They came beaming with pride, of the work Hokpins House does for the Alexandria community. They also came to gawk at the newly-opened Hotel Monaco, which opened its ballroom to 200 civic, political and religious leaders last Thursday for its annual “Heart of the Community” luncheon.
An Alexandria nonprofit which provides affordable family development and education programs for working families in Northern Virginia, Hopkins House each year celebrates outstanding corporate and private citizen contributions during the event.
This year, homegrown financial institution Capital One and James and Joyce Garrett were recognized for their extensive contributions to their communities. “All of us have the power to create positive change in the communities we work in and live in,” said J. Glenn Hopkins, president of Hopkins House. “Today we’re celebrating a local company and two private citizens who embraced that power and used it to benefit so many others, to create life changing organizations and activities, and ultimately to help their communities by making a difference.”
Proceeds from the luncheon support the Hopkins House Children’s Scholarship Fund, which helps needy children in Alexandria who don’t qualify for government subsidies obtain a world-class pre-school education. The annual cost of Hopkins House tuition is $10,000 and the average family income of needy children at Hopkins House is $25,000. The organization’s fundraising goal is to raise enough money this year to help 40 needy families.
Independent studies show that children who get a quality pre-school education have a 30 percent greater chance of completing high school.
Mayor Bill Euille, an alum, said in opening remarks that Hopkins House continues to play “a vital role in our community through its support of the children of Alexandria.”
Hopkins House Board of Trustees chair Bob Bogan presented the 2008 “Helen Miller Community Heart Award” to James and Joyce Garrett in honor of their outstanding efforts and achievements working with colleges and youth groups. “Through their good works, and generosity of self and deeds, James and Joyce Garrett exemplify the spirit of Helen Miller,” Bogan said.
Active members of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, the Garretts are known as a powerful team supporting the community. Garrett founded Sentel Corporation, a $42 million systems engineering and software support company. Now retired, Garrett serves on the board of DC’s Southeastern University where he earned his MBA and pledged $100,000 recently to support education for 25 young entrepreneurs. Garrett also pledged $1 million to his alma mater, North Carolina A&T, where he obtained his engineering degrees.
Joyce Garrett taught music for 30 years at Eastern High School, located in one of the District’s most challenging neighborhoods. She founded and served as artistic director of the “Excellence Without Excuses Program,” a youth intervention, values-training and scholarship project she created for the Eastern High School Choir of Washington.
Hopkins House trustee Noel Shepherd presented Capital One vice president for community affairs Carolyn Berkowitz with the 2008 “Heart of the Community Award” for the organization’s local philanthropy and the outstanding community work accomplished by its executive volunteer program. “The company is famous for wanting to know what’s in our wallets,” Shepherd said. “But, what you may not know about Capital One is that this company is a major corporate philanthropist.”
“At Capital One, care for our communities is woven into the fabric of our corporate culture,” Berkowitz said.
Hopkins House has two pre-school academies located in Alexandria including its headquarters in Old Town and a new $2 million facility that opened just fall on Route 1. The curriculum of the facilities focuses on learning, creativity and discovery of self-worth for children from 6 weeks to five years old. Statistics show that children who attend quality pre-school are 30 percent more likely to graduate from high school than their peers.
WJLA TV anchor Maureen Bunyan was special guest and mistress of ceremonies at the event. In 2006, she was honored by Hopkins House with the Helen Miller Award in 2006.