Remarks by Congressman Connolly
RECOGNIZING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF ALTERNATIVE HOUSE
HON. GERALD E. CONNOLLY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize an outstanding organization serving at-risk youth in Fairfax County. Alternative House was founded in 1972 as the first emergency shelter for runaway teenagers in Northern Virginia. Through counseling, shelter, crisis intervention and neighborhood outreach, Alternative House provides support to at-risk young children, teens and their families. Recognizing the interdependence of families, Alternative House programs seek to empower young children, teens, and families to work together and build on their strengths.
Alternative House has grown organically from its origins in a trailer on the grounds of Lewinsville Presbyterian Church to a renovated house located on Gallows Road in Dunn Loring. While Alternative House's programs have grown, the organization continues to focus on those most in need of assistance and those with the greatest possibility for making life-altering changes.
In 1993, Alternative House embarked on an aggressive outreach program for at-risk youth. The effort consisted of a mobile unit with two counselors who walked through our neighborhoods to provide young people with support, resources, and guidance. Since its origins, the Community Outreach Program has expanded to include additional recreation and education services designed to help children and teens stay in school.
In 2002, Alternative House expanded its assistance outreach by opening the Assisting Young Mothers program. This program seeks to provide shelter, education, counseling and support to young women who are homeless, pregnant or already parenting. These programs give young people hope for brighter futures.
In 2008, Alternative House's Emergency Shelter for Teenagers provided safe shelter, food and counseling to an average of more than eighteen young people each month, totaling 220 for the year. In just the past twelve months, Alternative House provided neighborhood-based counseling, outreach, food and after-school programs to more than 1,800 at-risk youth in Fairfax County.
Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring the consistently growing and increasingly significant contributions of Alternative House to at-risk young people in Fairfax County. From both its origins to its current efforts, Alternative House is truly an exemplar for community-based assistance programs.
From the Congressional Record, April 21, 2009, page E904