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A Fresh Start: Helping Cornerstones Create a New Home for a Local Family

By May 20, 2020May 26th, 2020No Comments
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The meaning of home has never been more important at a time when many in our community are facing financial hardship and housing insecurity.  As a Cornerstones Signature Partner, we’re proud to have partnered with them to complete the work needed to make one home move-in ready for a family on their path back to stability. Thank you to Margaret Anne Lara for the following guest blog.

The meaning of home has a universal, binding thread for most everyone. It’s a safe haven where families live together and build memories, celebrate special holidays and traditions with friends and find peace at the day’s end. For others, home is a prayer answered – a place of safety, security and a chance to live a healthy, connected life in our community.

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For a local single mother with three sons, moving into a newly renovated Cornerstones’ townhome is their “everything” right now. After escaping domestic violence, Erica* and her children sought sanctuary at Cornerstones’ Embry Rucker Community Shelter. With support from her case managers, she worked hard to find a stable job, ensure the boys were back on track with their schooling and took proactive financial steps to rebuild her young family’s stability. Now thanks to the generosity of Mark and Mina Fies and their team at Synergy Design & Construction, Erica and her sons have a fresh start – and see a brighter future ahead.

“Transforming a house into a home is Synergy’s goal with every remodeling and design project. But even more so when our team rallies together to support a Cornerstones’ family,” explains Mark Fies, COO. With an eye toward ensuring every living space in the house was move-in ready for Erica and the boys, Synergy replaced the drywall and added new durable vinyl flooring throughout the house. Knowing the kitchen is a focal point for every family, Synergy worked in partnership with Community Forklift and their Community Building Blocks Program to secure and install new kitchen appliances, including a new microwave, kitchen range and refrigerator.



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A deep spirit of community volunteerism is part of Synergy’s cultural DNA. A 2019 Best of Reston Honoree, Synergy received one of the region’s highest accolades for their philanthropic work in Northern Virginia. “Mark and Mina and the team at Synergy Design & Construction give so much back to the community, and the special care they took with this home shows families we are in this together,” offers Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones. “Their hands-on support with this recent project helps Cornerstones save thousands in renovation costs and the purchase of new appliances – valuable dollars that can now be used to help more families regain their independence and security through our affordable housing program.”

Moving into a place they can call home is the key to Erica’s family’s future. Thanks to Synergy’s partnership with Cornerstones, she has found a life-changing path forward to building stability, empowerment and hope for herself and her children.


Serving Northern Virginia for 50 years, Cornerstones is a front-line provider of affordable housing and human services that strengthen and build community. Offering comprehensive resources that solve urgent and ongoing needs for shelter, food, affordable housing, quality childcare, job training and other supports, Cornerstones connects homeless, low-income and vulnerable neighbors to services that ensure stability, empowerment and hope.

If you or someone you know might benefit from Cornerstones’ programs and services, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit or call us at 571.323.9555.

*Name has been changed to ensure privacy

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