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A look back – The Campagna Center Through the Decades

It’s almost here, just 4 days away! A night to celebrate the Campagna Center and the community that it supports. We’ll see tons of old friends, meet some new ones, and tell tales of the hard work we’ve done over the past 70 years.

The Campagna Center is a not-for-profit human services organization that taps deeply into community resources to provide programs that strengthen families and help children become caring, productive adults. Since 1945, The Campagna Center has provided quality programming and services to meet the ever-changing needs of Alexandria, Virginia. Let’s take a brief look at the Center through the decades.

 The Campagna Center Throughout the Years

1940s – In 1945, a group of local women organized The Campagna Center, then known as the Alexandria Branch of the YWCA. The program provided the only place where women of all ages, regardless of race or creed, could gather for social activities that promoted “leadership, morale, and inspiration.”

1950s – Offering activities that promoted racial harmony, such as Brotherhood Sunday and the World Fellowship Tea, the YWCA was at the forefront of the civil rights movement.

1960s – In 1962, Elizabeth Anne Campagna joined the YWCA as director and turned it into a powerful actor in the community. As the merits of Head Start were being debated nationwide, the YWCA, in partnership with the city of Alexandria, secured funding to run Alexandria’s first Head Start program.

1970s – In the 1970s, the YWCA separated from the national group to become the independent Alexandria Community Y (ACY). Soon after, Campagna Kids debuted to meet community needs for quality after-school care and quickly attracted hundreds of families.

1980s – The decade of the 80s began with the purchase of our headquarters at 418 South Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria, a site that has been used for educational purposes since 1812. Our building sits on a parcel of land originally dedicated by George Washington to the city of Alexandria for the Alexandria Academy.  Wright to Read, RSVP and many other programs were implemented during this decade of service.

1990s – In 1991, we mourned the passing of Elizabeth Anne Campagna and renamed ACY the Campagna Center in honor of her commitment to the community. The Campagna Center continued to strengthen its capacity to meet the changing needs of the community, despite losing Ms. Campagna.

The 2000s – The turn of the century marked a rapid expansion of the agency’s focus on cradle to career programs.  A long time operator of Head Start, during this decade The Campagna Center became Alexandria’s sole provider of Early Head Start services, expanded the number of children served through Head Start, and created the Early Learning Center to serve young children ineligible for Head Start.  The Campagna Center also added vital programs that addressed the needs of middle and high school students at risk for school failure and welcomed a program, New Neighbors, to help adults and young children learn English.

Today

With the addition of a middle school program in 2012, The Campagna Center stands as the only nonprofit in Alexandria serving children across the education spectrum, from birth through high school.

Throughout its long history, the Campagna Center has been a catalyst for community involvement, and we continue to serve the Alexandria community by promoting a commitment to learning at every level. Today, with Dr. Tammy L. Mann at the helm and almost 200 staff members, 25 board members, and more than 750 volunteers dedicated to the well-being of Alexandria’s children and families, we ensure that Ms. Campagna’s legacy lives on.

The Platinum Gala will take place on May 9th a wonderful event being organized by the Junior Friends to honor the 70 years of service and positive change in the Alexandria community. More information on the event and ticket sales can be found here.

Get to Know- Suzanne Carlough, Platinum Gala Co-Chair

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As Junior Friends we love to go to events to raise funds and awareness for The Campagna Center, and, as Junior Friends, we also know how much work goes on behind the scenes. Today, let’s meet Suzanne Carlough, one of the co-chairs of The Platinum Gala which is —THIS SATURDAY!!!

Suzanne Carlough with son Jack. Photo courtesy of Alumbra Photography

Suzanne Carlough with son Jack. Photo courtesy of Alumbra Photography

Suzanne joined Junior Friends when she moved from New Jersey to Alexandria in 2012 and didn’t dip a toe in the water, in Suzanne style, she jumped right in! You may remember her first full year she took on co-chairing the Toast to Fashion and was featured in Alexandria Stylebook. In addition to her many jobs (you’ll learn more below) Suzanne and her husband Garrett are mom to Jack (16 months) and Hilly, their 2.5 year old golden retriever.

