee was the first recipient of FOUA’s inaugural “Golden Radish Award” for her contributions towards urban agriculture in Arlington.

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