Rachel Pierce began the organization Families4Fauquier in 2010 with the intentions of promoting community involvement and encouraging people to make a difference. Today, she focuses on four main events each year: the FISH Back-to-School Supply Drive Collection, the March of Dimes March for Babies, the Preschool/Private School & Family Resource Fair, and the Adopt-a-Family Christmas event. Rachel intersperses smaller events throughout the year as her time permits and has a reach of almost 12,000 people in FauquierCounty and beyond. I spoke with Rachel to learn more about her and Families4Fauquier.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I grew up in Dale City and Manassas and have lived in Warrenton since 1998. I have three children, ages 11, 8, and 3. Before starting my family, I worked for Travelers Insurance in Chantilly. After I got married, I shifted my focus to my family. And lately it seems I have shifted my focus again, but this time to include many families.
What made you begin Families4Fauquier?
I was very involved with other parenting groups in the area. After serving on the board for several I felt I needed a change and wanted to become more community-oriented. I wanted to focus my attention on families beyond those with young children.
What is the mission of Families4Fauquier?
Families4Fauquier is dedicated to promoting community involvement by uniting and connecting local families that care about helping to make a difference in FauquierCounty and beyond. We are committed to strengthening and enriching the lives of children and families by offering ways to become good citizens and contribute to our community in positive and meaningful ways. For example, each year I encourage F4F members and the community to participate in the FISH backpack donations. This is a program where backpacks and supplies are purchased for students in need. This small act can have an enormous impact on a disadvantaged student fearing the first day of school because he or she didn’t have the supplies. The gift of a simple backpack and supplies can help a student enter school with the confidence he or she otherwise may not have had. Families4Fauquier is intended to help the community see this opportunity.
How do you accomplish this mission?
When I see an opportunity to give, I act. For example, in the fall of 2008, I joined the Claude Moore Fun For All Playground Committee as the Easter Egg Hunt Coordinator for three years. The community was amazing and helped donate and stuff thousands of Easter eggs each year. I believe that it is important for families to have affordable activities. To achieve this we offer summer camp and VacationBibleSchool information, preschool and community resources, a babysitting directory and a family-friendly restaurant guide. Families4Fauquier is a member of Partnership of Community Resources, Fauquier Alliance for Youth, and Fauquier Professional Childcare Services.
What is one of your current projects?
As a way to support new families in our community and to provide a caring gesture of kindness we are collecting and providing NEW Beanie Babies and disposable cameras to the families of babies born in the newly developing NICU at FauquierHospital. The Beanie Babies donated will be used in the NICU and given to the families as part of the care packages parents will receive for support during their difficult journey.
Why is building community so important to you?
Our community has amazing people in it who are willing to help others. There have been a number of times when I have witnessed someone who has little to give themselves, help out someone else in need. Even if you only have $5 to give, if every person gave $5 that would add up and make a difference to one person or one group. Our community is capable of that and I wanted to create a forum where it would happen. I am always amazed at the response I get when I put out a call to help someone in need, it is always overwhelming.
How can people become involved?
I would love for people to share their ideas with me. Like me on FaceBook, become a member, which is free, and provide feedback. Families4Fauquier exists for the people within our community and without our community members, I can’t help people. For more information, visit www.families4fauquier.com.