ALEXANDRIA, VA–When Tom and Magaly Hirst are honored by the Center for Alexandria’s Children’s with the Champion of Children Award at the 10th annual CAC Gala on April 4, it will mark a fitting tribute to a couple who have dedicated their talents and resources to bettering the lives of Alexandria’s most vulnerable citizens, its children.
The Hirsts’ support has provided invaluable support for the Center’s work coordinating the first response to child abuse and neglect cases, specialized Learn & Playgroup programs for children age 0-5 years and child sexual abuse prevention training programs educating adults throughout the City.
The couple learned of the Center’s work through their association with the Alexandria Community Trust (ACT). Its mission of serving and protecting children and assisting families in need fit with their own priorities of mental health, child abuse, juvenile offenders, and family health.
“Tom and Magaly Hirst always lead the way in providing support for the children of Alexandria. We see this each April during Spring2ACTion, when they offer many matching grants. Their quiet and sustained generosity is a blessing for our community,” ACT Board Chair Laurie Flynn, explained.
“The Hirsts’ generosity in offering matching grants magnified their impact,” CAC Executive Director Giselle Pelaez said. “Since 2012, the Mason Hirst Foundation has awarded a total of $658,500 in Matching Grants to support community nonprofits. Through ACT for Alexandria’s Spring2ACTion Online Giving Campaign, their grants have been doubled amounting to more than one million dollars raised for Alexandria non-profits.”
“Tom and Magaly Hirst and the Mason Hirst Foundation continue to have a profound impact on Alexandria’s children in need” Center Board Chair Kerry Donley said. “They exemplify a deep sense of caring for community and are helping to ensure a better quality of life of all of Alexandria’s children.”
“We are grateful we can play a small part in ensuring Alexandria’s abused and neglected receive protection from harm and the provision of legal assistance and healing services,” Mr. and Mrs. Hirst commented. “Research proves the impact of abuse and neglect in childhood lasts a lifetime. Our ultimate goal is prevention through training and education. But, for those who have already been impacted, we strive to help them find closure, heal and move on with their lives.”
This year’s CAC Gala will take place during National Child Abuse Prevention Month on Thursday, April 4 at the Old Dominion Boat Club. Former awardees Lori Morris and Joan Huffer serve as Honorary Co-Chairs for the event which will “Shine a Light” on Alexandria’s Children,
The Center for Alexandria’s Children is a public-private partnership that provides comprehensive services to children who have reported abuse. Founded in 2007, the Center was born in response to a child homicide that drew attention to the need for a systemic approach to better outcomes. Since then, it has expanded its scope to include prevention, education and outreach programs aimed at eliminating child abuse within the community through training programs and a specialized Learn & PlayGroup (LPG) program aimed at strengthening families. The only program of its kind in Alexandria for children ages 0-5 years, the Centers’ LPGs bolster protective factors that make families stronger and children safer. Utilizing a custom-designed curriculum based on weekly themes, experienced facilitators connect parents and children, along with their neighbors and community, through developmentally appropriate, play-based learning.