Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United

Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United

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WOW! Look at all these donations! We are so grateful for all the supplies and books that were donated from the teachers and staff at Forestville Elementary in Great Falls. This is going to be a huge help for our kids once the new school year starts.

http://vecinosunidos.org/2022/06/starting-the-summer-strong-with-help-from-forestville-elementary-and-rif-nova/
We did it—another year flew by!

I say it like an accomplishment because, well, it is!

Everyone who has been following us knows that this year wasn’t an easy one. To think that our program grew tremendously—welcomed in several new children and an entirely new volunteer force—and still has so much room to grow, is incredible.

We currently have 13 children on our waitlist and we hope to onboard enough new volunteers over the summer to be able to take in these new children when we return for the fall school year.

VU recently welcomed another wonderful volunteer to our Board of Directors, who has already began fostering a better relationship between our organization and schools, allowing us to provide the students with more tailored and focused support. We are excited to ramp back up in the fall, more prepared than ever to make a positive impact in the lives of our children.

At a session a couple weeks ago, we asked our children how VU has helped them. Below are a few of their replies. We found such joy in reading them, and we hope you do too.

Thanks to all our kind supporters, volunteers, donors, and friends of past and present. It’s because of you we are here today, and it’s because of you that our children have found the support they need to be successful.

Visit our blog post to view more kind words from our kids:

http://vecinosunidos.org/2022/05/a-successful-end-of-school-year-at-vecinos-unidos-including-notes-from-our-children/
25 years ago, on April 17, 1997, we opened our doors for the first time to welcome children into our program. Time flies, and we are so excited at how far we have come! For those of you who were there in the "earlier days," what are your favorite VU memories?
We had a successful bake sale this afternoon to raise funds for new books for our kids. A huge thanks to everyone who helped! We had INCREDIBLE baked goods from our talented volunteers and local bakeries, including some awesome spring treats from Great Harvest Bread Co. If you'd like to help, you can donate to our book fundraiser here: https://givebutter.com/5mzHkP
Over the past month and a half or so we've brought in 10 new students! Once we get a few more Wednesday volunteers we'll be able to register a few more. The new kids are FABULOUS. They are so sweet and willing to help out with setup. ❤ We recently updated our gift list, in case you want to donate new books or supplies for the homework program. It's located at the bottom of our donate page: http://vecinosunidos.org/donate/
We accomplished a lot in 2021, including onboarding an entire team of new volunteers, welcoming several new children into the program, and strengthening our leadership team. Read all the details here! http://vecinosunidos.org/2022/01/summarizing-all-the-pandemic-craziness-that-vecinos-unidos-endured-in-2021-or-a-2021-year-end-update/
We're featured on the Dominion High School DHS Press! Check it out, and take a look at all the other great organizations represented! https://dhspress.com/6846/uncategorized/vecinos-unidos/
We are back in person three days a week, thanks to our AWESOME volunteer staff! We are finally bringing more children into join the program and are making plans to return to a full 4-day week in the new year. Woohoo! 🙌
It's been a while since we shared photos of the kids! Here are some of our students and volunteers hard at work. Make sure to follow Vecinos Unidos on Instagram for more updates!
https://www.instagram.com/vecinosunidos_herndon/
We had an awesome time last night representing VU at Dominion High School's Volunteer Fair! We met a lot of students interested in helping out, and connected with a few of the other wonderful organizations giving back to our community. So excited to say that we're at a point where we are looking to bring in more children to the program, now that we finally have enough volunteers to support!🤩 Woohoo!!!
Things are going great so far! Our new volunteers are settling in so well, and our kids are getting back into the swing of things. Mondays and Wednesdays we have in-person volunteer sessions, and on Tuesdays we started a virtual reading group. We have heard AWESOME things about the virtual reading, and we are so grateful to have one of our volunteers lead that each week via Zoom.

We are still very actively (perhaps a bit desperately, too?) trying to increase our volunteer numbers -- if you know of any groups or people in the area who might be interested, please spread the word. We are planning to return to a full, four-day week once we have enough help.

Here's a photo of a few kids who received prizes for completing the summer program. They certainly grew up since we last saw them in person more than a year ago!!
A few weeks into the new school year, and it's time to get the kids looking forward to new and exciting things! (P.S. look at what a talented artist our new volunteer is!)

