Del. Steve Shannon (D-35) joined Gov. Tim Kaine and football legend and former U.S. Rep. Steve Largent in an effort to raise awareness for a new component of Virginia's AMBER Alert program — Wireless AMBER Alerts — and to encourage Virginians to participate in this new initiative.
The AMBER Alert is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.
Wireless AMBER Alerts is an initiative to distribute AMBER Alerts to wireless subscribers who opt in to receive the messages. Subscribers capable of receiving text messages, and whose wireless carrier participates in the Wireless AMBER Alerts Initiative, may opt in to receive alerts by registering at www.wirelessamberalerts.org or their wireless carrier's Web site.
In 2001, Shannon and his wife Abby co-founded the Metropolitan Washington AMBER Plan, which served as the precursor to Virginia's statewide plan.
Sandra Berger of Vienna had her book, "College Planning for Gifted Students," published by Prufrock Press, which released the book this month. The book leads students through the college planning process, moving from self-exploration to college matching to the application process. Berger is the former "guru" for the "Ask ERIC" answer desk and the USA Today gifted education hotline. She is also a yearly presenter at the College of William & Mary's "Focus on the Future" career day each January. The book can be ordered online at www.prufrock.com, and a 20 percent discount is offered until June 30.
Frederick William Kacher, 38, of Oakton is one of 14 people from across the country who have been appointed to serve as White House Fellows. Selection as a White House Fellow is based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership skills, a strong commitment to public service, and the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute successfully at the highest levels of the federal government.
Kacher is an active duty commander in the U.S. Navy. A veteran of multiple overseas deployments, he was most recently deployed as executive officer of USS Barry, earning the Arleigh Burke Award for most improved ship in the Navy during his tenure. He has served as speechwriter to the secretary of the Navy, and his leadership articles have been featured in several publications. Kacher has been selected to write the book, "The Guide for the Newly Commissioned Officer." He serves on the National Board of Directors for the Surface Navy Association and the Navy's National Perinatal Board, dedicated to healthcare for military infants. Kacher has also volunteered as a tutor, public speaker and Sunday school teacher. In 2005 he was selected for the Admiral Zumwalt Visionary Leadership Award as the Navy's top leader below the rank of captain.
White House Fellows typically spend one year working as full-time, paid special assistants to senior White House staff, cabinet secretaries and other top-ranking government officials. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with leaders from the private and public sectors, as well as trips to study U.S. policy in action both domestically and abroad.
Anna Laura Grant and three other recently graduated Oakton High School students collected 1,000 signatures as part of the ONE Campaign to end global poverty and AIDS. The petition has been sent to U.S. Reps. Tom Davis (R-11) and Frank Wolf (R-10), as well as to the democratic candidates who will oppose them in the November elections. Grant was assisted in the project by Julia Solow, Jen Specht and Valerie Stahl.
The goal of the petition is to have the government direct an additional 1 percent of the federal budget toward fighting AIDS and poverty throughout the world. Grant found that many people she surveyed believed that over 15 percent of the budget is already spent on these countries, although that total is currently less than 1 percent.
The group collected signatures from the majority of their senior class, as well as teachers and other Oakton students. When they needed more signatures, they asked strangers at the mall or parents attending their friends' graduation parties.
The ONE Campaign states that with this 1 percent budget increase, the U.S. can keep 10 million children from becoming AIDS orphans, can provide drinking water to 900 million people around the globe, can get 104 million children into grade school and can save 6.5 million children under 5 from dying of easily preventable diseases.
Fairfax4Horses (F4H), a local nonprofit equestrian organization based in the Vienna area has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax County Park Foundation. The memorandum, signed on June 14, established a formal working relationship between F4H and the County Park organizations to coordinate efforts in bringing a public riding and boarding facility to Laurel Hill Park.
The Fairfax County Park Authority donated the land on which the equestrian center will be built. Fairfax4Horses will work closely with the Park Authority and the Park Foundation to assist as requested with the planning, design, construction and operations of the equestrian center, which is shown on the approved Master Plan and the Conceptual Development Plan for Laurel Hill Park.
As part of the agreement, the Park Foundation will provide fundraising guidance to Fairax4Horses, and work with the group to identify and obtain gifts that directly support the equestrian center.
Wheat's Landscape in Vienna has established a scholarship for outstanding community service among high school seniors, and Julia Lanzara, a graduating senior at Langley High School, was selected to receive this year's "Student Volunteer of the Year" scholarship. Lanzara was awarded $1,000 for her active participation and leadership with numerous volunteer activities throughout the community. In addition to her service record, she has also shown extensive interest in and dedication to numerous school-related and extracurricular activities.
Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), based in Oakton, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Training Futures program, which brings together low-income Northern Virginia adults who yearn for a better life and area businesses that need technology-savvy administrative staff. This month, Training Futures also enrolled its 1,000th trainee. To mark these two milestones, the program is releasing survey results that show the impact of this program. With a grant from Capital One, Training Futures conducted a survey of graduates in partnership with a third-party evaluation service, the Innovation Network. Results of the survey were to be announced at the 10th anniversary celebration on Tuesday, June 27.
Among the findings of the survey: Eighty-nine percent of Training Futures graduates are currently employed in new careers, which ranks Training Futures as one of the top-performing workforce development programs serving low-income adults in America. Average annual earnings of Training Futures graduates increased by 91 percent over their earnings from before Training Futures. More children benefit than adults — of 1,000 trainees enrolled, 1,500 children directly benefit from Training Futures when parents acquires health insurance, get paid vacations, gain access to employer child care subsidies, improve housing situations and increase savings. Also, the rate of home ownership increased by 82 percent.