The Carloughs- Photo courtesy of Alumbra Photography

The Carloughs- Photo courtesy of Alumbra Photography

Find out more about Suzanne below!

What is your occupation?
My husband likes to call me a serial entrepreneur…   I am a stay-at-home mom, cycle tech (spin instructor) at Swet Ride, freelance makeup artist (Suzanne Della Pella) and co-chair of The Platinum Gala for The Campagna Center. Prior to my current career(s), I worked in the beauty and jewelry industries in NYC in marketing and brand management.

Where did you grow up?
Yes, I am a Jersey girl. I grew up in West Orange. I don’t really have an accent other than when I say “coffee”.

What can you share about yourself that no one would know unless you told them?
I have walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival three times… And, just in case someone springs a talent show on me, Hula hooping is my hidden talent. (Hmm, we do find ways to use hidden talents)

How did you find out about the Junior Friends?
My dear friend, Jen Mellon introduced me to The Campagna Center and invited me to join. We had just relocated to Alexandria and I was eager to get involved within the community.

Why is it important for you to volunteer/give back?
Volunteering keeps me grounded. There is no better way to give back than to help children and families within our local community. Junior Friends and The Campagna Center has been a wonderful experience for me.

What was your first event/day-of-duty?
My first day of duty was at SCWW and decorating the Christmas trees! My first committee meeting was for Deck the Halls where we iced all of the milk cartons!

Have you chaired any events or activities?
I chaired Toast to Fashion last year and The Platinum Gala which is coming up on Saturday, May 9, 2015.

What do you enjoy most about the Junior Friends?
It is amazing to be surrounded by so many strong, selfless, passionate women working towards a common goal: to give our children and families of Alexandria a better future.   (We have an awesome time doing it!)

What can you tell us about the Platinum Gala? How is the planning going?
Planning The Platinum Gala has been like no other event in TCC history. As we are celebrating 70 years of service and positive change in Alexandria, the planning process has truly been a collaboration between us, TCC leadership, TCC board, Junior and Supporting Friends. Moreover, Evie (co-chair) and I are so grateful to have an amazing team supporting every aspect of the event. It does take a village!

How has it been connecting with Junior Friends and supporters of TCC?
The phrase “legacy of service” comes to mind… There have been so many inspiring stories over the last 7 decades-from Junior Friends or those who have completed our programs. I am proud to help continue this mission to better our local community.

What should we be excited about the night of the event?
We have so much to look forward to – a fabulous program, toasting to our sponsors, host committee and 2015 award winners. Don’t forget those dancing shoes as we will have live entertainment by Prime Time.

What should we wear? Dress to impress cocktail attire!

The Campagna Center and the Junior Friends thank Suzanne and Evie for all they have done in preparation of this totally new event.  The Platinum Gala will take place on May 9th a wonderful event being organized by the Junior Friends to honor the 70 years of service and positive change in the Alexandria community. More information on the event and ticket sales can be found here.

Meet Evie Cartwright; Platinum Gala Co-Chair

IMG_4524The Campagna Center‘s Junior Friends has an amazing number of women who are ready to step up and take on an immense amount of responsibility to run all of the incredible events that are associated with the Campagna Center’s fundraising efforts each year. Evie Cartwright is the newest member of Junior Friends to step up and take on the incredible responsibility of co-chairing the Campagna Center’s Platinum Gala. We had a chance to have a quick q & a with Evie to learn a bit more about her.

Evie with her husband Vlad and daughters Georgia and Gretchen

Evie with her husband Vlad and daughters Georgia and Gretchen

Are you married, have kids, single in the city?
Married to Vlad, have two little girls, Georgia 6 & Gretchen 4

What is your occupation?
Stay-at-home mom and Beautycounter consultant

Where did you grow up?
Pullman, WA

What can you share about yourself that no one would know unless you told them?
This is hard, because I am pretty much an open book. Oh here’s something slightly embarrassing. I grew up in Eastern WA, near Idaho, in a small college town, home to wheat fields, Washington State University, and not much else. In high school, I was Miss Palouse Empire Fair Queen. Yep, queen of livestock and little old ladies’ blue ribbon strawberry jam. I am sure my mom would love to share a picture of me in my crown, sash, and bad mushroom-like haircut!

