As active members of the League, we have the honor to continue a legacy begun in 1931 by eighteen resourceful young women to "promote growth and development in children throughout Martinsville and Henry County." We continue that tradition today by participating in the following community programs:
Each year, Charity League brings the Missoula Theatre, a Montana touring company, complete with costumes, scenery, props and makeup to Martinsville. The company works with 50 to 60 local children to perform a play for the community and children's parents. In February or March the local schools are notified about the auditions and performance from the Missoula Children's Theatre. A week of rehearsals culminates with two Saturday performances. Past productions have included "Red Riding Hood", "Tales of Hans Christian Anderson", "Pipi Longstocking", "The Jungle Book," "Beauty Lou and the Country Beast," and more. Aside from the performances, skills are honed, talents emerge, confidence increases and friendships bloom for the children involved in this annual event.
Young Artists Gallery at Piedmont Arts Association
Each school in Martinsville and Henry County has the opportunity to exhibit art from their students in this community placement. Budding artists have the thrill of having their work displayed in this state of the art facility. The League partners with Piedmont Arts to hang artwork from the schools each month in the Young Artist's Gallery.
Each year several qualified high school seniors are selected to receive a $1000 scholarship. Recently the League introduced the renewable scholarship program, allowing prior scholarship recipients the opportunity to apply for another scholarship. Recipients of these scholarships are chosen based on college plans, financial need, grade point averages, recommendations from guidance counselors and community involvement.
The eye screening program is designed to use trained volunteers to do eye examinations of four and five year old children who attend private daycare and preschools in the city and county. The National Institute to Prevent Blindness provides the necessary supplies and preparations for the eye examinations.
Starting in 2013, Charity League began partnering with the local Christmas Cheer organization for our holiday project. Christmas Cheer provides food, blankets, and in some cases, toys and diapers, to needy families in our area. Because Christmas Cheer typically provides toys to children 10 and under, our goal is to provide “toys” or other items to older children; specifically children that have younger siblings receiving gifts through the same program. In fall and early winter, members of this placement will collect toys and donations from the league, sustainers and other sources and then shop for items using monetary donations. Charity League assists Christmas Cheer with application, interview and selection process. During the second week of December, the league will assist Christmas Cheer in sorting, boxing and pick up of food and toys.
Cotillion develops students in the art of social dancing and social skills, keeping a focus on kindness, courtesy, and respect. League members assist with various aspects of Cotillion, including year-long planning and preparation, registering students, chaperoning, refreshment preparation, and class instruction.
The largest fundraiser for the Charity League is Bargain Fair. Held annually in the fall, the Bargain Fair is a place to purchase toys and clothing for children of all ages and a vast variety of items from furniture to sporting goods. It encompasses quite a bit of work for the active members, but it is a time for everyone to work together. It usually takes at least a year to prepare for these few hours when people begin lining up about two hours before the doors open to a wonderland of finds.
Charity League Cookbook
Current members are continuing the long-standing tradition of creating the sought after Charity League cookbooks with the development of a new edition. Members gather and organize recipes, design the cookbook, and participate in taste testing before it is published.
Day of the Child
Activities for this community-wide event include various arts and educational activities offered in partnership with the Blue Ridge Regional Library and The Artisan Center, a program of Patrick Henry Community College. League members are involved in all aspects of the event to include, year-long preparation and planning, registering youth, gathering supplies, organizing the activities, and assisting with instruction.
GloGerm focuses on staying healthy through hand washing, eating healthy, sleeping, and more. Members provide classes to K-4 children in local schools to support this initiative.
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Members assist with educational activities for festivals and events at the museum to include, Dino Day, Open Houses, Earth Day, Summer Camps, and many more.
Not only do members of the League give of their time, they give financial support too. Generous donations from sustainers, annual dues from the active members, and fundraisers combine to fund the work of the League. The yearly budget also includes donations to other organizations and events that impact the lives of children in Martinsville and Henry County. Some of these include the Family Clinic, Martinsville Christmas Parade, Martinsville Speedway Children's Foundation, and the Virginia Museum of Natural History.