Doorways’ Children’s Services Programs received a tremendous boost this Spring with the announcement of a significant 3-year grant from the Vicky S. Collins Foundation. These new funds will allow Doorways to hire a dedicated Children’s Program Specialist for the new Freddie Mac Foundation Family Home. This grant also provides funding for a part-time Children’s Mental Health Specialist and will allow Doorways to purchase age-appropriate play equipment and toys for both the new family shelter and Safehouse.

Vicky S. Collins was a tremendous philanthropist. A former Arlington resident, Ms. Collins was a spirited and active young woman, engaged to be married, working on Capitol Hill and living a full and happy life. She loved children and yearned to have a large family. She also had a passion for snow skiing in the Colorado Rockies. At age 31, in the prime of her life, she experienced a serious health crisis that left her completely paralyzed, confined to a wheelchair, and able to communicate only by blinking her eyes. It was an extraordinary and unexpected tragedy, yet, though she became physically disabled, her mind remained active and engaged.

During this time and in the years following, she managed her affairs with help from Arlington lawyers Mark Cummings and David Sher. Over time, in addition to their professional relationship, the three developed a deep and abiding friendship. Mr. Cummings and Mr. Sher recall Ms. Collins as a remarkable young woman who faced terrible challenges with tremendous inner strength and profound courage. With great empathy for disabled and disadvantaged children, Ms. Collins established a foundation in her name to help children who also find themselves in difficult circumstances through no fault of their own. Thanks to her tremendous foresight and generosity in life, Ms. Collins left a significant legacy of kindness for Arlington’s most vulnerable citizens.

By way of this gift, the Children’s Play Room and Outdoor Playground in the new Freddie Mac Foundation Family Home will be named in honor of Ms. Collins’ life and legacy. Doorways is very grateful to the trustees of the Vicky S. Collins Foundation for their help in expanding our ability to reach out and provide services to Arlington’s homeless children and their parents.

Read the full Summer 2007 Doorways Newsletter here.