What year did you join the Junior Friends?
January 2012

How did you find out about the Junior Friends?
Brooks McElwain told me about it and brought me into the fold!

Why is it important for you to volunteer/give back?
I want to help make the community I live in a better place for me and everyone else who lives here. It’s fun too!

What was your first event/day-of-duty?
I took pictures of raffle items at Toast to Fashion

Have you chaired any events or activities?
I co- chaired Deck the Halls with Kristin Herrmann in 2013 and was committee chair of the Toast to Fashion Raffle in 2014

What do you enjoy most about the Junior Friends?
Meeting new people! I have made some many wonderful friends.

What can you tell us about the Platinum Gala? How is the planning going?
It’s moving right along! Our committee chairs have put some great things together (think DOD shift to prepare flowers for the event!)

How has it been connecting with Junior Friends and supporters of TCC?
Working on the gala has made me more aware of how many people TCC connects with in our community. It’s pretty amazing.

What should we be excited about the night of the event?
The band is awesome and we will have a photo booth! Plus the raffle package is a pretty sweet deal at only $20 a ticket. A platinum New York experience your way!

What should we wear?
Your dancing shoes, of course! It’s cocktail attire, but have fun with it. It’s a celebration!

Anything else you would like to add?
Don’t wait to get your tickets.  You don’t want to miss out.

The Campagna Center and the Junior Friends thank Evie for all that she has done in preparation of this totally new event.  The Platinum Gala will take place on May 9th a wonderful event being organized by the Junior Friends to honor the 70 years of service and positive change in the Alexandria community. More information on the event and ticket sales can be found here.

2015 Unsung Hero: Brandi Pensoneau

As we head into the countdown for the Platinum Gala we thought we have been getting to know some of the inspirational people who are being honored with awards this year. These individuals have all shown commitment to The Campagna Center and the community at large.

Today let’s “Get to Know” Brandi Pensoneau. At this year’s gala, Brandi will be honored with the Unsung Hero Award. An award created to honor those who have tirelessly given their time and expertise as a Junior Friend volunteer and often go under the radar. This blogger can attest, Brandi can often be seen (as well as her husband Shawn and daughter Sophia!) every season hustling through events because she knows how to get things done!

Brandi Pensoneau with husband Shawn, daughter Sophia and pups Buxton and Carolina

Brandi Pensoneau with husband Shawn, daughter Sophia and pups Buxton and Carolina

When not volunteering as a Junior Friend, Brandi can be found on Capitol Hill where she is a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, or, (how fun is this) in a bee suit (is that what that is called?) tending to her bees for Bee Buzzed Honey! They have more than 20 hives between Alexandria and Middleburg, Va. This past Fall Brandi and Shawn celebrated the adoption finalization ceremony for their little girl, Sophia.

BeeBuzzed

Buzzed Honey

Like many of us who now call Alexandria our home, Brandi came here via a pretty indirect route. She born in California just off Camp Pendleton, moved to Japan, then Southern Oregon, a stint in Sun Valley, Idaho, and finally Evergreen, Colorado, where I graduated from High School and went on to College in Ft Collins. Wheew. Glad you made it!

Want to know more about Brandi? Take a look at her Q&A below:

What year did you join the Junior Friends?
According to Anne Culbert it was Fall of 2005 (We all have to ask Anne!)

How did you find out about the Junior Friends?
My friend, Chuck Chotvacs introduced me to a lovely gal named Anne Marie Goldsmith (now Anne Mare Chotvacs) that he was dating. (Did you know Anne Marie Chotvacs is a former Chair of the Junior Friends and 2013 recipient of the Barbara Pratt Lee Heart of Gold Award) It turned out we had a lot in common, including both being ZTAs in college. I expressed interest in looking for a group to volunteer with and she invited me to check out Junior Friends.

