Reflections from 30 Community Lodgings Ambassadors

Ambassador Reflections – Helping Where We Can

When Marissa Wilson and her friends from Restoration City Church (RCC) wanted to partner with a nonprofit, Community Lodgings was the perfect fit. “What got us was the mission of overcoming homelessness by helping the whole family,” Marissa recalled. “And we were especially excited to partner with an organization so close to where our church meets so we could serve the local community.”

Their first project? Repaint the Fifer Learning Center. All four rooms had been painted with flat paint the year before, and the walls showcased every fingerprint, dirt, crayon mark, and whatever else the after-school kids could throw at it.

Ten RCC volunteers showed up that Saturday morning, and within a few hours the walls were a cheerful, clean, and most importantly, easy-wipe blue.

“We loved it,” Marissa recalled. “It was a good chance to get an introduction to Community Lodgings.” And the more RCC heard about Community Lodgings, the more they wanted to work with them.

Next came their “Restore DC” service day in late October when they created Community Lodgings’ first “Trunk or Treat” for the community children. “It was about as fun for us as it was for the kids,” Marissa said. RCC volunteers parked 20 cars in a neighborhood apartment complex, set up games, painted faces, and took photos of the kids. Community Lodgings staff joined them to be part of the fun. Although they ran out of candy within 45 minutes, they loved the experience and plan to hold another Trunk or Treat with Community Lodgings this year.

“The kids were just so engaging,” she added. “It was awesome to see how the Community Lodgings staff loves those kids.” “And,” she added, “an excuse to dress up is always fun.”

Since then RCC has deepened their partnership with Community Lodgings by helping with the Saturday Academy study program, the annual yard sale, grant writing, and child care during mandatory evening classes for transitional housing parents.

Marissa believes the great staff and belief in their work has led to Community Lodgings’ success. “They are focused on each family and make an effort to help them holistically,” she said.

“As a church, we really have a heart for that community, and part of our role is to help where we can. We know the love God continues to show us and we want to show that love to those around us.”

Ambassador Reflections – Shaping My Goals through Community Lodgings

My name is Glancy Rosales and I am originally from Guatemala. I was eleven years old when I migrated to the United States, partly because my parents thought we (myself, my brother and my older sister) would have better educational opportunities in this country. I was first enrolled at George Mason Elementary school, and my… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – Why One Home Makes a Difference

  When Community Lodgings re-opens six affordable housing apartments after an extensive renovation, they added a bonus: The renovation included adding one additional two-bedroom unit at their 607 Notabene Drive property. In a city where 14,000 households qualify for but are unable to attain affordable housing what difference does one more apartment make? Plenty, said… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – Six Questions with Councilman Justin Wilson

City Council member Justin Wilson has served on Alexandria’s city council for seven years – first in 2007, then continuously since 2012. He and his family live in Alexandria, where he also works for Amtrak. Justin recently answered six questions about Community Lodgings: What attracted you to Community Lodgings?  The longevity of the commitment to… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – From a Volunteer’s View

By Holly Herman My name is Holly Herman.  I’ve been a periodic speaker/trainer for the last four years, sharing my experience as an Executive Coach. I was attracted to Community Lodgings by the work they do.  Community Lodgings is doing work that directly meets the needs of the community.  The afterschool programs for the children… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – Getting to Know Donna Cramer

by Joy Loving, Volunteer Donna Cramer is an Alexandria-based realtor with McEnearney Associates, Inc., who has supported Community Lodgings, privately and through McEnearney Associates, for nearly two decades. Donna has sponsored several of Community Lodgings’ “Spring Forward” functions and even found a way to creatively incorporate the Washington Nationals into her giving. We asked Donna some questions about her continuing support… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – Leading with Passion

Ambassador Reflections – Leading with Passion

Marie Muscella met Community Lodgings completely by chance. Her lawyer and Community Lodgings board member George Tuttle invited her to a board meeting one evening. It was 2009 and Marie was re-evaluating her life. What was important? What mattered? Volunteering was always a part of her family’s life growing up, and somehow she had drifted… Continue Reading

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Alexandria, VA 22305


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601 Four Mile Road

Alexandria, VA 22305


Fifer Family Learning Center

607 Notabene Drive

Alexandria, VA 22305


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