By: Helios on June 4th, 2015

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Community Spotlight: Northern Virginia Family Service, Hercules Award Winner!

Helios HR | Employee Relations | Talent Acquisition

In 1924, the world saw changes that would make ripples in the pond for a long, long time. The first winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France. Texas elected its first woman governor: Miriam “Ma” Ferguson. Judy Garland made her show business debut at just 2 ½ years old. And something that hits a little closer to home happened: Northern Virginia Family Service was founded.

For ninety years, Northern Virginia Family Service, or NVFS, has helped Northern Virginia’s low-income families improve their quality life. What NVFS provides can run the gamut of necessities a family in need may have:  providing job training, sponsoring anti-hunger programs, offering health and mental health services, and even providing housing services. What is impressive and impactful about what they do is the volume; over the years, NVFS has served over 33,000 individuals when they needed it most.

All with the goal of making Northern Virginia a stronger community, one that is hospitable and accessible to families. The team at NVFS is committed to this mission, and it’s one that isn’t taken lightly. They serve their clients through often stressful and emotionally draining situations, and NVFS offers frequent “Reflective Feedback” from their manager. Through this active listening and thoughtful questioning and hypothesizing, team members get real time feedback and suggestions about how to handle a new or challenging situation, but also how to manage their reaction to the situation – which, when their team members are invested in the outcome, can be difficult to do alone. NVFS shows not only their commitment to the community, but their dedication to making their team member’s the best version of themselves.

It’s examples like this that make it clear why, in its 90th year, NVFS took home a win in the non-profit category of Helios’s Apollo Awards in recognition of their commitment to talent development.  Further, the team at NVFS share an understanding that they can’t apply a cookie-cutter approach to any two clients. Team members are supported in exploring every opportunity they come across to interact with and learn from their colleagues, both internally and externally. Through external partnerships with organizations, like Virginia Commonwealth University, NVFS is able to provide a mentor/coaching program in literacy and second language acquisition for Early Childhood. As a result of this partnership, 98% of their Head Start students are ready for Kindergarten.

Northern Virginia Family Service is a pillar of the Northern Virginia community, much like it’s soon-retiring CEO, Mary Agee. Much like the organization she leaves behind, she made an impact that will remain with everyone she touched after nearly 40 years serving NVFS. We at Helios HR applaud Mary’s service and look forward to continuing to build a strong partnership with NVFS and its new CEO, Stephanie Berkowitz.

As the Hercules award winner of the Helios Apollo Awards, we are pleased to share that  NVFS will receive a cash donation on behalf of our 2015 sponsors. To learn more about the important work Northern Virginia Family Service does for the Northern Virginia community, or to donate with your time, finances, or gifts in kind, visit the NVFS website at