Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CAFN DC, MD, Northern Virginia Foreclosure Mobile CellPhone Assistance - Text HOME or CASA to 877-877

Regional Community Service Announcement

TEXT HOME or CASA to 877-877

The Capital Area Foreclosure Network (CAFN) very recently announced the launch of a new foreclosure prevention text messaging service. The service will provide those in or worried about foreclosure with access to advice, reminders, and alerts through their mobile phones in either Spanish or English. The goals of the campaign are to increase the number of homeowners and renters that get help from a nonprofit housing counselor, and decrease the number of people who drop out of counseling.

TEXT HOME or CASA to 877-877

Parties can opt-in to the service by using their mobile device to text message HOME or CASA to 877-877, and will then immediately receive critical information and a hotline number to use when they are ready to connect to a counselor at a HUD approved counseling organization.

After opting in, mobile subscribers will receive periodic reminders, information about foreclosure prevention programs available in their jurisdiction, such as the new mediation programs in D.C. and Maryland, follow-up instructions, alerts to scams, financial literacy tips, and much more.

"We wanted to try a new way of getting our message across", said Peggy Sand, Director of the regional coalition. "Mobile phones are the most effective, easy and affordable way to connect with struggling residents."

Data from March 2011 shows that more than 9 percent of all loans (approximately 115,000 mortgages) in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area were in foreclosure or delinquent. Prince George’s County has been hit particularly hard by the crisis; approximately 5 percent of mortgages were in foreclosure and 15 percent were delinquent in the County as of March 2011. Studies show that homeowners that seek help from a certified nonprofit counselor have a better chance of avoiding foreclosure than homeowners who work alone.

"So many individuals who have lost their homes have fallen victim twice: first to predatory lenders and then to foreclosure rescue scam artists who promise they can save people’s homes, charge thousands of dollars, and do nothing to help" said Chuck Bean of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, who co-leads CAFN.

CAFN believes that adding a mobile-based initiative will provide wider access to DC, MD and Northern Virginia foreclosure community and government assistance for home foreclosure victims in the National Capital Region. The success of other mobile campaigns, like those responding to the earthquakes in Haiti and Text4baby, has been inspirational for many nonprofits. Moreover, according to a May 2010 Pew Report, 87% of Hispanic households have multiple mobile phones and use them more than any other personal or handheld technology. Thanks to a recent grant from Freddie Mac, CAFN can now connect with this audience in a familiar medium.

CAFN has designed the text messaging campaign to complement its other outreach initiatives, including a newly-redesigned interactive website ( and a regional Spanish and English hotline (888-794-8830). Text messages will encourage users to contact the hotline so they can be referred to a nonprofit housing counselor, and will direct users to the website for additional information and resources on the foreclosure process.

The Capital Area Foreclosure Network (CAFN) is a Washington metropolitan area coalition that supports the work of nonprofit organizations, local governments and national partners working to help homeowners and renters facing foreclosure. CAFN is jointly led by the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.


Peggy Sand, / 202-390-9709
Steven Kania, / 202-962-3249

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Huge Northern Virginia Business Expo & Conference - Chantilly, 12-2-2011

The Northern Virginia Business EXPO is here!

Join a timely gathering of Fairfax, Loudoun County and Northern Virginia’s most interesting and successful local businesses and business leaders for this valuable Dulles area regional networking and business development event. Experience over 100 exhibitors and sponsors, onsite catering plus door prizes, social media and marketing seminars. Hear opening remarks and leadership address by Gerald Gordon, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Kristina Bouweiri, President and CEO of Reston Limousine.

Fairfax Breakfast Club

This is THE local business networking event this holiday season in the Dulles region – sign up early as a visitor or sponsor!

Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 08:00am- 01:00 pm
14810 Murdock Street Chantilly, VA 20151-1018
More Info and Registration at:

Register today to visit the EXPO, and network with our broad, diverse and accomplished local and DC regional business community...knock a few items off the holiday gift list, as well!

For more details on sponsorships/exhibitors reservation, email or call (703) 359-5642.

