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“It’s Pay It Forward Time . . . “

Aerospace Engineer Charles Cisneros Gives Back as a RESET Volunteer
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Charles helps students set up the “wheel and axle” experiment, using his granddaughter’s tricycle.

By Charles Cisneros

A couple of years ago, I began volunteering with RESET, an education nonprofit that introduces children to real scientists and provides hands-on science-technology-engineering-math (STEM) learning opportunities to children between the ages of 4 and 12. RESET is an ideal match for my background and my desire to “pay it forward” in a meaningful way.

I am a former aerospace engineer. I worked for 33 years as an Air Force officer and 13 years for SAIC as a system test planner for the National Missile defense program. I retired in 2009. I had done other kinds of volunteer work over the years, but when I ran across a RESET recruitment ad in The Washington Post, I was instantly intrigued. After chatting with Executive Director John Meagher, I liked what I heard about the program. I felt RESET’s investment was well focused and that it did a great job of fostering an exchange of ideas and in providing resources and STEM curriculum support for schools in the DC area.

RESET’s work is so critical for our country’s future. We will always need highly trained scientists and engineers to solve complex technical, health, and engineering problems. When I first started with RESET, I volunteered at Moorefield Station Elementary School. At the time, I had also been doing a lot of local charity golf tournaments. One of the charities we supported was Sugarland Elementary School, a low-income school, located in Loudoun County.

I went home and did a little research on schools in the area. I checked out some government sources on scholastic performance and discovered that Sugarland, a Title 1 school, was one of the lowest performing schools in the county. Sugarland is not an affluent school, so it can be challenging for them to compete in a high-income county like Loudoun. Having come from a low-income background myself, I felt a strong pull towards bringing RESET programs to these students. I contacted John and offered to expand my volunteer work to Sugarland. John very quickly set up a meeting with school officials. They accepted our help and we will soon complete our first school year there, leading RESET programs for a diverse student body that includes many Hispanic students. Now, I volunteer at both schools, working mostly with third-graders.

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Charles’ class at Sugarland Elementary during a session on renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Following a scavenger hunt where the class was divided into “coal miners” and “wind millers,” Charles surprised his students with lab coats, to their obvious delight. One of RESET’s primary goals is to get children to think and behave like real scientists.

I was fortunate to have had several adults in my life who believed in me and encouraged me. That’s why I was so eager to work with students from less advantaged backgrounds. I thought, “Now it’s time to give something back.” From personal experience I know it just takes one spark to ignite an interest and a passion for science, one that can grow into a future career and life path. My own inspiration came from two sources: As a child in the 1950s, I used to watch Walt Disney TV programs about the challenges of breaking into outer space. This, along with the national alarm after the Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, motivated me towards a science or engineering career.

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Students at Moorefield Station Elementary School confer on an experiment on a block and tackle pulley.

My experiences with my students have been wonderful. The one thing I am always delighted and amazed to discover is how bright and precocious they are. Young minds are naturally curious and open, no matter where they come from or how much they have. They are limited only by resources and opportunity.

And some classroom experiences are definitely more memorable than others. For example, during one session with my third graders, I intended to demonstrate the pull of the moon’s gravity on the oceans using a balloon filled with water. Typically, the normally spherical balloon would be pulled out of shape by the force of gravity, thus illustrating my point. I’ve performed this demo many times, but this time I allowed a student to hold the water-filled balloon by the top end. Unexpectedly, he bounced the balloon up and down. Not surprisingly, it burst, dousing him, me, and the floor with water (and there may have been some additional collateral damage). We all had a good laugh and achieved a much better appreciation of the force of gravity than if the experiment had gone off without a hitch.

Gail Brady, Principal at Sugarland, and STEAM lab teacher Darielle Robinson recently shared with me what RESET has meant to Sugarland students this year:

“Working with RESET has been such a valuable experience for our students. Through RESET our students often have had the chance to be exposed to individuals that share their ethnic background and have had careers in the field of science. Charles has given our students the chance to see an individual that has overcome certain circumstances and used education has a means of living a full life. It’s been especially helpful having Charles bring to life the concepts that our students learn in class. He has been pivotal in providing our students with learning experiences that they may not otherwise experience outside of school.”

