eNewsletter June 2017

Children's Charities Awards Phillips

The Children's Charities Foundation recently awarded PHILLIPS a $14,000 grant to support the Food for Thought program!  Learn more by visiting our website.

Truitt Foundation Awards Phillips

The Truitt Foundation recently awarded PHILLIPS a $10,000 grant to support the Harvesting Hope For Vulnerable Youth Capital Campaign to build a commercial kitchen and hydroponic farm at our Laurel campus.

PHILLIPS Annual Report

PHILLIPS 2015 - 2016 Annual Report is now available!  To read this year's report visit our website to learn more.

PHILLIPS in the News

POSH Magazine featured our gala this year.  To read the story click this link!

3D Print and Design Class a Success!

PHILLIPS community class on 3D Design and Print for young adults with neurodiveristy concluded this month. Thank you Mr. Son and Mr. Whittington (pictured on either end) for their continued dedication to this new initiative.

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Donate Your Old Car to Support PHILLIPS!

You can complete the donation form online or call 1-855-CAR-GIVE (1-855-227-4483) and one of our friendly operators will assist you.

Volunteer with PHILLIPS!

Whether you help as an individual or through your company, we welcome your involvement.

Contact Debi Alexander, Director,  Development at 703-941-8810.

"Mr. Worker," a star EFE student, returns to PHILLIPS annually to celebrate Seniors

Why do we do what we do? Because we are committed to the youth and families we serve.  That is why we are expanding Career Partners:  to intensify our focus on our youth's transition from school to work.

A Phillips Moment

"J" is the poster child for the effectiveness of our Education for Employment (EFE) programs.  

"J" graduated several years ago, yet he returns at the end of every school year with two cakes for the Senior lunch and again two weeks later with cakes for graduation.  

These cakes are lovingly created in his father’s baking business.

  "J" came to PHILLIPS at the age of 10.  He suffered from a Traumatic Brain Injury sustained as an infant.  The damage was so severe he required a shunt.    

Fortunately for "J", he was adopted by a very caring couple when he was two.  When enrolled at PHILLIPS at the age of 10, "J" presented as a selective mute and a non-reader.  He received speech and language therapy, counseling and occupational therapy.  He immediately bonded with all of the staff.

 The characteristic that stood out the most is that "J" had an incredible work ethic.  You could give him any task and he would delve into it.

 When "J"  was 12, the staff was trained in the Wilson Reading Program which is a multi-sensory structured curricula.  Janeen Moore worked with him and he learned to read!

 When "J"  turned 14 he began participating in our Education for Employment (EFE) program.  He was an immediate success!   Joe earned the moniker Mr. Worker.  Every business where he worked, offered him a paid position in the summer.  One summer he was offered a position in the kitchen at McGill’s, a cafeteria on Little River Turnpike that welcomed tourist buses.  "J" was a huge help with those big crowds!

 During his last year at PHILLPS, he attended the Pulley Center part time.  The Center is a vocational program where he attended the culinary arts program.   

At the age of 22, he graduated, receiving the Civitan Achievement Award and he successfully transitioned into the world of work. 

 I might add that "J" earned every single award a PHILLIPS student can earn during his time at our school.  He continues to work in restaurants, support his dad’s baking business AND is a volunteer fireman in Staunton, Virginia.

 A tradition that his family started when  he was 10, was baking cakes for any and all events.  That tradition continues year after year when "J" makes the long drive to Annandale to celebrate another graduating class.  

"J" exemplifies the benefits of our Education for Employment program.  

He is a successful young adult who is contributing greatly to our community and an alum who shares his time, treasure and talents with his beloved school.

A Message From the President

June marks an important milestone in the educational journey for many and the beginning of transitions to new ventures and challenges. We salute our PHILLIPS graduating class of 2017 who completed their high school career this school year. At PHILLIPS we have a vision of success for all of our youth and help to instill that belief in them as they gain the necessary skills to move on from PHILLIPS. 

Every day we strive to prepare our students for the next step in life as young adults; however, despite this preparation there are concerns about the availability of sufficient options as our youth leave school or transition to work. That is why we continue to expand our Career Partners program to provide the skills and experiences to ensure our youth will thrive. We are in the midst of the Harvesting Hope for our Vulnerable Youth capital campaign to expand Career Partners. One project under that umbrella is the construction of a commercial kitchen and hydroponic farm at our Laurel campus. In this issue of our newsletter you can learn the details of this exciting new initiative!  If you would like to join the conversation about our vision for transitioning youth, I'd love to hear from you!