Why is it important for you to volunteer/give back?
To me volunteering not only makes me feel better, but it’s an investment in my community to make it a better place, not only for myself and my family, but for future generations. Further, I believe often and unknowingly the smallest act by a volunteer can have the largest impact on a person in need.

What was your first event/day-of-duty?
My first event was Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend and Nicole Payla and I co-chaired the Distribution Committee, along with serving on the “New Members” committee.

Have you chaired any events or activities? (BOY HAS SHE!)
Toast of Alexandria twice with Nicole Wood, and including this year, I will have chaired SCWW Marketplace 4 times. Also, as I mentioned above, the SCWW Distribution Committee.

What do you enjoy most about the Junior Friends?
The opportunity to meet so many talented women from diverse backgrounds, and the great feeling I get when I see our events come together.

The Junior Friends are so thrilled to honor you with the Unsung Hero Award. Why is this award special to you?
The Unsung Hero Award is special to me because I feel like I’m accepting it for the multitude of women who do as much, if not more, than I do for The Campagna Center (TCC) and do it without any thought of recognition. When I show up to volunteer for a TCC event it is these women, and often their spouses, who are working their tails off that inspire me to want to keep giving back to TCC. We volunteer to give back to the community and for the warmth it brings our hearts knowing we are making the difference in another person’s life who might not get that helping hand otherwise. I feel fortunate to stand alongside these women who have such a huge impact on TCC and our community.

The Campagna Center and the Junior Friends thank Brandi for all that she has done to support our mission! On May 9th Brandi will be presented with the 2015 Unsung Hero Award at the Platinum Gala, a wonderful event being organized by the Junior Friends to honor the 70 years of service and positive change in the Alexandria community. More information on the event and ticket sales can be found here.

Courtney Schieter: A Junior Friend with a Heart of Gold

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Courtney Schlieter- Recipient of the Barbara Lee Pratt Heart of Gold Award

Today we’re getting to know Courtney Schlieter, winner of the Barbara Lee Pratt Heart of Gold Award. Courtney is a busy mom, wife, litigation associate at Rich Rosenthal Brincefield Manitta Dzubin & Kroeger, LLP and Junior Friend of the Campagna Center. Courtney was gracious enough to give us a few moments of her time to answer a few questions.

Courtney and her husband Kurt at the Toast to Fashion

Tell us about yourself:
I grew up in Southern California (Pasadena specifically). After graduating from UCLA, I got involved in state politics in Orange County, California. After one election cycle, I was looking to get immersed deeper in politics and my choice was either Sacramento or Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. won and though my plan was only two years, I think I’m here to stay.
I worked on a number of different Members of Congress after moving to D.C. and went to George Mason Law School at night. After law school, I went to work for the Department of Justice for several years. I had the opportunity to stay home full time for a while. During that period, I co-chaired the Deck The Halls event and through that work met Lonnie Rich and Lana Manitta. I am now an associate at Rich Rosenthal Brincefield Manitta Dzubin & Kroeger, LLP. And I owe my job to Junior Friends and the great relationships it helps foster.
I live in Rosemont with my husband and my three daughters, Audrey (7), Eloise (5.75) and Lydia (3).

What initially drew you to supporting the Campagna Center?
I have always had a strong desire to give back to my community. In college, that was through my service organization, sorority and the Student-Alumni Association. As a young professional in DC, I missed that regular opportunity to give back. I was introduced to Junior Friends through Anne Marie Chotvacs and Susan Haigler Harvey, who spoke so highly of the organization and great group of women they met through it. Once I finally had my evenings back after law school, I joined and have enjoyed my time ever since.

What year did you join the Junior Friends?
It was the fall of 2007 when I was pregnant with my oldest. Oh how time flies!

