Community Outreach Program
Please note that in alignment with Arlington County’s Guidance for Public Meetings and Gatherings to Mitigate and Contain the Spread of COVID-19, some Community Outreach Program services are now cancelled or postponed: Community Outreach Program office hours and services are taking place over the phone at DHS Sequoia and Arlington Mill Community Center to reduce in-person interaction. Citizenship preparation classes are available online. Citizenship Classes and Information are now available virtually.
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.
- Our outreach specialists are based in five outreach centers 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. Programs include:
- Citizenship classes and workshops
- English classes provided by the Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP)
- Computer classes
- Job readiness training
- Spanish literacy classes
- Food and nutrition classes
- Health screenings and presentations
Connecting residents with programs and services
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. Our outreach specialists assess the needs of community members and connect them with the appropriate resource to meet those needs. We provide assistance with referrals for food, medical services, housing, legal assistance and more.
Our outreach specialists provide on-going assistance to individuals and families who are in crisis and have specific needs. We 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, including multicultural festivals. 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 who 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 special events and other opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering, call Tori Ongodia at 703-228-1317 or visit Volunteer Arlington.
Community Outreach Program history
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.