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Being the wealthiest county in the United States might sound like a great thing, but for the vulnerable children and families living in Loudoun County, it simply isn’t.

During 2016, SCAN will be helping agencies who serve children and families in Loudoun County to determine where gaps in services exist, explore what obstacles children and families are facing, and sift through data to paint a more accurate of picture of “wealth” in Loudoun County.

Through a grant from the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, SCAN has been conducting focus groups in Loudoun County with INMED, LAWS, the Loudoun Child Advocacy Center, Health Works, CPS, Ayuda, Loudoun County Public Schools, VOA, and the Loudoun Community Foundation (just to name a few!)  At these focus groups, we are taking the time to talk about what is going right in Loudoun County, what community supports exist, and what unmet needs and obstacles are facing children and families every day.  We are proud to be a part of this new Loudoun County Partnership for Resilient Children and Families in its very first stages.

The focus groups have been an informative way for SCAN to get to know the community better as well as an exciting new way for organizations to talk to one another.  At the end of our grant, we will produce a report for agencies in Loudoun County to use when seeking funding for their programs and when having open conversations with the decision makers of Loudoun County.  Funding, government supports and individual contributions will be able to be more efficiently used to fill in gaps and further develop the “wealth” of Loudoun County. Because wealth means many things, including a more connected community that protects children from abuse, helps foster positive parenting skills and ultimately builds stronger families.

– Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager
tleonard@scanva.org

p.s. You can download an infographic about our work in Loudoun here.

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Image via Wikipedia

If you’re an avid NPR listener or website reader, you might have noticed they’ve been covering all sorts of children’s issues these past few weeks. And if you’re the sort of person who loves a tell-all biography or juicy reality TV show, you’ll love their newest blog, The Baby Project.

The Baby Project gives readers a peek into the lives of nine diverse moms as they go through the last stages of pregnancy, childbirth, and the first few weeks with their newborns. From posts covering birth plans and scary deliveries to baby names and swollen feet, these moms don’t gloss over any of the gory details. In one of the more memorable and lighthearted posts, mom Lateefah talks about her decision to use self-hypnosis during the delivery; she wonders, “how is this baby’s head going to come out of me?” I’m already hooked on following the stories of these moms, and even the pictures of the newborns will be enough to keep you coming back for updates.

The Baby Project is part of a larger NPR series on childbirth called Beginnings. With articles on medicine, economics, traditions, and global health, Beginnings takes a look at childbirth from almost every angle you could imagine. In a fascinating “global health” segment, All Things Considered host Melissa Block travels to Mozambique to look at maternal and infant mortality rates. Another article on “culture and traditions” addresses the difficult task of naming children. Do you shake your head with frustration when you hear about people naming their children after obscure fruits? You’re not alone. “Baby name hostility” is becoming more and more common as people try to give their children unique names.

Fancy FREE Friday! (Your reward for making it to the end of this post.)
On select Fridays, Building Blocks will have some awesome giveaways for our wonderful readers. To all of my fellow coffee addicts out there, this is the giveaway you’ve been waiting for—a $25 gift card to Starbucks. Now how do you get a chance to get a few extra shots of espresso in your usual venti skim latte? All you have to do is leave a comment in our comment section. It can be about anything from your thoughts on the links we love, to SCAN, to your coffee drink of choice. We’ll randomly select a winner from the comment section and post the results on Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

-Jenna Temkin

Welcome to Building Blocks! SCAN has finally dived into the world of blogging, and we’re thrilled to bring you a variety of exciting posts in our kick-off week. Although you’ll be sure to hear a lot about our programs and amazing volunteers, Building Blocks isn’t just a blog about SCAN’s efforts. You can also find the latest info on child abuse prevention and a host of interesting information about parenting from around the web. We also have some great giveaways lined up (hint: they involve coffee!), so be sure to check back often.

Writing your first post for a brand new blog can be a little daunting. First impressions are important, and I’m not sure who would read this blog again if I spent my first post rambling about Virginia state laws or the origin of the pinwheel. So instead of giving you the same information you read about in each SCAN newsletter, I thought I’d put it all out on the table and reveal ten things you didn’t know about SCAN.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About SCAN…plus one more for good measure!

1. While we at SCAN of Northern Virginia like to think we’re special, we’re not the only SCAN in the country. There are SCAN’s in communities across the U.S., but Greater Richmond SCAN and SCAN of Northern Virginia are the only two organizations using the name in Virginia.

2. More than 65% of parents who participated in our Parent Education Programs in 2010-2011 were foreign-born, Spanish-speaking parents.

Kids relax with some yoga at our ABC's of Parenting Class

3. Think yoga is only for hippies or Hollywood celebrities? Think again. SCAN partners with YoKid…Stretch Your Limits to provide yoga instruction to children of participants in our ABC’s of Parenting Classes.  While parents learn about praise and discipline, their children learn the ins and outs of sun salutations and warrior poses. Check out this video to learn about one child’s positive experience with yoga!

4. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in his college dorm room. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack started Apple in a garage. And our founder Dave Cleary started SCAN in his basement. Many great companies started in humble locations, and SCAN was no exception when Dave founded it in 1988.  Just this year, Dave was named “2011 Champion for Children” by the Center for Alexandria’s Children.

5. 18 CASA volunteers have been advocating for youth through our Alexandria/Arlington CASA program since 2006. That’s five years of service!

6. What do rug showrooms and loveseats have to do with SCAN? Well, we asked ourselves that same question when we  started receiving weekly phone calls from people asking to see our furniture showroom. We thought we were the victims of an elaborate prank calling scheme, but it turns out that we share our name with a now-defunct furniture store in the DC area.

7. Turn your radio dial to 98.7 WMZQ, HOT 99.5 or BIG 100.3 and you might hear the voice of our executive director Sonia Quiñonez. Thanks to our partnership with Clear Channel Communications, you can listen to Parenting Today on major radio stations in the DC area.

8. We’re not big name-droppers at SCAN, but we think it’s pretty great that former NBC4 news anchor Keith Garvin used to be on our board of directors. He has also participated in numerous SCAN events and fundraisers.

We blew out 20 candles at our Toast to Hope birthday celebration!

9. SCAN celebrated its 20th birthday in 2008 with a record-breaking Toast to Hope celebration, along with official recognition from cities and counties honoring our two decades of service.

10. While I don’t like to toot my own horn, ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program (CSJP) interns at SCAN have spearheaded some awesome projects. Our Twitter account, Facebook page, and now our very first blog have all been launched by CSJP interns.

11. Ever wonder what makes SCAN’s website and newsletter so appealing? It might just be our go-to font, Myriad Pro.

Keep checking back throughout the week for a special giveaway, volunteer profile, links to parenting topics, YouTube videos, and updates from our last AIPC meeting!

Have any questions about the ten things you probably didn’t know? Want to share your ideas for Building Blocks? Give us your thoughts in our comments section!

-Jenna Temkin

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SCAN works to build hope for children and families in Northern Virginia. This blog brings child welfare professionals the current trends and valuable resources that will support their work to prevent child abuse and strengthen families in Northern Virginia and beyond.

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