Events and News
Fundraising for a Cause
We are so grateful to Yash Bapat and Anna Balberchak for their dedication and diligence in fundraising for the Circle of Champions. Yash held a highly successful GoFundMe campaign for Belong this past December, raising nearly $500. Anna focused on offering babysitting in exchange for donations to Belong; earlier in the year, she also hosted a bake sale to support Belong. Thanks to their efforts and contributions, our academic and enrichment programs will continue to grow and serve more underserved children in our community. Thank you. Together, we are accomplishing great things!
Camp: A Magical Summer!
This year we offered 4 weeks of summer camp, taking play and learning to new heights! Besides offering creative themes such as art, drama, yoga, reading, math, children also learned about beekeeping, reptiles, birds, and therapy dogs. A major highlight of our camp was our field trip to the Museum of Natural History in DC. Children were excited and we were happy to elevate their learning experience to a new level!
Our partnership with Vienna Presbyterian Church brought a wonderful time during Vacation Bible School to our campers. Thanks to Church For All Nations for graciously allowing us to use their facilities to run our 4 weeks of camp in a safe and clean environment.
Our camp was a time to connect with friends, build bonds, and develop skills such as sharing with others, empathy, and respect. It was a magical summer full of learning and fun!
Spring Break Program
Our students are troopers! In spite of the rain, everyone enjoyed all the activities we had in store for them. Our students played fun math games, created works of art, read interesting stories, baked some yummy treats, to name a few. However, the highlight of our program was taking some very soft alpacas for a walk. The kids couldn’t get enough of our furry friends!!!
We are looking forward to doing it again this summer at our Summer Enrichment program. Interested in making a difference in a child's life by becoming part of our program? Sign up to volunteer!
Having Fun In Our Christmas Program
To kick off winter break, Belong! held a three-day camp to keep kids engaged while also helping their families with childcare. We took a trip to the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly to look at airplanes, helicopters, space shuttles, and more; completed a scavenger hunt; and listened to a read-aloud led by museum staff. During camp, students built different shaped airplanes and helicopters, learned about what it is like for astronauts to travel to outer space, practiced reading and writing, played space-themed math games, baked cookies and pizza, made Christmas ornaments, painted and drew art based on Christmas books, and played silly drama games. In sum, the kids had a fantastic time!!!
We're so grateful to the amazing volunteers who helped us make this camp possible and to the kids and their families for their trust.
Coming Together to Support our Neighborhood Elementary School
Members of the Young Men’s Service League and Junior Volunteer League spent part of last Saturday morning helping Belong! clean up Cunningham Park Elementary School’s (“CPES”) garden. Everyone came together to pull out weeds and spruce up the garden boxes so that they are ready for students and teachers to start planting this school year. It was a wonderful way to serve and show our community that we care!!!
Keeping Kids Engaged This Summer
Throughout the month of August, Belong!'s wonderful staff kept a group of 10 students engaged with a Math Review Class. The class not only included reviewing math facts twice a week, but also conducted a service project to clean up the neighborhood and a morning where kids got a chance to practice cooking a healthy breakfast. We completed our three weeks of class sharing a delicious meal purchased with gift cards graciously donated by Chick-Fil-a of Vienna.
All these activities couldn’t have been done without our amazing volunteers. If you are 16 or older and would like to volunteer with us, please sign up here.
Celebrating Our Children's Accomplishments
In May, we celebrated the end of our After-School program for this exceptional school year. It brought students, parents, and tutors together to recognize our children’s successes by playing games, enjoying arts and crafts, and sharing cupcakes. It was a great opportunity to build community and strengthen relationships!
We are grateful to Cakes4Kids for providing the cupcakes and making our afternoon a little sweeter!
A Great Start to Winter Break!
On Monday, December 19th, we took a group of K-6th grade students to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, where they explored a number of exhibits, including the bi-lingual Entertainment Nation and Pleibol!. We also had a chance to go up the Washington Monument to see the view of DC! It was a wonderful day of exploration and learning experiences!!!