Staffed entirely by volunteers and funded solely by donations and grants, Vecinos Unidos helps stude

Vecinos Unidos is a non-profit volunteer organization based in Herndon, Virginia. We provide free homework assistance and enrichment to students in need. Founded in 1997 as an organization dedicated to providing children with safe and engaging after-school activities, we are committed to helping our students overcome academic achievement gaps. With our caring volunteers to guide them, students experience improved academic success and greater confidence in their ability to learn and achieve.

12/22/2022

We had an awesome holiday party last week! The children received gifts from Floris United Methodist Church and were very thrilled! We are so grateful to have wonderful organizations like Floris in our community. ❤️

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 11/27/2022

Giving Tuesday is this week! This year, we're hoping to raise $8,000 to continue our homework assistance program.

DONATE HERE: https://givebutter.com/DsTFsH

As you know, VU is an all-volunteer organization. Our students cannot meet their goals without support. We apply for local grants and corporate gifts, but we must also rely on the community and are asking for your help to keep this vital program going.

Here are some examples of how your contribution can help:
$10 - one book for a child
$50 - snacks for the children for one week
$250 - learning materials and supplies for one semester for 2 children
$500 - a safe space (rent) for one month or the opportunity to send 3 children to our new summer program in 2023

Please consider supporting the students! THANK YOU! ❤️

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 11/03/2022

We had an AWESOME Halloween party last week with the children and their families, which was generously sponsored by Sam's Club! We'll have more details to share shortly about the wonderful things that have happened this month.

10/13/2022

Our children were SO excited to receive new books yesterday! Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) of NOVA donated funds to gift our kids brand new books to take home. We are thrilled to help our kids discover the joy of reading ❤️
http://vecinosunidos.org/2022/10/inspiring-children-to-love-reading-with-help-from-rif-nova/

09/25/2022

Sandra and Alejandro were very focused on their work this week! We love seeing our returning students grow and improve each year.

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 09/18/2022

We're back in action! We just wrapped up a fantastic first week and welcomed several new students and volunteers to the program.

We are lucky to have such a fantastic group of volunteers from high schools and colleges, as well as working and retired adults—coming from all corners of Fairfax County to help our children.

Each of our children has a personalized binder with reading, writing, and math materials so that our volunteers know each child’s area of focus. The kids loved decorating their binder colors, writing their goals, and learning their reading level!

07/31/2022

VU needs volunteers! We are getting ready for our first day back and are looking for volunteers (age 16+) to help at our homework assistance program one evening a week, Mon-Thu from 4:30-6:00 pm. We have 15 children on our waitlist who are hoping to join, but are unable to until we have more volunteers. Please share this opportunity with anyone interested in making a difference in children's lives. Apply now at http://vecinosunidos.org/programs/homework-assistance/

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 06/26/2022

WOW! Look at all these donations! We are so grateful for all the supplies and books that were donated from the teachers and staff at Forestville Elementary in Great Falls. This is going to be a huge help for our kids once the new school year starts.

http://vecinosunidos.org/2022/06/starting-the-summer-strong-with-help-from-forestville-elementary-and-rif-nova/

05/25/2022

We did it—another year flew by!

I say it like an accomplishment because, well, it is!

Everyone who has been following us knows that this year wasn’t an easy one. To think that our program grew tremendously—welcomed in several new children and an entirely new volunteer force—and still has so much room to grow, is incredible.

We currently have 13 children on our waitlist and we hope to onboard enough new volunteers over the summer to be able to take in these new children when we return for the fall school year.

VU recently welcomed another wonderful volunteer to our Board of Directors, who has already began fostering a better relationship between our organization and schools, allowing us to provide the students with more tailored and focused support. We are excited to ramp back up in the fall, more prepared than ever to make a positive impact in the lives of our children.

At a session a couple weeks ago, we asked our children how VU has helped them. Below are a few of their replies. We found such joy in reading them, and we hope you do too.

Thanks to all our kind supporters, volunteers, donors, and friends of past and present. It’s because of you we are here today, and it’s because of you that our children have found the support they need to be successful.

Visit our blog post to view more kind words from our kids:

http://vecinosunidos.org/2022/05/a-successful-end-of-school-year-at-vecinos-unidos-including-notes-from-our-children/

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 05/07/2022

25 years ago, on April 17, 1997, we opened our doors for the first time to welcome children into our program. Time flies, and we are so excited at how far we have come! For those of you who were there in the "earlier days," what are your favorite VU memories?

