What a heart-rending story in the Washington Post this morning about the volunteer work of local people, mainly kids, and youngsters from as far away as Tennessee.  Manassas City neighborhood services director Kisha Wilson-Sogunro is to be congratulated for her efforts orchestrating this tremendous effort. 


Approximately 900 volunteers participate in the Week of Hope Program.  Most of the worker bees are kids.  Talk about team work.  Many of these kids came from out of town, hours away. 


I certainly hope that the City of Manassas has evening activities such as swimming available for these welcome guests.  Last year this program saved the city over $35,500. 


Let’s also hope some of the whiners I have heard on both blogs went out and helped these kids.  This effort is definitely an example of what friends, neighbors, and even outsiders can accomplish in the face of adversity.  Now HERE is a solution!




27 Thoughts to “Manassas’s Week of Hope”

  1. Chris

    Thanks Moon-Howler for this post. This article definately is worthy of it’s own thread. I am going to post my comments here from a prior thread. You are right stop whining and do something. In the words of Toby Keith…”A lot less talk, and a lot more ACTION”. I mean positive things, and not bringin the community down with negative comments and harrassing behavior.

    Chris, 29. June 2008, 13:15
    Many thanks for this article. I just read it outside and had to come in and say for now. I am deeply moved by this article. Although, at the same time I have many questions of where and who were the local volunteers and/or organizations. I will have more later. I really have to absorb it all for now.

    Chris, 29. June 2008, 13:48
    Last year while at a “Community Clean Up Day” in Irongate. I met two young ladies going into the 5th grade. They arrived early that morning ask what could they do. They were ready to work. While waiting for all the organizers to get there. These girls told me that each day after school. Once their homework was done and got a snack that they’d go pick up trash. The would go back to their school(WestGate Elem) and pick up all the trash that was all over the playground that wouldn’t fit into the already stuffed cans. They said they did this everyday. Only to go to school the next morning and see the school yard back to it’s littered state. I found this to be very encouraging. Why don’t more adults have this type of attitude and instill in their children?

    I agree there are many doing good work in our communities. However, why is the good always over looked and the negative accentuated? I was told to accentuate the positive not the negative. Of course I’ve been here longer than most that want to point out the negative.

  2. Casual Observer

    I wonder if our own Cindy B was involved somehow. Didn’t see her name mentioned in the article, but I’m thinking she had her hands in it. 🙂 Good on ya, Cindy!

  3. Chris

    I asked that same question to myself earlier. There was a Cindy B. mentioned in the article. Here’s the comment from the article.
    *We are in extraordinary times that need creative solutions,” Weems resident Cindy B******* said about the need to rally people to save a “deteriorating” community. “People need to be stakeholders in their community. I think this gives people hope” that residents can revitalize Weems, she said.

  4. Jedi Master Yoda

    This is many people putting their money where their mouth is. I have a lot more respect for these kids, many cleaning up a neighborhood that isn’t their own, than I do for any deputies of the red circle out prancing around trying to stir up something, tripping over their light sabers.

    These kids and adults rule! They saw a problem and tackled it. Ms. Wilson-Sogunro sure deserves a lot of credit for her creativity and her ability to make something happen. The City Council??? Not so sure about them. Were they out there pitching in? I sure didn’t see any pictures of middle aged white men working up a sweat. Perhaps the force is not with them. Definitely not Jedi material if they weren’t out there or doing something for those kids who gave up their time. Perhaps Master Yoda has misjudged. Does anyone know?

  5. Elena

    Thank you for putting this really amazing story up Moon-howler, a testament to the character of our youth!

  6. Casual Observer

    Yes, I totally missed that quote. 🙂

  7. Chris

    I’m very pleased that there were volunteers from outside of the city and county for that matter. However, at the same time it saddens me to think that there aren’t enough people right here in our community to do this dirty work.

    These kids are amazing to say the least. The fact that these kids were touched by the things they saw left behind. Obviously, these children saw the “human factor” which seems to be missed by many adults.

  8. Censored bybvbl

    These kids are amazing to say the least. The fact that these kids were touched by the things they saw left behind. Obviously, these children saw the “human factor” which seems to be missed by many adults.

    That was the element that stood out in the story for me as well. It’s too bad that so much of that empathy is lost as we become “adults”. Kiddos can always teach us a lesson when we least expect it.

  9. Cindy B

    I can neither confirm or deny….

    Weems Neighborhood Watch put this project together, working with Kisha Wilson-Sogunro at the City. Public Works was extremely helpful with tools, wheelbarrows, and FOUR City of Manassas courtesy trucks, which were filled to overflowing with trash and yard waste. Four carloads of old paint and used motor oil will go to the transfer station on Hazardous Household Waste day on July 12. The out-of-town volunteers, along with students from Osbourn High School and Watch members and their children – and the residents who then in turn helped us — mowed 12 lawns, cleaned up six vacant properties, re-installed a mailbox on a for sale property and spread a truckload of mulch and picked up trash at Byrd Park – a phenomenal job in just 4 days.