Events Schedule:

7:30 - 8:15am: "Introduction to Engagement Marketing & Social Media" – Gina Watkins, Constant Contact
7:30 - 8:00: Networking reception (exhibitors only)
8:00 Doors Open!
8:00 - 8:30: Registration, Exhibit and Networking
8:30 - 8:50: Introductions, keynote speaking and ribbon-cutting
8:50 - 12:15pm: Exhibit and Networking
12:15 - 12:45: One-on-One Networking
12:45 - 1:00: Door prizes session and farewell remarks
1:00 - 2:30: "Social Media Made Easier" Seminar by Gina Watkins (optional, with lunch for attendees/Must register)

The NOVA Business Expo asks each attendee to bring one or more unwrapped toys to lighten up the Holiday Season of underprivileged children. These toys will be received and distributed by Reston Interfaith, Inc.

Booths are now on sale! Call (703) 359-5642 or e-mail to to reserve - discounts are available for early registrants. Only 3 companies per local industry segment.

Local Media Sponsor:

KME Internet Marketing – DC and Northern Virginia Digital Interactive Marketing, Social Media


Friday, November 18, 2011

Go Fairfax Events for Mobile iPhone Android Apps - Nov 19-20

GoFairfax (GoFFX) event listings on your iPhone or Android Mobile App for this weekend...add your own Fairfax County VA events for Chantilly, Dulles, Sterling, Herndon, Reston, Great Falls, McLean, Tysons Corner...

Saturday, November 19

08:00am - 10:00am St. Jude Give Thanks Walk
@ Tysons Corner Center

09:00am - 11:00am
Community Coffee
@ Reston
10:00am Belvoir Officers' Spouses' Club Holiday Craft Boutique & Family Funfest
@ George Mason University Patriot Center

02:00pm - 06:00pm
Barnes & Noble Book Signing
@ Tysons Corner Center

02:00pm - 04:00pm
Singles Saturday - Il Fornaio, Reston Town Center
@ Reston Town Center

05:00pm - 07:00pm
Fall Focus Reception and Exhibition - Greater Reston Arts Center
@ Reston Arts Center
08:00pm Andre Rieu
@ George Mason University Patriot Center

Sunday, November 20

03:00pm - 05:00pm
Washington Balalaika Society Concert

@ Arlington

04:00pm - 06:00pm
Reston Community Orchestra Season Opening Concert - Mood Music

@ Reston Community Center Hunters Woods

05:00pm - 06:30pm
The Capitol Steps

@ Alexandria

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Loudoun's Pickwick Players - Scrooge the Musical Family Holidays 2011 Event!

The Pickwick Players are bringing holiday cheer to Loudoun County this December with six fun-filled performances of Scrooge, The Musical at Belmont Ridge Middle School in the Lansdowne area of Leesburg, VA.

This heart-warming musical will be performed on Friday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online via Paypal at the Pickwick Players website, or at the door.

There will be a $50 Wegmans gift card given away at every performance to one of the lucky people who brings canned goods for Loudoun Interfaith Relief. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the performances will be donated to Loudoun Cares.

Featuring over eighty local children, teens, and adults, Scrooge, The Musical is adapted from the classic Charles Dickens ghost story "A Christmas Carol", and set to lively music by Leslie Bricusse. Taking place in London, England in 1843, wealthy yet miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, causing him to realize the error of his ways. Filled with crowd-pleasing songs such as “I Hate Christmas”, “Thank You Very Much”, and “December the Twenty-Fifth”, Scrooge, The Musical is a holiday classic the whole family can enjoy together!

Since their incorporation as a non-profit organization in 2005, The Pickwick Players have provided entertainment and enrichment for the Northern Virginia community with their quality, wholesome, and family-oriented musical productions. The Pickwick Players’ website and Facebook page contain additional information about the organization, including current happenings and photographs.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Loudoun U8 Girls South Riding Soccer - Undefeated!

