Friday, August 27, 2010

Youth Advisory Council needs members

Alternative House is looking for new members for its Youth Advisory Council. The Youth Advisory Council members are local high school students who help Alternative House extend the reach of its programs and services to the young people in the region. The Council serves as a forum during which members share the challenges and issues they and their peers face and use these experiences as a basis for developing, refining, and effectively applying constructive changes to Alternative House's programs, policies, and procedures. Youth Advisory Council members are expected to attend council meetings which are held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on the first Wednesday of every month from September through June, at the Emergency Shelter for Teenagers and to actively participate in the Council's community service activities, fundraisers, and special events. Please visit our website for more details and for the Youth Advisory Council application.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

AYM is Dropping Drop Side Cribs from Inventory

The Assisting Young Mothers Program (AYM) is reaching out to Alternative House supporters for help. On July 10, 2010 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously on new mandatory standards for cribs. These new regulations, which are scheduled to take effect in 2011, will ban the manufacture, sale and use of all drop-side cribs. Currently, AYM only owns one crib (out of twelve) that will meet these standards.
But, why make these changes? The Consumer Product Safety Commission attributed 32 infant deaths to defective drop-side cribs and is considering the role of drop-side cribs in 14 other infant deaths. The commission is also pushing for better mattress support, higher quality wood and sturdier hardware. This ban is not just concerning for families with hand-me-down cribs. Hotels, childcare providers, family shelters and transitional living programs will all be responsible for replacing inventory. While necessary, replacing cribs will prove to be expensive. Small companies and non-profit groups, such as AYM, will suffer most from this ban. With little funding in a poor economy, it will be difficult to replace the inventory that has taken so long to build.
Our organization is beginning to prepare for this measure now and will no longer accept drop side crib donations. AYM will fully comply with the orders and mandates of the ban set forth by the safety commission. However, we fear that in doing so AYM infants and toddlers will be forced to co-sleep with their mothers or sleep on mattresses on the floor if our crib inventory is not replaced. Furthermore, these scenarios pose a multitude of other safety concerns and hazards for the children. We rely heavily – almost solely – on the donations of families, companies, and organizations. AYM will not be able to provide cribs to our mothers and children after the ban without the support of our community. We hope to make the transition smoothly and be able to replace all drop side cribs before the ban goes into effect. Please consider AYM when thinking of monetary or gift donations this year.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to School

This month our Wish List is all about Back to School. Help the young people in our programs get a good start with the right supplies. Please share this list with others who may help.
We need Binders, Lined Paper, Spiral Notebooks, Pencils, Pens, Crayons, Colored Pencils, Markers, Glue, Scissors, Calculators and Backpacks. Gift cards to Staples and Payless shoes are also useful.

Donations may be dropped off at the Shelter on Gallows Road in Vienna any day between 9am-8pm or you may call 703 506-9191 for more information.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Making a Difference by Christine Bartell

Hi I am Christine Bartell and I just joined Alternative House as the new Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. I recently left a career in the IT industry after 15 years and decided I that I wanted to change paths after being in the fast pace corporate world. After much thought and a leap of faith, I decided I wanted to contribute my time to something that could help make a difference in a life, however I never thought at the same time it would change mine.
I have never seen such dedication and drive from a group of people to help make an organization run so smoothly. To see the passion that each staff member and volunteer have is beyond amazing in itself and I commend each and every one for what they do. I am excited being here and whether it is stuffing envelopes, sweeping the floors or making someone smile; I look forward to helping here at AH. I believe that we do not always know how we will touch another person’s life however one thing is for sure, I am able to go home and sleep better knowing I made a contribution in one way or another and that these young people will have a better chance in the world doing the same. Isn’t that what life it is really suppose to be about anyway?
We could really use your time and I personally encourage you to come and be a part of Alternative House in one way or another. Whether it is volunteering long term or short term, you can make a difference. I am having the next Volunteer Orientation on August 25th from 6-7pm and would love to meet you and please call me if you want to know more sooner. I can be reached at 703-506-9191.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


‎1-800-SAY-TEEN This crisis intervention, counseling and referral service is staffed by trained counselors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Hotline is an immediate resource for youth and parents who need assistance, whether it's a counseling referral or help with parenting resources.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Girl World for ages 9-12

Alternative House operates a program called Girl World at the Franconia Family Resource Center for girls ages 9 to 12. The girls get homework help and counseling, participate in life skills groups and recreation activities and go on field trips. We also try to identify needs the family have for food, clothing and community resources. Our Boys program provides the same services.

Here are some comments from three of the girls in the program this summer.

Fayra, age 12, “ Being at Girl World makes me want to give something back like the Culmore Clean-up Day and it makes me feel good about myself.”

Giselle, age 9, “This summer I was reading a lot and playing games. They gave me some clothes, snacks, food. I feel safe and happy.”

Maryori, age 11, “I helped with Culmore Clean-up Day and they gave me a shirt. They provide snacks and clothes and food for my family.”

Alternative House Awarded a 4-Star Rating

Alternative House has been awarded a 4-star rating for sound fiscal management by Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator, highlights the fine work of efficient charities like Alternative House.