United Community Ministries, Inc.

Rating: 4.93 stars   44 reviews

Issues:

Location: 7511 Fordson Rd Alexandria VA 22306 USA

Mission: UCM''s mission is to assist families and individuals to improve the quality of their lives in a manner that builds their self-reliance and fosters their ability to function at the greatest level of their economic and social capacities.
Programs: * The Bryant Early Learning (BEL) Center, offering quality child care for working parents and instruction in infant care for teenage mothers;* Basic Needs helps people in crisis meet basic needs and learn about resources for long-term self-sufficiency;* Back Porch Thrift Shop, where customers from a variety of economic backgrounds can find affordable bargains and clients can receive a voucher for the items they need;* Work Force Development Center, offers a variety of employment and self-employment services;* Supportive Housing programs offer transitional housing and a variety of housing counseling services; * Healthy Families; child abuse prevention and a child-nurturing program;* Family Renewal, provides a support group to homeless and formerly homeless families;* Youth In Action is designed to provide youth with activities and empowerment while improving the quality of their families' lives through a parent education component.
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

UCM is a great community resource for Northern Virginia. My wife and I have been involved with UCM in various capacities over the past decade and we remain as donors and occasional volunteers to support the dedicated staff.Myspecial interest has been in the food pantry, which provides basic nutrition for more than 12,000 persons each year (maybe more in the recent economic downturn). Most of the food pantry services support local families who have a wage-earner but not enough income to cover even their basic needs in this high cost of living area. But the food pantry also offers special help to shut in elderly persons and others with special needs.My wife has been especially involved with the Bryant Early Learning Center.She is a retired educator - teacher, principal and school system admionistrator - and she is enthusiastic about the child development services (not just day care) provided by Bryant. It truly gives children from lower income families a head start into the educational world.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I became involved with UCM through my wife. She was a public school administrator and found that UCM's child development program enabled some 15 to 20 young low income women annually to complete their high school education while being confident that their infants and young children werepppcared for professionally and protectively. I subsequently became a volunteer in the food pantry which provides subsistence and nourishment to more than 10,000 persons every year. And from there I became a board member and officer. I have seen women who were victims of domestic violence remake their lives ( and their children's) through UCM's programs. I have seen parents leave in tearful gratitude because UCM provided the clothes and toys they needed ot give their children a good Christmas. And I have seen clients with poor working skills and little or no employment history gain basic skills through UCM's programs that enabled them to be employed and move towards self-sufficiency. UCM's contributions to the health and welfare of our neighbors and our community is beyond any valuing.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See the comments above. I have seen desperate families receive food, rental assistance, secure housing, child care adn many other benefits which gave them hope for their future and made progress towards independence and self sufficiency.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Build a stronger donor base to be able to maintain and improve services, especially in times of economic distress, as we have experienced recently.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

How did you learn about this organization?

See opening comment above. Through my wife's professional experience with UCM's child development program.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Serving families and individualswho are desperately in need of immediate assistance for food, utilities, medical care, child care.

What is its top priority in the long run?

Serving clients and enabling them to be indeppendent and have hope for the future for themselves and their children. From an organizational perspective, building a broader and deeper financial base to support its many community programs.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Rating: 5 stars  

UCM is an outstanding organization that provides a vital service to those in need in the Mt. Vernon\/South County area of Fairfax County. We are lucky to have them I am pleased to support the good work that they do.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I admire UCM greatly for the services that it provides to so many and for the way it treats its clients with dignity. UCM is a lifesaver and life changer for so many people. I am proud to be associated with it and to tell its story.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

UCM has provided much needed services for a very diverse population for over forty years. It is difficult to comprehend were the needy families and children would be without the emergency services provided by this trusted agency. The longevity of the helpful staff speaks to the compassion and selflessness this organization employs both within and to the community. Thank you UCM for all that you have done and continue to do. Felicea

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Look for ways to pay the employees more. They are so very deserving.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What is unique about this organization?

The level of skill each employed provides when working with some of the most needy persons in the community.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am so proud to be a part of the UCM Board. The more I understandt the role of this organization in the Route 1 Corridor, the more I realize what a different--and much less livable--community we would be without the safety net provided by UCM. Despite my ever-growing knowledge of UCM, I still do not understand how they do so much with so little. Truly, money donated to UCM goes directly to the purpose for which it is given. Mary E. Mehler

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

UCM is a rare, lean organization with a lot of heart. The work that it is involved in reaches to the very core of need in the community. I am proud to be able to work with the fundraising group of the organization and to offer students a direction to reach out for meaningful community service such as stocking the food room or the holiday gift room. Community friends can engage in fundraising, from small, social affairs to larger food drives and know that their efforts are impactful and appreciated. I don't know of a' grassroots'organization that works harder or effects those in need more directly in my community!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I've met some great new friends and feel like there is mutual respect amongst volunteers. Lots of understanding regarding busy schedules and providing lots of opportunities to contribute what you can.

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Rating: 5 stars  

While my association with UCM goes back only 15 years, this fantastic charity has been helping families and children for over forty years! It is heartening to know that the children of unwed teenage mothers are getting a head start in our BEL (Bryant Early Learning) Center while their mothers gain life changing skills. And it is uplifting that we are able to distribute over a ton of food every day we are open to families along the Route One corridor. And it is fantastic to see individuals complete our training programs, allowing them to get meaningful employment to help ensure they are on the way to breaking the cycle of poverty that surrounded them. That is UCM as I know it!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a donor and am employee, and I am proud to be a part of this wonderful organization. I often tell people that, the longer I am with UCM, the more amazed I become at the many ways in which people's lives are changed every day because of UCM. The organization has programs, such as its housing programs, that absolutely transform lives! People go from homeless shelters and situations of domestic violence to housed, in jobs, and living independently for the first time in their lives. And that's just one example!

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

UCM does great work in the community--particularly for children youth and families. The Bryant Early Learning Center provides a phenomenal start for children to become life-long learners. The community centers help children gain access to tutoring, after-school and summer programming and summer lunch programs. UCM does so much to strengthen the community.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a UCM donor for the last year because I believe that the work that they do is powerfully important. I learned about UCM through idealist.org and their website, but to truly understand the scope of what they do, you really have to talk to the people who are served and the people who work there.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Interviewing former UCM clients to find out about their experiences with UCM and how they are doing today.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase their staff size, funding and improve their physical location.

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

This is a wonderful community based charity in the Mount Vernon Lee districts of Fairfax County, Virginia. Last week I brought over some of our older youth from St. Luke's to help unload food donated from the area churches like Good Shepherd Catholic Church and St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Amazing support from the churches and pretty soon the food pantry was full! It was great to work with the UCM staff and to learn how the food is helping those in desperate need in our community. God Bless UCM and the people they serve.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?