What impacts have you seen TCC have on the community?
I’m not sure I know the full extent of the impact TCC has on the community. I know that I have been blessed with much and will be required to give an account of how I have used my resources to bless others. Junior Friends provides opportunities for women to give back in ways that can so significantly impact lives for the better in Alexandria. Take the teen moms Mother’s Day Shower for example. As a mother of three, all too often I lose my cool or do not respond with my emotions in check. And how many times have I felt unsupported, despite an amazing network of mom friends and a loving husband who does more than his share to support our family. I can only imagine what this young 15, 16 and 17 year moms feel like. Even if they do have an encourager at home, the logistical challenges they face to stay in school are enormous. Being pampered once a year by the Junior Friends with new essentials for their babies is such a small sacrifice for most of us and such a significant blessing for each of them.

What would you tell someone considering joining the Junior Friends?
This is an organization of amazing women who love doing good for the vulnerable in Alexandria. And they have a lot of fun doing it!

What events have you been involved with? Which are your favorite?
I think I have been involved in all the events in one aspect or another. I loved the events at Collingwood, initially as the Taste of Alexandria and later as Bowties and Belles. It’s such an amazing venue. All the events are amazing and such a great way to kick off a new season; Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend for Christmas, Toast to Fashion in the spring and Bowties and Belles for the late spring/summer party season.

We look forward to seeing you receive your award at The Platinum Gala. Are you excited?
I am so honored to be receiving this award and it is extra special that it will be presented during the Platinum Gala and recognition of all the efforts of TCC and Junior Friends over the past 70 years.

The Campagna Center and the Junior Friends thank Courtney  for all that she has done to support our mission! On May 9th Courtney will be presented with the 2015 Barbara Pratt Lee Heart of Gold Award  at the Platinum Gala, a wonderful event being organized by the Junior Friends to honor the 70 years of service and positive change in the Alexandria community. More information on the event and ticket sales can be found here.

Anne Culbert- A Junior Friend That Needs No Introduction

Today’s “Get to Know” is someone who needs no introduction, not only has she been an active Junior Friend for 20 years, her commitment and dedication to The Campagna Center led the board to create an award in her name. We are talking, of course, about Anne Culbert and in 2010 the Junior Friends created the Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award and rightfully so, Anne was the first recipient.

Anne Culbert Receiving the original Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award, 2010

Anne Culbert Receiving the original Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award, 2010

Anne Culbert presenting Carrie Garland with the 2012 Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award

Anne Culbert presenting Carrie Garland with the 2012 Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award

Anne’s dedication and leadership has been an inspiration to many Junior Friends old and new. I joined the Junior Friends about 10 years ago when Anne was serving as the board Chair and was blown away by all of the details she kept in line and her ability to know everyone in the room, how they came to the Junior Friends and what skills they had that could be of use. And many of us have been the lucky recipients of heartfelt cards found in our mailboxes congratulating us on the efforts of the moment. Fun fact- Anne Culbert has perfect attendance for General Membership meetings- for 20 years!!! This year Anne is serving as a Decades Chair for the 2000’s reaching out to Junior Friends from that decade (OK, decade and a half) to make sure they know about the Platinum Gala and can be involved!

So we all “know” Anne Culbert but let’s take a walk down memory lane as she reflects on her years of service with the Junior Friends. This year, the Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award will be presented to Luanne Griffin.

What was your favorite event you worked on/attended? It is hard to top the chills I always get as I hear the bagpipes practicing on the morning of the Parade & during the Massed Bands at the end of the Parade. I have always been fond of the Toast to Alexandria and maybe because it was the first event that I worked on helping to secure restaurants for participation. It was amazing to see months of hard work come together Sunday morning and always a welcome sight to have a drizzly morning of setup turn into a beautiful blue skied day! I had the pleasure of co-chairing this event in 2004. A fun event that really brought the community together for a common good…definitely a Toast to Alexandria! 

 
Did you serve on the board? I served on JF’s Board from 2000-08. NM’s, Hospitality, Cookbook Exploratory Chair w/Kendra Allman, Newsletter, Toast to Alexandria, Vice-Chair/Chair/Past Chair. I also served on TCC Board as Vice-Chair & Chair serving on Development Committee.

