Warm Up Your Heart on December 13

This week, Alex from Member One Federal Credit Union helped kids from the Community Youth Program make hot cocoa to sell at their their craft sale on December 13 from 6-8 pm. The event will take place at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and all of the proceeds will benefit the church.

fullsizerender-3The Community Youth Program began 17 years ago through the efforts of parishioners at the church. Today, it continues to encourage learning and the development of a positive self-image and to provide a network of support for 4th-8th grade students and their families. This upcoming sale is part of their financial literacy programming and will tie into their family night event. These events are designed to support community bonding and conversations by hosting a sit down dinner with families from the program.

For more information on The Community Youth Program, visit www.cyproanoke.org or www.memberonefcu.com.

The Gift: The Art of Giving Back

“Imagine a time and place in which giving is not just for the holidays.”

"Mercy All Out" by Dreama Kattenbraker
“Mercy All Out” by Dreama Kattenbraker

Fleda A Ring Artworks is preparing for the giving season in the best way yet. An art exhibit, “The Gift,” featuring artists, Ann Trinkle, Brian Counihan, Christopher Cobb, Dave Stein, Dreams Kattenbraker, Heath Nevergold, and Mary Beth Lee is opening this Friday, December 2nd from 6-10 P.M. The exhibit is to stay open until January 27th, 2017.

The Gift is an art exhibit featuring a number of artists with the proceeds going towards Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. With the season of giving, what better way to celebrate the holidays than supporting local artists and a good cause? The show extends an entire 26 days past the holidays so if this season is just a busy time you have almost the entirety of January to stop by and make a difference!

Written by Nicole Brobston

Holiday Happenings!

Traditions are important, and it is never too late to start a new one with your family and friends. There are several very important events happening this holiday season that should be on your calendar if they are not already. And, who knows, you may run in to a Bella girl while you are there!

15230807_10154696474809400_5663766098762608240_nThe Southwest Virginia Ballet will present The Nutcracker on Saturday, December 10 at 2 pm and 7 pm, and Sunday, December 11 at 3 pm at the Berglund Performing Arts Center. Adapted from “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffman, this holiday tradition features a cast of 150 performers that represent over 15 dance school from the Roanoke Valley and beyond with choreography by the incredibly talented Pedro Szalay. Join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as they battle giant mice, dance with snowflakes, and journey to the Land of the Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy entertains them with exotic dances from around the world. Guests may also purchase tickets to Clara’s Tea Party at the Berglund Performing Arts Theatre on Sunday, December 13 at 1:30 pm. At this special pre-performance event, you will have the opportunity to meet Clara, The Nutcracker, and The Sugar Plum Fairy. Tea, cocoa, and treats will be served. For more information on this event and how to purchase tickets, go to www.svballet.org.

2015-love-light-treeOne of the most important gifts you can give yourself or a grieving family member during the holidays is time to remember those who cannot be with you. The Good Samaritan Hospice Love Light Tree has helped people in our community do just that since 1995. You can purchase a “love light tag” in memory of a loved one for $10 or, for a donation of $25, individuals receive a 2016 porcelain ornament and a “love light tag.”

“Our love for someone does not die with them. It lives on in memories and day-to-day reminders of what life together meant. We work through grief by remembering, not by forgetting,” explains Good Samaritan Hospice CEO Sue Ranson.

At the beginning of the holiday season, Love Light Trees will be set up in Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke and New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg. They will be left on display at these locations throughout the months of November and December. Those who purchase “love light tags” will be able to choose the tree on which they would like their tag to be displayed. Thursday, December 15, is the deadline date to order Love Light ornaments to guarantee that they will be received in time for Christmas. Visit www.goodsamhospice.com for more information.

Make memories that will last a lifetime at Dickens of a Christmas in Downtown Roanoke! This event takes place on the first three Fridays in December. Festivities will begin on December 2 with the City of Roanoke’s Christmas Tree Lighting at 6:15 pm. On December 9, the Christmas Parade will begin at 7 pm. Finally, on December 16, enjoy the Coca Cola Snow Zone and the RVSPCA Pet Costume Contest beginning at 6:30 pm.

This free, family-friendly event includes roasted chestnuts, carriage rides and street performers through all three evenings. Visit www.downtownroanoke.org for more information.

