As active members of the League, we have the honor to continue a 75 year old 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:
Smart Beginnings of Martinsvillle & Henry County and "The Starting Place"
The Charity League agrees to partner with Smart Beginnings to provide volunteers to help with a variety of activites and classes for young children for the Super Kid Saturday program, the My Child and Me Classes and Family Nights. This year we will also provide 2 trained volunteers for the Ages and Stages Assessments who will meet and provide child development assessments. The Charity League will also partner with the Starting Place to organize a Maternity Clothing Drive in the Fall of 2009 which includes assiting with the collection, sorting and stocking the site. We are very excited about this new volunteer opportunity.
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", and this year's production will be "The Jungle Book." Aside from the performances, skills are honed, talents emerged, confidence arose and friendship bloomed 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 also partners with Piedmont Arts to sponsor the annual Minds in Motion, a residency program with the Richmond Ballet. This past year was a 7 week residency that involved every 4th grade student at Albert Harris Intermediate School, and after weekly practices the students had a final performance for the community.
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.
Salvation Army Christmas Stockings
For over ten years, the League has committed to coordinate with the Salvation Army to fill Christmas stockings for needy children. Recently the event has turned into an annual Stocking Stuffer meeting, and this year we provided over 500 stockings for local children! Items such as socks, hats, gloves, toothbrushes and fun things such as toys, crayons and playdoh are donated and purchased for this event.
Not Me, Not Now
Not Me, Not Now, a pregnancy awareness program, has been introduced into the League's community placements. Presented to each student at Martinsville Middle School, this curriculum covers the reasons for postponing sex, setting goals and making healthy choices and effective communication between parents and their children. Boys and girls have separate presentations and classes are presented to parents during evenings or on Saturdays. Continued advertising year round complements the positive impact this program makes on students during the sessions.
Success by Six
Partnering with the United Way of Martinsville and Henry County, the League donated over 225 children's books as part of their Day of Caring. These books were given to the Children's Medical Center in Martinsville, and were distributed to children under the age of six years during their annual well visit. More recently, members read to the children on Saturday mornings during the months of March, April and May.
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. The chair for the 2006 Bargain Fair is Pam Van Nutt and she would like those in the community who might have contributions to contact her at 666-0037.
Boys and Girls Club
Another new partnership for the League is the Boys and Girls Club. Members have the opportunity to work with students ages five to fifteen who are enrolled in this nationally acclaimed after school program. The Boys and Girls Club offers their members a safe environment where they can have fun and be involved in interesting and meaningful programs.
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.