 

Who else stands out as a board member or Junior Friend during your tenure? Quite a few gals from my early days come to mind. Checka Noone with JF’s Chair when I went on the Board and had been witness to such a strong alliance that she had with TCC and with her sister Pia Trigiani & their boss David Mercer. It was through their help the old Angel Gala (later Celebration of Service) was brought to be through sponsorship by their old law firm Mayes & Valentine. Mr. Mercer was also the first or one of the first men to head TCC Board. Sounds funny to say now but was kind of a big deal at the time in an organization with so many women in charge. I really think this kind of relationship building with Junior Friends and their employers took off around this time and with so many who have followed…Tamara Mlynarczyk/Mazda, Patti Rouzie/NBWA, and Jeannine Hyde/Volkswagen to name a few. Michelle DeWakar and Cynthia Larsen for their brilliant idea as co-chairs of the 1999 Toast to Alexandria to start a kick-off event… the Toast to Fashion!

 

What have you seen change at the Junior Friends? Most obvious would be some additions and subtractions of events on our calendar. I saw the addition of the Toast to Fashion and its growth over the years…outgrowing TCC space and becoming a must attend event of spring. Additionally, the loss of the Toast to Alexandria and the resurgence of a new spring event…Bowties and Belles that has brought back previous donors and sponsorship in the community. Changes made to streamline our fundraising efforts through the creation and evolution of our gala to “Celebrate Service” but carving out ways to still recognize those members in our TCC family and community who have given much.

 

How has being involved in the Junior Friends impacted your life? Being involved with Junior Friends and TCC has been so enriching to my life. As a transplant to the area many years ago from Iowa, my connection to TCC and Junior Friends has really made Alexandria more of a hometown for me. I see year after year the events we help put on like SCWW Parade becoming more of a tradition for the community where we live. To see how integral TCC and their programs are to the city of Alexandria is phenomenal. TCC and the work by the JF”s are a very important fabric in the every changing quilt that is our growing city. The friendships I have made through my involvement are a gift!

 

What advice do you have for the current Junior Friends? Get involved and to not be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. We all have a bit of an event planner in ourselves waiting to be tapped! Some women have even parlayed new skills developed through their involvement into new career paths. If anything, the more you get involved the more women you meet and your connection to TCC and the Alexandria community grows. 

 
What would you tell someone considering joining the Junior Friends? Junior Friends are a great group of women that successfully pool their time and talents year after year to help raise money and awareness for the programs of TCC. It is a wonderful way to give back to your community! The friendship and ties to the community will be the bonus!

Do you have a favorite memory to share? There are so many memories but one that personally stands out as my Toast to Alexandria Co-Chair Dana Jones and I, as well as our entire committee breathed a sigh of relief as we made it through the day without a single cicada coming onto Collingwood for our event. We really dodged a bullet as could have been catastrophic with the Health Dept not to mention just nasty!. The cicadas came out from underground the Friday morning before our event on Sunday but much to our delight they didn’t come on the grounds of Collingwood. We understand our luck could be chalked up to some landscaping that had been done since the last infestation 17 years prior. So…we were safe! Whew!

What has been the best part about being a Decades chair? Have you reconnected with old friends? It has been fun to reconnect and I look forward to doing more in the months that lead up to the event. I really think it is a great opportunity to re-engage & connect as we all have such a shared connection to each other and the community through JF’s & TCC.

TCC-

How did you find out about TCC? I was a tutor for Wright to Read and really had no idea about TCC and their programs and leadership. I really wasn’t aware of the other programs of TCC or the important work the JF’s and SF’s do for TCC and the community until II was invited to a volunteer reception for volunteers at the old Decorator Show House at Hollin Hall. That was in spring of 1994 and joined JF’s January 1995.

Did you volunteer directly at TCC? If so, please share a story or share how this impacted you. I volunteered with a third grader at Jefferson-Houston through Wright to Read. At the time I was back in school for my current profession as a dental hygienist and had an earlier degree in Elementary Education and was looking for a connection with children. Additionally, I had been doing a lot of volunteering with a national program Doing Something in the DC area but didn’t feel fulfilled. I didn’t realize until connecting with TCC the piece that was missing was the community…JF’s and TCC really gave me that connection!

