Tag Archives: charity

Opera Roanoke Makes Case for the Arts

In a time when the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) might face elimination due to proposed budget cuts, Opera Roanoke is pushing for more arts & culture in the region.
The 41-year-old non-profit organization announced the appointment of Nancy Harder as the Director of Outreach and Associate Conductor.
“I am thrilled to join Opera Roanoke in a leadership role after my involvement as a pianist and vocal coach,” says Ms. Harder. “Opera Roanoke is an innovative, exciting opera company with a national reputation that is an integral part of the arts & culture scene in Roanoke and the New River Valley. I look forward to playing a significant role in its future.”
Opera Roanoke was recently named as one of only a handful of recipients of OPERA America’s highly competitive Building Opera Audiences grant.
“The most recent grant awardees demonstrate the many ways companies are developing innovative strategies to not only attract audiences, but to increase the civic impact of new works — by engaging generative artists with local communities, developing partnerships with organizations outside the arts, and facilitating dialogue to connect storytelling with contemporary issues”, said Marc Scorca, OPERA America President/CEO.
Following the OPERA America announcement, Opera Roanoke was awarded a $50,000 challenge grant from the Ceres Foundation. The grant must be matched by new contributions before June 30. The grant will assist Opera Roanoke in leveraging funds towards its productions, programs and youth music education opportunities in our region.
As a way to connect with new audiences, Opera Roanoke will be holding its first “Opera Tap Takeover” at Soaring Ridge Brewery on April 19 at 6pm. The fundraising event includes great southern food, live music and craft beer.
And on April 28 & 30, Opera Roanoke will present Carlisle Floyd’s American opera Susannah at the Jefferson Center under the baton of Metropolitan Opera conductor, Steven White. Artistic Director Scott Williamson will direct the company premiere of Floyd’s award-winning “folk” opera, set in the Appalachian mountains, which will feature the mainstage debut of Met Opera soprano, Danielle Talamantes.
“We couldn’t be more excited and grateful for all of the great things happening right now,” said Williamson. “The recognition and support from OPERA America, one of the leading arts organizations in the country, and the matching grant from one of our most generous foundations just heightens the anticipation of our premiere production of Floyd’s Susannah. We hope our community here will not only share the excitement of our good news, but will join us for this moving and lyrical drama, full of music which sounds like it came from our beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.”

For more information on Opera Roanoke, and how you can help give back to keep the arts alive in our region visit www.operaroanoke.org.

Fashion with a Purpose

Fall 2016 style is about discovering your identity, and projecting that outward through clothing, shoes, and other accessories. The choices can be overwhelming, and it is important you invest wisely. Fortunately, Urban Gypsy on Grandin Road makes it easy with a beautiful selection and a savvy staff who can help you find the look that best reflects your personality. Here are a few things we learned from owner, Ashley Shaffner, during our trip to stock up our wardrobes for cooler weather:

Ladies, the flare leg is coming back!!! (If you wait long enough, the best things always do.) Be ready to rock that flare cut with heels, boots, and wedges. Bold patterns and screen prints are also filling the shelves. There really is something for everyone out there. Find what works best for you, and OWN it!

Style shouldn’t be a drag. We all know we are our own worst critics. It’s easier to give yourself a break (and maybe even LOVE your look) when you are excited about it. Fill your wardrobe with practical items that make you confident, not necessarily things off the sale rack. You’ll get much more out of your purchase, and the confidence alone is worth paying a little extra.

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Devon Steiner wearing clothing and accessories from Urban Gypsy

Make one bold statement. Too many patterns and bold colors can be a little intimidating. Having several neutral staples in your wardrobe will allow you to alternate and play with bold pieces. Pairing black leggings with a dark blue poncho, light blue scarf, and black boots can help you stand out in a sea of oranges, reds, and greens.

Subtly can also make all the difference with accessories. For example, jewelry from The Artful Sojourn makes a statement by reflecting your personality with minimal effort. With beautiful stones, keys, and silhouettes of the beautiful state of Virginia, you can’t go wrong!

Above all, be comfortable in what you wear. Find those pieces that work for your day to day activities, but also allow you to be the best version of you. The Nomad Hempwear collection features several pieces that transition very well from business casual at the office to active weekend wear.

