From Veteran to Entrepreneur With the Help of Volunteers

Alexandra Minor needed a new challenge. The West Point graduate and Army veteran with two deployments to Iraq had served honorably for five years, completed her master’s degree in business administration from Yale University and worked for a major consulting firm to the federal government. Minor, 33, enjoyed consulting but wanted to push herself more. “The best way for me to grow as a person is to be put into those uncomfortable and challenging situations,” she said. After discussions with …

Holiday Food Delivery Helps Old Friends Stay Connected

Carl Goldston is happy this Saturday morning. He is delivering food to Kuehner House, an affordable housing apartment complex for very-low-income seniors (age 60 and over) managed by the nonprofit SOME (So Others Might Eat) in Washington. It’s the holiday season, so there is extra excitement. And he gets to visit his three friends and former roommates, Greg, Fred and David. The four of them had lived together at another apartment complex. At 59, Goldston is the only one still …

Community Comes Together to Build a Playground for All Ages

Judith Haskins, 70, couldn’t wait for Monday. As a teacher at the Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., she knew her first-grade students would burst into her classroom with excitement. That’s because over the weekend, the nearby Hume Springs Park was transformed from a worn-out playground into a vibrant, multigenerational open area, complete with benches, shade, an inviting playground and adult exercise equipment. Haskins was one of more than 100 people who showed up on …

Nonprofits Benefit When Volunteers Use Their Professional Skills

As a foreign service officer, George Frederick lived in the Middle East, Africa and other exotic places during his 25-year career. His job was to observe and report what he saw, sometimes several times a day, whether it was groundbreaking or mundane. “You see a lot,” he said. Often he saw things that he wanted to fix, but as an observer he could not. So he volunteered in his off-duty time to help out in the community where he lived. …

Volunteers Feed the Soul at the Ronald McDonald House

There’s a special connection that comes with preparing meals for others too heartbroken to cook for themselves. Making those dinners with a group of volunteers brings an intimacy and humility that cannot be matched. And one of the best spots I know to do that is at the Ronald McDonald House in Falls Church, Va., a place that offers comfort, refuge and care for families whose children are battling life-threatening illnesses. Ending hunger could be a SNAP » Jarun Brown, 64, chops …

Reading Program for At-Risk Children Brings Joy

Lexi Jadoff, 31, is a driven, ambitious Washington, D.C., consultant with a unique way of de-stressing. She volunteers with The Reading Connection (TRC), a nonprofit that promotes reading for at-risk families. Jadoff is among the Read-Aloud volunteers who read each week with children at shelters and affordable apartment complexes. Four rotating teams read children’s books about a pre-selected topic to the kids once each week, then the kids do a related activity. “Breakfast” is this week’s theme. Put your time, …