What impact have you seen the TCC make on the Alexandria community? TCC has taken an important lead and ownership for city for Head Start and should be very proud of that accomplishment. The impact over 70 years is amazing to think and can often start with just that one on one time and a book.

Have you seen positive changes at the Campagna Center? TCC has really embraced the changing demographics of the city by offering programs. TCC has done a wonderful job embracing new opportunities to grow and New Neighbors is a prime example of this.

Why is being involved in an organization like the Campagna Center important to you? I know that the time that I spend through volunteering is worthwhile and take great pride in knowing that through r my work as a JF I have helped TCC make an impact on the lives of children and families in their programs.

Do you have any messages of gratitude you would like to share? I am really thankful for the pioneering women who served before me in JF’s and Elizabeth Ann Campagna for taking the risk to chart a new course…Alexandria is a better place as a result!

The Campagna Center thanks Anne for all that she has done to support our mission! On May 9th Anne will present the 2015 Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award to Luanne Griffin (learn more about Luanne here)  at the Platinum Gala, a wonderful event being organized by the Junior Friends to honor the 70 years of service and positive change in the Alexandria community. More information on the event and ticket sales can be found here.

New York, NY

nyWin a Platinum Experience for Two in New York City!

As part of the Platinum Gala, The Campagna Center is having a raffle for an amazing weekend in NY city!

The Campagna Center presents the Platinum New York City Weekend Getaway Raffle as part of our 70th anniversary celebration. This exciting, fun-filled weekend will include:
• Two night stay at a premium Starwood Hotel
• Roundtrip Amtrak tickets from Union Station
• $300 AMEX gift card for dinner at an exclusive New York City restaurant
• $400 AMEX gift card for Broadway Theater Tickets
• Private behind-the-scenes tour at Sotheby’s NYC Auction House!
Your purchase of a $20 raffle ticket enters you to win! Proceeds benefit The Campagna Center. The winner will be drawn on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at The Platinum Gala. You need not be present to win. Raffle tickets can be purchased at http://www.campagnacenter.org/platinumgala/raffle

2015 Recipient of the Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award: Luanne Griffin

The Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award was initiated by the Junior Friends of the Campagna Center to honor a person who has had a tremendous impact on the Junior Friends community, The Campagna Center and the City of Alexandria. The Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award recognizes a member of the community who has left a profound and sustained legacy on an organization through his or her dedication, spirit, leadership and influence. The recipient has set a high standard of service over many years that has inspired others to do the same.Today we’re getting to know the 2015 recipient of the Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award Luanne Griffin with a Q & A.

Luanne with her daughter Tori and husband Jim

Luanne with her daughter Tori and husband Jim

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I currently live in Old Town with my husband and 14 year-old daughter. I had a long career in politics as a Hill staffer and lobbyist, and then switched to the non-profit sector as a Development Director at a local school. Currently I am pursuing a masters degree in Psychology, with plans to become a professional human services counselor with a non-profit organization.

Where did you grow up?
Pittsburgh, PA.

Where do you live now?
Old Town Alexandria.

What year did you join the Junior Friends/Supporting Friends?
I joined Supporting Friends in 2011.

What initially drew you to The Campagna Center?
I became involved when the New Neighbors English Language Learner program merged with The Campagna Center. Prior to the merger, I was a Board Member of the New Neighbors program.

Why is it important for you to volunteer/give back?
Giving back through volunteer work gives purpose and meaning to life. Everyone associated with TCC has the capacity to bring change, a new beginning, or hope for the future through the many programs and opportunities we offer.

What is your current involvement?
TCC Board Member, and Co-Chair of the Development Committee

What events have you been involved with, what is your favorite?
I have chaired the New Neighbors annual fundraiser for five consecutive years. It’s my favorite event because, in addition to raising needed funds for the New Neighbors program, we also get the chance to thank our amazing volunteer teachers and showcase immigrant students who give speeches about how New Neighbors has changed their lives. It always brings a tear to my eye, and everyone else in the room!

What could you tell someone interested in joining the Junior Friends/Supporting Friends?
Joining Supporting Friends will put you in touch with women who “walk the walk” when it comes to serving our community. They take their commitment seriously, they make things happen, and they have lots of fun doing it!

