The students of FACETS’ Wedgewood Education & Community Development Center, along with (far left) Cristal Pereira, FACETS Community Advocate and (second from far right) Rhina Portillo, FACETS Senior Community Development Advocate, and (far right) Bahira Salim Parker, FACETS Team Leader, Education & Community Development.
FACETS, a nonprofit that opens doors for people who suffer the effects of poverty in Fairfax County, hosted its annual Academic Achievement Party on June 12 for 122 children and teens it serves in four low-income communities who earned A’s and B’s on their report cards, including 21 of whom are graduating from high school. The party also recognized 14 adults who graduated from vocation training, ESL and computer classes, paving the way for better employment.
“Our Academic Achievement parties are one of our favorite events of the year. There’s nothing more special than helping young people use education as a way to break the cycle of poverty,” said FACETS Executive Director Joe Fay. “We’ve had a lot to celebrate. For the third year in a row, we’ve had 100 percent of our graduating seniors move on to higher education.”
Children received certificates for improving their grades, graduating from elementary, middle or high school. The 21 graduating high school seniors all attended FACETS’ afterschool programs and 100 percent are going on to either a two- or four- year post-secondary institution. The 14 adults who were recognized also attended FACETS’ education and community development centers and completed some form of training, i.e. Nursing Assistant, HVAC repair, computer literacy, financial stability training.
FACETS’ operates an education and community development program year-round in four low-income, subsidized communities offering a variety of supportive services to break the cycle of poverty. People living in these affordable housing communities have limited financial resources, with the average income for a family of four near $18,000. At Barros Circle in Centreville; Robinson Square in Fairfax; Ragan Oaks in Fairfax; and Wedgewood in Annandale, staff and volunteers offer an array of educational, preventative and enrichment programs to help youth, including mentoring and tutoring, and a variety of classes such as literacy, art, computer, and substance abuse and dating violence prevention.
The Fairfax County-Falls Church community has the second largest homeless population in the region. A majority of the people who are homeless are in working families with children. With critical help from volunteers and partnerships with the faith and business communities, FACETS works to prevent and end homelessness throughout Fairfax County by offering a full spectrum of services, such as basic needs and financial assistance, counseling and outreach, educational enrichment programs, and permanent housing.
In addition, FACETS provides safe places to sleep and nutritious meals to men and women who are homeless through its Hypothermia Prevention and Response Program. This program is one of five operated across Fairfax and Falls Church in partnership with the Fairfax County government and approximately 40 faith communities.
More information can be found at www.FACETSCares.org.