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Piper Phillips Caswell

President & CEO



Harvesting Hope for Vulnerable Youth

PHILLIPS is expanding its Career Partners Program to address a vital need.

While there have been advances in education for students with disabilities since 1975 when P.L. 94-142 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) mandated services, the positive outcomes for youth with disabilities transitioning from school to post school activities continue to be poor and disheartening. Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to drop out of school; they are half as likely as their peers to participate in post secondary education; the adjudication rate for youth with disabilities is four times higher than youth without disabilities; young adults with disabilities are more than three times likelier to live in poverty; they have a lower employment rate, up to a 45% gap between those with and without disabilities and the disparity rises for racial and ethnic minorities. 

When the data is disaggregated, the positive outcomes for youth behavioral health needs are especially troubling. 

Data from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs shows that youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities are at the greatest risk of dropping out of school as compared with students in other disability categories, and a higher percentage of these youth are incarcerated or are not employed as compared to other students with disabilities after high school. 

Workforce Development is essential to meet the needs of our economy.  

The employment needs of our businesses are changing. Middle skilled and front line jobs are expected to account for more than 40% of all new job growth. These jobs require less than a bachelor’s degree. Many youth wish to enter the workforce directly from high school rather than go directly to college. Programs that utilize the strengths of this young labor force and focus on skilled training, literacy and internship work experience are needed to fill the front line and middle skilled jobs, and provide a pipeline of workers to our businesses. 

A solution that meets the needs of our transitioning students and the requirements of a changing economy is PHILLIPS ~ Growing Futures, a program that engages students in opportunities to thrive through a career and technical education program. Students will engage in hands-on experiential learning in both an indoor hydroponics farm growing microgreens, and a commercial kitchen dedicated to teaching culinary skills needed for the food service industry.

Graduation Celebration

The month of June was filled with three special days at PHILLIPS School ~ Fairfax, PHILLIPS School ~ Annandale and PHILLIPS School ~ Laurel as we celebrated the accomplishments of our students during our schools’ graduation ceremonies. The ceremonies were attended by the proud families, friends, peers and staff of our graduating students and special guest from the community. Mrs. Sonja Shockey was a special guest at our Fairfax ceremony, guest speakers from the Chesapeake District Civitan and Rotary Club attended the Annandale ceremony to present two students with awards to recognize their accomplishments not only in the classroom, but in the community. In addition, Chef J. Jackson, aka Mr. Foodtasktic shared inspiring words with our graduating class at Laurel. He shared a wonderful story about success which can be read in full at the bottom of this newsletter.

Following the ceremonies PHILLIPS staff welcomed students and their families to receptions in their honor.  

We congratulate and commend our students for their resilience and determination to strive for success.  We wish our class of 2017 all the best in their next step in becoming responsible, independent young adults of our community.


The Great Gatsby Results

Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our community, the 22nd annual gala raised $257,000!  Proceeds from the event were applied to our Harvesting Hope for Vulnerable Youth campaign!  Demolition for the commercial kitchen installation is underway at Laurel and we will be offering a culinary arts program in the Fall of 2017.

Renovation is a messy ordeal, but the glorious byproduct will be a beautiful space!

Renovation is a messy ordeal, but the glorious byproduct will be a beautiful space!

Contact PHILLIPS ~ Career Partners Director Lindsay.Harris@phillipsprograms.org for information about the career programs we offer across campuses including Building Futures (building trades skills), Growing Futures (culinary arts and urban agriculture skills) and Designing Futures, (3D print and design) along with over 40 years of Education for Employment (partnering with businesses in the community to gain job experiences)! 

BDO Makes an Impact at PHILLIPS

PHILLIPS welcome staff from BDO at our Laurel campus for a day of volunteering! 

“One of BDO’s missions is to support the communities in which our employees live and work,” said Joe Burke, Partner.  “We were very excited to have the opportunity to choose PHILLIPS Programs for our 2017 community service project.  Our team enjoyed having the opportunity to spend a day supporting the Laurel campus and working side by side with the talented staff and wonderful youth.”

