Washington, D.C. — Community activists Ed and Kathleen Guinan will be highlighted in a month-long WETA Hometown Heroes profile airing in November on WETA TV 26. WETA selected the Guinans for their lifelong focus on creating organizations that endorse positive change for underprivileged people in the Greater Washington area. Their profile will premiere on November 3, just prior to the 8 p.m. broadcast of Antiques Roadshow on WETA TV 26 and repeats throughout the month.
Ed and Kathleen Guinan have spent over four decades working to reduce the needs of Washington’s most at-risk families — those who are without food, without housing, without healthcare and without family support. They do so because strengthening families and communities is gratifying to them and brings them in touch with the many Washingtonians who share the vision of a responsive, caring community. “I have been so fortunate to have family, friends, faith and community in my life,” explains Kathleen Guinan. “They define the meaning and foundation for my work and everything I’ve done.”
The Guinans’ work to help the underserved began in 1970, when Ed Guinan founded Community for Creative Nonviolence (CCNV), a homeless shelter in the District. Located a few blocks from the Capitol, CCNV continues to provide beds and a safe haven for impoverished citizens. After the success of CCNV, the Guinans opened Zacchaeus Soup Kitchen in 1972, where Mother Theresa ladled the first bowl of soup. In 1974, the Guinans created Zacchaeus Medical Clinic after observing that many of the patrons at the soup kitchen lacked quality health care. Zacchaeus Medical Clinic was run entirely by volunteers who ensured everyone who entered the health center received medical attention. Over time, many of the organizations the Guinans founded have evolved into other establishments that currently operate in the District, such as the nonprofit groups Bread for the City and Rachel’s Women’s Center.
After over a decade of work in the District of Columbia, Ed Guinan determined that the issues of poverty were directly connected to the District’s lack of self determination and full political representation. “I concluded that a dramatic change in the political structure of D.C. was needed if the poor were to be properly served,” Ed Guinan explains. In 1980, he wrote and introduced the D.C. Statehood Initiative Law which was brought successfully before the citizens of the District. An overwhelming majority of voters ratified the concept to begin the process for Statehood for the District of Columbia.
Today, the Guinans direct organizations they have founded with the objective of encouraging disadvantaged people to make constructive changes in their lives. Ed Guinan is executive director of Wellspring Ministries in Fairfax, Virginia, and Kathleen Guinan is CEO and president of Crossway Community, Inc. in Kensington, Maryland. Wellspring Ministries helps mentally disabled individuals by assisting them to live more independently in group homes, where individuals receive education and training to better function in society. Crossway Community, Inc., created 22 years ago, is a community-based organization comprising three educational centers: a community Montessori school, Family Leadership School and a Lifelong Learning Center. Through the organization, children are taught using the Montessori method, which emphasizes the development of the students own initiative. The Family Leadership School offers housing and education to single parents who want to make positive changes in their lives. At the Lifelong Learning Center, adults learn life skills and receive training in areas such as finance, computers, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). For more information about Kathleen Guinan, visit www.crossway-community.org.
Celebrating its 10th year, WETA Hometown Heroes is an Emmy Award-winning multimedia project that heralds individuals who improve their communities and encourages others to volunteer service. To be involved, visit the website www.weta.org/heroes, where you will find volunteer opportunities at area organizations and archived WETA Hometown Heroes features. The Guinan’s WETA Hometown Heroes profile will also be featured on the WETA media player, WETA Watch Online, at www.weta.org/video. Featuring more than 100 videos, WETA Watch Online includes the latest videos from WETA local productions such as The WETA Guide, WETA All Access and WETA Extras.
WETA Hometown Heroes is made possible through the generous support of Park Foundation, Inc.; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.
WETA supports educational and culturally enriching opportunities for local youth through programming and outreach workshops such as Reading Rockets and Ready To Learn. To find out more about these projects, visit WETA’s community website at www.weta.org/community.
WETA TV 26 and Classical WETA 90.9 FM are public broadcasting stations serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with news and public affairs, educational, and cultural programming and related services, including four digital television channels. WETA is committed to producing programs that highlight the history and people of the Greater Washington area. WETA produces WETA All Access, The WETA Guide, WETA Around Town, WETA Neighborhoods and WETA Extras, spotlighting local people, places and events. WETA’s headquarters is located in Arlington, Virginia. For more information on WETA and its services, visit www.weta.org. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of WETA.