e-Pathfinder | November 2021
Helping Young Men Plan for Brighter Financial Futures

The Financial Empowerment Center at South County (FECSoCo) recently partnered with the Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in Fairfax to bring a Financial Literacy Workshop to Mt. Vernon High School students in the MANUP Mentoring Program.

On October 25, volunteer Financial Coach Tee Carty spoke to more than 80 students about the importance of personal finance and financial planning at a young age. Coach Carty is scheduled to lead a similar workshop for the MANUP group at John Lewis HS in Springfield on November 19, also sponsored by Psi Alpha Alpha.

We are happy to bring Financial Literacy workshops to youth and adult groups. Contact FECSoCo at 703.704.6101 or info@FECSoCo.org.

Please Note: Closed for the Week of Thanksgiving

Britepaths and the Financial Empowerment Center at South County will be closed next week, November 22 through 26, to give our staff and volunteers time to relax and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. We will not be able to accept donations at our office. FECSoCo will hold a few previously scheduled virtual workshops.
Give Hope for the Holidays
Give help and hope to children in our community whose families are struggling!

Britepaths' Holiday Program is seeking donations of funds and gift cards to help 500 local families in need enjoy festive holiday meals and gifts for their children. Staff at our Fairfax County Public Schools partner schools in the Fairfax HS and Justice HS pyramids will distribute gift cards to families with identified need.

A $100 donation will provide holiday meals for a family, and $50 will provide gifts for children. Any amount you can give will make a big difference!
Visit Our Holiday Page for More Information
New This Year: It's easy to create your own online Holiday campaign to run an office or community drive to help our families. Click the Donate button, and click "Make Me a Champion" to get started.

Thank You to Our Sponsors: American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, Peterson Family Foundation and Walmart Store #2015 in Fair Lakes.

Contact Dorothy Altmiller with questions, or if your organization would like to sponsor our program.
Lisa Whetzel Recognized as EXCEL Award Finalist
Britepaths' Executive Director Lisa Whetzel was recognized on Tuesday at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement's virtual Annual Celebration for receiving an Honorable Mention for the Center's EXCEL Award, which recognizes excellence in nonprofit leadership.

Britepaths' staff nominated her for the award, and along with our Board of Directors, we are proud of her leadership and her achievement of this much-deserved honor. We also congratulate the Award Winner Koube Ngaaje, President & CEO of District Alliance for Safe Housing and Honorable Mention recipient Mark Chalfant, Artistic and Executive Director at Washington Improv Theater.
We are grateful to the Center for this honor, and for all they do to support nonprofits in our community. And a special thank you to award sponsor GRF CPAs & Advisors. Stay tuned for an educational video series featuring the Winner and Honorable Mentions!

Trot with us on Thanksgiving!
Britepaths is so grateful to once again be invited to receive the proceeds of the Fairfax Turkey Trot in the Mantua neighborhood in Fairfax. This fun 4-miler starts at 9 am on Thursday, November 25 at Mantua Tennis & Swim Club. Runners, walkers and families with strollers are welcome.

The race is in-person again this year after going virtual last year. Last year's race raised more than $7,000 to assist our families!

Online Registration ends Monday, November 22, but in-person registration is also available.

Click Here to Register and Learn More
Help Us Stock the Pantry!
Our supporters are so generous! We put out the word last Thursday in our social media that our Emergency Pantry shelves were bare, and on Monday, we had received all these donations through our Amazon Wish List. If you'd like to help too, Click Here for details.

Please Note: Our office will be closed Nov. 22-26 and we will not be accepting donations.

A big thank you to the Fairfax Connection for running an article highlighting our Pantry needs. Click Here to read it.

And thank you to The Providence Fairfax and Anytime Fitness Fairfax for running Food Drives to stock our Pantry.
Young Men's Service League
We are so grateful to the Young Men's Service League Vienna-Oakton Chapter! They volunteered on November 2 and 3 to prepare the Thanksgiving assistance gift cards to be distributed to the 500 families who were referred to us through our FCPS partner schools. The teens and their moms helped prepare the envelopes of grocery store gift cards that we gave to school staff to distribute to families, and also helped enter the gift card data into the computer for our recordkeeping.