Celebrating Our Student's Accomplishments
At the end of May, students, tutors, and staff gathered to celebrate our students’ hard work and a great year of tutoring. We made the afternoon special by playing fun games, celebrating each student’s accomplishments with a certificate of recognition, and ending the party with delicious cupcakes provided by Cake4Kids.Tutors and students were very happy to enjoy each other’s company before going off to summer break!
Health and Soccer Fair
On Sunday, March 20th, Belong! sponsored its first community Health Fair. It was an uplifting event that brought the community together while promoting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The fair served to provide valuable information about healthy nutrition, chronic diseases such as diabetes, healthy snack samplings and recipes. Vienna Youth Soccer was also invited to get the children active and help us convey to the community that keeping our bodies active is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Belong! is so grateful to the volunteers that made this event a great success - without them the fair would not have been possible.
We are looking forward to our next event!
Academic Camp: Supporting our Students
While teachers and parents met for conferences, we got two full days to spend with some of our wonderful students! With the help of our amazing volunteers, we played math games, read books, made art, did puzzles, baked pizza, and played! The camp was also a great opportunity to support our students’ families while school was out.
Thank you to our volunteers and students for making these two days of camp so engaging and fun.
Earth Care Day in Vienna
On September 11th, the Town of Vienna, Vienna Presbyterian Church and Belong! sponsored an inaugural Earth Care Day. Vienna residents gathered to clean up and groom Glyndon Park. It was a special morning where community members worked hard to leave the Park spotless – tables and benches were painted, trees were pruned, and trash was picked-up. Belong! was there, alongside volunteers, working hard to build community ties while safely and effectively cleaning up a small corner of our town.
Real change is always made by caring and dedicated members of our community willing to lend a helping hand!!! Thank you, Vienna, for beautifying one of our Parks!
On Saturday, July 17th, the Town of Vienna celebrated its Multicultural Festival--the culmination of the month-long Liberty Amendments celebration. Belong! created an Escape Room where children were challenged to complete activities and solve puzzles that helped them learn how and why women fought for the right to vote. The winners of our essay contest were also invited to read their essays to the public on the Town Green. The Festival was a wonderful way to culminate the Liberty Amendment Month and celebrate our nation's diversity.
Our Community Supporting Our Work
Belong! is grateful to the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia for its support of our After School Program this past year. Click on our video to see the fun we had!
Our Christmas Party: We Wrapped our Fall Tutoring with a Bang!
It is the end of the semester and we could not be more excited for our students and their accomplishments this past fall. On Sunday, December 11, we celebrated not only Christmas, but our students' successes and the unconditional help of our volunteers. With the support of many, we enjoyed great food, community and a chance to share the true meaning of Christmas – a wonderful night of unity, joy, and generosity!
Thank You, Rustic Love Vienna
Belong! is so grateful for Rustic Love’s generosity and support of our summer camp. With their donation, we will be able to feed lunch and snacks to our campers throughout the duration of our camp.
Thank you, Rustic Love Vienna!
A Sense of Belonging
VivaTyson’s, an online magazine, recently published a wonderful article about Belong!. The article outlines Belong!’s mission, and includes testimonials from tutors, staff and the people we serve. Please take a moment to read this very engaging article and learn a little more about what we do!
Trunk or Treat Event Brings our Community Together
This past Sunday, October 31st, our community came together to celebrate Halloween in a safe and festive environment. The event was hosted by the First Baptist Church of Vienna which graciously provided free food, drinks, cotton candy, train rides and an amusement park ride. Belong! participated in the event by hosting a car decorated as a friendly monster along with other churches and nonprofits. We also provided transportation for families who had no way of getting to the event.
The event was a great success with kids walking around in their costumes looking at the imaginatively decorated cars, filling their bags with candy and making lots of memories!
Ending the Summer with an Ice Cream Social
At the beginning of August, Belong! sweetened up our Summer Camp kids and volunteers with an Ice Cream Social. It was a chance to end the summer sharing fellowship, fun, and meeting the parents of our kids. Everyone had a blast playing games, having nice conversations and eating ice-cream!
On June 19th, Belong! had the honor of participating in the Juneteenth Celebration organized by First Baptist Church of Vienna. The celebration commemorated the end of slavery and kicked off the Town of Vienna Liberty Amendments month. Through this event Belong! was able to promote its mission, celebrate an important holiday, and meet new friends!