Finally, shop where your money is making a difference. During the month of November, Urban Gypsy will be donating proceeds of their sales to our local Ronald McDonald House. “Our donations will be in honor of my son, Lucas, and in memory of his brother, Elijah,” says Ashley. “Their Family Room in the NICU of Carilion Children’s Hospital fed me for four months. As a parent you need that room for your sanity.”

Join us as we shop at Urban Gypsy during the month of November! Go to www.urbangypsyva.com for more information and to check out their gorgeous photo gallery.

Grand Home Furnishings Gives Back

As consumers, nothing is more important than shopping with organizations that give back to our community. With large purchases like furniture, that sentiment is even more important. That’s why we were thrilled to hear that Grand Home Furnishings and Tempur-Pedic International will donate 130 mattresses to Take My Hand Ministries at Highland Heights Baptist Church in Rustburg on July 14.

901239_10151365570487624_317201327_oThe wheels were set in motion for this event when Tempur-Pedic International offered Grand Home Furnishings a substantial quantity of mattresses for donation to an area organization. Grand chose Take My Hand Ministries, a mission of Hyland Heights Baptist Church, because of the valuable work the church has done within the greater Lynchburg area. Their program provides home furnishings and numerous referral and counseling services to families in need.

Additionally, they help with utility bills, give out information and referrals to shelters and housing, mattresses, and household goods. The ministry provides referrals to agencies that help those with disabilities, home delivered hot meals, adult day care, and home heath care as well as referrals to free dental and eye glass clinics.

For more information on Take My Hand Ministries, please visit www.hhbc.net. To find the closest Grand Home Furnishings location to you (or to find out how to purchase your own Tempur-Pedic mattress!), go to www.grandhomefurnishings.com.

Giving Back: Love Your Melon

Love Your Melon was founded in October 2012, with the simple idea of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America. Two college sophomores, Zach and Brian, set out to fulfill their mission of improving the lives of these children, traveling from coast to coast with hats in hand.
Not only does Love Your Melon provide hats for patients, they also sell them (along with other items) to the public. Through funding from product sales, they can continue to give hats to children newly diagnosed each year in addition to the 45,000 to which they have already committed.
Also, fifty percent of the net proceeds from their sales go to the Pinky Swear Foundation (providing immediate support for children battling cancer) and CureSearch for Children’s Cancer (to fund research initiatives to beat childhood cancer completely).
In order to reach their goals, Love Your Melon has expanded significantly in the last few years. They now include a network of college students across the nation called Love Your Melon Ambassadors. To date, more than 2,500 college students at over 225 different schools have signed on to sell and donate hats. Locally, Kinzie Trompak began a chapter at Virginia Tech in the spring of 2015.
IMG_8888For Kinzie, the desire to help children battle this disease went beyond sending a check to an organization. It was about getting involved personally and creating a bond when people needed it the most.
“It is really rewarding to be able to go and do donation events at hospitals,” she explains. “It gives you the opportunity to put a face to the cause.”
Kinzie’s initiative to establish a chapter at Virginia Tech was the first big step to help children in our area battling cancer. However, it is important that we get behind her and show that we, as a community, are part of their team.
“Readers can help by purchasing anything on the Love Your Melon website and crediting the Virginia Tech campus,” she says. “We are currently the only campus in Central and Southwest Virginia that participates in the Love Your Melon Ambassadors program.”
Visit www.loveyourmelon.com to check out their selection of beanies, caps, shirts, and accessories. Their beanies are perfect for the remainder of winter, and their shirts will make a great addition to your summer wardrobe so you can love your melon throughout the year!