Thank you BDO for your continued support of our children and families!


PHILLIPS has been providing quality special education & comprehensive support services throughout DC-MD-VA for 50 years! Since we will be blowing out 50 candles, we want to invite you to join our celebration.

Beginning on JULY 24th for a week, enjoy a discounted celebratory cupcake* at Cupcakes Actually in Fairfax, VA, and take a photo of you blowing out a candle and making a wish. Or you can blow out a candle to celebrate #PHILLIPSTurns50 anywhere and post that photo. Get creative!

POST as many photos of you celebrating our birthday as you wish on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram using the hashtag: #PHILLIPSTurns50

Your picture (s) will be posted in a gallery on PHILLIPS Facebook page where people can vote on their favorite picture.

The photo with the most votes will win a Nikon digital camera! You may enter more than one photo.

Contest starts July 24, 2017 and ends July 31, 2017.


*One per customer

PHILLIPS Education for Employment @ Hilton Week

On May 18 the Career Education Department participated in the second annual Career Day sponsored by the Hilton Hotel Corporation.  Our youth traveled to the Embassy Suites and Double Tree Hotel in Crystal City.  The purpose of the trip was to allow our youth to explore different careers and jobs related to the hospitality industry.  The youth and staff from PHILLIPS fully engaged with hotel staff, shadowing employees from various departments and touring several areas of operations.

Socrates and the Secret to Success

Chef J. Jackson, aka Mr. Foodtasktic shared inspiring words with our graduating class at Laurel. Below is the story of Socrates and the Secret to Success:

One day, a young man went to the home of Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, and asked,  "I want to be a great success. Will you teach me all I need to know so I can be a great success?"

"Certainly, my son," replied Socrates.  "Walk with me."  Socrates began to walk and headed towards the sea.  Once on the sand, Socrates continued to walk straight into the water.  The young man followed.  When both were chest deep in the ocean, Socrates placed his hands on the young man's head and quickly forced it under the water. After about ten seconds, the young man fought his way to the surface and began to gasp for air.  Socrates released the boy’s head, turned and walked away.

The young man was appalled.  He had traveled a great distance to meet with this scholar whom he admired and respected and when he asked for his wisdom all he did was put his head under water.  Never again, vowed the young man, would he seek the advice of Socrates.

However, time as we know, has a way of healing wounds and after a week went by, the young man thought maybe he did something to upset Socrates.  So back he went to visit the scholar.  Again he beseeched Socrates to teach him all he needed to know so he could be a great success.

Socrates smiled and once again agreed. He asked the young man to follow him and again they walked toward the ocean. Just like before, Socrates walked in the water and, when the water was chest high, Socrates grabbed the young man by his head and pushed it under water.  This time, however, the young man was ready.  Before going under, he took a big gulp of air and held his breath for almost for thirty seconds before coming up gasping for air.  As he wiped the water from his eyes, he saw Socrates already on the shore walking away.

Now the young man was livid.  Twice he had approached Socrates for the knowledge he needed to become a great success and twice Socrates took him to the ocean and put his head under water.  Never ever again would he be insulted and humiliated like this.

Well, thirty days passed and the young man had time to reflect. He truly wanted to be a success.  Socrates had the wisdom he needed so he decided to go one final time to see the scholar.  Upon arriving at Socrates’ home, he rapped on the door.  When Socrates appeared, the young man said, "I hope you remember me?" 
Socrates flashed a big smile and said, "I do.  You are the young man who wants to be a great success."
The young man once again asked Socrates, "Will you please teach me all I need to know and all I need to learn to be a success?" 
Socrates nodded and said, "Absolutely."  Then he started walking toward the ocean with the young man following in step.

This time the young man was well prepared.  As soon as Socrates grabbed his head, he took a deep swallow of air, relaxed and was able to hold his breath underwater for almost two minutes. When he finally surfaced for air, Socrates had already walked away.

Furious the young man ran after Socrates.  When he was a few feet from Socrates he shouted, "Socrates, why is it every time I come to you and ask for your help to gain the wisdom and the knowledge on how to be a great success, all you do is take me out in the water and dunk my head?"

Socrates turned around, faced the young man, and said, "Son, I have tried three times now to teach you the secret of being a great success. The secret is simple: When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, you will be a great success."