260 Reasons to Smile

We simply can’t say enough about the incredible volunteers at SCAN. Every day, our amazing volunteers are in local courtrooms advocating for children, empowering parents at classes and support groups, and educating our community about why child abuse prevention is so important. They’re helping SCAN’s office run smoothly, attending board meetings, appearing on radio shows, managing our website and making sure our events are successful. And it’s because of those more than 260 people that we were able to change the lives of more than a thousand children and families last year.

Last month we celebrated our volunteers at a recognition party (including a pictionary-down-the-lane type game that had us all laughing…see the last photo below!)

But to be honest–we celebrate our volunteers every day we make a difference at SCAN.

We’d love to celebrate you! Ready to volunteer? Learn more here.

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Croquet Day in Pictures

As we gear up for our next special event on Monday (our 17th Annual Tee-Off for Children & Families Golf Tournament) we thought it was the perfect time to share some of the favorite photos from our most recent event–Croquet Day! Its success raising more than $30,000 on May 18th has been covered by local media here, here and here, and we’re so grateful that so many (over 200+) friends made it all possible. Enjoy the pics…and stay tuned for Golf Tournament photos next week on our Facebook page here!

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Words and images from a week in our Parent Education Program

We love sharing SCANSnapshot posts here on the blog. Giving you a glimpse of our programs – the parents, children and volunteers who make it all happen – is a great way for us to show you the things we could never fully explain with words alone, including…

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The quiet interest and uncertainty of parents as facilitators begin to share knowledge the first night of Parenting Class…

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The giggles and joy in the Children’s Program as the kids jump into their first yoga class…

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The sense of security when parents sit with others who will not judge, but understand their struggles…

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The excitement that comes with opportunities to reach new communities of families, like the Spanish-speaking parents at two local schools who will be a part of our brand new Parent Cafe series launching next month.

Interest. Joy. Security. Excitement. Want to learn more about our Parent Education Program and its impact on local families? Click here.

A week at SCAN: Collaboration at its best!

It’s been a busy week here at SCAN. Staff members have been everywhere from The McCoart Administration Building in Prince William County to the Arlington CAC, from one of our Parent Support Groups in South Fairfax County to our very own offices here in Alexandria.

So much of what we do at SCAN is made possible by the strong ties we have with dozens of community partners across Northern Virginia. This week was a perfect example of how we nurture that powerful network, so we thought we’d share a few photos and updates from a week on the road (and why our partners are so important):

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1. Our Education Program Manager, Rebekah Beck, attended a meeting this week with the Child Protection Partnership, a multi-jurisdictional network of professionals and citizens who exchange ideas and seek constructive ways to eliminate child abuse and neglect in the Greater Prince William Area. Many CPP members are also active participants in SCAN’s Allies in Prevention Coalition.

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2. SCAN’s Executive Director, Sonia Quinonez, sits on the Executive Committee of the Alexandria Council of Human Services Organizations (ACHSO), which also met this week. ACHSO works in a collaborative way to improve human services to benefit the entire Alexandria Community. The result? An innovative and integrated human services model. The group just finalized a webpage listing its statement of purpose and current members here.

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3. Some of our greatest collaborations aren’t local. SCAN’s Parent Education Coordinator, Sam Poyta, participated in a call yesterday with the Virginia State Circle of Parents Network. These quarterly calls allow us the chance to network with other organizations providing Circle of Parents Support Groups throughout the state, offering us various perspectives and a
chance to learn from others providing Circle of Parents groups. The calls are led by PCAV’s Julie Rivnak-McAdam who is a great source of support and a tireless advocate of parent leadership and development. SCAN implements three Educational Parent Support Groups (one in English and two in Spanish) using the Circle of Parents® model.

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4. We also hosted a meeting this week for our 25th Anniversary Planning Committee. And what a guest list! This SCAN “Dream Team” included three of the four Executive Directors we’ve had, our current Board President and two former Board Presidents. Kind of makes you want to get involved with our 25th anniversary, huh!?

We’re proud of the many community partnerships we have, but the most important collaborations we make are one-on-one. With volunteers. With donors. With the community members we serve. If you’re not already involved, we’d love for YOU to be one of the new personal connections we make in 2013. Please contact us or comment below for more info!