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 04/16/2022

We had a successful bake sale this afternoon to raise funds for new books for our kids. A huge thanks to everyone who helped! We had INCREDIBLE baked goods from our talented volunteers and local bakeries, including some awesome spring treats from Great Harvest Bread Co. If you'd like to help, you can donate to our book fundraiser here: https://givebutter.com/5mzHkP

Donate – Vecinos Unidos 03/07/2022

Donate – Vecinos Unidos

Over the past month and a half or so we've brought in 10 new students! Once we get a few more Wednesday volunteers we'll be able to register a few more. The new kids are FABULOUS. They are so sweet and willing to help out with setup. ❤ We recently updated our gift list, in case you want to donate new books or supplies for the homework program. It's located at the bottom of our donate page: http://vecinosunidos.org/donate/

Donate – Vecinos Unidos You can make a huge difference for our children by contributing a donation, regardless of how small or large. As a 100% volunteer organization, we rely on the support of our generous donors and volunteers to continue operating throughout the year. Your contribution will provide children with school....

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 01/22/2022

We accomplished a lot in 2021, including onboarding an entire team of new volunteers, welcoming several new children into the program, and strengthening our leadership team. Read all the details here! http://vecinosunidos.org/2022/01/summarizing-all-the-pandemic-craziness-that-vecinos-unidos-endured-in-2021-or-a-2021-year-end-update/

Vecinos Unidos 01/13/2022

Vecinos Unidos

We're featured on the Dominion High School DHS Press! Check it out, and take a look at all the other great organizations represented! https://dhspress.com/6846/uncategorized/vecinos-unidos/

Vecinos Unidos Vecinos Unidos, translating to ‘Neighbors United’, is committed to helping students overcome academic achievement gaps by assisting children in grades one through six with school. Focusing on math, reading, and writing, High school volunteers aged 16 and older can earn volunteer hours by working...

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 12/15/2021

We are back in person three days a week, thanks to our AWESOME volunteer staff! We are finally bringing more children into join the program and are making plans to return to a full 4-day week in the new year. Woohoo! 🙌

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 11/16/2021

It's been a while since we shared photos of the kids! Here are some of our students and volunteers hard at work. Make sure to follow Vecinos Unidos on Instagram for more updates!
https://www.instagram.com/vecinosunidos_herndon/

11/11/2021

We had an awesome time last night representing VU at Dominion High School's Volunteer Fair! We met a lot of students interested in helping out, and connected with a few of the other wonderful organizations giving back to our community. So excited to say that we're at a point where we are looking to bring in more children to the program, now that we finally have enough volunteers to support!🤩 Woohoo!!!

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 10/09/2021

Things are going great so far! Our new volunteers are settling in so well, and our kids are getting back into the swing of things. Mondays and Wednesdays we have in-person volunteer sessions, and on Tuesdays we started a virtual reading group. We have heard AWESOME things about the virtual reading, and we are so grateful to have one of our volunteers lead that each week via Zoom.

We are still very actively (perhaps a bit desperately, too?) trying to increase our volunteer numbers -- if you know of any groups or people in the area who might be interested, please spread the word. We are planning to return to a full, four-day week once we have enough help.

Here's a photo of a few kids who received prizes for completing the summer program. They certainly grew up since we last saw them in person more than a year ago!!

09/20/2021

A few weeks into the new school year, and it's time to get the kids looking forward to new and exciting things! (P.S. look at what a talented artist our new volunteer is!)

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 09/13/2021

We're back in person!! It was our first day today, and it was a bit chaotic. The key to our office door BROKE in half and we weren't able to get any supplies! But we improvised, created activities for our kids, and played a game of trivia. Surprisingly, we may have even kept them focused longer than usual (we almost went a few minutes late!). Hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out!

09/05/2021

A huge THANK YOU to The Closet of the Greater Herndon Area for their generous support! The Closet is helping us make a huge impact for our kids this year. We are so grateful for being part of an awesome and supportive community. Be sure to check out their page and the fantastic work they do for Herndon.