RESET serves Pre-Kindergarten through 8th-grade. We offer in-school, after-school, and summer and weekend programs. There are many options for volunteering, including working as a team through your workplace. Volunteers are working and professional scientists, engineers, and technologists, ranging in age from 18 through 90. Our volunteers have a professional background or educational interest in STEM professions, and we represent a wide range of fields, from forensic anthropology to computer science, but you need not have teaching experience to volunteer with us. RESET does an excellent job of providing training, resources, and feedback so you go into the classroom confident and prepared.

To volunteer for RESET, please contact John Meagher at 703-250-0236. Have a fundraising idea? Contact Development Director Lyndi Schrecengost at 202-365-5963.

A great way to engage with RESET is to “like” and share our posts on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/RESETDC/
https://twitter.com/ReSETonline
https://www.youtube.com/user/resetonlinevideo
https://www.linkedin.com/company/reset-organization
http://resetonline.org/blog/

Volunteers and Tutors Make a Difference at Bridges to Independence

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Bridges to Independence has been working with and for people experiencing homelessness since 1985, when we were founded as the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. In 2016, Bridges served a total of 460 individuals: 248 through our housing programs (emergency shelter and rapid re-housing) and 212 in other programs and services (financial literacy, employment services, etc.).

Our mission is to lead individuals and families out of homelessness and into stable, independent futures. We offer aid and support for all family members, helping them attain financial security and move forward into self-sufficiency. As homelessness is often episodic, we work not only with people who are currently experiencing homelessness, but also with former participants to ensure they are able to remain securely housed and do not fall into homelessness again.

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Former client Mohammed, his wife, and their 5 daughters invited us to their home for a visit. It was wonderful to see the family thriving!

Our vision is to end the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Two-thirds of the people we serve are under the age of 18. We provide youth with opportunities to increase self-esteem, gain leadership skills, and improve their overall health/well-being. We strive to give older students the confidence, skills, and tools needed to pursue and complete post-secondary education or vocational training, providing them with a pathway to economic security.

After many years of helping people move into their own homes, we’ll soon get to experience a homecoming of our own! In September, we will move into a brand-new 4,700 square foot training center, directly adjacent to our Sullivan House emergency shelter. The new space will be a hive of activity and will include a children’s room for youth activities, classrooms for job training, a personal counseling suite, and offices for our staff to continue their crucial work to support families in need. We’ll be able to serve more people, carry out programming more effectively, and explore new and innovative solutions for reducing homelessness.

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Gather a team for our Kickball Tournament or volunteer at the event!

Our 12th annual SAFE AT HOME Kickball Tournament will be Saturday, August 5, 2017. Teams, sponsors and volunteers can sign up now at https://bridges2.org/kickball/. We also need volunteers to serve as mentors or tutors, represent Bridges at events, help with office work, and more. For details, see www.bridges2.org or contact Lawson Craighill at lcraighill@bridges2.org.

 

Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena Makes Skating Accessible to All

At the Catalogue for Philanthropy we’re always so excited when one of our charities’ programs is in the media, especially when that media is the front page of the Washington Post! Today, Post writer Jacqueline Kantor covered the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, a program which is housed in the Fort Dupont Ice Arena (the Catalogue is proud to have the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena as one of our Human Services charities).

Described as a “little-known secret” in Southeast D.C., the 36-year-old Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club (also known as the Fort Dupont Cannons) is the oldest club in a National Hockey League program that was designed to promote the sport in urban neighborhoods. Each week, children ages 8-18 hit the ice to not only practice the sport of hockey, but also to gain new experiences through travel, and learn important lessons such as the value of hard work and gratitude. While participation comes at no financial cost to players and their families, coaches do expect students to share their report cards with coaches and attend practice regularly. All of this seems to pay off, as the program boasts an impressive 95 percent high school graduation rate. To read the full article about the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in the Washington Post, click here.

Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena

In 1996 the goal was simple: prevent the National Park Service’s scheduled closing of the only public indoor ice arena in DC. Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena succeeded, not only in saving the rink, but also in creating a vibrant community resource in Ward 7. Today, the Fort Dupont Ice Arena — an America’s Promise “Safe Place” for young people with structured activities during non-school hours — offers number of programs for young people to stay fit and learn valuable lessons about life.

One of those programs, Kids On Ice, is a community ice skating program for children ages 5 to 18 years old, offering free lessons with all equipment provided. Kids on Ice programs include basic skating skills, speed and figure skating, ice hockey (see above), and more. Since all of these programs are at no cost to participants, Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena relies on the community to help through volunteer work, material and financial contributions.

