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Center for Alexandria’s Children Raises $65,000, Honors 2020 Champions for Children

The Center for Alexandria’s Children honored RunningBrooke’s Founder and CEO Brooke Sydnor Curran with its 2020 Champion of Children Award for and Mary Hale, Inova Health System FACT Director, with its Outstanding Dedication to Children Award at its annual benefit at the Old Dominion Boat Club on Thursday, February 27th. (Photo by Jim Craige Photography

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Alexandria’s children will be a little safer this year thanks to the support of 150 patrons who stepped up to raise $65,000 for the Center for Alexandria’s Children (CAC) at its annual benefit on Thursday.

Alexandria’s only Child Advocacy Center, the Center provides a safe haven and professional help for abused and neglected children, as well as programs that strengthen families through its signature Learn & PlayGroup (LPG) program and community training to empower adults to protect children.   It is a public-private partnership that relies on private, local and state funding.  Of the funds raised on Thursday, $12,000 will be earmarked to create the Center’s 10th Learn & PlayGroup.  Primarily funded through private donations, the popular PlayGroup program fills a void for children ages 0 to 5 years and their caregivers.

The event also honored two remarkable community heroes for their commitment to improving the lives of Alexandria children:  Inova Health System FACT Director Mary Hale received the 2020 Outstanding Dedication to Alexandria’s Children Award and RunningBrooke’s Founder and CEO Brooke Sydnor Curran was honored with the 2020 Champion for Children Award.

“Mary and Brooke are emblematic of the impact we can have in the lives of our community’s children,” Center Board Chair Kerry Donley said in bestowing the awards.

“Brooke has envisioned a future where all of Alexandria’s children, regardless of their background or circumstance, are able to succeed in school and life as happy, healthy individuals,” Donley said.  “We are grateful to Brooke for her personal commitment to inspire generosity in our community through her nonprofit organization RunningBrooke.  The Center is grateful to be a beneficiary of Brooke’s efforts to uplift children’s lives.”

Commonwealth Attorney Brian Porter, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and former ACT President and CEO John Porter at the Center for Alexandria’s Children annual benefit at the Old Dominion Boat Club on Thursday, February 27th. (Photo by Jim Craige Photography

Commonwealth Attorney Brian Porter commended Hale for her dedication to ensuring that sexual assault patients will no longer suffer long delays in receiving services for trauma.

“Thanks to Mary’s dogged advocacy for victims of abuse, INOVA Health System in Fairfax is now the only hospital in Northern Virginia that has a forensic team that serves patients in need around the clock.  Mary ensured that survivors of abuse are cared for promptly and respectfully.”

The event was attended 150 Alexandria notables including Mayor Justin Wilson, Chief of Police Michael L. Brown and Commonwealth Attorney Brian Porter.

Founded in 2007, the Center was born in response to a child homicide that drew attention to the need for a systemic approach for abused and neglected children.  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. Its specialized Learn & PlayGroups (LPG) prepare young children for preschool and provide guidance and assistance to caregivers. The only program of its kind in Alexandria for children under five, the Centers’ LPGs bolster protective factors that make families stronger and children safer. Utilizing a trademarked curriculum based on weekly skill-based themes, trained, experienced facilitators connect caregivers and children through developmentally appropriate, play-based learning.

For more information on the Centers for Alexandria’s Children visit

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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