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Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454.

This free listing is reserved for activities and events that are open to the public at no or minimal cost.

Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) invites men in Loudoun County to participate in the Loudoun County Community Fatherhood Program (LCCFP). Beginning in August, sessions will allow fathers and father figures to learn about and discuss the joys and challenges of being a dad.

This is a free, voluntary program where dads meet to share and learn tools of being a dad. Dads meet for two hours, twice a month every other Saturday for four months. Groups focus on specific ages: newborns/infant/toddlers, preschool/school age, preteen/teens. Sessions are forming to begin on Aug. 26 in the Leesburg area. Contact Maureen Collins at 703-404-1901, mcollins@nvfs.org or Thom Beres, dadsproject@adelphia.net.

The Special Olympics fall season is beginning. For qualifying information, and to sign up, call the Special Olympics Loudoun area coordinator at 703-777-0438. The schedule is as follows:

* Equestrian (limited participation), begins Aug. 27, practices Sundays, 12-4:30 p.m. staggered

* Volleyball, begins Aug. 30, practice Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m.

* Soccer, begins Aug. 29, practices Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:15-7:15 p.m.

* Unified Team Bowling (four person), begins Sept. 10, practices Sundays, 12-3 p.m.

* Cheerleading, begins October, practices Fridays, 5:30- 7 p.m.

Voce Chamber Singers, a 24-member mixed choral ensemble, will hold auditions for its 2006-2007 concert series. There are openings in all voice parts, and all soloists are selected from within the ensemble.

Voce rehearses on Monday evenings, September through May, in Vienna, and performs in Northern Virginia.

Auditions will be scheduled on the evenings of Aug. 30 and 31, and at other times by appointment. To schedule an audition, leave a message at 703-277-7772 or send an e-mail VoceVA@hotmail.com with your choral experience and contact information. Visit Voce's Web site at www.voce.org.

An online auction benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, will take place Sept. 3-16. Local businesses and restaurants have donated gift cards and other items to raise money for the Society. Bidding will take place at www.leahandfriendsteam.com.

Throughout the month of September, Cold Stone Creamery locations will be selling Make-A-Wish wall stars, benefiting he Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic. The month-long fund-raiser will culminate with the WorldÕs Largest Ice Cream Social Sept. 28. From 5-8 p.m., customers visiting a Cold Stone Creamery location will receive a free serving of ColeÕs Creation while being encouraged to donate to the foundation. Donations accepted during September will directly benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic, a nonprofit organization that fulfills the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

For a complete list of stores and more information about the fund-raiser, visit coldstonecreamery.com. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic, visit midatlantic.wish.org.

The USO of Metropolitan Washington is seeking entries for its annual photography contest. Submissions should have a military theme with a local emphasis. Photos from sites in and around the Maryland/Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia areas are preferred.

The deadline for entries is Oct. 16 and the winner will be chosen and notified Nov. 20. The winner will receive $300 in cash and the photo will appear on the cover of the 2007 USO Guide to Washington and Baltimore, published in January, 2007. The winning photo will also appear as the opening page on USO-Metro's Web site, www.USOMetroDC.org.

Photos which do not win the contest may be used in other publications, with attribution. Written permission to publish photos must accompany submissions.

The contest is open to all military identification card holders including retirees, members of the reserves and National Guard as well as Department of Defense civilians, members of the Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine.

To submit photos to: USO-Metro Photography Contest, ATTN: Erica Chapman, P.O. Box 1710, Ft. Myer, VA 22211. For more information, call 703-696-5655.

George Mason University and the Loudoun Youth Initiative (LYI) have joined together to gather youth input as part of a community needs assessment that will inform and advise youth serving organizations in the county of Loudoun. Beginning with a summit that included youth and community leaders, continuing with a telephone survey that is being conducted this summer, followed by a series of youth focus groups that will be conducted in September, this youth and community outreach will result in a revised Strategic Plan for the LYI.

The culmination of this effort will be the third annual Step Up Loudoun event Nov. 9, that will focus on commitment, coordination and communication while working towards addressing the needs of county youth.

For more information, contact Tim Chesnutt, director of the Loudoun Youth Initiative, at 703-737-8346.

The Loudoun County Office of Solid Waste Management (OSWM) recently helped arrange a donation of 1,000 unused bicycle tires to the nonprofit group Bikes for the World.

Wavecrest Laboratories LLC contacted the OSWM concerning proper disposal of 1,000 unused bicycle tires. Kate Glass, Loudoun County's recycling coordinator, contacted Keith Oberg, director of the Arlington-based group Bikes for the World about the tires. The 1,000 bicycle tires will ultimately be transported to a Bikes for the World warehouse for placement in community development programs in developing countries.