Congratulations to the Loudoun South Riding U8 Girls Rec League Tornados (pictured here at the post-season celebration at Cici's) - who, despite losing 1 player to a broken arm and another to a relocation, finished the Fall 2011 season undefeated in regular play - great hard work from a team who frequently fielded only 4 energizer bunnies! UVA, George Mason, VT college women's soccer scouts - watch out for these girls in 2021...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Loudoun BOS Election Candidate Outreach – Social Media Fail for Younger Voters

We took a brief look among the winners of the recent BOS election in Loudoun County, to look at their outreach activities to prospective voters through 2 popular social media channels – Facebook and Twitter. Some did have limited LinkedIn activity, but we’re focusing on Facebook and Twitter (and Google Plus was just too new) mainly to drive home the point that these candidates effectively neglected huge swaths of potential younger voters – the voters who are more likely to use Facebook and/or Twitter to find local news and possibly interact online.

All campaigns, with the slight exception of Mr. Buona, demonstrated an appalling lack of integrated, personalized and active social media outreach, across the Internet channels available (including the candidates' websites). Especially given the "proof in the pudding" demonstrated by this past presidential campaign - of the value of integrated social media in promoting and amplifying campaign messages, reaching new constituents, and targeting the younger more mobile demographics.

How can we expect to reach, mobilize and engage the younger, rapidly growing and graduating citizens of Loudoun without actively reaching out on their terms, in their medium?

Not one candidate used Twitter effectively at all; across all candidates, a grand total of 30 people (possible voters!) were followed – Mr. Reid's tweets were actually protected from view altogether; Mr. Williams had 0 tweets, and Mr. Letourneau's last tweet was May 20th.

Facebook usage was a little more busy, with several candidates boasting a couple of hundred "likes" on their page, or friends on their profile (seems to be general confusion on profiles vs. pages). Mr. York's personal profile was turned on around 10/19 with only 14 posts (though 740 "friends" already!); Mr. Delgaudio's website doesn't link to his Facebook, and Ms. Clark has a broken link on her profile to a nonexistent "votejanetclarke" page (though her "Friends of Janet Clarke" page was nice, if impersonal).

The only candidate website to boast a full complement of very common online "share" buttons (i.e. YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Facebook) was Mr. Williams, though all the buttons except Facebook were actually broken.

While these metrics are obviously now OBE (overtaken by events), perhaps the new Board of Supervisors can promote a fresh initiative for 2012: "Whereas, we neglected to properly leverage social media to reach our younger constituents during the campaigns, we'll invest a lot more in County resources and attention to engage, motivate, support and educate both ourselves and this demographic (future voters and taxpayers!) through smart, integrated and current social media and mobile channels".

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thumbs Up or Down - Deck Table, Deck Railing Accessory

Fairfax and Loudoun Mental Health Therapy Provides Social Skills IQ for Children

In Step, PC's Northern Virginia Stepping Stones program is an extremely unique, successful program offering Loudoun and Fairfax mental health group and individual therapy for children and families.

Positive peer relationships offer a critical buffer against daily stress and psychological difficulties. Rejection by peers is especially devastating to children and can be associated with long-term problems including low self-esteem, poor academic performance, feelings of aloneness and loneliness, and juvenile delinquency.

Without the friendship of peers, children feel alone, confused, and out of sync with the rest of the world, including school and family. These feelings can also have serious repercussions for their growth and future success. Research has found that peer rejection can furthermore lead to problems including depression, failed relationships, poor parenting skills, and troubled careers. Being able to make and keep friends clearly plays a vital role in a child's emotional health and well-being.

Social issues are especially problematic for children with AD/HD, social anxiety, learning disabilities, and Asperger's syndrome. There is good news, however, for children who struggle in social settings with their peers—poor social skills can improve with coaching, and children learn social skills best in the company of other children.

For nearly 20 years, In Step, PC's Northern Virginia Stepping Stones mental health program has been helping children of all ages "raise their social IQ." Stepping Stones is unique in that it follows a step-by-step approach to teaching children of elementary school age how to make and maintain friends, as well as how to increase the child's awareness of the impact of his or her behavior on other children, their friends and family. A strong team approach is emphasized throughout the program by maintaining consistent contact with all professionals (school personnel, physicians, mental health professionals) as appropriate.

In Step, PC is a leading, private, Northern Virginia mental health practice - with offices in Fairfax and Sterling, VA—providing therapy services for children, families, adolescents, adults and couples. Fairfax and Loudoun mental health counseling expertise includes assessment and group therapy for social skills training, AD/HD and Asperger's disorders, depression, anxiety, anger issues, and parenting problems.