Tag Archives: volunteer

Big Brothers Big Sisters Over the Edge

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia will host their Over the Edge event on May 19-20. Participants will raise $1,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters, rappel 11 stories over the side of the Patrick Henry Hotel, and raise money for local Big/Little matches. One hundred percent of the money raised will stay in our community. The participant who raises the most money will receive tickets to Disney World for themselves and their Little.

To understand how important this event is for those who will benefit from the fundraising, we spoke to participant and Big Sister Sara Guerry. This will be Sara’s first time participating in Over the Edge. She looks at it as a way to raise money while setting an example for her Little.

“I haven’t found out exactly how she might need me yet, because we haven’t been paired very long,” she explains. “I’m getting to a place where I’m learning that she can be a little shy and unsure about new experiences. What better way to show her that it’s okay to be scared, but also to be brave, than by launching myself off a building?”

On a lot of different levels, the Over the Edge event symbolically mirrors that first step into creating a Big Sister/Little Sister relationship.

“The match process for Big Brothers Big Sisters is an extraordinary process,” Sara says. “They take the time to make sure the fit is the right one for both the child and the adult. That helped alleviate a little bit of fear, but at the same time she is someone else’s daughter and her family loves her so much. There is this other person that comes into her world and wants to be there for her. I hope this will show her how much I care about her, and how successful I know she will be.”

Although Sara did some rappelling and rock climbing in high school, she still finds herself getting a bit nervous as the day approaches. The scariest part, she says, will be climbing over the wall of a perfectly good building and realizing that she is about to go over it. However, the reward in the end will be much greater than any of the fear she is facing now. Sara hopes to win the tickets to Disney World for her Little.

“I would love nothing more to give her an experience that she otherwise wouldn’t be able to have,” she adds.

Yet, even if she doesn’t win the fundraising portion of the event, the symbolic gesture of rappelling 11 stories for her Little, her community, and in the face of her fear, is an important example in their relationship. If you’d like to help Sara, or any of the other participants reach their fundraising goals, visit www.bigslittles.org/ote for more information. We wish all participants good luck in this adventure!

Extraordinary Women: Janet Scheid

Janet Scheid is one of the most inspirational women we know. Since her retirement five years ago, she has given much of her time and energy back to our community as a volunteer with several organizations and as a Vinton Town Council member. She is passionate about helping the town of Vinton grow and flourish as a place for both residents and visitors.

How did you become involved with the Vinton Town Council?
One of the council members, Wes Nance, had to leave council last July. He moved to Bedford, where he is the Deputy Commonwealth Attorney. His term will expire at the end of June, so council decided to appoint someone to fill his unexpired term. They sent out an advertisement, took applications, interviewed people, and selected me.

It’s been nine months since, and the term that I’m filling will expire at the end of this month. Last month, I was re-elected by the Town of Vinton to continue serving on the council.

What have you learned since you joined the town council, and what are you most passionate about as a member?
When I started, there were those who said, “You’re retired. You don’t need this.” However, I’ve always believed that if you want to see something change, you have to be willing to work and make that change. My mother always said, “If you’re going to whine then do something about it.” There isn’t a lot that needs to be changed, but there are some things and it is an opportunity for me to step up to the plate and make those changes happen that I think are important. Vinton is a wonderful small town with a great small town feel to it. In order to keep Vinton a place to live and raise a family, I think we need to invigorate the downtown area. That is starting to happen with some redevelopment projects in town that are going to bring people to live here. I think it will lead to the demand for more shops and restaurants.

IMG_1673You grew up in Washington, D.C. How did that influence who you are today?
Well, even back then, the first restaurants I can remember visiting were Chinese restaurants. This was in the early 1960s. There is a proliferation of them now, but back then there were very few. I was exposed to a lot of food from different cultures—French food, German food. I was also exposed to a lot of different ethnicities. My dad worked for the government and he was also a student getting his master’s degree. He had a whole network of foreign students that had come to DC to go to school, and he would have them all over to the house for the 4th of July. I think my exposure to so many different cultures just gave me a view of the world that maybe is bigger.

