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Fibre space at 1319 Prince Street

It’s Giving Tuesday, and a number of Alexandria businesses are donating a percentage of sales to nonprofits in partnership with the Old Town Business Association.

Unless specified, funds from these businesses will go to MedStreet, The Dream ProjectThe Potomac Conservancy and The Spitfire Club.

The event is part of Shop Small Week in Alexandria, which runs until Dec. 2.

There are just a handful of businesses within the Old Town Business Association participating:

  • Three Sisters Boutique (213 King Street) is sending proceeds to Medstreet
  • Chadwicks Restaurant, 203 The Strand Street
  • fibre space, 1319 Prince Street, is benefiting Project Knitwell
  • Lucky Knot, 101 King Street
  • Old Town Books, 130 S. Royal Street
  • Penny Post, 1201 King Street
  • Red Barn Mercantile, 1117 King Street
  • Salon DeZen, 118 N. Fayette Street
  • Ten Thousand Villages, 915 King Street

Dozens of businesses participated last year.

ACT For Alexandria is also fundraising for itself. This year the nonprofit, which steers funds toward Alexandria organizations in the annual Spring2ACTion fundraiser, is raising funds for itself.

For every dollar donated — up to $7,000 — will be matched by Verdence Capital Advisors.

“Giving Tuesday is the launching point for our end of the year campaign to raise funds for ACT for Alexandria,” said Kyle Reardon, the nonprofit’s communications and marketing manager. “We’re extremely thankful and excited to be partnering with Verdence. They’re being ext generous with their matching gift.”

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Carpenter’s Shelter has been awarded a $2.5 million grant by the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund, and plans to use the money to rapidly re-house homeless Alexandrians.

The $2.5 million is the largest private gift in the history of the Fund, which was created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2018. The fund has given more than $520 million to similar organizations and nonprofits doing “compassionate, needle-moving work” to provide shelter and hunger support for young families around the country.

“The timing of this is amazing,” said Shannon Steene, executive director at Carpenter’s Shelter. “Our vision of eradicating homelessness in our community is big, and this gift is equally large. The waiting list for family shelter is greater than at any time I’ve seen over the last seven years. This grant will be a powerful force for good in our community.”

Carpenter’s Shelter (930 N. Henry Street) is one of the largest homeless shelters in Northern Virginia, and will use the funds for its rapid re-housing program.

“Through our Rapid Re-Housing Program, our case management team focuses on finding permanent housing solutions for eligible individuals within 30-60 days of admission into the shelter,” Carpenter’s Shelter said. “These individuals receive support via housing location and selection, monetary assistance for deposits and rent payments, and continued individual case management support within the community.”

The nonprofit serves more than 270 men, women and children every year, and the average stay at the shelter is two months for individuals and three months for families.

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There are a number of ways to volunteer in Alexandria this fall.

Sports enthusiasts can become volunteer sport coaches, and history lovers can become volunteer tour guides.

There are also a number of tutoring and mentoring positions available, in addition to available food distributor and donation sorting positions.

“We need hundreds of people per week,” Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow. “More people are in need now than ever.”

Here’s a list of Volunteer Alexandria’s new and upcoming opportunities.

