Tag Archives: Bella Magazine

Giving Back: Matthew’s Child

Matthew’s Child opened their doors in 2013 with the goal to help create happy kids and foster healthy relationships in the foster and adoptive community. Husband and wife team, Jesse and Melanie Couch, saw a need for support for foster families in the area. Their first-hand experience as foster parents and their relationship with the community helped them create programs that tailor to specific areas like first night meals, survival kits to meet basic needs, hygiene kits, car seats, clothing, and more.

“There is this false stereotype that the government pays you to be a foster parent and takes care of you. While there is a small monthly stipend, it doesn’t cover the full physical needs of the child,” Melanie says. “It’s definitely something that, when you choose to be a foster parent, you are expected to be able to provide for that child. We’re not talking about just the physical things, we’re talking about meeting their emotional needs and the support needs of the families so they don’t get burned out. [They need to be] able to find the resources they need so they are able to take care of that child. It takes a lot, so these families need a lot of support. Foster care can be on the fringe of society, so sometimes you don’t think about that need being here in your own backyard.”

To help foster families meet their needs, Matthew’s Child partners with psychologists and different local specialists to set up training for foster families and parents. Available trainings include, but are not limited to, ethnic hair care, biological family engagement, and independent living for teens. For those interested in becoming a member of a foster child’s team, they offer a course on working as a team member that includes information on the role of the foster parent, biological family engagement, the role of a caseworker, the role of the community, and the court process.

“It takes a village to raise a child, whether it’s teachers, volunteers, Big Brothers Big Sisters, CASA volunteers, special advocates, down to the Grandin Theatre across the street hiring teenagers who need experience,” Melanie explains. “Not everyone can be a parent, but everyone can offer support.”

With the holidays right around the corner, it is important to remember to help those out who might be experiencing a difficult year. If you can’t foster a child, consider donating gently used clothing and toys, or travel-sized hygiene products for the first night in foster care. Matthew’s Child is also accepting volunteers in any capacity.

If you are interested in helping out with foster care, or if you’d like to learn more about how Matthew’s Child can help your family, visit www.matthewschild.com or call 540-523-1580.

Meet the Maker: North Mountain Candle Company

Callie Altman, owner of North Mountain Candle Company, has been making candles for twelve years. Her journey began one Christmas while trying to come up with a way to make gifts for the holiday budget-friendly. She decided to take her love of candles to the next level and make a few herself. They were a hit with her friends and family, and over the next year she transformed the experiment into a business that continues to reflect her love of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

North Mountain Candle Company takes its name from an actual mountain in a small former mining community called Longdale, where Callie grew up.

Photo Credit: Brittany Smejkal, Eccentric Photography

“Almost all of my childhood memories involve the outdoors in some way, shape or form,” Callie recalls. “From hiking along the Appalachian Trail to camping at Douthat State Park, or fishing on the Cowpasture River. The main driving force behind my business is to share my love of the Blue Ridge Mountains around the world. It’s a wonderful place to live, grow up, and raise a family. Our scents are inspired by this area.”

With scents like Mill Mountain Magnolia, Hotel Roanoke Spoonbread, and Smith Mountain Lake House, just lighting one of these unique creations is enough to take anyone back to their best memories of Southwest Virginia. Every candle is 100% handmade. Callie and her family try to get everything they use for the candles locally to support local sustainable businesses. They don’t mass produce anything, and there are no machines. Every inch of the process from making the candles to printing off labels is done by hand.

When she isn’t making candles, Callie can be found throughout the community teaching classes at the Omni Homestead or set up anywhere from small school fundraising events to large vintage or antique shows.

This summer, North Mountain Candle Company can be found on and off at the Grandin Village Farmers Market. Currently, they are a fill-in when other vendors are unavailable, but it is a placement that Callie hopes will become permanent in the future. Customers can also find her products in The Hodge Podge across from Lord Botetourt High School, in the Local Artisans section at Natural Bridge State Parks, and The Flower Center in Clifton Forge. Of course, if you cannot make it to any of these locations, you can always check out her selection and order online at www.northmountaincandles.com.

All photos in this post courtesy of Brittany Smejkal, Eccentric Photography. 

Meet Sarah Scott

sarahSarah Scott is compassionate, driven to help others succeed, savvy in business and remarkably adaptable. Originally hailing from Chicago, she contemplated a teaching career but discovered her passion in Graphic Design. Beginning her business at the precipice of the recession (2009), Sarah drove ahead relentlessly and never looked back, building a successful company on the tenets of honesty, value and unparalleled quality. She is past President of her city’s Rotary Club, an avid athlete and a generous volunteer in her community. Sarah possesses the kind of unbridled joy that makes you love life itself.  

Nominated by Jenny Carter

Thank you for your participation this month! We want to take a moment to recognize all of the fantastic women in our area who we did not have the opportunity to mention– keep being the amazing and inspirational force that you are!

Meet Ginger Poole Avis

GingerPooleAvisMill Mountain Theatre brought Ginger Poole Avis to Roanoke in 2006, and eight years later Avis, Producing Artistic Director for the Theatre, has been married here, started a family here, and definitely considers Roanoke home.  In addition to teaching acting at Hollins University, Avis is a member of many local organizations, including the Roanoke Valley Garden Club, and serves on the Boards of the Virginia Theatre Association and Junior League of Roanoke Valley.  Ginger considers the Junior League of Roanoke Valley to be a connector for women, and through the League has met lifelong friends that share her passions and love for this community.

Nominated by Jennifer Bryant

Join us tomorrow as we recognize our final extraordinary local woman for the month of October!

Meet Betty Whittaker

bettywhittakerBetty Whittaker, a 31 year employee of American Red Cross, currently serves as the Regional Director of Volunteer Services for a 50 county, 24,000 square mile region of Virginia.  She has spent her career helping prevent and alleviate human suffering in face of all kinds of emergencies including the Flood of 1985, the Virginia Tech Shootings in April 2007 and the Pulaski Tornadoes in April 2011. Betty is fabulous in spirit, action and beauty. 

Nominated by C. Lee Clark

Join us each weekday during the month of October as we recognize extraordinary women in our area! Nominate someone you know by emailing us: bella@beckmediagroup.com.

 

Meet Cinda Malouin

cindaCinda Malouin craves adventure. She carries the message of healthy living and sustainable agriculture to children and families in the city, making sure to incorporate an education component (the “Power of Produce”) and cultural activities (such as pet adoption days and a cookbook swap) each week. At home, she raises Dwarf Nigerian Goats, chickens (Silkies, Barred Rocks, Red Stars, and Americanas), guinea hens and cocks, including five recently-born baby keets. 

Nominated by Jenny Carter

Join us each weekday during the month of October as we recognize extraordinary women in our area! Nominate someone you know by emailing us: bella@beckmediagroup.com.

 

Meet Mariah Clark

mariahMariah Amine Clark, a graduate of the Apparel Department at Virginia Tech is a designer extraordinaire. She founded Mariah Amine Couture in 2007 and three years later opened a retail boutique that offers classes and instruction for budding knitters and seamstresses. 

Nominated by Jenny Carter

Join us each weekday during the month of October as we recognize extraordinary women in our area! Nominate someone you know by emailing us: bella@beckmediagroup.com.

Meet Latoya Garrison

latoyaLatoya Garrison is an amazing young woman.  She’s independent, mature and respected by her colleagues. Additionally, she is a generous philanthropist, freely giving of her time to help young people and the unemployed  find meaningful work.

Nominated by Jenny Carter

Join us each weekday during the month of October as we recognize extraordinary women in our area! Nominate someone you know by emailing us: bella@beckmediagroup.com.