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Hamby lauded for helping reunite immigrant families

Robin Hamby of Burke, a family partnership specialist with Fairfax County Public Schools who assists families dealing with issues of reunification, was honored at nonprofit SCAN’s 12th Annual Allies in Prevention Awards Luncheon.

Hamby was one of six recipients of a 2014 Allies in Prevention Award, which recognizes those in the community who work to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

The luncheon took place April 1, the first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month. On hand were Leon Harris from ABC7 and keynote speaker Terry Morris, NASA scientist, who shared his personal experiences as an abused child in the foster care system.

In her work over the years with the Family and School Partnerships program, Hamby received many calls requesting help for children who were struggling with everything from school tardiness to lack of respect to depression. Many were raised in other countries and brought over as adolescents to reunite with their parents.

“During migration, many of these children suffer trauma no one should ever experience, only to arrive to a home with ‘strangers,’” Hamby said. “They are homesick, disoriented and lost.”

Hamby saw a critical need and worked to fill it with resources, information and meaningful connections. She researched immigrant family reunification, surveyed parents and school staff, and brought together community and experts to develop materials and programs for families.

Today the Immigrant Family Reunification Program provides workshops for parents, and professional development for school staff and service providers. Parent-led support groups are being organized. As a result of Hamby’s efforts, a whole new line of connections has been created for these children and families.

“We need to see the strengths that each individual brings and build on that, especially in this community of immigrants from all over the world,” said Hamby. “Welcoming is not just a mat by the door, but an attitude that inspires feelings of safety and connection.”

SCAN of Northern Virginia has been working for 25 years to build hope for children and families by promoting the well-being of children, improving parent-child relations, and preventing child abuse and neglect.

Fairfax County Times wins sweepstakes award

The Fairfax County Times won seven first-place awards and finished first in the News sweepstakes contest for large-class weekly newspapers at the Virginia Press Association’s annual contest.

The award is presented to newspapers that have won the most top places for awards in three categories--art and photos, writing and presentation.

Leading the way were designer Bill Sears and photographer Shamus Fatzinger, who combined to win 13 awards.

Sears captured top honors in three categories – Lifestyle/Entertainment pages, Specialty pages and overall Page Design – and added a third with his Sports page design.

Fatzinger’s two first-place awards came in the Sports News and Pictorial Photo categories. He also picked up three second-place and four third-place awards.

Other first-place wins were turned in by Glen Cullen for headline writing and Steve Cahill for editorial writing. Schools reporter Kate Yanchulis took a second for education writing and a third in the general news writing category. Beth Angleberger placed third for front-page design.

Reston best for intergenerational living

Reston has received one of four America’s Best Intergenerational Communities Awards, presented by the MetLife Foundation and Generations United. The award is designed to heighten awareness of the importance intergenerational solidarity plays in building strong, supportive communities.

Reston founder Robert E. Simon Jr. accepted the award March 25 from Fox News correspondent Juan Williams at the Cannon House Building on Capitol Hill.

“We congratulate Reston for earning this designation,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “It takes a great deal of effort and forward thinking to create a community where members of every generation want to live.”

The other winning communities were Maricopa County, Ariz., the City of Parkland, Fla., and the Village of Sherwood, Wis.

County’s students buzzing at state Bee

The 2014 Virginia State Geographic Bee took place April 4 at Longwood University in Farmville. This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, now in its 26th year.

Schools throughout Virginia with fourth- through eighth-grade students conducted bees to determine each school’s winner. School-level winners then took a qualifying test, which was submitted to the National Geographic Society.

The students with the top 100 scores in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependent Schools and U.S. territories were invited to compete at the state level. The following 38 students from Fairfax County were invited to participate.

Alexandria: Ella Chadwick, Browne Academy; Dan Grossman, Commonwealth Academy; Zachary Kreiger, St. Stephens and St. Agnes School; Reid Ridenour, Burgundy Farm Country Day School; William Sanders, St. Mary’s Catholic School.

Annandale: Kevin Davis, Canterbury Woods Elementary.

Centreville: Vedant Balu, Bull Run Elementary; Samson Buck, Greater Fairfax Homeschooler.

Chantilly: Theodore Ellis, Rocky Run Middle; Emily Gold, Michael Lunsford Middle.

Fairfax: Jacob Augelli, Robinson Secondary; Rohil Bhinge, Mosby Woods Elementary; Michael McCabe, Oak View Elementary; Isaac Putla, Lanier Middle.

Falls Church: Jason Darling, Luther Jackson Middle; William Leggett, St. James Catholic School; Sameer Miglani, Mary Ellen Henderson; Siddarth Shankar, Longfellow Middle.

Great Falls: Aidan Leishear, Great Falls Elementary.

Herndon: Nishanth Anand, Rachel Carson Middle; Rahul Gupta, Nysmith School; Siddharth Krishnakamar, McNair Elementary; Bryan Lu, Floris Elementary; Gabriel Martinez, Clearview Elementary.

McLean: Craig Anderson, Cooper Middle; Andres Borjas, St. John Academy; Nischal Dinesh, Spring Hill Elementary; Ethan Kallett, The Langley School; Justin Young, Kent Gardens Elementary.

Oakton: Mustafa Akpinar, Pinnacle Academy; Connor Cuevo, Flint Hill School.

Reston: Pradyuta Padmanabhan, Edlin School.

Springfield: Joseph McCarthy, St. Bernadette; Kai Riggle, Sangster Elementary.

Vienna: John Forys, Fairfax Christian School; Kevin Funkhouser, Colvin Run Elementary; Ethan Wolman, Flint Hill Elementary; Ali Yeganeh, Kilmer Middle.

The state winner will represent Virginia in the National Geographic Bee finals at the society’s headquarters May 19-21.

College credits

The University of Delaware’s alternative spring break program sent 200 students to participate in alternative spring break projects last month in New Orleans, Florida, New Jersey, West Virginia, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Among the students were Katherine Junghenn and Victoria Snare of Vienna.

The following students were named to the dean’s lists at their respective colleges and universities for the fall 2013 semester.

Azusa Pacific University, Calif.: Jessie Barnes and Sarah Hyde of Springfield.

Berklee College of Music, Boston: Jed Lingat of Centreville; Jeffrey Klawiter of Falls Church; Laura Galanti and Sara Talebian of Herndon; Molly Carraway, Jacob Shochet and Matthew Valcourt of McLean; Michael Fiorini and Andres Orco of Reston; and Orla Conway and Julia Scheider-Williams of Vienna.

Emerson College, Boston: Mitchell Buckley of Centreville, and Jordan Rummel of Fairfax.

Lasell College, Newton, Mass.: Rachel Cronin of Centreville.

Marist College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: Kristen Cheslett-Rose of Herndon.

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Galloway: Owen Mulvey-McFerron of Fairfax.