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 08/08/2021

We just finished up a successful virtual summer session with the kids. Our students completed a series of challenges to keep them engaged and learning. We are planning to start back in person soon, and we can't wait!!

http://vecinosunidos.org/2021/06/summer-challenge-worksheet-for-our-kids/

06/28/2021

Books delivered! Virtual sessions won't stop us from encouraging our kids to read a physical book...and let's be honest, there's nothing quite like opening a brand new book for the first time! (P.S. we're on the lookout for new, popular books for our students. Please share if you have any ideas!) http://vecinosunidos.org/2021/06/on-a-mission-to-inspire-a-love-for-reading/

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 06/15/2021

It has been a whirlwind of a year! Though we haven't posted in a while, we've been BUSY. Last week, we wrapped up our program for the school year. Our volunteers have been busy meeting with students virtually for one-on-one sessions, and in a few weeks we'll pick back up with a virtual summer program. We're planning to return in-person starting this fall. Fingers crossed!

http://vecinosunidos.org/2021/05/exciting-updates/

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 09/04/2020

It’s easy to forget that others are hungry when we have enough to eat. Here’s a chance to donate food on September 12 and 26 or donate money to fill up some food pantries. Thanks for everything you do to help during this time.

05/06/2020

Important information in multiple languages to share with those in Fairfax County, VA. I’m sure there are similar resources if you are in another state. There are so many ways we need to stay safe right now. The virus is not the only deadly threat.

05/06/2020

Sharing for our friends,

These are stressful times because of risks to our health and because many of us must stay home.
For some people, staying home doesn’t always feel safe because someone there may threaten or
hurt you. If this is you, know that you can call the Fairfax County Domestic and Sexual Violence
Hotline for help 24 hours a day at 703-360-7273. If it is not safe to talk, text or chat (text LOVEIS
to 22522 for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, chat at rainn.org for the National Sexual
Violence Hotline). If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
You are the best judge of safety in your own situation. But here are some ideas for
keeping yourself and others in your home safe.

YOUR LIVING SPACE
` Set separate spaces or times to use certain areas.
` Try to keep a routine and activities to keep everyone occupied.
` Be aware of safe rooms with locks and which rooms have doors
or windows for quick exit. Discuss these with children and other
family members.
` Think of a place you can go or send other family members in an
emergency or long term.
` Try to avoid being in rooms with items that could be used as weapons.
` Use shopping, family needs, walks or other safe activities to give you
time out of your home, or as reasons to leave when you sense danger.
PLAN AHEAD
` Keep track of important items you may need in emergency or
if you leave, such as phones, money, ID, car keys, medical cards
and medications.
` Make a list of safe contacts and emergency resources. Some people
find it helpful to hide copies of important documents and safe contacts
somewhere outside the home, such as buried in a planter or at a safe
neighbor’s home.
` Arrange daily check-ins or code words with people you trust.
` Plan with kids and other family members if you can. Think about their
safety options.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
` Be aware of triggers and tactics that might tell you violence is coming but take care of yourself and your own emotional needs.
` As often as is safe to do so, stay connected to family and friends through phone calls, video chats or by meeting outside in places where you can practice
social distancing.
` Meditate, use mindfulness apps, or find other ways to help you moderate your reactions.
` Talk with kids and other family members about things you can do together that help them feel safe.
` Reach out to your faith community if that feels safe.
` If you or someone else gets sick or injured, make medical staff aware of dangerous situations.
` Delete call records and internet histories that show you are seeking help, use an internet phone service so calls aren’t on your phone bill, or use devices that
aren’t monitored.
Be aware that if your partner has access to guns, has choked or strangled you, has threatened to kill you or your children, or
threatened su***de, you could be in serious danger, and it is important to talk to a hotline advocate if it is safe to do so.
Call the Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 703-360-7273 for confidential help. We can connect you with
emergency shelter, financial assistance, and housing resources. We can help you stay safer at home or help you find
safety.

Town of Herndon Mourns Death of Darryl ‘Smitty’ Smith, First African American Officer 04/28/2020

Town of Herndon Mourns Death of Darryl ‘Smitty’ Smith, First African American Officer

Darryl Smith was one of the founders of Vecinos Unidos. His love for and commitment to the community was legendary. We want to offer our deepest condolences to his family and thank them for the service he and his wife Maria gave to the places where they made their homes. We need many more Darryl Smiths in our lives.

