Furloughs and the sequester were not enough to keep federal employees and service members at Naval Support Facility Dahlgren from giving back to their communities at the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) kickoff Oct. 8. This year’s campaign was interrupted at Dahlgren due to the shutdown, but the campaign started back up and multiple events at Dahlgren offered charities a chance to discuss their work.
One such charity, Loudon County based Project Horse, brought lots of smiles to children on base with miniature therapy horses Jack and Valentine. Base resident Chase, 4, was a little hesitant when he first saw the horses, but quickly warmed to the gentle animals and offered them bits of grass as a snack.
The rest of the project’s rehabilitated rescue horses have a similar effect on clients during therapy sessions. “Our programs are. designed to deal with mental, cognitive, emotional and behavioral issues,” said Darcy Woessner, executive director of Project Horse. “One of the major things our therapy horses do with any client-no matter what they’re dealing with-is providing self-esteem and confidence, just by building relationships and having some success working with the horses. And they build a sense of hope. We work with children on the autism spectrum. Horses are wonderful teachers of social skills-how to read body language and get along with others.”
Jack and Valentine serve as the project’s ambassadors on its “Mobile Minis” unit. Though the therapy offered by Project Horse does not involve riding, the horses have a unique way of touching people faced with a variety of challenges.
“We work with kids and adults who have trauma histories,” said Woessner. “Horses are a gentle way to approach healing and building trust. It’s amazingly rewarding. We’re an all-volunteer organization and we do it because we believe in it and we’re passionate about it.”
The charities were not the only attractions at the CFC kickoff. Sailors assigned to Naval Support Activity South Potomac wowed attendees with their best dish in a cooking contest. Patrons had a hard time deciding between the scrumptious offerings-chicken roulade, chicken and rice, stuffed chicken in bourbon sauce, jerk chicken, rice pudding-but in the end, CS3 Tamika Lymon’s delicious sweet potato pie reigned supreme.
Gas Turbine Mechanic Chief (GSMC) Terrance Rambeau and Cmdr. Elvis Mikel, executive officer of Naval Support Activity South Potomac, took turns providing a different kind of entertainment: sitting atop a dunk tank.
Mikel trash talked those who attempted to dethrone him until BM1 Jesus Lopez put a threw a ball on target, sending Mikel plunging into the cold water. Lopez repeated his performance a few minutes later at Rambeau’s expense.
New ways to donate in 2013
This year’s campaign offers donors new, easier opportunities to donate beyond the traditional pledge card. Government civilians and military members that would like to give to their favorite local, national and international charities can do so electronically through MyPay by choosing the CFC option that appears on the MyPay service screen. Donations can also be made by check, cash or credit card by using the online Nexus giving system. CFC keyworkers have been trained and will work to educate the workforce on the new options and can answer any questions regarding making a donation. All offer not only convenience, but aid in efficiency and accuracy of the pledge. Online givers will not only be able to search for charities by name or category, but they’ll see a small bio for each to ensure they’ve chosen the proper charity.
Dahlgren’s CFC campaign is part of the Potomac Combined Federal Campaign that includes Quantico Marine Corps Base, Ft. A. P. Hill and several other federal agencies. The 2013 charity brochure along with information on donating can be found at www.potomaccfc.org.
The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all. CFC is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with almost 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country and overseas raising millions of dollars each year. Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season (September 1st to December 15th) support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world.