  • Teach Kids to Read — “Wright to Read is a literacy tutoring-mentoring program that works to match volunteer tutor-mentors with Alexandria City Public School students who need extra support in their literacy skills. Our goal is not only to help give this child support along their reading journey (including access to books, resources, and a larger reading community), but also a mentor through elementary school and beyond.”
  • Distribute Food With ALIVE! — “Volunteers are needed to assist with multiple programs relating to their Food Program, ALIVE! House, and Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership Program will distribute food at Mobile Pop-ups and Truck to Trunk events, etc.”
  • More opportunities at ALIVE! — The nonprofit also needs drivers, a furniture moving attendant, and warehouse volunteers.
  • Theater group needs support — Momentum Collective is looking for a new board member, a costume designer and a set builder.
  • Youth Sport Coaches — Preside over team activities including all scheduled practices and games. Adhere to RPCA policies, rules and objectives Responsible for maintaining care of all RPCA Sports equipment. Lead by example among team parents to support the responsibilities of the referee and league leadership. Coach an assigned group of children and focus on skill development, safety, fair, play, sportsmanship and fun.”
  • 4-H Youth Development Club Volunteers — “We are currently looking for volunteers that would like to build clubs on any topic of interest, such as, dogs, sewing, robotics, or sports.”
  • Food Rescuer — “Food rescuers pick up surplus food from food donors in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia (businesses, restaurants and grocers) and deliver it directly to receiving agencies (community kitchens, food pantries, etc.) that feed our hungry neighbors. In your own vehicle and on your own time, it usually takes only 30 to 60 minutes to complete this incredibly rewarding and essential mission. Get started on the website and app to see the complete schedule of local food rescue opportunities.”
  • Arise outreach volunteer — “ARISE is a new guaranteed income pilot program that plans to give $500 a month to 170 City of Alexandria residents for two years. A research team will evaluate the ARISE program outcomes which will inform future efforts and policy decisions.”
  • Sexual Assault Center Hotline Advocate — “Volunteers staff the 24-hour hotline on evenings and weekends. Volunteers provide accompaniment, emotional support, crisis intervention, advocacy, and referrals to empower survivors of sexual violence in person at the hospital/police department or over the phone. Volunteers must attend a 40-hour training.”
  • Shelter Supervisors with Alexandria Domestic Violence Program — “As a program that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, volunteers play a key role in providing services to those affected by domestic violence. Volunteers with our program interact personally with individuals in need-an opportunity that many find extremely fulfilling.”
  • Alexandria Library opportunities — The Alexandria Library needs a volunteer to run a games program for seniors, a volunteer with the Trash Trekkers program, a Knit Night volunteer, a computer class volunteer, and gardening support.
  • Tour Guide at Carlyle House Historic Park — “Looking for a fun and relaxing volunteer opportunity? Carlyle House Historic Park, a colonial house museum in Old Town Alexandria, seeks volunteer docents to give public tours of this historic building. Carlyle House, built in 1753, interprets the home and family of John Carlyle, a merchant and town founder.”
  • Sixth Annual Spooky Science Expo — “The Watergate at Landmark Youth Committee will be holding its sixth annual science event (Spooky Mad Science Expo) for kids and teens (October 15). The event will celebrate science and Halloween… As in every year, we are looking for volunteers to help us plan and run the event.”
  • Casa Chirilagua Volunteers — Casa Chirilagua is looking for one-on-one mentoring, their kids club, a volunteer to oversee the teen study hall, help with the high school program, a volunteer for teen bible study, and assistance with their middle school program.
  • Dog adoption event needs volunteers — “Lucky Dog Animal Rescue has an adoption event the FIRST Sunday of every month at the Potomac Yard PetSmart – 3351 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22305. Come spend the afternoon with a Lucky Dog!”
  • Torpedo Factory Gallery Guide — “Gallery Guides must feel comfortable interacting with the public about the work at the exhibition with potentially sensitive content and handling artwork sale inquiries. Gallery Guides must be at least 18 years of age or older.”
  • Food and grocery volunteer — “For over 15+ years, as part of its Outreach Ministry, the Meade Memorial Episcopal Church has been committed to the Emergency Food Assistance Ministry, to help transform our community, our neighbors, and ourselves. The church provides lunches to residents from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. We need help to setup tables and distribute lunches every weekday, except on certain holidays. We are asking all volunteers to arrive at 11: 15 a.m.”
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Got space in your will for an Alexandria nonprofit?

ACT for Alexandria and Senior Services of Alexandria just launched Think Ahead Alexandria, the city’s new legacy giving campaign.

“Legacy giving, sometimes referred to as planned giving, legacy planning, or estate giving, is a donation made by an individual through a will or other formal designation​ and provides a way for donors to make a substantial gift because it leverages their net wealth through their estate,” ACT for Alexandria said in a statement. “While these gifts are often realized in the future (typically upon someone’s death), legacy gifts can involve a range of complex structures, from bequests, to endowments, to trusts and annuities​.”

