Introducing our newest donor, the Crimsonbridge Foundation

Our many donors make the work we do at BEACON possible, and it is with great pleasure that we introduce you to our most recent partner, the Crimsonbridge Foundation. Based in Bethesda, this private foundation supports nonprofit organizations and programs dedicated to education and leadership to affect positive, lasting social change in our communities.

Established in 2016 as the grantmaking arm of the Crimsonbridge Group, the Crimsonbridge Foundation believes that the potential of all people can be realized through education, and that creative collaboration and outreach can help bring large scale, sustainable change. Their grantmaking focuses on Education, Leadership, and Capacity Building, employing a strategic and entrepreneurial approach as an investment in social advancement. Read more

Our New Career Pathways CareGiver Program

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare careers are projected to outpace almost every other major occupational group in terms of job growth between 2010 and 2020. Recognizing the growing need for trained healthcare workers in Northern Virginia, BEACON has instituted a pilot program aimed at preparing interested students with the basic skills required to pursue a career as a Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA), Home Health Aide (HHA), or Personal Care Aide (PCA). Read more

Meet a Teacher: Sister Dolores Dean

Sister Dolores Dean moved from St. Joseph Monastery in Pennsylvania in 2013 to join the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia. The very next year she started teaching an ESOL class for BEACON. We caught up with her to ask her about her BEACON teaching experiences: Read more

Meet Fulbright Scholar & BEACON Board Member Bill Woodard

At BEACON, we are fortunate to have a Board filled with remarkable professionals from many walks of life. Their expertise provides valuable guidance to our program, as well as noteworthy experiences that extend far beyond the board room. Bill Woodard hails from academia; he joined the BEACON board in November 2014. He recently received a prestigious Fulbright Grant. We caught up with him to learn more about his career, his grant, and his experiences on both sides of the native-speaker living equation. Read more

The New BEACON Website

It is common in the non-profit world for organizations to face challenges in keeping institutional technology up to date. With mission-critical expenses stretching funds to their max, upgrades to computer systems can be difficult to afford, let alone redesigning and relaunching a website. This is unfortunate because in the quest for visibility, volunteers, partnerships and donors, a website that represents the organization well can be the most important tool a non-profit has. Yet many of the most dedicated non-profits make enormous impacts on their community, but hardly any impact on the web, where their sites do little or nothing to attract beneficiaries, allies, or assistance.

It is with this limitation in mind that the Philip L. Graham Fund has made it part of their mission to offer technology update grants to community-improving groups in our area. A boon to charitable organizations all over the region, the Fund is named in memory of Philip L. Graham, who was publisher of The Washington Post from 1946 to 1961. From its inception in 1963, the Fund’s mission has been to commit its resources to the betterment of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area through an array of grants across three main interest areas, including Arts & Humanities, Education, and Health & Human Services. Read more

Spotlight: Our Americorps Volunteers

The AmeriCorps members serving BEACON help provide much needed support for the entire program. BEACON receives two AmeriCorps members annually through a partnership with Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV); LCNV is the manager and fiscal agent of the AmeriCorps grant. AmeriCorps strengthens communities and develops leaders through direct, team-based national and community service.

BEACON members are certified in administering the BEST Plus and CASAS language assessment systems and assist with the testing-process for over 300 adult learners each year. Their responsibilities include recruitment, assessment, placement, and teaching immigrants attending ESOL classes; in addition, they also perform administrative tasks, community outreach, staff support, and tutoring. Read more

BEACON’s Site Partners

BEACON enjoys a solid and dedicated network of site partners who consistently support our program objectives while serving their respective immigrant communities by offering free classroom space and generous support for the teacher volunteers. Currently, all of BEACON’s ESOL, Citizenship, Pre-GED, and Financial Literacy classes are held at local churches.

Nestled in the heart of Old Town Manassas, Bull Run Unitarian Universalist church is the evening class site for three levels of ESOL: Low Intermediate, High Intermediate, and Advanced, as well as Citizenship and a Financial Literacy class once a week during the winter semester. Martha, a veteran volunteer who has taught English at this location for eight years, shares, “Our church is actively involved in the local community and committed to providing a safe environment for those interested in participating in Beacon’s adult literacy classes. It is our hope that the Beacon students who walk through our doors will leave feeling more comfortable and able to navigate the community in which they live.”

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The Path to Citizenship

What is involved in becoming a citizen? How does BEACON help?

Many people wonder why more immigrants don’t become U.S. citizens. After all, how hard can it be?

In fact, it can be extremely hard. The application form is 21 pages long and asks very detailed questions; it is challenging for a native English speaker, let alone someone who is learning English as an adult. Meanwhile, having the proper documentation is both essential and a common stumbling block: according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, a part of the Department of Homeland Security), failing to provide the proper documents is one of the leading reasons that immigrants are turned down for citizenship. Read more

BEACON board member nominated for Prince William Living, 2016 Five Influential Women Award

Congratulations to board member, Diana Paguaga for her nomination by Prince William Living as one of the 2016 Five Influential Women!

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Community Foundation Announces BEACON as grant recipient

Community Foundation Awards one of the Largest Grants Pools in the Region Supporting Critical Community Needs

2016 Community Investment Grant Cycle Awards Over $380,000 to 36 Local Nonprofits 

Oakton, VA (February 18, 2016) The Community Foundation announced the winners of its 2016 Community Investment Grants today. The largest and most competitive discretionary grant cycle managed by the Community Foundation and one of the largest pools of funds supporting broad-based giving in the Northern Virginia region, the grants support organizations which provide support in critical areas of need throughout Northern Virginia. These grants will further the organizations’ abilities to improve the health, education, and general wellbeing of neighbors, communities, and the entire region. The total sum of grants made is $380,418.

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