The Child and Family Network Centers provides free education and social services for preschool children, and job training for their families. The children it serves are considered at-risk due to limited English proficiency and low-income backgrounds. To fulfill the need for strong educational programs, CFNC operates a year-round preschool in 10 classrooms—with literacy and language support for bilingual children in 27 languages—to prepare them for kindergarten with their peers. These programs reach out to families in their own neighborhoods and supplement the students’ education with additional resources such as health services.
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Founded in 1944 and accredited by the Humane Society in 1977, the private, nonprofit Animal Welfare League of Arlington has helped generations of stray and abandoned animals live out their days in loving, permanent homes. Hundreds of volunteers carry out services ranging from low-cost spaying and neutering for low-income families and individuals and humane education program to animal control. Within the shelter, scores of dogs, cats, and small critters such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and parakeets await new owners to take them home once the staff has ensured their full health and good behavior. The League also hosts several events throughout the year, from an annual springtime Walk for the Animals to classes that help parents prepare their existing pets for the arrival of a new baby with its swaddling blanket made of roast beef.
A-SPAN provides housing and case management for people who suffer from mental illness and substance-abuse problems through two permanent, supportive housing programs. As A-SPAN continues to expand these programs, the demand for new furniture for their clients continues to grow. Not only can a new bed help clients feel more at home, A-SPAN's staff has noticed it also can make them more appreciative of their new housing, giving them a greater incentive for staying there. Due to health concerns, A-SPAN buys new beds and cannot accept donated beds.
Arts Are For All Ages' aim is to bring classical music to people with restricted mobility and to help young musicians find outlets for their art. More than 28 young musicians performed for six senior communities during the inaugural season in 2009. Now, young musicians bring a variety of musical instruments and give live classical concerts on a regular basis for elderly neighbors who otherwise could not attend arts events.
In 1974, homeless youth were congregating in Georgetown and Dupont Circle. Deborah Shore founded Sasha Bruce Youthwork to bring counseling to these teens. The organization's first home was a donated basement in Georgetown, and its first shelter was donated in memory of Sasha Bruce, who volunteered with local youth while she was in school. Today, Sasha Bruce Youthwork improves the lives of youth who have run away or are homeless, abused, or neglected. Its counselors focus on identifying the strengths of its youth participants and empowering them to work toward more stable futures. Professionals run 18 programs throughout the city that provide shelter, counseling, life-skills training, and development activities.
Though his family hails from Italy, Chef Alfio Celia takes his cues from the French when it comes to the art of cooking. After learning the basics among French chefs, Chef Alfio sharpened his knives at various restaurants around DC before establishing a culinary consulting firm, Bella Companies. There, the chef learned how to help businesses thrive from the inside out by working with hotels, restaurants, and cafés to develop menus, provide start-up management assistance, and train new staff members. When he’s not advising clients on the finer points of the food-service industry, Chef Alfio can be found in the Bella Companies kitchen, where he helps at-home chefs thrive with his cooking classes. These sessions are open to home chefs of all experience levels. Chef Alfio provides his students with insider culinary tips, such as how whip up a large brunch feast capable of feeding the 25 or more out-of-state relatives who decided to "just drop by" your place for the weekend.