ACT for Alexandria raises millions for nonprofits every year in its Spring2ACTion fundraiser.

“It’s an extremely important part of modern philanthropy and helps create a strong foundation for nonprofits as they look to tomorrow,” ACT CEO Heather Peeler said. “With so much passion for philanthropy here in the city, we have an incredible opportunity to make sure that both donors and nonprofits in Alexandria are connected through legacy giving, focusing on what they’re passionate about, and making sure that their support is set from today to far into the future.”

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Get your sneakers and sweats ready, because Alexandria nonprofit ALIVE! is hosting its 41st annual StepALIVE! Walkathon in Old Town on Sunday, October 16.

There are already 33 walking teams assembled, including Team Shiba, for this year’s five-mile charity walk.

The fundraising goal is $80,000, and $32,000 has already been raised.

Proceeds will support ALIVE!’s family assistance program, which helps Alexandria families pay for rent and other bills.

The event starts and finishes at First Christian Church (2723 King Street), and begins at 1:15 p.m. with on-site registration and a T-shirt pickup. The walk itself starts at 2 p.m., and is followed by a celebration from 3:30 to 4:40 p.m.

It costs $25 for individual walkers to participate ($30 at the event), $10 for seniors and children ages six to 13, and free for kids under six.

Via Alive!/Facebook

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There are a number of ways to volunteer in Alexandria this fall.

Art lovers can get their fix by volunteering as gallery guides at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, and sports enthusiasts can become volunteer sport coaches. The Carlyle House also needs a volunteer tour guide.

There are also a number of tutoring and mentoring positions available, in addition to available food distributor and donation sorting positions.

“We need hundreds of people per week,” Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow. “More people are in need now than ever.”

Here’s a list of Volunteer Alexandria’s new and upcoming opportunities.