Volunteer opportunities: Are you a medium-advanced level skater willing to lend a hand for a few hours each week? Channel your inner Dorothy Hamill or Apollo Ohno as an instructor for a Kids on Ice class! All Kids on Ice classes are taught by volunteer instructors. Each of the five programs — Basic Skills, Advanced Figure Skating, Synchronized Skating, Ice Hockey, and Speed Skating — are managed by a qualified instructor who instructs volunteers how to teach each specific class.

In addition to helping on the rink, volunteers are also needed off the rink to help with general office assistance during the week, and concessions and skate shop assistance on Saturdays. Click the “volunteer” link on the Catalogue page for details.

To donate: You can also support the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena by donating equipment, offering scholarship support, or directly supporting the Kids on Ice Program through a donation to Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena. For $50, you can provide helmets and gloves for new ice skaters; $250: 8 weeks of Learn to Skate; $500: two skating lessons for a school group of 30 children.

Around Town: April 6-7

With the nicer weather (and cherry blossoms!), Catalogue nonprofits are getting busy! Check out all of the great things that are going on Around Town this weekend!

Saturday, April 06, cheap essay writing services 2013

Red Shoe 5K Run & Walk

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington D.C.’s Red Shoe 5K Run & Walk helps children heal faster and better. April 6th. Race starts 9:00am Kids Fun Run at 8:45am. Registration 7:00am. Family friendly Red Shoe 5K is for racers, leisure walkers and runners. Prizes, awards & surprises. Kids can get community service hours. Team & Family discounts. Kids in strollers free. Sign up on-line now at www.redshoe5K.org or call 703.698.7080.
When: Saturday April 6, 2013 (09:00 AM)
Where: Dulles Station, 2303 Dulles Station Boulevard, Herndon, VA 20171
Fee: Yes, Adults $35 until March 6; Kids $25; Adults $40 until March 31; $45 after March 31.
Volunteer Info:Volunteers needed?for our Red Shoe 5K April 6th. 2 shifts 6:30AM – 8:30AM & 8AM -11AM. Water and food stations; Set up, registration, Greeters/Parking Directors, Floaters, making sure our guests have fun. Volunteers get the much-coveted dri-fit 5k shirt for free and snacks and beverages are provided throughout the day. Contact Rachel: rachel@rmhcdc.org or at 703.698.7080.
Contact: Rachel, (703) 698-7080 ext 220

Help Clean Up Rock Creek Volunteer on April 6

Rock Creek Conservancy (formerly Friends of Rock Creek’s Environment)
It’s time to give Rock Creek and its beautiful parks a spring cleaning. Sign up for the Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup this Saturday! Rock Creek Conservancy is mobilizing volunteers at over 60 Rock Creek locations. Visit rockcreekconservancy.org to find a spot near you. Most of the cleanups will take place on Saturday, April 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Check the site you are interested in for details. Register today! Some of the sites are highly popular and filling up quickly with volunteers. This is a fun, worthwhile opportunity for people of all ages to work together to make a real difference for our parks. Student Service Learning credit is available. The fifth annual Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup is part of the larger Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Rock Creek Conservancy works in partnership with Montgomery County Parks, the National Park Service, and the Alice Ferguson Foundation to field volunteers for the event. Bring your friends and families and join your neighbors in working for a clean Rock Creek! And please help spread the word to others who might be interested.
When: Saturday April 6, 2013 (09:00 AM – 12:00 NOON)
Where: Rock Creek Watershed, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814
Fee: No
Volunteer Info: We will be cleaning up the entire Rock Creek Watershed from the headwaters in Laytonsville, MD to the Mouth of Rock Creek in Georgetown.
Contact: Karen Zeiter, (301) 775-2960

Outreach Visits to Low-income Seniors

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be coordinating outreach visits to isolated, low-income seniors in their homes.
When: Saturday April 6, 2013 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge St. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Fee: No
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will receive a brief orientation and then go out in pairs or groups to visit with seniors in their homes.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698

I, Jack, am the Knave of Hearts

District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC)
I, Jack, am the Knave of Hearts takes the audience on a journey of discovery and reckoning as Don Juan bursts through the fissure that separates mortality from eternal damnation and tries desperately to remember who he was, discover what he is doing here now and uncover why he has been allowed to escape. “You want to know what Hell is like? Hell is to be aware when there is nothing to be aware of and nothing to be aware with but your own desire? Hell is the end of hope.” John Carter, a local poet who has turned his hand to playwriting over the past fifteen years, deftly merges lyrical language with narrative as he delves layer by layer into the complex nature of Don Juan’s reflections on a life he would have lived in no other way; even with the full knowledge of the resulting punishment. His last play, Lou, based on the life of Lou Salome received critical acclaim in the New York Fringe Festival last year.
When: Saturday April 6, 2013 (7:30 PM)
Where: DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St Washington, DC 20009
Fee: Yes, $25.00
Contact: B. Stanley, (202 ) 462-7833

