During my life, I’ve had the distinct pleasure and benefit of working with many exceptional individuals. I think back fondly to the many caring and dedicated teachers, administrators and support staff during my days in education. Now in my second “life” with ACT for Alexandria, I continue to be amazed at the number of tireless and committed individuals who devote their lives and careers to helping others in our community. From those providing education, food, and shelter services to others addressing quality of life issues for seniors and animals, we have much of which to be proud and so many deserving of thanks both from those who benefit directly and the community at-large. Not working for fame or fortune, these individuals devote their lives to the service of others truly epitomizing W.H. Auden’s quote, “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”
I am brought to this moment as we at ACT for Alexandria acknowledge with enormous gratitude and appreciation, Brandi Yee’s ten years of service. Currently serving as chief program officer, Brandi’s labor over the years has become the foundation for ACT’s important work in the community. She’s been both the brains and the brawn behind such initiatives as Spring2ACTion, the annual IMPACT Forum, and ACT’s capacity grants program. Through her work with Spring2ACTion, online giving on this day has grown from $104,156 in 2011 to $1,337,493 in 2016—quite a rate of return. And this one day is so valuable in helping to support the important work of over 150 local nonprofits.
Her current efforts to convene around the issue of early care and education promises to have a lasting impact in our community for years to come. We are fortunate to have Brandi at ACT and in our community, working each day on behalf of others. ACT board chair, Lauren Stack sums it up succinctly, “Brandi’s calm leadership has brought people, organizations and our city government together to leverage resources for the greatest impact in our community…I can only say ‘Thank you Brandi,’ for all you do and have done for our wonderful city.”
As Brandi, like many others, shys away from the limelight—from being highlighted, I asked my colleagues in the Alexandria nonprofit community for others who might be acknowledged and while the following is certainly not an exhaustive list, I invite you to join in applauding the work of:
- Kathy Seifert, vice president of development at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation (ASF). Kathy recently celebrated her tenth year with ASF. As a long-time Old Town resident and veteran sailor, Kathy has been a stalwart at ASF, working to assure programs are sustained through private donations and grants.
- Rosie Borders—another ten year veteran—of Senior Services of Alexandria (SSA) where she serves as transportation supervisor, handling reservations for the DOT Paratransit Program, which provides low-cost, taxi-based transportation to over 1600 disabled individuals every year.
- Abbie Hubbard, who started at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) ten years ago as a part-time adoption counselor and currently serves as deputy director. Her work over the years has resulted in a 400% increase in the number of dogs and 140% increase in the number of cats transferred to the Animal Welfare League.
- Tarsha Rice, child development specialist for The Campagna Center’s Family Child Care Partnership Program and of whom Tammy Mann, President & CEO of The Campagna Center, says, “Is a relentless advocate who is deeply committed and passionate about her work with children and families.” Her thirteen years of service have been marked by her work to guarantee children and families are protected, happy and well-served.
- Teresa Starr, who has covered weekends, evenings and holidays at Carpenter’s Shelter for the past thirteen years is noted by executive director Shannon Steene for her dedication and being “a great ambassador for our work. To see her on duty puts a bounce in my step and I know the shelter is in good hands.”
- Ann Caulkins of Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) has served in a variety of positions during the past sixteen years at the organization, from CASA advocate assistant to case supervisor. Ann is noted for being a lifelong advocate for children who, in addition to her work, has, over the years, provided a temporary, loving home for more than 60 foster children who have been caught in frightening, transitional moments in their young lives.
- Carrie Diggins, whose work at ALIVE! began twenty-five years ago, currently serves as Lead Teacher for Life at the organization’s Child Development Center. Carrie’s work in preparing children for kindergarten is unsurpassed, according to executive director Diane Charles. “Anyone who enters Carrie’s classroom knows that much purposeful, fun-filled activity is taking place,” according to Diane.
Please take a moment and join me in acknowledging and thanking these, and the many other exceptional individuals in our nonprofit community, who daily give of their time, energy and expertise to help others. Thanks so much!
By John Porter, ACT President & CEO
Special thanks to the Alexandria Times for publishing John's monthly column.