bigsibs_blogWe are excited to announce that UVa students can now sign up early for three of our volunteer programs: Athletics, Big Siblings, and Bridging the Gap.

In the Athletics program, Madison House volunteers serve as head coaches or assistant coaches in a variety of youth sports programs, including SOCA (Soccer Organization of Charlottesville and Albemarle), SOCA: Hot Shots, YMCA Basketball, Dance/Gymnastics, Girls on the Run, YMCA Flag Football, YMCA Lacrosse, and Swimming. Learn more about volunteering with Athletics through Madison House here.

In the Big Siblings program, a student volunteer from Madison House makes a year-long commitment to serve as a friend and role model to a young child from Charlottesville or Albemarle county. Volunteers are expected to meet every week with his or her Little Sibling for 2 hours. To learn more about volunteering with Big Siblings, click here.

In Bridging the Gap, a volunteer from Madison House is paired with a refugee child as a mentor. Volunteers engage in activities ranging from playing sports and games, helping with homework, cooking, carpool to and from soccer practice, visiting museums, and much more! Refugee children in the BtG program hail from countries such as Burma, Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Nepal, Russia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand and Togo and have resettled in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area through the International Rescue Committee. Learn more about Bridging the Gap by clicking here.

To sign up to volunteer with Athletics, click here.

To sign up to volunteer with Big Siblings, click here.

To sign up to volunteer with Bridging the Gap, click here.

Questions? Please email Jennifer Walker, Director of Programs, at

Madison House bids a fond farewell to our office manager Anna (center).

Madison House bids a fond farewell to our longtime office manager Anna (center).

In July, Madison House bid a fond farewell to our longtime Office Manager, Anna Rossberg. Anna was an incredible member of the team here and we are so excited for her new role at the Southern Environmental Law Center. When we asked alumni, former staff, and other members of the Madison House community to share their memories of and best wishes for Anna, we were simply overwhelmed by the response. Here are just a few examples of the positive impact that Anna had on the Madison House community during her time working here:


Anna always brightened my day whenever I stopped by Madison House! She would always listen when I blabbed on about Holiday Sharing, school or my pets! I’ll miss seeing her smiling face at Madison House! - Ellen S. (Holiday Sharing Head Program Director, 2013-15)


Thank you so much for all that you did for me and the Madison House team. You were always the go-to person whenever I had a question: “Hey, how do I work this silly printer?” or “I know this is last minute but is the board room still open?” No matter what the case you were always able to follow through. I will never forget when you even offered your own credit card to pay for the LARGE Medical Services expenditures. I’m glad we didn’t have to use it, but that simple gesture shows how dedicated you were to helping out the students. I will be sure to visit you so I can get my daily dose of smiles and laughter. - Mallory S. (Medical Services Head Program Director, 2013-14)


After a few minutes of interviewing Anna for the Office Manager position, we knew that she was the right fit for Madison House.  Her organization and skills were evident, but more importantly she had a smile and laugh that was infectious to others.  She helped make Madison House not just a house, but a home to our student leaders and volunteers.  She always did a wonderful job handing the day to day operations of Madison House and always looking at the bigger picture.  We were so fortunate to have Anna as part of the Madison House family. - Mark T.


Anna, it was an absolute pleasure to have worked with you! You’re kind, fun, and a great co-worker. Madison House was better because of your presence, lighting up the lobby, keeping things festive – and all of us organized. Thank you for always being level-headed and optimistic. You’re the best! - Ben E. (Director of Communications, 2007-2014)


Anna is always a smiling, friendly, welcoming face as you come in the door of Madison House. She can lift your spirits just by having a quick chat with her positive attitude and way of being. I wish her the best and will surely miss seeing her each day! - Meghan F. (The Office for Diversity and Equity)


Thank you so much for all of your dedication to Madison House over these last years!  I am so grateful to have been able to work with and get to know you.  It was always so great to walk into Madison House and be able to talk to you about anything and everything.  Thank you so much for always being willing to help out with the Holiday Sharing donations, no matter how many missing checks or cash we threw at you!  You made the monetary collection process so much easier for us and we cannot thank you enough.  I wish you nothing but the best at your new job!  We all will miss you! - Stephanie B.  (Holiday Sharing Program Director, 2012-15, and Student Board Member, 2014-15)


I have to say that my time spent at Madison House simply would not have been the same without your warm smile. You really were the glue that held everyone together, always willing to answer questions with patience and enthusiasm. As my first MH friend, you played a major role in making my experience there so positive. Thank you for being not just a great supervisor, but an amazing friend and mentor, and for creating the home-away-from-home atmosphere that makes Madison House so special to me. - Lauren P. (Front Desk Worker, 2010-2013 & Tutoring Head Program Director, 2012-13)