What organizations are you currently involved with and how did you get started volunteering with them?
I’ve served on the board for Susan G. Komen for the last five years—two of which were as president. I also served on the board of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy for 18 years. Currently, I am the secretary of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Public service has always been important to me. My dad was proud of the fact that he was a government employee. He instilled in me that giving back is important. It’s one of the reasons that I retired as early as I did. I wanted to spend more time doing volunteer work.

Years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, I am proud to say that I am a 20-year-survivor. It is an important part of my life, and there is no doubt that it changed my perspective when it happened. I had a great job, but I was ready to start paying it forward and doing all of these things I wanted to do with various organizations. The thing is, I know I get more out of it than I give. I’ve met wonderful people. It definitely keeps me busy.

What advice would you give to women who seek to be more involved in their community?
There is a lot to do. Now that I’ve been doing it for five years, it is amazing to me how much there is to do. I can’t imagine how some of these organizations will keep going without a dedicated core of volunteers to help do things. My advice is to jump in with both feet. Meet people, ask questions, and go to events. For me, Susan G. Komen came naturally and the land conservancy did too because I had an environmental background. You have to find what you are passionate about. Maybe it’s animals, church, or maybe it’s children. There are just so many opportunities out there for volunteering.

What’s next for you?
I am excited to continue serving on town council, and I have another year and a half or so on the Komen board. I’m going to be figuring out what’s next for me over the next couple of years. Some things are going to start to end, and I’ld like to branch off into some new areas. I haven’t figured out where the’s going to be. I know I’ll be busy. It’s not in my nature to sit. However, I am learning to say no. It’s an art I haven’t mastered before—but I’m getting there.

Revitalize Your Passion for Life

We’ve been fortunate enough to survive the “me” generation to learn that life is much more inclusive than it used to be. Thanks to social media, “me” exploded into “we,” and a socially conscious generation was born. What was once considered personal fulfillment has changed for the better.

Let’s have a little fun, shall we? Even if you were born circa 1990 or later, we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy this quick reprise of a few of you or your parents’ greatest hits. You might even laugh out loud to discover how seriously you took life back then.

A few decades ago, you may remember that life got really big. Big hair, big shoulders, big houses and big mini-vans. Music videos and Madonna’s material world allowed us to dream bigger than we ever had before. We thought we’d finally made it, and that there was no turning back as to what we could personally achieve.

Not only were our prospects for a better quality of life opening up wide, women began to have more choices than just motherhood, teaching, nursing or secretarial positions. Race relations were improving, the Berlin wall fell, Gorbachev was in office, and Space Shuttles were orbiting the Earth.

It was the Me generation. Individual expression was “bustier”-ing out all over in shocking new ways. We fretted over our children’s self-esteem, the number of orgasm’s we were having, and making sure we kept up with the latest fads and trends.

Reminiscing, you may be recalling your own personal triumphs. More importantly, how are you feeling about life right now?

Undoubtedly, your hopes and dreams are different than they once were. Change is occurring at such speeds, you might not be sure of what to wish for except for a global group hug and a well-earned paycheck in everyone’s hands.

What has become glaringly obvious is that our society is set up to push us toward an imbalanced lifestyle.
A new science is emerging linking happiness to our well-being. According to the World Happiness Report 2015 published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the United States ranks 15th in the world.

What is the common thread of personal well-being, or even ever-elusive personal fulfillment?
The difference between maintaining your zeal for life and heart-breaking disillusionment ultimately begins with you and where you are placing your focus.

Here are 7 proactive life responses for the most common reasons why you might feel your passion for life slipping away:

1. You feel you have failed at something.
Feeling cynical or defeated, or that your hard work is not paying off? When there is disappointment in life, seeing everything as an opportunity will keep you invigorated and challenged in a good way. The ability to adapt and learn are vital to living the good life. Consider changing course or starting something new. Age is not important. Follow your bliss.

2. You play the comparison game.
Making a living becomes complicated when you wish to live like someone else. Materialism and title are fake substitutes for real affluence—the ability to inspire people. Make a list of what you admire and begin to make changes in your life to reflect your values.