  • Teach Kids to Read — “Wright to Read is a literacy tutoring-mentoring program that works to match volunteer tutor-mentors with Alexandria City Public School students who need extra support in their literacy skills. Our goal is not only to help give this child support along their reading journey (including access to books, resources, and a larger reading community), but also a mentor through elementary school and beyond.”
  • Distribute Food With ALIVE! — “Volunteers are needed to assist with multiple programs relating to their Food Program, ALIVE! House, and Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership Program will distribute food at Mobile Pop-ups and Truck to Trunk events, etc.”
  • More opportunities at ALIVE! — The nonprofit also needs drivers, a furniture moving attendant, and warehouse volunteers.
  • Theater group needs support — Momentum Collective is looking for a new board member, a costume designer and a set builder.
  • Youth Sport Coaches — Preside over team activities including all scheduled practices and games. Adhere to RPCA policies, rules and objectives Responsible for maintaining care of all RPCA Sports equipment. Lead by example among team parents to support the responsibilities of the referee and league leadership. Coach an assigned group of children and focus on skill development, safety, fair, play, sportsmanship and fun.”
  • 4-H Youth Development Club Volunteers — “We are currently looking for volunteers that would like to build clubs on any topic of interest, such as, dogs, sewing, robotics, or sports.”
  • Food Rescuer — “Food rescuers pick up surplus food from food donors in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia (businesses, restaurants and grocers) and deliver it directly to receiving agencies (community kitchens, food pantries, etc.) that feed our hungry neighbors. In your own vehicle and on your own time, it usually takes only 30 to 60 minutes to complete this incredibly rewarding and essential mission. Get started on the website and app to see the complete schedule of local food rescue opportunities.”
  • Arise outreach volunteer — “ARISE is a new guaranteed income pilot program that plans to give $500 a month to 170 City of Alexandria residents for two years. A research team will evaluate the ARISE program outcomes which will inform future efforts and policy decisions.”
  • Sexual Assault Center Hotline Advocate — “Volunteers staff the 24-hour hotline on evenings and weekends. Volunteers provide accompaniment, emotional support, crisis intervention, advocacy, and referrals to empower survivors of sexual violence in person at the hospital/police department or over the phone. Volunteers must attend a 40-hour training.”
  • Shelter Supervisors with Alexandria Domestic Violence Program — “As a program that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, volunteers play a key role in providing services to those affected by domestic violence. Volunteers with our program interact personally with individuals in need–an opportunity that many find extremely fulfilling.”
  • Alexandria Library opportunities — The Alexandria Library needs a volunteer to run a games program for seniors, a volunteer with the Trash Trekkers program, a Knit Night volunteer, a computer class volunteer, and gardening support.
  • Tour Guide at Carlyle House Historic Park — “Looking for a fun and relaxing volunteer opportunity? Carlyle House Historic Park, a colonial house museum in Old Town Alexandria, seeks volunteer docents to give public tours of this historic building. Carlyle House, built in 1753, interprets the home and family of John Carlyle, a merchant and town founder.”
  • Sixth Annual Spooky Science Expo — “The Watergate at Landmark Youth Committee will be holding its sixth annual science event (Spooky Mad Science Expo) for kids and teens (October 15). The event will celebrate science and Halloween… As in every year, we are looking for volunteers to help us plan and run the event.”
  • Casa Chirilagua Volunteers — Casa Chirilagua is looking for one-on-one mentoring, their kids club, a volunteer to oversee the teen study hall, help with the high school program, a volunteer for teen bible study, and assistance with their middle school program.
  • Dog adoption event needs volunteers — “Lucky Dog Animal Rescue has an adoption event the FIRST Sunday of every month at the Potomac Yard PetSmart – 3351 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22305. Come spend the afternoon with a Lucky Dog!”
  • Torpedo Factory Gallery Guide — “Gallery Guides must feel comfortable interacting with the public about the work at the exhibition with potentially sensitive content and handling artwork sale inquiries. Gallery Guides must be at least 18 years of age or older.”
  • Food and grocery volunteer — “For over 15+ years, as part of its Outreach Ministry, the Meade Memorial Episcopal Church has been committed to the Emergency Food Assistance Ministry, to help transform our community, our neighbors, and ourselves. The church provides lunches to residents from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. We need help to setup tables and distribute lunches every weekday, except on certain holidays. We are asking all volunteers to arrive at 11: 15 a.m.”
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Alexandria non-profit ALIVE! is hosting grocery distributions for Alexandrians in need this weekend.

Over the last few years, ALIVE! has stepped up its food distribution program for locals, with drive-through and walk-up distributions.

This Saturday, Aug. 27, the distribution will run from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Drive-through distributions are planned for:

  • Cora Kelly Elementary School (3600 Commonwealth Avenue)
  • NYCC Alexandria Campus (parking lot B-1, via 500 Dawes Avenue)

Walk-up distributions are scheduled for:

  • Cora Kelly Elementary School (3600 Commonwealth Avenue)
  • William Ramsay Recreation Center (5650 Sanger Avenue)

ALIVE! accepts food donations at the ALIVE! Food Warehouse (801 S Payne Street) Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. (closing at 7 p.m. on Thursdays).

The non-profit is accepting the following food types in personal, non-bulk portions:

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There are still a number of ways to volunteer in Alexandria this summer.

Art and music lovers can get their fix by volunteering as gallery guides at the Torpedo Factory Art Center or as ushers with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.

As the upcoming school year gets in gear, there are also a number of tutoring and mentoring positions available, in addition to available food distributor and donation sorting positions.

“We need hundreds of people per week,” Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow. “More people are in need now than ever.”

Here’s a list of Volunteer Alexandria’s new and upcoming opportunities.

