Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


The last Saturday in April often is the busiest of the year, since it coincides with Volunteer Fairfax activities and the county’s celebration of Earth Day/Arbor Day. This Saturday is no different, as civic groups and individuals gather to improve our community. For many, the day will begin early, with the “Healthy Strides Community Race” at Burke Lake Park, which kicks off about 7:15 a.m. The 5K walk/run draws old and young, families and singles, serious runners and not-so-serious runners, in a bucolic setting around Burke Lake and its forested acres. The event is sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Authority, and the Providence Recreation Center, now in Mason District, is fielding a team of runners to compete for bragging rights.

Closer to home, there are two community clean ups scheduled for Saturday morning, and volunteers are welcome. The traditional Culmore Cleanup begins on Saturday at 9 a.m. and continues until noon. Residents, businesses, faith communities, and non-profit organizations come together to rid the streets of litter and raise awareness about keeping the community clean. Participants should check in at 9 a.m. at the cafeteria of the Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, 6111 Knollwood Avenue in Falls Church, to pick up trash bags, a T-shirt, gloves, and refreshments before heading out to clean up. Afterward, volunteers will return to the cafeteria for lunch, along with dessert from the City Diner, and water and juice from the Coca-Cola Company. This spring’s Culmore Cleanup is sponsored by the Bailey’s PTA, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, Euro-Market Exxon, Radley Acura, Safeway, the Rotary Club of Bailey’s Crossroads, and many supporters and friends. To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/culmorecleanupday.

If you prefer, join volunteers for the Willston Cleanup, meeting at the Willston Multicultural Center, 6131 Willston Drive in Falls Church, at 8:15 a.m., to pick up supplies. Volunteers will be working in the Willston/Seven Corners area until 11 a.m., and also plan to plant flowers at the Center. The Willston Cleanup is a joint effort of Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services and the Bailey’s Crossroads Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation. For more information, contact Elisa Velasco, center director, at 703-536-8943.

When you finish picking up litter, take a break and celebrate Arbor Day, and Fairfax County’s designation as a Tree City USA location, at the Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road (Route 123), in Lorton, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Last year, the event welcomed hundreds of families, and thousands of people, for a lovely day in the fresh air. This year’s event will focus on Bees, Trees, Seeds, and Weeds. Sounds like a lot of fun!

As you go about your Saturday activities, you may see some very busy workers doing more than spring cleaning. Rebuilding Together, formerly known as Christmas in April, will be working to refurbish homes of elderly and disabled persons. Volunteers from businesses and the faith community clean, paint, replace floors, install grab bars, and do a myriad of other repairs that enable folks to remain in their homes. If you see the Rebuilding Together crews, please be sure to say thank you. They are making a difference in our lives.


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.