3. You’ve mortgaged your life.
Economy provides us with sustenance of life, but when it becomes the goal, you work like a machine, losing your passion for living. Investigate new markets that allow you greater life flexibility through stewardship rather than ownership.

4. You self-medicate to fill the void.
Innovation and automation have provided us with more free time than we’ve ever had. Instead of self-medicating your off-hours with TV, smart phones, information, and shopping, regain a sense of wonder by looking at every day as a fresh beginning filled with possibility. Rediscover your inner child.

5. You are daunted by all the strife in the world.
Living the good life is being peaceful even when those around you are stirring the pot. When others engage in negativity, don’t get sucked in. Consider ending support of violent media content. Become response-able for you and your corner of the world. Seek common ground with those you come into contact with to build upon, supporting change as needed.

6. You’ve allowed technology to supplant human contact and nature.
Do you ever walk your neighborhood and ask where all the people are? When was the last time you roamed a nature trail? Technology is nice, but it’s not nicer than a sense of community and all the wisdom and health benefits hidden in nature’s vastness. If you’ve forgotten this, stop what you’re doing right now. Come back in 30 minutes and report your findings.

7. Too much “me” time.
Self-love and self-care are certainly important, but keeping a healthy balance between ego and selflessness is the striking point of cultivating personal fulfillment. In a synergetic world, personal fulfillment and social responsibility are intimately connected. Try volunteering just two hours a month to discover what you would grumble about at minimum wage. It is a gift—the most exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling gift you could ever give—the gift of you!

Finding balance between economic, social, and environmental objectives (or mind, body, and spirit) is key to personal and community well-being and happiness.
Even if you aren’t ready to embrace a life of We, life is the joy in being alive. If you think there is something more important than this, you are bound to experience disillusionment. 

unnamed-1Your life becomes beautiful as soon as you put your heart into it. Your passion for life can never be taken away from you—unless you take away your focus.
Don’t worry, nobody’s perfect. We all have our rough patches. Focus is the key to mastery in life. Which do you wish to master? Gratitude for being alive or being alive and feeling like you’re dead?
Once you let go of what is illusory, you embrace life’s mystery and finally begin to live!

unnamed-22014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize nominated author, philosopher and humanitarian, Christine Horner, is dedicated to the advancement of human consciousness. She is the co-founder of the What Would Love Do Foundation and author of Awakening Leadership: Embracing Mindfulness, Your Life’s Purpose, and the Leader You Were Born to Be. Learn more at www.ChristineHorner.com.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Spring Luncheon

f883aecea06b97670f7fd979c17af2ae_f1115The Fourth Annual Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Spring Luncheon will be held in Charter Hall in the downtown Roanoke Market Building on Thursday, May 21 at 11:30 am.

The luncheon will include keynote speaker Jenny Black, the newly appointed president of the newly merged Planned Parenthood South Atlantic that serves women, men, and teens here on the southern East coast. Warner Dalhouse will be honored at this event. Warner is a philanthropist, founder and the former CEO of Home Town Bank and other local banks. Additionally, he was the keynote speaker at the 1991 Planned Parenthood Annual Meeting.

Actress Kathleen Turner will also be in attendance this year. Turner is the chair of the national Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Advocates. She is most notable from her roles in the films Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone, and Serial Mom. She has also appeared on stage in The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and most recently in Red Hot Patriot, a one-woman show about Texas liberal journalist, Molly Ivins.

Kathleen Turner has been a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood. About her work with the organization, she says, “As I travel the country, I’m still shocked at what I see. Attacks on women and women’s health are rampant. No woman should have to face these attacks to access the health care she desperately needs.”

Consider attending this luncheon and volunteering your time and money to this amazing organization that helps support the underserved women AND men in our area. For more information about the many services Planned Parenthood provides, visit their website.  If you are interested in obtaining tickets to their luncheon, email Rachel.Fletcher@ppsat.org.

Written by Krista Knauer

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.