What impacts have you seen The Campagna Center have on the community?
I have personally seen the most impact of TCC through the New Neighbors program. Though the program serves adult men and women, I am particularly proud of the impact the program has on young women because of the unique childcare component. We hear so often that many immigrant mothers would have remained isolated and unable to communicate outside the home if not for the opportunity to study English while having their young children and babies being cared for right outside their New Neighbors classroom. It’s really what sets our English program apart from others, and it is amazing to see these young women blossom into confident, productive members of society under the tutelage of our caring and dedicated volunteer teachers.

How have you seen the Campagna Center and the Junior Friends change over the years?
The Campagna Center has been blessed with many great leaders over the years, but we are particularly blessed to have Dr. Tammy Mann as our CEO and President for the last few years. She has inspired TCC staff members, Board members, and Junior and Supporting Friends to serve our community with compassion, commitment, and the urgency that it deserves.

The Campagna Center thanks Luanne for all that she has done to support our mission! Luanne will be presented with the Anne Culbert Legacy of Service Award on May 9th at the Platinum Gala, a wonderful event being organized by the Junior Friends to honor the 70 years of service and positive change in the Alexandria community. More information on the event and ticket sales can be found here.

Remembering the City’s Right Arm

In observance of Women’s History Month we’re proud to highlight our namesake Elizabeth Anne Campagna. Elizabeth Anne served as executive director of what was then the Alexandria Y from 1961-1985. Her vision and concern for the needs of women and their families of Alexandria created and guided the work of many programs in the city, including Head Start.

Campagna-GoodIn the 1940s, she moved to Alexandria when her father was pastor at First Baptist Church Alexandria where the Downtown Baptist Church is now located. After graduating from nursing school at Garfield Hospital in the District of Columbia, she became a registered nurse. While teaching Sunday school, she met the father of one of her students — a widower with a 5-year-old son.

“The legend is that I said ‘Dad, you ought to marry this woman because she’s great,'” said Mickey Campagna. “I don’t remember saying that, but I hope I did because it’s a great story. My father always used to say that I set them up together.”

Elizabeth Anne Campagna raised her husband’s son and a daughter of their own. Then, in 1961, her father died. Shortly afterward, her husband unexpectedly died. Forced to make ends meet for her family, Elizabeth Anne Campagna went back to nursing. But nurses did not make much money in those days. So she tried a number of professions — including selling real estate.

“She wasn’t very successful as a real estate agent because she was not good at selling things,” said Mickey Campagna. “She was a caregiver.”

Later in 1961, she was hired as the program director for the YWCA. She used her natural skills to transform the organization and create a new vision for community service in Alexandria.

“Rather than selling raffle tickets to raise money, she would call up the president of the Rotary Club,” said Mickey Campagna. “She had this ability to see the big picture and figure out how all the pieces could fit together.”

Of all the programs that Elizabeth Anne Campagna put together, one stands out to her stepson involving black girls who were lost in the shuffle of integration. While the black boys had sports, black girls had little to identify with during the early days of integration.

“She used to get a handful of tough black girls from the projects and lock them in the Community Y. She would stay up all night talking to them about jobs and the importance of not getting pregnant,” said Mickey Campagna.

Mary Cosby, her sister, remembered Elizabeth Anne Campagna’s sense of community involvement. “We always used to say that she held Alexandria in the palm of her hand because she loved this city so much,” she said. “The day that she died, the Alexandria Gazette Packet had a headline that read ‘Alexandria Loses Its Right Arm,’ which I’ve always thought was wonderful.”

Today with Dr. Tammy L. Mann at the helm and almost 200 staff, 25 board members and more than 750 volunteers dedicated to the well-being of Alexandria’s children and families, we ensure that Elizabeth Anne Campagna’s legacy lives on.

We hope you’ll join us on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at The Platinum Gala to celebrate her legacy and 70 years of service and positive change. Visit the gala website for ticket information, sponsorship opportunities, and to enter our Platinum NYC Weekend Getaway Raffle.