The group has volunteered with us for several years. In previous years, they served as Food Bridge Supporters, purchasing food and delivering it to our Food Bridge families. Since we're mailing gift cards to our families during the pandemic, we were glad to have a different project for them. We appreciate their ongoing support of our work.
Note: We still have a great need for donations for the Holiday Program! If you'd like to help, see article above or Click Here.
Another Great Thanksgiving Event!
Sun & Moon Yoga Thanksgiving Day Yoga & Meditation
We're so grateful to Sun & Moon Yoga Studio for once again making us part of their virtual Thanksgiving celebration! They will hold a virtual open Zoom class on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, 10a-1:30 pm, featuring yoga, meditation, gratitude and community. The event is free, but they suggest a donation to Britepaths or the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Click Here for details and registration.
Special Thanks
Food Bridge Supporting Groups
We are always so grateful to our Food Bridge Supporting Organizations who provide grocery store gift cards to our families each month.
Thank you to Church of the Holy Comforter for assisting our families this month.
We have started our 2022 schedule. Can your organization commit to a Sunday on our Delivery Calendar next year to help fulfill this great need? During the pandemic, we're mailing gift cards, but in regular times, some organizations choose to deliver a combination of supplies and gift cards. Click Here to learn more. Click Here to donate funds that will help cover holes in our Calendar. Contact Mila Cobos at 703.273.8829 with questions.
Democratic Women of Clifton and Northern Virginia
We loved meeting virtually with our friends from the Democratic Women of Clifton and Northern Virginia on Sunday for the kick-off of their annual Holiday Giving drive, when they collect funds and grocery store gift cards for Britepaths' Food Bridge families and toys for Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue. The group's generous donations typically cover two Food Deliveries of grocery store gift cards for our families in January! This is the 12th year they're running the drive. It is always such a blessing to start the new year knowing our families are taken care of for January thanks to DWCNVA members. Thank You!
Giant Food Oakton Community Bag Program
A big thank you to Giant Food in Oakton for selecting Britepaths to be the beneficiaries of their Community Bag Program in November. For each purchase of their Giant reusable shopping bags at the store this month, we'll receive $1 for our Food Bridge Program. Visit them at 2932 Chain Bridge Rd. (123 & Hunter Mill) and help our families.
Resources: Please Share
Virtual Financial Literacy and Workforce Development Coaching and Classes
Britepaths and the Financial Empowerment Center at South County continue to offer a variety of free services and classes via the internet. Services include free and confidential Financial Coaching, Workforce/Job Readiness Consulting, Small Business Consulting and Tax Preparation Consulting. Please share our Virtual Services page with anyone you know who might benefit. Join our LinkedIn Group to receive updates on offerings and services.

NEW and Coming Soon at FECSoCo:
  • NEW Food Entrepreneur Consultatations: Virtual, by appointment only. Schedule a consultation on Monday or Wednesday evenings. Available in English and Spanish. Flyers: English; Spanish
  • NEW Credit Report Review Clinic, 12/15. Flyer: Click Here
  • Food Entrepreneur Workshops in English and Spanish, English; Spanish
  • Coming Soon: Avenues to Career Training IT: AWS re/Start Program offering in 2022.
Rent Relief/Eviction Prevention Resources
If you know someone who is struggling to pay their rent or mortgage due to the pandemic, please pass on these resources.

Click Here for Article: Falling Behind on Your Bills? Help Is Available!
Click Here for Fairfax County resources and information
Click Here for Virginia Rent Relief Program Flyer (pdf)
Click Here for guidance about the CDC's National Eviction Moratorium
Click Here for Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance's Eviction Prevention and Housing Stability Toolkit
Free Financial Coaching via NOVA Housing Expo
The Northern Virginia Housing Expo is going on virtually throughout 2021, and Britepaths and the Financial Empowerment Center at South County are honored to have been invited to offer free virtual Financial Coaching sessions as part of the Expo.

The Expo offers a variety of resources for Northern Virginia residents seeking to rent or buy a home. Their web site offers virtual exhibits and free monthly workshops, in addition to a link to register for our Financial Coaching sessions. Learn More
Fairfax County Area Services
Fairfax County staff are working hard across multiple agencies to assist County residents (including residents of the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns of Clifton, Herndon and Vienna) who are experiencing difficulties during COVID-19. Below are some resources to utilize and share with anyone you know who may need help. Fairfax County residents may call 703.222.0880 for information and referrals to services. Virginia residents outside Fairfax County may dial 211 to be connected with services in their community.
Our Mission is to provide our neighbors in need with short-term safety-net services and empower them to work toward long-term self-sufficiency.