Give Where You Live

Foundation for Roanoke Valley is a community foundation that has been serving this area for over 27 years through creating and administering grants. They award over $3 million in grants every year. After the local nonprofit community reached out to Foundation for Roanoke Valley asking for help raising funds, cultivating donors, developing marketing strategies, and technology training, they decided that something needed to be done. Foundation for Roanoke Valley took notice of other community foundations across the nation who have been implementing “giving days.” These giving days are online events that allow the community to raise funds in order to give back to the nonprofits in their area. RVG LogoThrough these events, an incredible amount of money has been raised and the participating nonprofits have been able to have an even greater impact on their areas. After evaluating the needs of our community, Foundation for Roanoke Valley asked, “Why not here?” and has decided to host their own giving day, “Roanoke Valley Gives.” Roanoke Valley Gives will be held on March 16 from 12:00am to 11:59 pm, giving participants a full 24-hour period to participate. Foundation for Roanoke Valley has set the bar high with a goal of raising $150,000! They are using this opportunity to not only raise funds for nonprofits, but also to connect and educate the community about the services they provide. This event is designed to draw out the next generation of philanthropists in The Valley! Already there are over 100 nonprofits participating including Habitat for Humanity, Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue Inc., and Pathfinders for Greenways.
Want to get involved? Head over to https://rvgives.givebig.org and see if your favorite local nonprofit is participating! Here you can also keep track of how much money has been raised and see who is in the lead! Donations of any amount are welcome, but must be made through the Foundation for the Valley website. Foundation for the Valley is aspiring to “bring good people and good causes together” so be sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on this opportunity to support your nonprofit community!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Giving Back: REBBL Beverages

REBBL Elixirs & Tonics are making waves in the nutrition community, having recently earned the title of 2015’s Best Functional Beverage. Even the name itself, REBBL, stands for plant­based nutrition; Roots, Extracts, Berries, Bark, and Leaves. All of their beverages are Certified Organic Products (meaning no GMOs or pesticides). However, that’s not the only reason why the name is so fitting. The company stands for many economic and environmental issues globally, and isn’t afraid to ‘rebel’ by putting their money ­ and efforts ­ where their mouth is, so to speak.
s6Many global resources derive from people who live on the impoverished side of the economy, and REBBL provides such people with medical care, housing, and clean water products. Furthermore, the organization sources their organic, ‘super­herbs’ and ingredients from these communities. Also, REBBL proudly believes in efficiency, as to not waste any of “nature’s invaluable, treasured ingredients.”
The REBBL website lists the variety of flavors for their ‘elixirs and tonics’, like the Maca Mocha (made with the maca root) or Hibiscus Mint (which is made with Cat’s Claw, a plant that boosts immunity). Rather than simply listing complicated­ ingredients like many other companies, REBBL also provides explanations for the unique ‘super­herb’ in each drink ­ along with any other ingredients ­ and the community from which it is derived.

Written by Madison Correiro

SuperFood Drive

Woman checking food labellingIn the next few weeks we will be surrounded by food drives. Although all of them are important, a non-profit organization called SuperFood Drive is changing the way we think of donating to the hungry.

To simultaneously combat the epidemics of hunger, malnutrition, obesity, and chronic disease, SuperFood Drive works with and supports food banks and food pantries around the world to transform them into healthy hunger relief organizations.

“Our goal is to fill all food banks and food pantries with nutrient dense foods so those in need get the food that is critical to living a healthy and active life,” says Ruthi Solari, founder and executive director of SuperFood Drive.

Over the years, many products have been donated to the one in six Americans struggling to keep food on the table. Unfortunately, filling empty stomachs with unhealthy, non-perishable food is not enough. Often it does not satiate the recipient’s hunger. Even if it does, it can lead to health problems down the road that will present yet another financial obstacle.  

bellaweb1SuperFoods are foods with the most nutrient-density per calorie. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals, and they are what we all should be filling our bodies with to get healthy. Some of us have the choice to purchase them for ourselves. For those that do not, it is important that they are given the same opportunity to be healthy as everyone else. By transforming every food drive into an opportunity to collect healthy, nourishing food for those in need, obesity and its related diseases will fall by the wayside in this highly susceptible population. SuperFoods have been proven to help prevent, and in some cases, reverse the well-known effects of aging, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers.

SuperFoods also has a program focused on educating the next generation called SuperKids for SuperFoods. It provides two options: a quick and fun educational engagement called SuperKids OlympiKs or, for a more in-depth approach, a six-week service-learning program that combines nutrition education with community service to engage youth, ages 11-18, as community leaders and food equity advocates. In addition, SuperFood Drive provides resources for the community on how to host their own SuperFood Drives.

To find out more about SuperFood Drive or to find out how to host your own SuperFood Drive please visit www.superfooddrive.org.