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Volunteer Alexandria Announces Annual Award Winners

Local volunteers to be recognized at upcoming annual awards ceremony.

Today, Volunteer Alexandria announced the winners of their 2017 Volunteer Awards. These awards will be presented by Julie Carey of NBC4 at the 23rd Annual Volunteers Are The Heart of Alexandria ceremony, which takes place on October 19th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington D.C. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online.

The annual awards ceremony recognizes individuals in the community for their dedication and service to the city of Alexandria. Julie Jakopic, President of ilead strategies will receive the Marian Van Landingham Award; Eleanor Lindeman and Donna Reuss will receive the Grass Roots Volunteer Service Award; members of the Bryce Project will receive the Youth Volunteer Service Award; and Denise Mackie-Smith will receive the RSVP Northern Virginia Service Award. Additional information and detailed bios of the awardees can be found at under News and Events.

“These awards shine a well-deserved light on those who give of themselves and their time in service to the community and others.” Said David Chamowitz, President of Volunteer Alexandria.

“Julie, Donna, Eleanor, Denise, and the teenagers from the Bryce Project are being recognized by our nonprofit partners and the community for their outstanding volunteer service and leadership within the Alexandria community. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty. These awards are being given in appreciation of their hard work and dedication to organizations within Alexandria,” said Marion Brunken, Executive Director of Volunteer Alexandria. 

Julie Jakopic is the 2017 Marian Van Landingham Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

Julie Jakopic, recipient of the 2017 Marian Van Landingham Lifetime Achievement Award, has dedicated much of her life to helping improve the lives of Alexandria residents. For 25 years, she has been a standout volunteer, known for her relentless energy and commitment to the city’s low income, women, and special needs citizens. She has served as Chair of the Alexandria Community Services Board, Sheltered Homes of Alexandria, the Alexandria Economic Opportunity Commission, and is on the board of trustees Hopkins House.


Eleanor Lindeman is the recipient of the 2017 Grassroots Volunteer Service Award.



Eleanor Lindeman, recipient of the 2017 Grassroots Volunteer Service Award, is a former teacher at TC William High School who currently serves as a dedicated volunteer at INOVA Alexandria Hospital. While at INOVA, Eleanor dedicates her time to those who need it most, the patients. One of her accomplishments was helping to design a year-long pilot program that encouraged nurses to use volunteers to enhance the experience of the sick and needy via tightly focused non-clinical support. 

Donna Reuss is the recipient of the 2017 Grassroots Volunteer Service Award.

Donna Reuss, recipient of the 2017 Grassroots Volunteer Service Award, has been involved in many community efforts, including emergency preparedness work through the American Legion Post #24, where she serves on the Executive Board. She has a long and distinguished record of service supporting the Alexandria community through Post 24’s Community Service and Support Program. Additional volunteer work includes: Meals on Wheels, West Old Town Citizens Association (WOTCA), Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Habitat for Humanity, and she provides freelance volunteer yoga instruction, primarily to Alexandria seniors.

The Bryce Project is the recipient of the 2017 Youth Volunteer Service Award.

The Bryce Project, recipient of the 2017 Youth Volunteer Service Award, is designed to cultivate community service and kindness among Alexandria’s teenagers. Since its founding in 2012, participants have accumulated more than 4,000 hours of service, partnering with organizations such as Lost Dog Rescue, Woodbine Rehabilitation Center, So Others Might Eat (SOME) and INOVA Alexandria Hospital. Many of the group’s teens have planned and implemented weekly lessons for nearly 200 elementary school students. One standout example includes Ameena, who was subsequently elected to participate on the Alexandria Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission.

Denise Mackie-Smith is the recipient of the 2017 RSVP Northern Virginia Service Award.

Denise Mackie-Smith, recipient of the 2017 RSVP Northern Virginia Service Award, is a volunteer who has supported the RSVP program by putting her administrative skills to work. Additionally, she also serves on the Alexandria Commission on Aging to ensure the 55+ residents are being served. Denise’s interests include assisting people in need of a job and finding housing. She stays active and engaged in her community and always finds time to volunteer. 

Volunteer Alexandria strives to build a stronger community by inspiring and mobilizing people to volunteer. With a legacy of more than 35 years of caring for the heart of Alexandria by mobilizing helping hands, Volunteer Alexandria is in the business of helping people give back to this city with their whole heart, through volunteering. The organization serves as a matchmaker, providing connections between volunteers and nonprofits or City agencies needing volunteer assistance. From creating and maintaining green space, preparing for emergencies, promoting culture and the arts, developing hands-on job and leadership skills to feeding the hungry, Volunteer Alexandria plays a critical role in providing volunteer assistance, where it is needed, throughout the community.


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