During my time at UVA, Madison House felt like a little family, my home away from Texas. Anna was the best Madison House mom! I remember how she always greeted everyone by name and with a smile. I even remember she gave me a book when I graduated! It was unexpected, but I should have known. Anna is always so thoughtful and cares deeply about all the students at MH. You will always be fondly remembered at MH by all. - Caroline W. (UVa Alum, Class of 2011)


Thank you for being such a wonderful and encouraging mentor and friend; thanks for your support, guidance, and constant patience. You helped make my transition to UVA amazing! My parents always joked that I shouldn’t really feel homesick because I had an amazing second mom at Madison House. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for me! - Helen P. (Front Desk Worker and UVA student, Class 2017)


You were the biggest piece of my Madison House experience and one of the main reasons that I loved coming to work every day. Your radiant positive attitude spread throughout Grounds and touched so many lives, students and community members alike. You were always there to listen or bounce ideas off of. You are a blessing to Madison House and UVa and we are all blessed to have spent time with you in such a wonderful place. - Patrick M.


Anna is a bright spot in an already sunny place. She always made me feel welcome and valued at Madison House, from my first few days as a volunteer to my visits as an alumna. Anna has a special gift in making people feel at ease. Quick with a smile, she always seems to be able to tap into a positive spirit even when times are tough. I am so grateful for everything Anna did to make Madison House run smoothly for volunteers and community members. She made such a difference to the organization and was one of the reasons I drop in to visit whenever I am back in Charlottesville. Although I am so excited for Anna’s new adventure downtown, I hope she knows how much she will be missed at Madison House. Thank you, Anna, for always demonstrating the spirit of service with a smile. Madison House was so lucky to have you!          -Sarah Elaine H. (Day Care Head Program Director, 2009-10)


I just want to thank Anna for providing me with my first job at UVA. I had a blast working at the Madison House, meeting wonderful people including the staff at the Madison House and learning more about volunteering opportunities present at UVA. Throughout the year, I don’t think I remember ever seeing Anna in a bad mood and it was encouraging to see her always being so positive. It will be sad to not see Anna in her office next semester, but I hope for the best at her new job! - David K. (Front Desk Worker and UVa student, Class 2017)


Anna graced daily life at Madison House by being always joyful and thoughtful. Not a day went by without her brightening up with a cookie, a story, or a laugh! I really appreciated all of the hard work she put into making Madison House a special place and hope she is as appreciated and loved in her future adventures. We will miss you Anna! - David M. (Front Desk Worker and UVA Alum, Class of 2011)


We will miss you, Anna!

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The return of students to UVa is just around the corner, and the staff here at Madison House couldn’t be more excited to welcome new and returning volunteers! We have several events planned.

On Monday, August 25, Madison House will participate in the Fall Student Activities Fair from 11am-2pm at the UVa Amphitheatre and Lower Lawn on Central Grounds. Then, on Wednesday, September 3 from 11am-2pm, we will host a fair of our very own at the UVa Amphitheatre where students can learn about the 19 different service programs that Madison House offers, meet the program directors, and sign up to get involved!

Madison House will also host a retreat for all of the 2014-2015 Head Program Directors that same day. This event is always a highlight of the year with team-building exercises, dinner, and more. Next, on Thursday, September 4 from 3-4:30pm, Madison House will host a “Welcome Back Social” with ice cream for program leaders and student members of the Madison House board of directors.

If you’re as excited as we are about the return of student volunteers to Charlottesville, check out this fun and handy countdown to move-in day for UVa students, courtesy of the UVa Social Media Team. 

Rachel Winters

We’d like to introduce Madison House’s newest staff member, Rachel Winters, who joins our team as the Director of Operations.

Rachel comes to Madison House from the University of Central Oklahoma where she served as the Assistant Director of the Volunteer & Service Learning Center. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance in 2010 and a Master of Education in Adult & Higher Education, College Student Personnel in 2013 both from UCO.

While at Central she worked with UCO Alternative Breaks, The Big Event (a large day of community service) and collaborated with community partners, faculty and students to integrate service learning into the classroom. A couple of her favorite volunteer opportunities were aiding in the disaster relief in New York after Hurricane Sandy and working with the Fire and Aviation team in the Grand Canyon.

Previously outside of the office, Rachel danced in the first professional jazz, contemporary and hip hop company in Oklahoma, RACE (Radical Application of Creative Energy) and mentored a group of high school girls at her church.

