The Community Outreach Program is a multicultural program promoting self-sufficiency and community belonging through neighborhood educational programs and services for newly arrived and low-income Arlington County residents.
The Community Outreach Program operates out of these four sites:
Arlington Mill Community Center
Berkeley Community Center
Gates Community Center
Harvey Hall Community Center
About the Community Outreach Program
The Community Outreach Program was originally created in 1979 to meet the needs of the many individuals who had immigrated to Arlington from Southeast Asia. Since that time, our program has expanded in order to effectively meet the needs of each new group of immigrants coming to Arlington from around the world.
Our program is designed to identify and reach out to immigrants and other under-served populations. These populations are served through various programs, counseling, and referrals to Arlington County services and non-profit agencies. As we work with newcomers to acculturate and become a part of the community, our overarching goal is to help them acquire the tools needed to live and succeed in the United States.
Who We Are
The Community Outreach Program has five Outreach Specialists that are based in four outreach centers located throughout Arlington. The centers are strategically located in low-income neighborhoods with high concentration of immigrants. Each Outreach Specialist is bilingual and some are even multilingual. Our Specialists can provide services in Spanish, French, and Arabic. In addition to being bilingual (or multi-lingual), each Specialist is also bicultural; meaning that they live and understand the culture of the languages they speak.
Each Outreach Center runs programs designed to meet the varying needs of the community. These programs also serve to attract new members of the community who can take advantage of other County services. Programs are regularly evaluated by the Outreach Specialists in order to ensure that the needs of the community are continually being met. The majority of these programs are provided by other County programs or non-profits. Some of the recent programs offered at the Outreach Centers include:
Information and Referral
Arlington County has an array of services offered through local government, community, and non-profit agencies. These services are sometimes difficult to navigate, especially for someone who experiences language and cultural barriers. The Outreach Specialists assess the needs of community members and connect them with the appropriate resource to meet their needs. We provide assistance with referrals for food, medical, housing, legal, as well as other needs.
The Outreach Specialists provide on-going assistance to individuals and families who are in crisis and have specific needs. We are able to listen to community members in a culturally sensitive way, usually in their native language, and connect them with necessary services. We work with the family as a unit, ensuring that as they meet with various agencies and organizations all needs are being met and services are coordinated.
Throughout the year we also organize special events for our community. Many of these events are designed to preserve the unique cultures of our clients, such as New Year celebrations and other multicultural festivities. Other special events include neighborhood day activities, health fairs, immigration seminars, tax assistance workshops, and clothing drives!
The Community Outreach Program has a great group of committed volunteers that help with many facets of the program. For example, volunteers teach citizenship classes, help people find jobs, instruct sewing classes, and assist with other programs. Volunteers also help plan the calendar of activities at each center, special events, and other opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering please call Tori Ongodia at (703) 228-1317 or visit the Volunteer Arlington web page.