Before too much more time elapses in 2017, we at VU want to take a moment to reflect on a momentous 2016—a year of change. In early summer, Barbara Sorenson, VU’s president and fearless leader since 2006, decided it was time for a well-deserved break and retired from VU. Her vision and determination made VU a powerful force for good in the Herndon community and reached thousands of children over the years, helping with homework, supporting reading and basic skills, and teaching by example about giving back and caring for others. Her legacy includes many connections and partners that will serve VU for a long time to come. We offer a heartfelt thank you to Barbara for her dedication and commitment to the children who moved through the VU homework program and to the volunteers who made it possible.
Fortunately, Andrea Ciecierski, a VU board member for two years, was ready to escalate her involvement when Barbara retired and stepped in to ensure that VU continued to provide the best service possible to the children in our program without a wrinkle. With vice president Katie Grace, and board members John Porter, Jan Umphrey, Scott Newman, Janis Dworkis, Julie Newman, and Alicia Robrecht, she is ready to lead VU to another great year in 2017.
Notable successes in 2016 included donations from 100 Women Who Care, a dedicated sum from Lynn and Phil Merritt to purchase electronic tablets for the program, and a generous donation from Floris United Methodist Church to support the healthy snacks and milk we provide at each session. VU’s board is grateful for every donation it receives, and every dollar is spent to support the program.
On the program side, highlights included a successful two-week summer camp that served 20 children, a back-school-night and dinner for parents, and a Saturday session with members of the Herndon High School Robotics Club. And thanks to the Herndon Rotary Club, we were able to introduce parents to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library for their younger children, giving them a head start on literacy. Donations from Salesforce allowed us to purchase new books for the program library and school supplies for each child, and funds raised by board member Alicia Robrecht enabled us to select a new book for each child at the end of the year.
Thank you to every volunteer who worked side-by-side with us to ensure this success, to the students who sustain our spirits and steal our hearts, and to the parents who love and support their children.