** EMBARGOED UNTIL WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017, 5:00 PM **
Contact: Abigail Brougher, Communications Specialist, Alternative House / Second Story
Local Nonprofit Announces New Name and Fresh Look
45-year-old organization providing services to abused, at-risk, homeless youth celebrates writing a new story, takes important step on an extraordinary journey
Launch Events – Open to the Press
- Wednesday 04/05/2017, 5 PM – 7 PM, Special Announcement and Celebration
Maggiano’s Restaurant, 2001 International Drive, McLean, VA
- Thursday 04/06/2017, 11 AM, Unveiling of New Signage
Teen Shelter / Second Story for Teens in Crisis, 2100 Gallows Rd, Vienna, VA
Vienna, VA — A beloved local nonprofit organization is changing its name and look, after 45 years of service to Fairfax County and the greater Washington DC area. Starting on Wednesday, April 5, at 5 PM, the organization “Alternative House” will be called “Second Story.” The organization will be announcing its new name at a special event that evening, launching its new website, www.second-story.org and new Facebook, Twitter, and social media, and celebrating this exciting moment in its history.
“We’re very pleased to announce our new name and look,” said Judith Dittman, CEO of the organization. “For over 45 years, we have helped young people write their second story. Their first story is the story they were handed, the story that they were born into, the story that happened to them. When a young person takes up their pen and begins creating their own life narrative, that’s when they start writing their second story. We’re here to help them do that.”
There will be no interruption or change in services provided to the public, but community members will notice new signage, new social media accounts, and a new website. Our emergency teen shelter will be open to teens in crisis with no interruption. A 24/7 hotline and textline for youth in crisis and those who care about them will be open at the same number known to the community for years: Call 1-800-SAY-TEEN or text “TEENHELP” to 855-11. Safe Youth Projects, Community Learning Programs, our after-school Teen Center, and Family Resource Centers will remain open to the public as always.
Beginning as a refuge for abused children and “runaways” in 1972, the organization has had the mission of providing housing, food, clothing, safe havens, crisis services, counseling, and life skills training to homeless youth and youth in need, and has operated a teen homeless shelter in Vienna, Virginia, since the early 1970s. Throughout the decades the group has expanded to provide services to youth, their families, and their communities in our most vulnerable neighborhoods in Culmore, Annandale, and Springfield.
“As our organization has expanded, we found that the name ‘Alternative House’ no longer described us,” said Dittman. “We help a large number of young people, including infants, elementary age youth, teenagers, and young people in their early twenties. And we have a very active role in providing services to community members in a variety of neighborhoods.”
“Also, as Alternative House, we’d had trouble linking all of our many excellent programs to the umbrella name,” added Dittman. “Not everyone has understood that all of our programs really are part of the same organization. So we asked, how can we signal that all of our programs really are one organization? We decided on a new name that would unify all parts of our work.”
The organization has been carefully keeping its name change a secret, to help build anticipation and enthusiasm for the change. Attendees at the special event will likely be pleasantly surprised at the change. The name, logo, and website style for Alternative House had not been updated for many years, and were beginning to show their age. “Second Story” will represent a fresh, youthful appearance that many in the community may find to be an improvement.
The organization received a two-year $70,000 grant from the Meyer Foundation to pay for the rebranding effort. The effort was begun because staff and board members began taking steps to address the disconnect between various programs.
“I think that ‘Second Story’ is a great name for the organization,” said Jonesha Fullerton, a student at Northern Virginia Community College who was housed through the organization’s program for homeless youth, now called Second Story for Homeless Youth. “This organization really does help young people write a new story. I know it helped me.”
Fullerton found herself without a home two years ago after her adopted mother kicked her out of the family home. With no good options, Fullerton began sleeping in her car. She had already overcome an abusive father, and bravely preparing to testify against him in court, when she was an elementary school student. Now her mother’s actions sent her into a depression that threatened her college career. But “Alternative House,” now “Second Story,” stepped in at the critical juncture when Fullerton needed help the most, provided housing, financial assistance, life skills training, counseling, and other support so that Fullerton could get her life back on track.
“I’m not sure what would have happened in my life without this organization,” said Fullerton. “It gave me a home address and safe place to come home to. And that’s when I started writing my second story.”
# # #
The vision of Second Story is of a community in which all young people are safe, live in a nurturing environment and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Founded in 1972 as “Alternative House,” Second Story transforms the lives of children and youth, helping them stay safe, make positive decisions, achieve educational success, and overcome personal crises. We offer children, youth and families hope for brighter futures by providing counseling, shelter and neighborhood-based support.
After 04/05/2017, 5 PM: www.second-story.org