Former Springfield resident Amy Lopez’s passion is helping others, and through her work as executive director of the Koinonia Foundation, she’s found a perfect profession. Among her other activities include being active in her local church, not to mention raising two young boys. Here Lopez opens up about her community concerns, what her organization is all about, and her favorite things about Springfield.
Number of years in the community: I moved to Virginia in 2001, from Chicago.
Family: I have been married for six years, and have two young boys, ages 9 months old and 3 1/2 years old. We also have two small dogs named Chewie and Anakin — my husband is a “Star Wars” fan.
Education: I received a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University in the field of music.
Your first job: My first job was administrative assistant to a commercial real estate agent. The work was fast-paced and provided the opportunity to learn essential people and office skills which I have built upon ever since.
Current job/primary occupation: I have been serving as executive director for The Koinonia Foundation, Inc. (Alexandria) since 2004. I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency, to include all services and programs, designed to meet the emergency needs of individuals and families in the community.
Activities/interests/hobbies? I am extremely passionate about the local community and serving individuals in need. While away from my work, however, I am busy with my two young boys and their individual interests — running between activities keeps our family on the move. I am also involved with our local church.
Favorite local restaurant or place in community?
I love the chopped salad from Mike's American Grill. I am also a big fan of smoothies from Robek's in Kingstowne.
What are your community concerns? What are some of the ideas you have on ways to improve the community? I am concerned that we are bringing up the children in our community to be morally responsible and respectful of their neighbors. We are surrounded by so much news of hostility and actions against one another, that it’s almost too difficult to shield our children from the horror. We must choose to be intentional about raising our children to be aware of our differences, understand that our community is diverse and unique, and teach them to honor our neighbors with kindness and goodness.
What is the last book you read, or last movie you watched? I recently finished the book “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audry Niffenegger, and just enjoyed a night out at the movies watching “Evening.”
What brought you here? We are a military family. My husband is stationed at the Washington Navy Yards with the U.S. Navy Band. After we were married, not having any knowledge of the area, we selected a community near our church and moved to Kingstowne. Since then we have lived in Springfield and recently moved to Prince William County.
What community "hidden treasure" do you think more people should know about? The lovely carousel at Lake Accotink Park.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Just like my mom! She stayed home to raise six children, and participated in every aspect of our lives. She was dedicated to the family, in every way, and loved us with everything she had.
If you were able to take a road trip anywhere right now, where would you go? Colorado. I love the mountains — the hiking trails and splendor of nature — I also love the people. A road trip, however, with two young children, may be better in the books than in reality.
What are your personal goals? To reach Heaven and hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
What does your organization do? The Koinonia Foundation, Inc. provides emergency food and clothing, as well as financial assistance for rent and utilities. Additionally we offer various programs throughout the year for children and families, such as gifts at Christmas, food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas, back-to-school supplies for school-aged children, and summer camp scholarships.
How does it benefit the community? Our assistance is designed to provide hope and help to individuals and families who are going through a crisis situation. Whether it is due to loss of employment, increased stress due to care for a family member, disability or any other such life-altering event, we are here to offer help to the hurting families in our immediate community.
If they're interested, how should people get involved? Call our office, 703-971-1991.