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Helping hands of volunteers are the heart of Cornerstones — A Message from Our CEO
April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month, and to celebrate, Cornerstones applauds the dedication of its over 5,000 volunteers who have provided 32,600 hours of service this past year, enabling Cornerstones to extend our impact in direct service to clients, community building, advocacy, and other areas of work. Cornerstones’ volunteers do everything from tutoring children and adults and planning fundraising events, to answering phones, cleaning windows, stocking the Food pantry, or preparing homes for future tenants. We welcome all gifts, skills and ideas to further our mission of helping our neighbors take steps toward healthy, stable lives.
One of the things that makes the greater Reston-Herndon community so special is the dedication of residents, community members, faith and civic organizations and businesses to give back to the community. At Cornerstones, we witness that devotion every day. On behalf of the organization, I would like to take a moment to honor some of those volunteers who represent the many ways any one member of the community can use his or her talents and time to join in the effort to support our neighbors in need.
These individuals were honored by volunteer Fairfax and by the town of Herndon for their work in community.
The Kelly family – Frank, Peg and Jennifer – faithfully serve the Hunter Mill District Winter Coat Closet every Tuesday, ensuring that the most vulnerable residents of our community have coats for themselves and their families during Virginia’s coldest months.
Lennis Montague single-handedly serves 100-200 clients on Monday evenings at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter – preparing, serving and cleaning up dinner, as she has done for 21 years. Lennis looks forward to her weekly time with the residents of the shelter and she is beloved by staff and clients alike.
Pat Camp brings joy to the residents of Embry Rucker Community shelter with weekly art lessons and activities for the children, providing structure and encouragement to all those she works with.
Vince Sescoe provides incredible support to the job readiness and employment clinics at the Connections for Hope partnership. Vince shows empathy and fosters trust among clients, helping them to gain skills they need to find great jobs.
Juan Hernandez was honored as the Integrate Volunteer of year this at the Volunteer Fairfax 24th Annual Volunteer Service Awards. Juan is a faithful volunteer, dedicating countless hours to serving the Assistance Services and Pantry Program and the Urgent Needs and Life Skills Programs. Juan assists the food pantry staff in accepting, sorting and stocking donations to the pantry program. Additionally, he uses his bilingual skills to help clients navigate paperwork and registrations, and helps non-native speakers to use their SNAP benefits at Lake Anne Farmers markets. Juan goes the extra mile each and every week, regularly arriving early to set up and staying late to clean up.
Cornerstones also just celebrated the 25th annual Best of Reston Community Service Awards and the 2016 honorees who inspire and motivate our Community through their work to serve a greater good. Read more about our honorees here. Over 25 years, the most important takeaway for us has been the commitment and co-sponsorship by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce in presenting these awards with Cornerstones and helping us raise critically-needed funds. The Chamber has long understood that strong thriving communities depend on our ability to empower all families to grow and contribute.
As CEO, I know that it is the often under-acknowledged role of a strong Board of Directors—every one a volunteer—that determines the true character and success of an organization. We salute the Boards of Directors of Cornerstones and Cornerstones Housing Corporation. Your leadership has helped us through difficult times and will help us now as we respond to evolving community need and opportunity to serve.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge my incredible colleagues at Cornerstones who work side by side with volunteers to make that difference, and especially those staff who are responsible for supporting our volunteers—at our program sites, during events, as board members, trainees and service interns! Thanks to all Cornerstones staff for helping our volunteers discover and share their unique gifts. This summer we say a sad farewell to senior volunteer manager Alacia Earley who has coordinated and nurtured volunteers these past four years. Alacia began her work as a case manager in Cornerstones’ supportive housing program. Seeing the critical impact of Volunteer mentors in helping people who were leaving Homelessness, Alacia wanted to help others find ways to bring their gifts to people in need. With her dedication and support of a great team, we have seen the number of volunteers nearly double. We wish Alacia and Jeff all the best as they start their new life together.
Cornerstones’ volunteers serve as caregivers, ambassadors, governors, stakeholders—serving and strengthening our community by providing Hope for Tomorrow Today!
Kerrie Wilson, CEO