Giving Back

RSVP Northern Virginia volunteer named Points of Light award recipient

ALEXANDRIA, VA –RSVP Northern Virginia Volunteer Denise (Dee) Mackie-Smith of Alexandria, has been selected as a Daily Point of Light honoree by the Points of Light Foundation.

RSVP Northern Virginia volunteer Denise (Dee) Mackie-Smith is shown at the headquarters of New Hope Housing Inc. in Fairfax County in this 2017 photo. (RSVP Northern Virginia Photo/Rob Paine)

Mackie-Smith has played a major role as a volunteer to help those seeking affordable housing and employment in the City of Alexandria and along the Route 1 Corridor in Fairfax County.

She is a volunteer with and sits on the board of RSVP partner New Hope Housing Inc., a Fairfax County-based nonprofit whose mission  is  “to provide homeless  families and individuals shelter and the tools to build a better life.”

“I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good,” Bush said in 1989. (Courtesy photo)

The Points of Light Foundation was created in 1990 as a nonprofit to promote the spirit of volunteerism as described by President George H.W. Bush in his inaugural address.

Points of Light’s affiliate network consists of more than 200 volunteer-mobilizing organizations (including Volunteer Fairfax of which RSVP Northern Virginia is a program of)   that share a common mission, goals and approach, according to the foundation.

In 1989, President Bush created the Daily Points of Light (DPOL) Award to recognize  those  who are taking direct voluntary action to solve serious social problems, locally and globally.

Mackie-Smith also serves on the board of the Alexandria Commission on the Aging.  In 2012, she founded the Northern Virginia chapter of  Les Gemmes and served two years as the group’s national vice president . Les Gemmes is a nonprofit whose members support various community causes.

Since 1989, over 6,000 people have been honored with this award. Mackie-Smith is the 6,164 person to receive the honor, according to the foundation.

In addition to her work with the homeless in the Alexandria area, she supports the RSVP program each week with her administrative skills at RSVP’s headquarters at Volunteer Fairfax. Mackie-Smith has been with RSVP Northern Virginia for two years.

“Dee is one of the most dedicated volunteers I have had the pleasure of working with, “said Nadia Hoonan, program manager of RSVP Northern Virginia.  As part of Daily Point of Light honor, Mackie-Smith will receive a certificate signed by President Bush.

RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) is the region’s largest volunteer network for people 55 and older and provides individualized support to seniors seeking service opportunities in and around Fairfax County, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

“Whether it is helping at our office or helping those in need of affordable housing, Dee is always busy serving her community,”  Hoonan says. “ She is truly deserving of this award. She is a real difference maker and her record of service speaks for itself!”

The Daily Point of Light award is one in a string of honors Mackie-Smith has garnered for her volunteer work since completing a 37 year career in the federal government in 2011.

Mackie-Smith received the 2017 RSVP Northern Virginia Award from Volunteer Alexandria in October.  She received a similar honor from Volunteer Fairfax at its annual Volunteer Service Awards breakfast in April.

“Denise has been one of our most proactive volunteers turned advocates. Not only does she serve, she has opened up her network to serving, inviting other members to tours and to serve New Hope Housing’s clients,” wrote Sami Smyth, volunteer coordinator for New Hope in the nomination that lead to Mackie-Smith getting the Volunteer Fairfax-RSVP honor in 2017.

“Denise is the type of volunteer you look for as a non-profit.  Denise contributes in so many ways.  She is a wonderful ambassador for New Hope Housing,” said Pam Michell, executive director at New Hope Housing.  “She has volunteered with individuals residents and in the administrative office. She has connected us to other groups she works with -RSVP, Les Gemmes, and the Alexandria Council on Aging and she serves on our board. What more could we ask from a volunteer!”

Volunteer Fairfax will open nominations for the 2018 RSVP award on January 4, 2018.

RSVP volunteers enjoy flexible schedules, free accident and liability insurance while serving, optional mileage and meal reimbursement and are invited to volunteer group projects and social gatherings.

RSVP offers its volunteers more than 200 different  opportunities across Northern Virginia  including providing rides, support and meals to older neighbors, assisting local veterans in need and helping prepare communities for disasters.

To learn more about RSVP or  to sign up for an upcoming  orientation, please email RSVP Volunteer Specialist Carly Hubicki at [email protected] or call the RSVP Hotline at 703-403-5360 or visit


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