How community heroes bring people together

Looking for ways to lend a hand? Join these community heroes who have reached out to support others in a time of need.

When a crisis strikes, it can be accompanied by steep challenges. The difficult time, however, often presents unique and creative opportunities. In communities struck by a natural disaster, such as a fire or hurricane, individuals frequently jump in to help keep their neighborhoods safe. Similarly, when economic downturns hit, people might seek out the chance to support their local businesses and fellow citizens. Through these efforts, communities can come together in new ways. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Capital One recognized community heroes in the District of Columbia area who have supported others and created new ties. These individuals were surprised with appearances by players from Washington sports teams via a video conference call with Capital One. During the meet and greet sessions, Tom Wilson, T.J. Oshie and John Carlson from the Capitals showed their appreciation. Natasha Cloud of the Mystics and John Wall, formerly of the Wizards, also thanked these local heroes for their ongoing efforts to help others. 

Regardless of what you’re passionate about, there are opportunities to step up in your neighborhood or local community. The following stories present ways that others have reached out to help in their area during a crisis. Find out how they are showing up and lending a hand to brighten the lives of those in their communities.

Jennifer: Helping the homeless

Jennifer works to provide food and clothing for the homeless. Along with others, she has been distributing items once a week for the past six months. During that time, Jennifer has also helped coordinate special events for the community. For one of these events, known as “The 100 Pizza Party Extravaganza,” she and others served pizza to 250 homeless people. They also handed out clothes, toiletries, personal care items and medical supplies. 

Selvon: Opening college doors

Selvon hasn’t let the pandemic stop him from encouraging Black and Latinx students to begin or continue their college education. When in-person graduation ceremonies from universities were canceled, he helped several first-time college graduates still experience graduation and wear academic regalia. He has also coordinated fundraisers to gather funds that students can use to help pay for their college tuition costs.

Patrick: Fighting on the front lines

Patrick is a firefighter paramedic with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. He has been assigned to the Springfield area, which is a region that has been impacted by COVID-19 cases. In the midst of this, Patrick continues to go to work and provide a high level of patient care. His efforts have helped the community in the fight against COVID-19.

Toni: Delivering new life

Toni works as a labor and delivery nurse in northern Virginia. Throughout the pandemic, she has supported families as they welcome new babies into the world. At the hospital where she works, mothers are only able to have one support person with them. This is often a challenge for families, so Toni has looked for ways to still make their labor experience a special one. 

Marielle: Teaching special needs in special ways

Marielle is a full-time teacher at an educational facility for children with severe disabilities. During COVID-19, the school switched to online learning and Marielle taught virtually for eight months. Then she shifted back to the classroom to work with her students in person. Many of these children require hands-on assistance. Despite the physical demands of the job, Marielle wants to pursue this path of helping children. After her daytime job, Marielle studies online in the evenings to earn a graduate degree in special education. 

Summer: Providing virtual training for military staff

Summer provides virtual training about parenting to staff members on military bases. Her full-time work became even more important to her family after her spouse lost a job due to COVID-19. In addition to her online work, Summer is a mom to an 11-year-old, 3-year-old and 1-year-old. While her spouse helps with the house, Summer continues to provide emotional support to the kids and find activities for them. 

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