Giving Tuesday: Helping Women In Need

Cyber Monday is great–but why not wait until Giving Tuesday to put your money in hands that make a difference in the world? #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement driven by individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and communities around the world. Now is the perfect time to talk to you family and friends about how you can use the holiday season to help those who are less fortunate or in greater need. If you still need something under the tree, check out a couple of our favorites below:

ppf00303_1_6Planned Parenthood, offering many women’s health services in addition to abortion, has a wide variety of shirts (and other products!) for sale. We love anything that supports women during their time of need, but we have to say the “Wicked Jezebel Feminist” shirt is our favorite!
From their website: “The official t-shirt of virtual reality experience Across the Line, an immersive virtual reality experience that places viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion. 
Across the Line is part of ongoing efforts by Planned Parenthood to reduce stigma and change the conversation around safe and legal abortion. Using real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes, and documentary footage, the film is a powerful hybrid documentary-fiction depiction of the toxic environment that many health care providers, health center staff, and patients must walk through to provide or access health care on a typical day. “Wicked Jezebel Feminist” is a phrase shouted by an anti-abortion protestor in the film experience.”
Check it out here.

thinxIn this office, we celebrate any product that makes the week of our periods easier. We celebrate it even more when it helps other women around the world. The easiest way to understand how THINX underwear works is to visit their website, but we want to emphasize that, once you make the switch, you may never go back. Also, for each pair of THINX underwear purchased, the company sends funds to their partner organization AFRIpads in Uganda. This organization trains women to sew and sell washable, reusable cloth pads at affordable prices, turning local women into entrepreneurs. The investment is worth it, trust us. And, today (11/28) and tomorrow (11/29) each purchase of full priced underwear you purchase will result in a $5 donation to Women Thrive Alliance. Save $10 on your purchase by using this link.

 

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Our office is an even split between people who plan their Thanksgiving menu weeks in advance and those who are now realizing that (oh my!) Thanksgiving is THIS THURSDAY.

If you’re like the latter half of us, don’t panic (like we MAY have this morning). We’ve found some great recipes that will make this Thanksgiving one to remember for years to come!

tgiving1
Photo from How Sweet It Is.

First, a Bacon Butternut Squash Risotto. How Sweet It Is, you had us at bacon! We may even skip mashed potatoes this year and serve this instead. (Just kidding!) But seriously, this dish is the perfect combination of all things delicious and all things autumn, and we can’t wait to try it!

 

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Photo from I Am A Food Blog.

Next, no table is complete without a Pumpkin Loaf. Give in to the pumpkin craze that always peaks during this time of year (don’t worry, this is a much better alternative to SOME pumpkin flavored dishes). Try this yummy recipe from I Am A Food Blog.

 

tgiving2
Photo from A Pinch of Yum.

A few of us have family staying in our homes from out of town this Thanksgiving weekend. Breakfast is often forgotten in the craziness of planning the evening meal, but our guests won’t be disappointed with that we have waiting in the kitchen on Thursday morning! Check out these Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars from a Pinch of Yum!

tgiving3
Photo from How Sweet It Is.

And finally, after all of this last minute planning, we could use a glass of this Cranberry Chai Sangria from How Sweet It Is. Don’t forget to start this one before you start cooking everything else. Mostly because it’s nice to have on hand, just in case.
Now, sit back, relax, and get through the short work week. We’ve got this!

Written by Nicole Brobston

Giving Back: Ronald McDonald House

The local Ronald McDonald House opened in May of 1984, just ten years after the national charity began. There are currently more than 360 Ronald McDonald houses around the world. Most of them are in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Although McDonald’s is a corporate sponsor, the houses are not solely supported by the fast food franchise. In fact, most of their funding comes from the community through private donations and contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

2007-10-10-00-00-31The Roanoke location is an 18 bedroom home for families whose children are patients at Carilion Clinic or being treated by a doctor in Roanoke. Over their lifetime, this location has served more than 25,000 families. In addition to the house itself, they also maintain a room on the 14th floor of the Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital. The Ronald McDonald Family Room serves as a respite area for adult family members and guests of hospitalized children.

“It is a quiet space,” says Jeanne Bollendorf, Director of Community Development. “We have snacks, coffee, and phones. We have computers and Wi-Fi there. It is a comfortable place for people to regroup while still at the hospital. That way they aren’t too far away from their child’s bedside.”

As for the house itself, guests are chosen through a direct referral system. Nurses, social workers, or medical staff at doctor’s offices send families in need to each independently-operated Ronald McDonald House. In our area, many of those families live in Southwest Virginia. Some, however, would have a much longer drive if they had to go home every night.

“Families that stay at the house have to live at least 25 miles outside of Roanoke,” explains Jeanne. “A lot of families come from two or three hours away. They would spend more time on the road than they did with their child if they didn’t stay here.”

Regardless of where the family is from, the time and services they receive from the Ronald McDonald House are priceless.

“One of the things we’ve always done is give out baby blankets to families with a new baby. So many people that I meet out in the community will say, ‘We stayed at the house, and our son is 18. He still has his quilt from the Ronald McDonald House.’ I really love to hear those stories,” says Jeanne.

If you want to help with the needs of the Ronald McDonald House, you can donate in-kind donations like pantry items for the home and the hospital respite room, paper products, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Of course, monetary donations are welcome and greatly appreciated.