Raising Issues, Raising Voices

Last week we hosted a special Training for Citizen Advocates on Children’s Issues. So often at SCAN we work directly with individual children and families, but we also take time to focus on state-wide issues impacting thousands of families in our region. Along with Prevent Child Abuse VirginiaVoices for Virginia’s Children and The Commonwealth Institute we hosted elected officials Sen. Barbara Favola (a SCAN Honorary Board Member), Del. Charniele Herring and Del. Dave Albo (see a photo of our guests at the bottom of this post!)  The day included a basic advocacy training and policy briefing, as well as a legislative briefing for the more than 50 participants learning how to best make their voices heard on behalf of children and families.

(The press was there, too! Read more about the training in the West End Alexandria Patch here.)

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So many of our friends and supporters ask us how their voices can be heard as they speak up for children in our community. Here are three basic steps based on what we learned at the training to get you started:

1. Get educated. We’re especially interested in Medicaid Expansion in Virginia and what it means for children and families. Whatever the topic, learn as much as you can and be a resource for your community and local legislators. The Commonwealth Institute has great information on Medicaid Expansion here.

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2. Go to Richmond. On January 23rd, SCAN staff and volunteers with our CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Program will head to the General Assembly in Richmond for our annual Advocacy Day. Want to join us? Meet your legislators? Discuss children’s issues? Contact us for more information.

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3. Contact your legislators. You may hear it all the time, but one of the elected officials at our training said that if their office receives just FIVE LETTERS on a particular subject, then it’s important enough to take more time on that issue. FIVE LETTERS! What an empowering piece of information! Our Virginia legislators cover so many issues in a given year, and they rely on constituents to voice their concerns and help them focus on the most critical topics. Find out who your legislators are here.

It’s so important that we KEEP TALKING. So, how do you advocate for children and families? What issues are most important to you and your community as we head into the 2013 legislative session? Let us know in the comments section below.

SCANSnapshot: An anything-but-routine routine

Our most recent Allies in Prevention Coalition gathering was an average, run-of-the-mill meeting for us. Twenty+ attendees? Check. Hosted at a local public building? Check. Lunch provided? Check.

But the funny thing is, these meetings are anything but average. You see, the Coalition brings together local child & family advocates from across Northern Virginia on a quarterly basis and the results are remarkable: resources are shared across jurisdictions, issues brought to light and addressed as a larger community, and direct resource providers–those working on a daily basis with some of our community’s most at-risk families–find a source of energy and inspiration in what can be a very challenging,  draining work environment.

We’re proud of the work this Coalition does, everything from distributing thousands of parent education materials to honoring local prevention heroes every April to simply providing a sounding board and shoulder for those working every day to change the lives of children in our community.

Our September meeting, captured in photos above, focused on the Importance of Routine in the lives of children. (You can find the fact sheets we developed in English and Spanish here.) What a fitting word to bring up–“routine”–as we touch on the importance of these regularly scheduled Coalition meetings. They provide a sense of stability and connection to other local child advocates, a source of resources and respite in an often stressful and overwhelming industry.

This is a routine we’re proud to provide. And we invite you to join us anytime! In fact, our next Coalition gathering is a great opportunity:

Speak Up for Children: Training for Virginia Child Advocates

November 30, 2012

9:00 – 2:00 PM  |  Advocacy Training, Policy Briefing, Legislative Briefing

2:30 – 4:00 PM  |  Allies in Prevention Coalition Quarterly Meeting

> Learn more about the event on Facebook

> REGISTER FOR THE EVENT

We hope to see you there! Questions? Feel free to contact us at info@scanva.org

Please consider JOINING the Coalition! Learn more here.

SCANSnapshot: A SCAN Family Portrait

Ever take one of those photos that you just can’t stop looking at? A photo that makes you feel good, energized and just plain old happy? Well, we took a whole bunch of those photos at our recent Volunteer Appreciation Party and just had to share:

You see, every face above is a person making a difference at SCAN. They are volunteers. Board members. Staff members. And donors, too. The people who are committed—in diverse ways—to ending child abuse and supporting families in Northern Virginia. We hope you look at these photos and feel good, energized and happy too. And maybe—just maybe—inspired to be a part of this incredible group of people. (If you can’t wait one more second, check out our volunteer opportunities here.)

Below, State Senator and SCAN Honorary Board Member Barbara Favola offers inspiring words and smiles to the group at SCAN’s Volunteer Appreciation party.

Volunteers and staff (below) were honored to have a representative from the Arlington County Bar Association join them, presenting a check to support SCAN’s Alexandria/Arlington CASA Program.

