Thursday, July 29, 2010

Renee Finds a Foster Home

Renee is a 14 year old girl who moved to the United States about two years ago to be reunited with her mother after several years of separation. Renee attempted to integrate herself into American culture, but her mother experienced many issues with her acculturation including arranging for Renee to live with a family member in what became an abusive situation. When Renee came to Alternative House she had been on the run for several months in an attempt to avoid being abused by her biological family as well as her step family. Renee was at Alternative House for almost two weeks and then taken to juvenile detention due to the runaway report her mother had filed. Throughout Renee's stay, staff advocated for her to be placed in a safe and secure placement, so she would not be at risk for further abuse. After being in the Juvenile Detention Center for 4 days, Renee returned to Alternative House, this time in Child Protective Services (CPS) custody, and stayed for another 11 days while CPS located a foster family for her. She was able to visit with a potential foster family while at Alternative House, and transitioned to that foster home at the end of her stay.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alternative House named Nonprofit of the Year

Alternative House is pleased to be named “Nonprofit of the Year” by the Vienna Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce. Senator Chap Peterson presented the award at the VTRCC Annual Service Awards dinner on July 20, 2010 at the Maggiano’s restaurant in the Tysons Galleria. Last year’s winners and many VTRCC members attended.

Judith Dittman, Executive Director of Alternative House, states, “We are so thankful to the VTRCC for recognition of all of the hard work by our dedicated staff and volunteers. Alternative House is truly a community endeavor, and we are thrilled with the support the VTRCC members have always given us. During the last 12 months, we served 230 clients at our residential refuge in Tysons, and we were able to expand our homeless youth, Assisting Young Mothers and after school programs. At risk youth always need our support, but the current economic climate makes our mission that much more critical. VTRCC is a super organization, and we are so happy that we can work together to achieve our goals.”

Alternative House, founded in 1972, transforms the lives of children and youth by helping them stay safe, make positive decisions, achieve educational success, and overcome personal crises by providing counseling, shelter, neighborhood support and after-school programs. Alternative House offers children, youth and families hope for brighter futures. To learn more, please visit the website at

The Vienna Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce has served diverse businesses and citizens in the Northern Virginia communities of Vienna, Tysons Corner, Oakton, Merrifield, and Dunn Loring since the 1940s. Their mission is to provide a strategic link between businesses and the community through community engagement, networking, special events, marketing, advocacy, education and political representation. For more information, see

Monday, July 12, 2010

Homeless Youth Initiative

During the 2008 - 2009 school year, approximately 100 youth in the Fairfax County Public School system were identified by their teachers and administrators as being either homeless or unaccompanied. The Homeless Youth Initiative is a two-prong approach to providing assistance to these young people, ages 16 - 21, who are working to complete their high school education by providing a shelter and host families for the youth to live with. Alternative House opened a shelter to house four females, ages 18 - 21, while they attend school and is actively working to match other male and female youth, ages 16 - 21, with host families who will provide them with a stable living environment while they complete high school.

All of the youth participating in this program receive not only housing and community support, but also case management services, individual therapy, life skills education, tutoring, and assistance with emergency food and supplies.