Volunteers Needed for Ruby Tucker Center Read-Aloud Program

Do you enjoy reading? Ever wanted to help out in the community but think you don’t have the time? Here’s an opportunity that may be perfect for you! In February, The Reading Connection (TRC), a non-profit literacy advocate, is partnering with the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) in order to bring the new Read-Aloud Program to the Ruby Tucker Center.

What is Read-Aloud?

The program, designed to motivate Alexandria’s underprivileged children to read, will give you the chance to really make a difference.  For just 1 hour every month, you can help spur a joy and excitement that will last a lifetime, simply by reading aloud! And at the end of each session, the kids who’ve listened to you can go home with a book of their own- to learn, let their imaginations wander and start them on the path toward their dreams.

Where Do I Sign Up?

If you or people you know would like to get involved and can make a commitment to the program, simply visit TRC’s website to apply online or contact Stephanie Berman at (703) 528-8317 ext.10.  You can also send her an e-mail at sberman@thereadingconnection.org.

Can I Donate?

Yes! The Reading Center also appreciates monetary donations for books and other supplies.  Your donation will also help to keep the center running.  There is no recommended amount.  Give whatever you can afford.  Donations can be from you personally or can be made in tribute to a loved one.  Just go to TRC’s website and click “Donate Now.”

Where is the Ruby Tucker Center?

The Ruby Tucker Center is located near the intersection of North Fairfax and Princess Streets in Old Town Alexandria.

Please show your support for this great cause and support Alexandria’s children! Your life will be changed because you will be changing a life.

Sometimes All It Takes Is 18 People

It’s easy to forget how important our individual actions can be, but if you look around Alexandria closely, you can see people making an impact in the lives of people in need in our community everyday. That is what ACTion Alexandria is all about-helping individual acts make a big impact in our community.

Last week, I heard about ImagineDesign, a Manassas-based design firm giving away a website design to a DC area charity. All you had to do was nominate your favorite charity using their Facebook form.

I also knew that the Center for Alexandria’s Children was trying to figure out how they could afford a redesign of their current website to better meet it’s needs. It was a perfect storm if you will-a local nonprofit needed a website and a local design firm was donating a website to a worthy nonprofit. All we had to do was make sure the Center for Alexandria’s Children was selected as the winner by ImagineDesign.

The Center for Alexandria’s Children is a worthy organization if there ever was one. Their purpose is the elimination of child abuse in the City of Alexandria. The CAC works collaboratively through a public-private partnership to protect children and strengthen families by coordinating the investigation, prosecution, treatment and prevention of child abuse in one safe, child-friendly facility.

So, using email and Facebook to quickly mobilize supporters, 18 people nominated the Center for Alexandria’s Children to win ImagineDesign’s contest, making sure to include personal testimonials describing why they support the CAC.

Thanks to good timing, a great organization, and some help from loyal supporters, The Center for Alexandria’s Children was selected by ImagineDesign as the contest winner, and is well on it’s way to getting the new website it needs.

An important take away from the Center for Alexandria’s Children’s good fortune is that it doesn’t always take hundreds or thousands of people to vote for your project or organization, or thousands of dollars in donations. Sometimes it only takes 18 people to make all the difference in the world.

Payless Gives, Santa’s Winter Wonderland, Carlyle House Ornament and More: The Christmas Column

  • With Christmas around the corner, read about the efforts of the Center for Alexandria’s Children to give shoes to the children it supports.  According to the Localkicks blog, the CAC was chosen as a partner in Payless Gives, an annual shoe donation program sponsored by Payless Shoe Source.  The CAC is just one of the 800 charities participating this year!
  • Want to help Santa? Bring a gift to the Charles Houston Recreation Center today or tomorrow and participate in Santa’s Winter Wonderland.  All presents will be delivered to children by Santa himself on Wednesday, December 22nd as part of a season celebration.  For more info, visit the City website.
  • Interested in a Christmas-themed tour of Old Town that will take you back to Colonial Times? Call (703) 519-1749 to learn more.  Tours end December 22nd, so hurry and make your reservations today for a magnificent experience!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Families Still Need Your Help This Holiday Season


If you are still looking for ways to help local families over the holidays, the City of Alexandria’s Department of Community and Human Services has some great opportunities for you. To make the holiday distribution, your items should be dropped of or mailed in by this Friday, December 17th.

  • Grocery Cards: with rising food prices, many families are struggling to make ends meet. These cards will help us ensure that our kids, elderly and disabled can have food on the table.
  • Gift Cards: Maybe you can remember being a teen or have tried to buy for a teen lately-it’s hard. They have wants and needs, yet can be very difficult to buy for. Teens in foster care are in
    the same situation. They enjoy the holidays as much as others, but are often overlooked in favor of younger children. We will be happy for your donation of gift cards to stores such as Best Buy, Target and Old Navy, in denominations of $25 and $50.
  • Jackets, hats and gloves/mittens: The line from the holiday song sums it up-”baby, it (will be) cold outside.” Foster kids, at-risk kids, and others need coats. There are great sales and you can
    keep someone warm this year.
  • Toys: you may have been hitting the sales and couldn’t resist buying a few toys. With our partner, Community Partners for Children, we will be distributing toys to over 300 families. We especially need toys for children under the age of 4 and for those aged 10-12. However, we would be grateful for any toys that you purchase.
  • You can also donate a via online echeck

If you still have toys or apparel items your want to donate after December 17th, you can still drop them off at DCHS offices at any time. Please drop items off at:

Community Resources Program
Department of Community & Human Services
2525 Mt. Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301.

30 Minutes A Week Can Change A Life: Become A Reading Tutor

Do you love to read?  Have you ever watched a child’s imagination come to life when they first begin to read on their own? Unfortunately, many children in Alexandria City Public Schools are at risk of not reading at grade level by the third grade.  Fortunately, The Alexandria Tutoring Consortium’s mission is to provide a foundation for future learning success for first and second grade students.  They need your help, your love of reading, and your enthusiasm!

Alexandria Tutoring Consortium works!

Of the 120 first graders tutored by ATC volunteers last year in the Book Buddies based program, 78% reached or exceeded their literacy benchmarks by the end of the school year.

Why be a tutor?

Learning to read in the first and second grade prepares a student to read to learn during the rest of his or her academic career.  Some children need extra help and just 30 minutes a week from you can give them the advantage they need to succeed.  ATC notes that “first-graders who receive intensive, targeted intervention, even those who have the most difficulty reading, can reach grade-level reading by the end of second grade. With early intervention, more than 90% of children can read at grade level, or better!”

How Alexandria Tutoring Consortium works.

The Alexandria Tutoring Consortium pairs volunteer tutors with Alexandria school children who need help to get up to grade level  reading. Volunteers read one-on-one with a student once or twice a week during the day at school (now through May).  The Alexandria City Public Schools trains all volunteers and provides access to all the necessary materials, volunteers just need to bring a love of reading and a desire to make a difference in the life of a child

Become a tutor today!

New tutors can download an application form and register at the ATC website, or contact them by phone at 703-549-6670 x119.  The website also offers their newsletter, annual report and more information on how you can make a positive difference in the life of an Alexandria child.