  • Teach Kids to Read — “Wright to Read is a literacy tutoring-mentoring program that works to match volunteer tutor-mentors with Alexandria City Public School students who need extra support in their literacy skills. Our goal is not only to help give this child support along their reading journey (including access to books, resources, and a larger reading community), but also a mentor through elementary school and beyond.”
  • Distribute Food With ALIVE! — “Volunteers are needed to assist with multiple programs relating to their Food Program, ALIVE! House, and Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership Program will distribute food at Mobile Pop-ups and Truck to Trunk events, etc.”
  • Help Provide Meals to Children — “Alexandria City Public School (ACPS) will provide two days worth of breakfast and lunch meals with a snack pack free for any enrolled ACPS student on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Friday distribution will include a meal(s) for Saturday. Volunteers will meet at various schools to assist with packing boxes and loading buses with boxed meals. Then, volunteers will ride the bus along to distribute the meals while on site at a few ACPS mobile pop-up locations. Click on each location to sign up: Francis C. Hammond Middle School, Alexandria City High School, or Jefferson Houston School.”
  • Theater group needs support — Momentum Collective is looking for a new board member, a costume designer and a set builder.
  • Youth Sport Coaches — Preside over team activities including all scheduled practices and games. Adhere to RPCA policies, rules and objectives Responsible for maintaining care of all RPCA Sports equipment. Lead by example among team parents to support the responsibilities of the referee and league leadership. Coach an assigned group of children and focus on skill development, safety, fair, play, sportsmanship and fun.”
  • 4-H Youth Development Club Volunteers“We are currently looking for volunteers that would like to build clubs on any topic of interest, such as, dogs, sewing, robotics, or sports.”
  • Food Rescuer — “Food rescuers pick up surplus food from food donors in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia (businesses, restaurants and grocers) and deliver it directly to receiving agencies (community kitchens, food pantries, etc.) that feed our hungry neighbors. In your own vehicle and on your own time, it usually takes only 30 to 60 minutes to complete this incredibly rewarding and essential mission. Get started on the website and app to see the complete schedule of local food rescue opportunities.”
  • Senior Services of Alexandria’s Meals on Wheels — “Meals on Wheels provides meals to seniors who are unable to leave their homes to shop, or have difficulty preparing a meal, to have two healthy meals a day delivered to their homes.”
  • Senior Services of Alexandria’s groceries to go – “Shop for and deliver groceries every other week to home-bound seniors who live within the City of Alexandria. You will be paired with a senior, who will provide you with their grocery list.”
  • Sexual Assault Center Hotline Advocate — “Volunteers staff the 24-hour hotline on evenings and weekends. Volunteers provide accompaniment, emotional support, crisis intervention, advocacy, and referrals to empower survivors of sexual violence in person at the hospital/police department or over the phone. Volunteers must attend a 40-hour training.”
  • Teacher positions at Friends of Guest House — “Friends of Guest House – Various Teacher Positions Dedicated volunteers needed to teach various subjects and skills classes to women. The ideal volunteer will be patient and interested in the success of these women as they further their knowledge. Volunteers are also needed to assist with vaccination pods and instruct substance abuse, addiction, and recovery classes. To register and learn more click HERE.”
  • Torpedo Factory Gallery Guide — “Gallery Guides must feel comfortable interacting with the public about the work at the exhibition with potentially sensitive content and handling artwork sale inquiries. Gallery Guides must be at least 18 years of age or older.”
  • Casa Chirilagua Volunteers — Casa Chirilagua is looking for one-on-one mentoring, their kids club, a volunteer to oversee the teen study hall, help with the high school program, a volunteer for teen bible study, and assistance with their middle school program.
  • ESL Parental Support — “We are looking for volunteers that will play, read and lead activities for children while their parent particapates in ESL. This program would take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-noon. Parents will be present in the same room. All volunteers would need to be background checked and provide vaccination documentation.”
  • Weekly Garden Maintenance — “Volunteers needed to help with the maintenance of this beautiful 25-acre site on the Potomac River. Located just north of Mt. Vernon on the GW Parkway, River Farm is the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society, a national non-profit. Activities include planting, mulching, weeding, pruning, and any other garden-related weekly projects.”
  • Donations sorting — “Join the UpCycle team and help sort and prep donations to go out into the shop. UpCycle has a constantly evolving inventory of materials and supplies based on the donations we receive from businesses and residents, no two days are ever the same. Our Donations and Materials Handlers sort and shelve donations, assess the overall organization of the shop, and ensure that the donations we accept are clean and damage free.”
  • Learn & PlayGroup Flier Delivery — “Each week, we play, sing songs, read books, and learn together! This program is available for FREE to all City of Alexandria families with young children. But we need help getting the word out! We need volunteers willing to go to parks, grocery stores, laundromats, etc to post flyers so residents know it’s available! You will be provided with a list of locations and an area to distribute and post flyers to along with any supplies needed to post flyers. We need these distributed and posted a few weeks before our program year starts the week of August 29th.”
  • Alexandria Symphony Orchestra — “The ASO needs your help to usher at performances and perform other duties. You can watch the performance once patrons are seated. Come hear this great orchestra if you love symphony.”
  • Job counselor at Together We Bake — “Are you looking for a meaningful way to get involved with TWB? We are recruiting volunteers to act as Job Counselors for our upcoming sessions. This is a great opportunity to work one-on-one and build impactful relationships with Team Members while helping them discover and expand their career goals.”

