At Volunteer Fairfax we often say that “You must follow your heart” when it comes to service.

Evy Sheehan, a member of Volunteers for Change, has done just that for the past 20 years, dedicating her heart and hands to the important work at the Northern Virginia Training Center (NVTC).

The Northern Virginia Training Center opened its doors in April 1973 as a residential campus for people with intellectual and related disabilities. In addition to providing housing, the Center provided medical services, physical and occupational therapy, social work and psychological counseling.  A key component in making this facility feel like home was regular social activities with the residents. Through the time and attention offered by Volunteers for Change members, residents became friends and the volunteers became the “Fun Bunch.”

Evy Sheehan, Team Captain of the Fun Bunch and the other volunteers would visit weekly at the facility, spending time with residents. Over the years, Evy has truly valued the relationships that were forged…while having fun!  Fun Bunch activities included playing games, doing arts and crafts, or going on field trips to area attractions such as fall hayrides or a holiday visit with Santa. Volunteers were sure to include everyone in the activities, modifying when necessary.  Musical chairs became musical wheelchairs! In addition to the regularly scheduled events, both residents and volunteers enjoyed just chatting and visiting with one another.

Over her 20 years of volunteering with NVTC, Evy saw how much the residents gained from these visits and how much they enjoyed seeing the Fun Bunch team each week. There were many dedicated members of the volunteer team.  We’d like to thank and name just a few:

  • Doris Crawford
  • Cheryl Vinci
  • Karen Goon
  • Kevin Sanders
  • Andy Tompros
  • Leya Mundrake
  • Evy Sheehan!

A decision to close the Center has been made pursuant to Statutes that these residents could be better served in a more integrated way.  As of January 22, 2016, the center discharged its last resident. Since 1973, it can be said that the NVTC truly benefited its residents and their families, but also the community and volunteers. The impact of the Fun Bunch volunteers had creating a homey environment and forming lasting friendships truly cannot be measured.

Volunteer Fairfax would like to express HEARTfelt thanks to each member of the Fun Bunch for following your heart into service and for your dedication to helping people with special needs in our community. Special thanks to Evy Sheehan, Team Captain extraordinaire!

It takes a very special person, and compassionate heart, to work with individuals with special needs. If your heart is leading you to this very special activity, please visit VolunteerNow to search for like opportunities.