Town of Herndon Mourns Death of Darryl ‘Smitty’ Smith, First African American Officer Darryl 'Smitty' Smith, the first African American officer hired by the Town of Herndon and a community fixture known for his volunteerism, has died. Smith, who was hired by the department in 1973 and retired in 2004, made history once again in 2004 when he became the first African American elected

04/22/2020

What strange times we find ourselves in! Everyone's health and safety are the top priority, so as soon as FCPS closed, we also ceased our homework sessions. Honestly, we never anticipated such an event, so the board of directors is still exploring how to provide resources and connect with students during this time of social distancing and quarantine. The Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center continues to receive phone calls and provide resources and help to its clients, but it is not open to the public.
In the meantime, one way that volunteers can support the community right now is to donate to local food banks and other charities that are providing services during this time. FISH--Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help https://www.herndonrestonfish.org and LINK https://www.linkagainsthunger.org are both organizations reaching out for donations so that they can continue to provide services to those in need during this difficult time.
Our greatest wish is for everyone to remain healthy and safe so that we can resume our program and support our kids in their learning. We can't wait to get back to doing that one way or another!

Message from Fairfax County Public Schools 03/17/2020

Message from Fairfax County Public Schools

Message from Fairfax County Public Schools Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, Fairfax County Public Schools will be serving grab and go meals at a total of 29 locations. Eleven new sites are being added tomorrow. The food distribution is set up outside the schools. Breakfast will be served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. – ...

Message from Fairfax County Public Schools 03/17/2020

Message from Fairfax County Public Schools

This is important information for our students and families. Share here and in real life as appropriate--it could make a huge difference.

Message from Fairfax County Public Schools Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, Fairfax County Public Schools will be serving grab and go meals at a total of 29 locations. Eleven new sites are being added tomorrow. The food distribution is set up outside the schools. Breakfast will be served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. – ...

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 03/02/2020

Continuing the tradition of doing science projects that was started by a high school student, volunteers showed the kids how polar bears and other animals who live in the extreme cold, are able to keep warm. Blubber, Crisco--it all does the trick to stay insulated in a tub of ice water or an arctic ocean.

12/21/2019

VU has wonderful high school student volunteers. One in particular, went above and beyond to create science experiments for the kids. Now in his first semester at UVA, he has been back to visit a couple of times, to the utter delight of M, who has found a role model and mentor in a wonderful young man.

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 12/18/2019

Thank you to the International Teaching Learning Cooperative for giving our reading program a boost by donating boxes of new "reading buddies" for the kids. Reading buddies (and volunteers) are good listeners! Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching

11/29/2019

If you are shopping on Amazon this holiday season, please make your purchase do a little bit more and choose Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United as your charity at smile.amazon.com. We are a 501(c)(3) run completely by volunteers who work with students in grades 1-6 to do homework and improve academic skills. Thank you!

11/22/2019

As we head into the holiday season, we asked the kids what they are thankful for and they wrote it in their journals. Then they made this poster to share their thanks with all of us. Guess what I'm thankful for?

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 10/31/2019

Happy Halloween from all of us at VU. 🎃 Ready for a bite? Hope the kids like them!

ACT shows decline in students ready for college 10/30/2019

ACT shows decline in students ready for college

Takeaway line from this article
"The ACT board said that its research suggests that college preparedness begins in elementary school, and that by middle school students who are not on track are at risk."

Kudos to our parents who make sacrifices to drop off and pick up their kids four times a week. We are a small, all-volunteer group who work hard to ensure that our kids get lots of practice and gain confidence in what they are learning in school.

ACT shows decline in students ready for college Percentage of students who have met English and math benchmarks lowest in 15 years.

10/29/2019

VU volunteers are always delighted when we see former students and hear how they have thrived as they have grown up. We are especially happy right now to have a former student (we also saw her older sister and younger brother go through the program!) back to volunteer with us! She's a sophomore at HHS and coming back each week to gain service credit and to give back to the community! Nothing makes us prouder.

Photos from Vecinos Unidos Neighbors United's post 09/11/2019

We are getting close!

Our SY2019-2020 begins on Monday. Last night we held volunteer training, complete with an explanation of our new reading comprehension material and a few role-play scenarios on convincing reluctant kids to read.Thanks to all of our volunteers for all of the time you put in!

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Herndon, VA
20170

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