Glass reminds businesses that they are required to recycle and that the OSWM can provide assistance identifying recycling opportunities for everything from newspapers to bicycle tires. More information about business recycling requirements is available on the Loudoun County

Web site at www.loudoun.gov/oswm/recycle/business.htm.

Bikes for the World accepts donations from corporate and private donors. More information is available on the group's Web site at www.bikesfortheworld.org.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma SocietyÕs Team In Training (TNT) program has guaranteed race entries into the 2006 Marine Corps Marathon. TNT trains participants with help from certified coaches who develop a training program. In addition to running, the TNT also has a walk and run/walk program where participants with different abilities can alternate running and walking.

As participants train for the marathon, they also help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society raise money to fund cancer research and patient support services.

Individuals interested in joining the TNT program for the Marine Corps Marathon or any of TNTÕs fall season events, call 703-960-1100 or visiting www.teamintraining.org/nca.

The grassroots nonprofit organization, Operation Pinecone, based in South Riding, strives to support the service members and their families by sending care packages abroad and delivering comfort items and providing support in various ways to service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. There are collection boxes for donations for this cause throughout Loudoun County. Visit Operation Pinecone, www.operationpinecone.org.

The Loudoun School Community Coalitions sponsor the ÒParents Who Host Lose the MostÓ campaign to reduce underage drinking and is asking parents to take a survey by visiting www.loudoun.k12.va.us, and click on the Òfor ParentsÓ button, then ÒCoalitions,Ó then the George Mason University survey button. It takes about three minutes, then hit the submit button.

Sponsored by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Preloaded Playaway, a self-playing, self-contained digital audio book, audio books will be available by the end of June at all Loudoun County Public Library branches. Each palm-sized unit is permanently loaded with one audio book. Each Playaway is packaged with earphone, a lanyard and batteries.

Residents and businesses using the Loudoun County Recycling Drop-off Centers are reminded that the recycling centers accept only mixed bottles, cans, and paper. Specifically, items that are accepted at the recycling centers include clear- and colored-glass bottles and jars; aluminum and steel cans; plastic bottles and jugs Ñ beverage, detergent and squeeze bottles and jugs only; newspapers; magazines; phone books; catalogs; junk mail; office paper; cardboard; and paperboard such as cereal boxes.

Items that are not accepted at the centers include plastic bags; plastic flower pots; Styrofoam; or any other type of plastic that is not specifically a bottle or jug; window glass; plate-glass; porcelain; wood; yard waste; furniture; needles; nails; construction materials; electronics; hazardous chemicals or chemical containers; and motor oil containers.

If an item is not listed on the sign as acceptable for recycling, do not deposit it in the recycling bin, and instead call the Loudoun County Office of Solid Waste Management at 703-777-0187. For more information visit www.loudoun.gov/oswm.

Loudoun Volunteer Services (LVS) has teamed with the White House to become a certifying organization for the "President's Volunteer Service Awards," a national program recognizing Americans who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service. Issuing the award is the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation chaired by two-time Super Bowl Champion Darrell Green, with former U.S. Sens. Bob Dole and John Glenn as honorary co-chairs and composed of leaders in government, media, entertainment, business, education, nonprofit and volunteer service organizations and community volunteering. As one of the certifying organizations, LVS hopes to encourage and strengthen youth volunteerism in Loudoun County. Students in grades kindergaren-12th can visit their school's guidance office for a Student Volunteer Hours form, or go to www.loudoun.gov/pio/volunteer.htm.

The Senior Center at Cascades Marketplace, 21060 Whitfield Place, Sterling, is collecting unused eyeglasses to be recycled foe people who cannot afford to purchase eyeglasses. Call 703-430-2397.

The 24th annual Northern Virginia Senior Olympics will be held Sept. 16-28 with more than 20 events from track and field to cards, bowling and golf scheduled at various venues throughout Northern Virginia. Participants must be 50 years of age by Dec. 31, and live in a sponsoring jurisdiction. Registration fee is $10 for one event and $1 for each additional event. Deadline is Sept. 1. Opening day ceremonies will be held Sat., Sept. 16, 9:30 a.m. at Falls Church High School, 7521 Jaguar Trail. The public and volunteers are welcome. Call 703-228-3600, Ext. 9996 or visit www.novaseniorolympics.com.

Leadership Loudoun, a 10-month program dedicated to developing and engaging leaders who work together to serve the good of Loudoun County, is accepting applications for the Class of 2007. The program begins in October.

