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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Families volunteer on National Day of Service

Children create valentines with hopeful messages for youths aging out of foster care. 
Many local families honored the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 16 by taking part in service activities organized by Volunteer Fairfax at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.

Lucky rescue dogs will enjoy these toys. 
Participants rotated among four projects. They made dog toys for Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, valentines for youths through the Foster Care to Success program in Falls Church, blankets with a patriotic theme for military veterans at the Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McLean, and stress balls for students with special needs at the Phillips School in Annandale and Fairfax.

These volunteers are making stress balls out of balloons and flour.
More than 500 people signed up for Volunteer Fairfax’s eighth annual Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and there were many walk-ins, says Volunteer Fairfax CEO Elise Nell Bengtson.

Blankets made by volunteers will be given to retired veterans.
The JCC donated the space, and Access National Bank and NOVEC contributed funds for the supplies. Students and parents from Waples Mill Elementary School in Oakton came as a group and each donated $5. 

Completed blankets
This is one of the few local volunteering events targeted to families, says Angela Saiza Starling, communications manager for Volunteer Fairfax. After working on all four projects, children wrote brief reflections on the experience.

Children's thoughts on their volunteer activities.
Children who participate develop positive memories of working with their parents on projects to help the community and appreciate the value of volunteering, she says – and will hopefully carry on the tradition when they grow up. 

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