Volunteer Fairfax’s Alternative Community Service is dedicated to helping people. This program places court-ordered persons, with minor offenses, at an agency where they can positively work off charges.

Each new ACS client meets with the program coordinator who matches the client with the appropriate agency. Location and mission are two important considerations.

One of our long-time partners in this endeavor to help court-ordered clients is Inova Treasure Trove of Springfield. Treasure Trove is a retail consignment and donation center that supports Inova Fairfax Medical Campus. Sarah Ide is the Store Manager. Meeting her is like encountering the Captain of a well-run ship.

In her “lived-in” office, Sarah explains her duties in-between cashiers needing change, phones ringing, and jumping up to inspect a loud thump from the back room. “We have 2 paid staff and 65 volunteers… and we could not run this place without them.” With regard to the Alternative Community Service, Sarah confirms that the store has been an active agency for years.  “And we’ve never had a bad experience. They come here and work very hard.” She recalls ACS client, “Corey.” Corey would do anything you asked him and he made useful suggestions. “Corey completely revamped the shoe section giving us much more space than we had before.” Sarah explained that they often will get direct calls from court-ordered persons asking to volunteer. She does not accept them directly.  Instead, she refers them to Volunteer Fairfax because she trusts the screening process that VF performs.

“Besides ACS clients, a lot of our volunteers are former nurses and teens needing service hours.  Additionally, we have volunteers who are here because of the medical help they received at Inova. These are some very moving stories.”

Sarah hails from South Carolina. She has had a varied career… working on The Hill for Senator Strom Thurmond, running a day care out of her home, working retail in antiques, and, for the past five years, she has been a staff member at Treasure Trove. She is happy to be here! She walks and talks and gives help as she moves through the store. All the while, Sarah explains the store consignment operation and shares about its volunteer appreciation program.

The store is filled to the gills with treasure; every inch of space begs you to come inspect its displays and racks. Workers are helping customers at the register, straightening askew items, or are behind the scenes getting more treasures ready for the main floor. That’s where we meet “Henry.” Henry is an ACS client.

Henry needed to do 24 hours in a hurry. He was placed with Treasure Trove who was able to accommodate his need because of their store schedule (open 7 days) and because “there’s always something to do.” Henry smiles. He is happy he was placed at Treasure Trove. “I live near here, Sarah is nice, and I am not bored. I would like to keep volunteering at Treasure Trove.”

Alternative Community Service is a viable and positive option in an otherwise challenging event. If you are court-ordered or court-referred for minor offenses, Volunteer Fairfax can help. For more information, or call 703-246-3893.