During the program year, participants explore current challenges facing the county and learn how to become agents of change.

Graduates of the program are active in the county as they serve on boards, commissions and committees and volunteer with area nonprofits and community organizations.

The application deadline is Sept. 1. Contact Robin Geiger at 703-771-5511 or by e-mail at rgeiger@loudoun.gov.

The Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra will hold auditions for the 2006-2007 season. Open to young musicians age 10-18 years who have had a minimum of two years of private instruction or who have participated in a school band or orchestra program for two years. The orchestra meets weekly in Leesburg, performs three-four times per year and is conducted by Mark Allen McCoy. Auditions will be held Saturday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 17, at Loudoun Country Day School in Leesburg. There is no audition fee, however, individuals must preregister to arrange an audition.

The audition requirements are a short solo, scales up to three flats and three sharps, two or three octaves, and sight-reading. Students must provide their own instrument. A limited number of financial aid scholarships are available. Contact the Loudoun Symphony office at 703-771-8287 or e-mail LSYO@loudounsymphony.org.

The Loudoun Symphony announces performing opportunities for paid principal string positions and for nonpaid section strings and brass positions for the 2006-2007 season. Paid principal string positions are assistant concertmaster and principal viola. Nonpaid positions are second trumpet, fourth horn and section strings. Auditions will take place in the afternoon Sunday, Sept. 10, in Leesburg. The orchestra rehearsals for the 2006-2007 season are Wednesday evenings, September 2006-May 2007.

Individuals interested in auditioning should specify the instrument and send name, address, and daytime phone number along with a $5 nonrefundable fee payable to: Loudoun Symphony, P.O. Box 4478, Leesburg, VA 20177. Repertoire and an audition time slot will be forwarded by mail. Call the Loudoun Symphony office at 703-771-8287.

Leesburg Crossroads' ÒFall into the ArtsÓ committee invites all Northern Virginia artists, in any fine-art media, to submit work for a juried art exhibit at LeesburgÕs fourth annual ÒFall into the Arts festival.Ó This yearÕs festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., in historic downtown Leesburg.

Artists may submit up to three original works as photos, slides or jpegs to ÒFall into the Arts Jury,Ó c/o Loudoun Academy of the Arts, 222 South King St., Leesburg, VA 20175 or e-mail jpegs to lcapraro@leesburgva.gov. The entry deadline is Sept. 14. Call 703-737-7084 or visit www.fallintothearts.org.

The Loudoun Youth Advisory Council is recruiting youth representatives in grades ninth-12th, for the 2006-2007 school year. The Loudoun Youth Advisory Council is a consortium of youth representatives from Loudoun County's public, private, parochial and home schools who promote leadership and advocate for youth issues to community leaders and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

Council meetings are held the second Monday of each month in the Board of Supervisors meeting room of the Loudoun County Government Center, located at 1 Harrison St., S.E., Leesburg.

The application can be found on the Loudoun Youth Initiative Web site at www.loudounteens.org. For more information about the Youth Advisory Council or the Loudoun Youth Initiative, contact Angela Johnson, Loudoun Youth Initiative at 571-258-3135 or by e-mail at ajohnso1@loudoun.gov.

Area stores in cooperation with the Loudoun United Way, the Loudoun County Department of Family Services and local nonprofit human service agencies, are holding a drive in August to collect school supplies for children who cannot afford them. Donate needed school supplies at local Loudoun Giant stores, Leesburg Pharmacy, Cascades Library and all Loudoun County Community Centers.

Loudoun nonprofits, government agencies and elementary schools working with low-income families will distribute the supplies in time for school in September. In addition to the Needed items include book bags, spiral notebooks, three-ring binders, pencils, loose leaf 3-ring paper, scissors Ñ round end, rulers, crayons, composition books, pocket folders, Kleenex, plastic storage bags, liquid soap and lots of miscellaneous items. Call the Department of Family Services at 703-771-5718.

Loudoun Volunteer Services (LVS) is seeking nominations for outstanding student volunteers, to be recognized as Student Volunteer of the Month.

The qualifying student, or group of students, must be enrolled in Loudoun County public, private or home-school grades kindergarten through 12th. Nominees must demonstrate contributions to the Loudoun County community through exceptional volunteer service.

Students who are selected as Student Volunteer of the Month will receive recognition through their school, the media and Loudoun Volunteer Services' Web site and will receive a $100 donation to a local nonprofit of the student's choice. Recognition is given monthly, during the school year, September through June.

For a written description of the nomination process and criteria, contact Lisa Rose, volunteer coordinator, at 703-777-0113 or visit www.loudoun.gov/pio/volunteer.htm.