She is excited to join Madison House and support the students making an incredible impact on the community everyday.

Madison House volunteer Meg Gould was named in the C-Ville Weekly‘s annual “Power” issue:
“Besides a college career with ‘most likely to succeed’ stamped all over it — dual majors in global development studies and French, Madison House volunteer, Echols scholar — Meg Gould has the distinction of being tapped as a leader by both her peers and the school’s governors.” 

Congratulations to Meg! You can read the complete article here.
The Madison House Alumni Council (MHAC) will welcome eight new members this autumn. 
The incoming 2014-2015 MHAC cohort includes Sruti Balakrishnan, Juliana Bush, Ellie Canter, Ashley Chappo, David Gogal, Brendan Hesselbein, Alison Lawrence, and Lauren Prial. 

MHAC is a dedicated group of Madison House alumni whose purpose is to support and strengthen the tradition of service at Madison House and in their own communities. Formed in 2002, MHAC seeks to build a dynamic and responsive alumni organization that focuses on education, fundraising and networking. 

Congratulations to our newest MHAC members and thank you for your support of Madison House!

foodbank_blogOn May 6, Madison House supporters donated more than $2,600 during Give4Good, a one-day online giving event organized by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation to promote philanthropy in Charlottesville. 
In total, the day raised more than half a million dollars for local nonprofits, including many of Madison House’s community partners. What an amazing day of giving! Thank you especially to everyone who chose to donate to Madison House as part of Give4Good. Your support makes it possible for us to continue organizing volunteers and promote student leadership.

Recently, Madison House received a generous grant from the Lewis G. Schaeneman Foundation. The grant will go towards fulfilling the organization’s technology needs; specifically the grant will provide new computers for the programs staff, a high functioning printer for programs and communications needs and a conference phone for board meetings and alumni council teleconferences. Additionally the Schaeneman Foundation granted funds to repair the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) unit. The HVAC unit failed to properly operate and was in need of much needed repair. Overall, with the support of the Schaeneman Foundation, Madison House staff will be able to manage programs in a more dynamic and streamlined fashion, save costs by printing in-house, and provide repairs to the 38-year old building which is open 24/7 for student use. 
The staff and students at Madison House are very thankful to the Schaeneman Foundation for their continued support of student volunteer service and leadership!

(Photo: Sanjay Suchak for UVAToday)

(Photo: Sanjay Suchak for UVAToday)

Congratulations to Michael Bugas, a Madison House volunteer with the Big Siblings Program, for receiving the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at the 2014 Valedictory Exercises at the University of Virginia!

Since 1890, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation has presented annual awards to graduating seniors, faculty, alumni and community members of 61 universities and colleges in the American South who are determined to have demonstrated notable character, integrity and service.

The awards are presented each year to two distinguished U.Va. fourth-year students – one male and one female – and a member of the University community in memory of the awards’ namesake, a New York lawyer, businessman and philanthropist.

One of the student recipients was Michael, who participated in the Big Siblings Program at Madison House. Michael became involved in every aspect of the life of his “little brother,” a Charlottesville elementary school student, going so far as to attend a parent-teacher conference “in order to ensure he was supporting his development in the most thorough and effective way possible.” Michael said he was “honored and humbled” to be selected.

Learn more about the 2014 Valedictory Exercises at the University of Virginia and Michael’s accomplishments here via UVAToday.

The Madison House Alumni Council has recognized Geoff Johnson as the 2014 Alumni of the Year. Geoff’s dedication to Madison House and its mission since graduating from UVA in 2010 has been extraordinary.

At Madison House, Geoff served as a Program Director for Latino and Migrant Aid and volunteer for Big Siblings. In 2012, he contacted Madison House and said that he wanted to run the New York City Marathon and fundraise on its behalf. Sadly, the race was cancelled due to the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. But in the truest spirit of service and community, Geoff traveled to New York City that weekend and gave his time to help with the clean-up work for residents hit by the storm. He then chose to run the Richmond Marathon two weeks later to fulfill his racing and fundraising goals.

Undeterred by 2012’s cancellation, Geoff chose to raise the stakes in 2013 and run the New York City Marathon for Madison House and a sustainability project in the Badlands, South Dakota. He completed the race and was able to raise over $3,500 for Madison House.

Geoff currently works as an analyst with the U.S. Department of State. He is also an active member of the MH Alumni Network of DC and has volunteered at recent events with Turning the Page, DC Central Kitchen, and Lost Dog and Cat Rescue. His passion for Madison House has inspired the entire MH family and helped MH receive more media attention. If you don’t believe us, just check out this video on what energized him to run for Madison House!


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