And we had to include this photo, too—it kind of says it all. A board member, a volunteer, a donor and a staff member. It takes ALL kinds of support to make an organization like SCAN work. And we’re incredibly grateful—good, energized and happy too!—to have such great people be part of SCAN’s family.

SCANSnapshot: Pictures that make a difference

Leon Harris & Alison Starling from ABC7 entertain the audience.

We’re still enjoying the feedback from our event on Wednesday, when SCAN and its Allies in Prevention Coalition hosted the 10th Annual Allies in Prevention Awards.

Alexandria honoree Erick T. King (center) with Judge Stephen Rideout and Leon Harris.

The goal? It was two-fold: to honor five local heroes for their work to protect children and support families, AND to kick off our 2012 Northern Virginia Child Abuse Prevention Campaign The Little Picture for National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

Arlington honoree Valerie Cuffee (center) with SCAN Executive Director Sonia Quinonez and Leon Harris.

The result? We couldn’t be happier…with the support of our sponsors, including Campaign Sponsor Verizon…with the smiles on people’s faces as our emcees Leon Harris and Alison Starling set the positive tone…with the stories shared about how every award winner (not to mention our Keynote Speaker Judge Stephen Rideout) has changed the lives of countless families across our community…with the media coverage in places like ABC7 and AlexandriaNews.org (stay tuned next week for more in other local papers, too!)

The late Cynthia Hull was honored as the Fairfax recipient. Accepting on her behalf are Kerry Wilson, SCAN Executive Director Sonia Quinonez, Elizabeth McNally and Mary Agee.

Loudoun honoree Dr. William Hauda with SCAN Executive Director Sonia Quinonez and Leon Harris.

The next step? Gearing up for a HUGE April. So we hope you’ll enjoy the pictures here from the event. And then we hope you’ll join us in April to support The Little Picture, too.

(Speaking of pictures, if you’d like to see more please visit our gallery on Facebook here.)

Prince William honoree Angie Mendez with SCAN Executive Director Sonia Quinonez and Alison Starling.

SCANSnapshot: Volunteers are a beautiful thing

Last night we kicked off our new session of ABCs of Parenting classes, and we can’t think of a more beautiful picture to post this morning. This is a group of Parent Education Program volunteers who supported our last round of English and Spanish parenting classes, which resulted in 24 parents (12 from each class) completing this popular program.

Want to know something especially great about this photo? See the young man in the back row, second from the left? That’s Zachary. He plays baseball for St. John’s College High School (SJC), and helps his mom coach his sister’s softball team in a Northern Virginia league where he is also a youth umpire. He’s been a Youth Teaching Assistant at the Smithsonian Institution Summer camp (a favorite among his campers). He’s also a volunteer at SCAN.

As a junior at SJC, Zachary was required to perform 40 hours of volunteer community services for the 2010 /2011 school year.  Zach’s mom (who is a volunteer with another local CASA Program), thought earning those hours working with children while their parents attend class was a perfect fit for Zachary. He’s great with kids and had relevant experience.

Zachary says he likes being a volunteer because he gets to meet interesting people, he enjoys working with kids and he likes to be a positive role model for the children.

We’re pretty sure he’s a great role model for all of us, no matter what our ages might be. Don’t you?

SCANSnapshot: 14 new reasons to have hope

Last month we welcomed 14 new volunteers to our CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Program at a swearing-in ceremony by Alexandria and Arlington Juvenile Court Judges. These new volunteers have an incredibly diverse range of experiences and backgrounds that will be invaluable as they give a voice to abused and neglected children in our community. We welcome Claire Cifaloglio, Cary Cochran, Bishop Garrison, Laura Harmon, Elayne Haymes, Martha Napier, Laurie Nathan, Dorothy Ndegwa, Trish O’Connor McGill, Maribel Ramos, Julie Rizzo, Alexandra Roncal, Danielle Malek Roosa, and Joel Trosch. (And we can’t wait to work with them!)

Being a CASA volunteer is not easy. Perhaps that’s why we’re so inspired every time a new group of volunteers goes through the training and interviews and finally makes a commitment to our program. Whether a volunteer has been with us for 10 years or 10 days, they are an inspiration to us. A reason to believe that one more child will have an advocate working for their best interests every step of the way.

So welcome, new volunteers! And thank you for the hours of unselfish time and energy you have already given to the program and, most importantly, what you are now equipped to give to the children for whom you will advocate. YOU are the reason our advocacy makes an impact.

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