Author Archives: CommunityLodgings

Ambassador Reflections – Free Hugs for Volunteers

Marilyn Whitehurst loves her kids. Her kids include her own child, the children she cared for as a pediatric nurse, and now the second graders enrolled in Community Lodgings’ Youth Education after school program and summer programs, where she volunteers once or twice a week.

“When I first met the kids, I fell in love with them,” Marilyn, the 2016 Community Lodgings Volunteer of the Year, recalled. She was especially concerned for the kids in the program whose parents did not speak English and could not help them with their homework, so the Youth Education volunteer role was a perfect fit. Now working full time as surgical sales consultant, Marilyn was especially pleased that the Community Lodgings staff would adjust her volunteer schedule to accommodate her work commitments.

Marilyn tutors the same 12-14 kids that she met last year when they were first graders and she was a new volunteer, and already has seen them grow academically and socially. She is amazed at how fast they can read a book now, and she encourages them to take their books home and read to their younger siblings. That, she believes, helps both children with reading and English language comprehension, and also helps their mother, who may be caring for other children.

Volunteering with the Community Lodgings’ kids is Marilyn’s Red Bull. She misses them when she is not with them, and they refresh her, even after she has worked an eight-hour shift. “It energizes me to know that we are making a difference with these children and these families, especially at such an early age,” she said. “It really makes me feel like we are offering something beneficial for them. You can have a crazy schedule and be totally exhausted, and when you get there they just give you that energy.”

She cherishes the one-on-one time she has with each of her students, and knows that praising them and saying, “I’m amazed at what you are doing and how great you are” gives them the self-assurance that translates to success in school.

“Having that relationship with them helps them realize the importance of school and doing the best they can,” she said. She also hopes to reinforce the value of education and strong family ties.

And then there are those hugs. Marilyn watches the kids to get off bus and run into the Fifer Family Learning Center, then rush up to her for a hug. Once, she recalled, she had to leave early and tried to discreetly slip out of a side door. She turned around and saw her second graders wave to her, then spontaneously rush out of the door, insisting on hugging her goodbye.

“They’re great kids,” Marilyn says of her young charges. “The kids are always so respectful and well-behaved. You get more than you give. It’s just a blessing.”

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

Naydelin – A Youth Programs Success Story

Naydelin, a first grader at George Mason Elementary School, enrolled in Community Lodgings’ after-school programming in the start of the 2016-2017 academic year. At registration, we learned she had been in public school system for less than a year after moving from Honduras, and was an English Language Learner with a Special Education Plan to… Continue Reading

Kids Explain “What Community Lodgings Means” to Them

“Community Lodgings is loving, safe, and super awesome.”  “This is truly something special because it’s only certain people dedicated to giving, and that’s Community Lodgings!” “I am thankful for the chance I was given to be a voice for my community and to tell others about Community Lodgings, its programs, and how it’s been a… Continue Reading

Thank You Washingtonian Magazine

We did the happy dance on November 29 when Washingtonian Magazine listed us as one of their 24 Local Charities That Are Worth Your Time and Money! We are listed under “If You Want to Help the Hungry and Homeless” and of course we could be listed under “If You Want to Help Kids and… Continue Reading

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Alexandria, VA 22305


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601 Four Mile Road

Alexandria, VA 22305


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607 Notabene Drive

Alexandria, VA 22305


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