You can also donate your time. Families staying at the Ronald McDonald House receive a cooked meal every night from a group of volunteers. Additionally, the Family Room at Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital is managed by volunteers and would be a great place to help out families that truly need it this holiday season.

For more information on Roanoke’s Ronald McDonald House and how you can help out, visit www.rmhc-swva.org.

Be Happy!

Looking for the perfect gift for the type-A personality in your life? We’re talking about the ones who have pro/con lists scattered throughout their notebooks, whose weekly planners are more organized than your entire life… you know, the Rory Gilmore identifiers. Well, luckily there’s journal made with exactly them in mind. 52 Lists for Happiness, by Moorea Seal, is a “year-long journey to your own personal joy, one list at a time.”
The book contains four sections: reflect, acknowledge, invest, and transform. It contains 13 listing prompts with extra space to create your own lists. This is enough to last the reader a whole year. The journal also includes challenges for the reader to seek their own happiness and to take action in their life. Some examples of these prompts are as follows:
“List what makes you happy right now.”
“List the simple ways you enjoy being kind to others.”
“List one achievement, big or small, every day this week.”
Personally, we can’t wait to get started making our lists. But, you don’t have to take our word for it! There is a science to this recommendation. Gratitude journaling has been found to make individuals feel happier and more optimistic. It even helps with health and fatigue. If one is suffering from depression or anxiety, a study published in Behavior Modification, states that journaling can decrease symptoms significantly. It can also help improve professional performance and self-awareness in those suffering from burn out, according to Harvard professor Teresa Amabile.
Whether you just love lists and want this book for yourself, or you know someone who is a journaling junky, or you know someone struggling with finding their happiness, this book is a golden opportunity for the perfect, well-thought, holiday gift and it’ll last them entirety of 2017!

 

Written by Nicole Brobston

Extraordinary Women: Sonya Clark

Featured Photo: Sonya Clark (American, Born 1967), The Hair Craft Project: Hairstylists with Sonya, 2013, Eleven inkjet photographs, Eleven color photographs: Each 28”x 28”,The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection, Frederick Brown Fund, Samuel Putnam Avery Fund, and Helen and Alice Colburn Fund Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

To say that the work of African American multi-media artist Sonya Clark is dynamic and powerful would be an understatement. Throughout her career, Clark’s work has often featured hair and combs in the place of more traditional fibers and art-making materials. Her exhibition, Follicular: The Hair Stories of Sonya Clark, is currently on display at the Taubman Museum of Art and will remain there until May 14, 2017. It addresses the roles of hair in African American society and features site specific installations. Last month, it included a performance entitled, “Translations.” This performance featured stylist Kamala Bhagat, who reinterpreted an African hairstyle on Clark’s hair as she read poetry by Rita Dove and Nikki Giovanni. Both the performance and the exhibition explore hair as an indicator of social status, a symbol of age and authority, a statement of contemporary style, an object of beauty, and adornment.

As we all know, hair is a medium with which we express our identity. It is a political statement as much as it is a personal one—the idea that we can be ourselves while being professional, active members of a society that tells us what is in fashion or appropriate in magazines or on television.

Sonya Clark (American, Born 1967), The Hair Craft Project: Hairstyles on Canvas, 2013, Silk threads, beads, shells, and yarn on eleven canvases, Nine at 29” x 29”, Two at 33” x 33”, The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection, Frederick Brown Fund, Samuel Putnam Avery Fund, and Helen and Alice Colburn Fund Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Sonya Clark (American, Born 1967), The Hair Craft Project: Hairstyles on Canvas, 2013, Silk threads, beads, shells, and yarn on eleven canvases, Nine at 29” x 29”, Two at 33” x 33”, The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection, Frederick Brown Fund, Samuel Putnam Avery Fund, and Helen and Alice Colburn Fund Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Unfortunately, those differences are often made into something negative. A trait as innocuous as hair can be made into the thing by which we set ourselves apart—and even above—other people. Understanding the importance of a hair style to everyone’s freedom of self-expression is a key component to removing ourselves from the dehumanization that plagues media and entertainment. It is the same dehumanization, Clark reminds us, that has made it easier to subjugate groups of people throughout history.

“Angela Davis was wearing a huge Afro during the black power movement,” says Clark. “It became a symbol of embracing identity. The idea of celebrating the kink, the curl, and the twist is something that is celebrating a rich history and legacy.”

In addition to hair, Clark integrates plastic pocket combs into her work. She describes them as objects that are invested with a lot of cultural identity.

“The unbreakable comb is designed that way to win the battle against knotted hair. It is pocket-sized to be carried with you all the time,” explains Clark. “A tool like a comb has to do with certain groups of people that grow hair in a certain way. They tell us something about our economic structure. Being groomed means something.”

Follicular: The Hair Stories of Sonya Clark will be on display until May 14, 2017. It is an exhibition rich with history that you do not want to miss! For more of Sonya’s work, visit www.sonyaclark.com.