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion

Dance Place
Inspired by the 1991 film, Boyz N The Hood, and the early writings of W.E.B Dubois, New York based Kyle Abraham investigates the rich history of urban culture and the rise and fall of community. Set to a mix of operatic scores with the sounds of an urban city, the work blends bold imagery with subtlety into a tapestry of visual and emotional depth. Co-presented with Reston Centerstage. Funded in part by the NEA, MAAF ArtsCONNECT and NEFA.
When: Saturday April 6, 2013 (8:00 PM)
Fee: Yes, $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608

ETC/ArtStream OnStage present The Final Showdown and Lights, Camera, Chaos.

Educational Theatre Company
Inclusive Theatre Companies are directed by trained theatre professionals and feature actors with intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities and on the Autism Spectrum. An original script is developed during the rehearsal process through improvisation techniques. A play is scripted and then blocked, memorized by the actors and performed for the public. The final production is designed to showcase each actor?s unique talents.
When: Saturday April 6, 2013 (8:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Where:Gunston Theatre One, 2700 South Lang Street, Arlington, VA 22206
Fee: no
Volunteer Info: ArtStream,Inc is producing two original musical comedies featuring actors with and without cognitive disabilities and WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! We need 3-4 people to help run simple sound cues or help our actors backstage.
Contact: Jennie Lutz, (301) 565-4567

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion

Dance Place
Inspired by the 1991 film, Boyz N The Hood, and the early writings of W.E.B Dubois, New York based Kyle Abraham investigates the rich history of urban culture and the rise and fall of community. Set to a mix of operatic scores with the sounds of an urban city, the work blends bold imagery with subtlety?into a tapestry of visual and emotional depth. Co-presented with Reston Centerstage. Funded in part by the NEA, MAAF ArtsCONNECT and NEFA.
When: Sunday April 7, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee: yes, $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608

Day of Giving

Happy Thanksgiving, Greater Washington! If you’re looking to support or volunteer with an organization in your neighborhood on this coming holiday weekend, we have the list for you. Check out what’s needed and what you can do at some of Catalogue’s human service nonprofits. (And we’ll be back to our regular GoodWorks programming on Monday)

Carpenter’s Shelter: Alexandria, VA

Each family, more than 100 in total, in the Aftercare program receives a basket full of essential ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner. Items needed range from boxes of stuffing to mashed potatoes to ziploc bags. Full list right here:

Doorways for Women and Families: Arlington, VA

Doorways, which strives to end domestic violence and homelessness, offers 6 ways to help out throughout this holiday season, including sponsoring a family and purchasing cards drawn by a child in the housing program.

FACETS Cares: Fairfax, VA

Seeking cooks for Turkeys and side dishes (ingredients provided) on November 22-24, volunteers to assemble and deliver food on Thanksgiving, AND food drive assistants that weekend! All info is right here.

Food for Others: Fairfax, VA

A full calendar of volunteer opportunities from 9 AM to 5 PM today and tomorrow includes directing truck traffic, sorting food, and distributing it to clients. Interested? Read the full schedule here or email nclifford@foodforothers.org.

Lorton Community Action Center: Lorton, VA

In serving clients of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, LCAC is not seeking the traditional American Thanksgiving provisions. A complete list is right here. The drop-off date was last Sunday, but give LCAC a call (contact info below) to see if they have everything that they need.

Manna Food Center: Gaithersburg, MD

Check out Channel 9′s report on Manna’s “need for turkeys” (and other protein items) from earlier this month. You can drop off food donations from 8 AM to 4 PM today and tomorrow, but locations are closed on Thursday.

Miriam’s Kitchen: Washington, DC

All volunteer spots are booked for Thanksgiving, but do check out the coverage of Miriam’s Kitchen on USA Today. This holiday, Miriam’s will be serving 150 homeless people its first all-organic or local Thanksgiving dinner (turkey included).

Our Daily Bread: Fairfax, VA

Every Saturday, November 5 through December 10, Our Daily Bread and Combined Properties host a fall food drive; full list of locations here. You also can sponsor a family through the holiday season.