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Mixer Combines Charities, Businesses

Local area non-profits mix with local businesses at chamber's holiday mixer.

Twenty-two nonprofit organizations serving the Northern Virginia area displayed their information among members of Herndon's local business community at the Dec. 16 Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce holiday mixer.

The annual mixer between key representatives of local grassroots organizations and the business community offered the opportunity for the two groups to exchange ideas towards helping those in need and the possibility of future partnerships.

Charities at the mixer included:

<lst>* The Council for the Arts of Herndon: Founded in 1984, this organization is the official local arts agency and serves as an umbrella for local artists. Those interested in learning more can contact president Vicki Dorman at 703-689-9535.

* Elden Street Players: Although a community theater group, ESP steps beyond the community theater label and has been recognized for its artistic quality by The Washington Post, the local press and community theater awards programs. In addition to appealing to adults, the group's Theater for Younger Audiences draws the interest of children of all ages. Those interested in learning more can call Richard Downer at 703-435-3500.

* Express Care, Inc.: This information service helps with emergency assistance to those in need helping with medicines for individuals and families that are ineligible for health insurance from the county or who are unable to afford them due to poverty. They also offer emergency food programs to save the families from hunger, deliver groceries to homebound individuals and those in need of long-term assistance and offer seminars on attaining self-sufficiency. For more information call Naila Alam 703-456-0020.

* Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help (FISH): Provides assistance with emergency and short term needs such as rent, furniture, medical items, transportation or gas, utilities and household items. The group also operates a thrift store in Herndon and is always looking for donations and volunteers. Contact president Elizabeth Glennon at 703-437-0600 for more information.

* For Children's Sake of VA: A Christian-based, child-placing agency that provides foster care and adoption services. For more information contact Karen Rendon at 703-817-9890.

* Gabriel Homes: Founded in 1982 this private non-profit operates seven community residences in Herndon and Reston where developmentally disabled adults receive the support and encouragement they need to develop to their full potential. For more information contact Rebecca Hartner at 703-476-1592.

* Greater Herndon Community Coalition: Comprised of parents, teachers and community members, this group focuses on educating, informing and leading the Herndon High School pyramid schools and communities. Last year the group co-sponsored the Herndon High School homecoming parade, five parent workshops, created HCTV shows on subjects regarding Herndon's children and community, sponsored after-school programs at the elementary and middle schools and sponsored student peer mediation programs. For more information contact Herndon High School at 703-810-2203.

* Herndon Dulles Visitors Center, Inc.: Visitors can find maps, directions and learn about things to do and see at the center. New residents can also find information about the town and greater Dulles area. The center serves as a historical resource for those doing research on the area as well as promotes the area as a tourist destination by working closely with neighboring attractions. For more information contact Connie Hutchison at 703-437-6636.

* Herndon Foundation for the Cultural Arts Center: Created to promote and support the proposed Herndon Cultural Arts Center, this group has helped the community see that the arts center will serve the community by presenting theater, music, dance and visual arts. In addition the center will provide a community space for events and meetings in the heart of historic downtown Herndon. For more information contact president Melody Fetske at 703-437-4736.

* Herndon Rotary: Business and professional leaders unite worldwide to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world. The local chapter supports a host of endeavors including collecting for the Embry Rucker Shelter and the Salvation Army, marshaling at the Herndon Festival, supporting the Interact Club at Herndon High School and providing thousands of dollars in scholarships. For more information call president Don Owens at 703-471-0050.

* LINK, Inc.: Comprised of 14 Baptist, Brethren, Catholic, Episcopal, Fellowship, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches in the Herndon, Sterling and Ashburn areas, this all volunteer group works to feed families in need through its year-round food delivery program. In addition every Thanksgiving and Christmas season the group has a Holiday Baskets program where families can come through a church basement and select five days worth of food, new winter coats and holiday toys. For more information, to donate or volunteer call 703-437-7260.

* Martin Luther Kind, Jr. Cultural Foundation, Inc.: The purpose of this group is to assist African-American graduating seniors of the Fairfax County Public School system through college scholarships. The $1,000 cash awards are collected from the group's fund-raisers and go toward the upcoming year. Contact Myrtle Gallow at 703-709-3641 for more information.

* O'Leary's Clover Farm: A Camp for Children with Diabetes: This non-profit was formed to plan and fund a summer camp program for children with diabetes where children can experience a safe, fun and unique experience that combines diabetes education, outdoor camp activities and the arts. For more information contact Cortney O'Leary at 703-395-0860.

* Optimist Club of Herndon, Inc.: This club was developed to provide optimism as a philosophy of life, promote active interest in good government and civic affairs, inspire respect for law, promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people and encourage the development of youth. For more information contact Jerry Carter at 703-435-1668.

* Reston Interfaith, Inc.: This faith-based group works toward building a bridge between a caring community and its members in need. By promoting self-sufficiency through the support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality child care and other services the group — founded in 1970 — has since broadened its program scope and service areas to address the most pressing social needs of its neighbors. For more information contact Kerrie Wilson at 571-323-9555.

* Special Olympics, VA: This group provides the sports training and athletic competition to children and adults with mental disabilities, offering them continual opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other athletes and the community. For more information contact Michelle Gates at 703-426-5601.

* The Good Shepherd Alliance, Inc.: Since 1983 this group has provided emergency housing and support for the homeless of Loudoun County. They offer emergency food, clothing and shelter and assist in stabilizing living situations in the community and empowering families to become self-sufficient. They also operate a thrift store in Sterling. For more information contact Joyce Trickett at 703-433-2631.

* The Herndon Free Clinic, Inc.: A community-based organization, the clinic is run by volunteer healthcare professionals and community volunteers and is committed to providing access to quality health services to uninsured low-income residents of the greater Herndon area. For more information contact Jeanie Schmidt at 703-481-8160.

* Vecinos Unidos/Neighbors United: This group fosters the successful integration of the area's diverse cultures through youth with homework assistance, scouting, a pre-school program, youth soccer and educational field trips. For more information contact Chris Griffin at 703-471-0050.