FACETS held an Academic Achievement Party last Thursday, June 27, at Old Town Hall in Fairfax City to honor 32 youth who earned A’s and B’s on their report cards and for the 13 students who graduated from high school, 12 of whom are moving on to higher education. After a potluck dinner, Mike Collins from Rep. Gerry Connolly’s office (D-11th) distributed awards and goodie bags.
“Today we recognize the success of our students and their families,” said Amanda Andere, executive director of FACETS. “Despite coming from homes with low incomes, maybe these kids will be the first to go onto college.” Some of those homes have four people living on $18,000 a year.
The students take part in the Education and Community Development Program (ECD), which serves three low-income communities by offering services to help break the cycle of poverty. These are Ragan Oaks and Robinson Square of Fairfax, and Barros Circle in Centreville. Each has a community center with computers, books and resources that are open five days a week.
FACETS has 3,000 volunteers who do mentoring and tutoring, as well as teach classes in computers, fitness, ESL, budgeting, literacy, self-esteem building and parenting classes for adults. Andere said volunteers will even help students fill out FAFSA forms and take them on college visits.
“We are working to help break the cycle of poverty by engaging the kids,” said James Williams, a community advocate in Ragan Oaks. “Any time you’re working with impoverished populations, any recognition is important.”
Stephen Amoako, 16, of Ragan Oaks is a rising junior at Fairfax High School with a 3.88 GPA. He runs track (100-m, 200-m) and will be playing football for the Rebel Lions in the fall. “Every day FACETS provides homework help,” said Amoako. “If you’re having trouble, you can always use them.”
Cydnee Lucas, 16, of Ragan Oaks is a rising junior at Fairfax High School with a 3.6 GPA. She takes part in the Fairfax Players and the Being Human Club. Lucas enjoys FACETS’s Walk for the Homeless and the field trip to Children’s Hospital where she did arts and crafts.
Lina Badawi, 8, of Ragan Oaks, is a fourth grader at Eagle View Elementary. She has been looking forward to a trip to the water park on Wednesday, July 3, with FACETS, as well as past trips to museums and monuments in the district.
Rabia Bhatti, 12, of Ragan Oaks, is a rising seventh grader at Lanier Middle School. An honors chorus student, she’s benefited from homework tutoring and also gives back by offering homework help to others. She enjoys the FACETS’s Halloween Party.
Imran Hassan, 13, of Robinson Square is a rising eighth grader at Lanier Middle School. A member of NHS, Hassan gets tutoring in math and tutors others in homework help and reading. “I’ve gone to the Halloween Party, Girl Power and YADAPP Party for anti-drug use,” she said.
Abdi Hassan, 12, of Robinson Square is a rising seventh grader at Rocky Run Middle School. An honor student, Hassan was in the Advanced Academic Program. “The volunteers are very encouraging,” he said. “They make me do well.”
To volunteer at FACETS, visit the website at www.facetscares.org or contact Alyson Zimbler at AZimbler@facetscares.org.