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Evermay Evermay

Friends of the McLean Community Center Website Goes Live
Posted on Sep 23rd, 2014

The new web site lets visitors sign up for the organization and pay for memberships online via credit card. Traditionalists also have the option of mailing in checks for the dues. Friends group members and their families also qualify for special discounts at the center, said board member Thamir Al’ Hashimi.
The organization’s leaders hope to secure more donations from the community, he said. “Were trying to get businesses in McLean to help us,” Al’ Hashimi said.
Begun as McLean Community Center Inc. on June 30, 1964, the group selected a site for the recreation center, paid for it with donations, and designed the facility and its programs. The center opened in October 1975. The organization also crafted the center’s management structure to keep its control and funding in McLean and persuaded Fairfax County officials that the facility’s Governing Board should consist of elected, not appointed members. The Friends group assumed its current name in 1977 and four years later switched to a membership structure that encouraged participation by the McLean community. In the 50 years since its founding, the group has pursued a variety of projects to improve the facility. The organization successfully pressed for a 1985 bond referendum to expand the center and add a nearly $100,000, 100-seat balcony to its Alden Theatre. In the 1990’s the Friends organization donated $60,000 to construct and furnish a commercial-grade kitchen, which is used for rentals, classes and events at the center, and later financed installation of acoustical tiles in the center’s meeting rooms.
In 2010, the Friends group paid for a display of 64 black-and-white photos commemorating McLean’s centennial. Those images still may be viewed in the facility’s Stedman and Maffitt rooms.
                The organization in 2012 commissioned a portrait painting of Robert Alden, a pivotal figure in the community center’s creation. That framed canvas now holds a prominent place in the center’s lobby. The next project is an automated kiosk, which will allow visitors to register for classes at the community center and buy tickets to Alden Theatre productions when the theaters’ box office is closed.
The kiosk will be located in the first-floor hallway across from the restrooms. The community center thereafter will be responsible for its software upgrades and maintenance, said George Sachs, the center’s executive director.
Sach’s said he keeps a “bucket list” of projects that may not fall within certain budget cycles and shares that compilation with the friends group, which often can provide funding. “They come to me and ask if there’s anything I can forsee as a need at the center”, Sach said. “They keep us going and when we need help, they’re there”.
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