    City of Manassas Rec & Parks turned down a Watch member’s request for pool passes for the kids. Kisha said GMU’s Freedom Center came through, and you know what – these kids turned them down and kept on working in the 90 degree heat!

    Business donors included Chick-fil-a and Dunkin Donuts. Watch members donated Starbucks coffee for the kick off, cases of bottled water, cases of trash bags, tools and mowers, and a place to store the equipment and cookies and ice cream for a “party in the park” at Byrd Park, where residents from Landgreen Street and Mr. Johnson from Manassas Cab Company joined us. The volunteers invited everyone to their church service at Manassas Baptist their last night in town, which was a great experience. Their theme for the week was “Love Out Loud,” and believe me, these kids lived that theme.

    So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to get up out of your chairs, turn off your computers and go take a walk in your neighborhood. Find the worst looking property on the block. Introduce yourself. Don’t worry about where they’re coming from or if they deserve your time. Suspend whatever beliefs you have. Tell them you’re rounding up volunteers to clean up the neighborhood and ask them if they’d like some help. Then do it. Round up volunteers and clean your neighborhood. You’ll get bug bites and poison ivy and sunburn and ruin your best t-shirt with used motor oil. You’ll spend money on gas and lose the safety glasses to your weedeater. You’ll ask yourselves a thousand times, why am I doing this when I need to clean up my own mess. But then you’ll get it. You’ll see people in a way you didn’t see them before. The next day you’ll have new friends waving at you. And you’ll feel great.

    No one needs help on your block? Call Neighborhood Services — Kisha Wilson-Sogunro with the City 703-257-8240 or Pat Reilly with the county 703-792-7018. Offer your help on blocks that DO need help. They will be glad to partner with you to make a difference in our community.

    It is NOT an immigration issue, it is a NEIGHBORHOOD issue.

  10. Elena

    Cindy B,
    I LOVE IT, “turn off your t.v’s and your computers” ! This has always been a neighborhood issue and that is what I came away with from this article. Censored said it right, its too bad so much of this empathy is lost when we become adults.

    Thanks again for the info Cindy, always appreciated.


  12. Cat Scratch Fever

    Unfortunately the neighborhood watch people in Westgate and Sudley are far too busy nitpicking over minutia to be of much use. I have been told they compete with each other to see who can turn in the most people. Their failure to prioritize problems renders them useless.

  13. Chris

    UFB!! Please, tell me this is not true!

    I hope this “competition” is NOT wasting county resources. This is the nuttiest thing I’ve ever heard of my life in right here my neighborhood. It’s one thing to report violations, but it’s whole other ball of wax regarding this “competition”. I wonder what pack is in the lead. Yet there are some in the NW near me the that say the fear reliation. That’s a crock of shit, if I heard it. Expect to be treated the way you treat others. Geesh. This is the exact reason my DH and I will NOT become “The Fife’s” of our block.

  14. Red Dawn



    say it isn’t so…LOL 🙂

  15. Chris

    How fitting? 😉
    Now, that’s the best youtube you’ve put up here.

  16. Chris

    Seriously. If this problem does/did exist. I hope it was dealt with by the “proper authorities”. Do you know?

    How seventh grade!

  17. Cat Scratch Fever

    Meow. It is a shame that a decent, good program has a few loosers in it.

  18. Red Dawn

    Chris and Cat,

    🙂 Meow 🙂 Hey, Cat Scratch Fever was a good song! I bet some of the poor neighbors feel this way if it is true….

  19. Chris

    Hey Cat,
    Had RD dubbed us the “C-Team”? 😉

  20. Cat Scratch Fever

    Meow! It sure looks like it. Hisssssssss

  21. IllegalisILLEGAL

    Cat Scratch Fever, 30. June 2008, 21:47
    “Unfortunately the neighborhood watch people in Westgate and Sudley are far too busy nitpicking over minutia to be of much use. I have been told they compete with each other to see who can turn in the most people. Their failure to prioritize problems renders them useless.”

    Do you belong to this neighborhood watch? I have heard nothing but good things about both Westgate and Sudley groups. But I guess if you are in the middle of it you would know more than the average Joe who just lives in the neioghborhood.

  22. Red Dawn


    I had the SAME questions until I actually thought about it and gave the benefit of doubt for such a situation to happen.
    I thought Cat was scratching at the post and should retract the claws…but then it IS a possible situation of someone thinking they have the ALMIGHTY invisible badge 🙂
    Serious, think about it….that can become a messed up situation.

  23. IllegalisILLEGAL

    Red Dawn, I am thinking about it and Cat Scratch Fever made some allegations and I think they should to clarify them. If I had made the same, and someone questioned them I would like to think I would clarify them.

    BTW- I don’t remember Cat Scratch Fever posting here before. But maybe I’m wrong.

  24. Information Only...

    You are WRONG!! Cat Scratch Fever has taken a few clawed swipes here before. I guess that got by you.

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