Photo via Senior Services of Alexandria/Facebook

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A good cause is around the corner to satisfy your taste buds and conscience.

On August 28, Carpenter’s Shelter will host their biggest summer event — their Cook-off Pop-up at ALX Community (201 N. Union Street). The event will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. and showcases offerings from about 20 area restaurants with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit, which provides temporary housing and support for more than 600 families and individuals every year.

Advance tickets cost $20 for kids and $50 for adults, and at the door cost $25 for kids and $75 for adults.

The Jones Point Band will provide live entertainment, and the evening will include raffles and silent auctions.

Participating restaurants include:

Via Facebook

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In five years, Jason Ellis wants Momentum Collective, Inc. to be a charter school teaching kids the arts in Northern Virginia.

The nonprofit resumed programming in October, after a two-year Covid hiatus, and are one again teaching low and moderate income children how to sing, dance and act in summer camps and after school at the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Ruby Tucker Center. About 90 elementary school-aged kids have participated since programming resumed, and the plan is to eventually bring back middle and high school kids.

Ellis, who founded the nonprofit six years ago, is a former program and resident and community services director with ARHA. He’s a director, actor, singer, dancer and writer.

“I’m about empowerment,” Ellis told ALXnow. “We have empowered our kids with a sense of urgency so that they can be in control of their own lives and destiny and make good choices.”

Momentum Collective, Inc. partners with Alexandria City Public Schools’ Link Club program, the city and ARHA to work with kids after school and in the summer.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for kids, particularly Black and brown kids in under-resourced families, who don’t have the financial resources to participate in meaningful arts enrichment programming within the city,” Ellis said. “We created the organization specifically to target kids within the city of Alexandria to have access to arts enrichment programs for free.”

Ellis was also the head of school for the YouthBuild Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. from 2018 to 2019. It’s an experience that has shifted the focus of the organization.

“We have a five year plan to start a charter school for middle school youth,” Ellis said. “For now, though, our short-term plan is to expand our programming into other recreation centers, particularly like on the West End, because that’s always a underserved area of the city.”

Momentum Collective is conducting a creative writing workshop in September at Jefferson Houston Recreation Center. The workshop is open to Alexandria children, and cash awards will be presented to the winners.

“Then we’re actually going to stage their writing productions from our winners,” Ellis said.

Ellis and his team use technology to motivate their students.

“Kids are very interested in performing,” he said. “By nature they reach they want to showcase something, which is why they’re constantly on TikTok and Instagram. So,  if I say I’m going to be working on something that you can put on TikTok, they get it — that’s the end result for them and that’s what they want to work toward. If I give them a script and tell them we’re going to put a web series on YouTube, they get excited about that, because that’s what they’re familiar with.”

Via Facebook

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