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.
A Brighter Christmas/CHILL Youth Rally
Charity League partners with organizations within our community to apply for grants, participate in fundraising activities, identify children in need, shop, wrap, and deliver Christmas gifts to older children and teens in our area. Because many programs typically provide toys to children 10 and under, our goal is to provide "a brighter Christmas" for older children, who may not, otherwise, receive gifts. While work for A Brighter Christmas takes place from June to December, the majority of work takes place in fall and early winter. Therefore, this initiative is paired with the CHILL Youth Rally, which takes place in the spring. Members assist CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives) MHC with the evening rally.
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.
Movie at the Rives
Charity League hosts an annual movie day, Movie at the Rives, as a low-cost, fun community event for the whole family. For only $1/person, attendees can enjoy a family-friendly movie as well as a complementary bag of popcorn at the Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville! Past featured movies have included Monster House, Happy Feet, and Inside Out.
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.
Touch A Truck
Touch A Truck is a fundraiser, which showcases dozens of different modes of transportation for people to see, hear and touch. There is a monster truck, fire truck, ambulance, helicopter, race car, police car, limousine, state police motorcycle, and a crime scene truck just to name a few. During this event, children of all ages have the opportunity to get up close to vehicles of all sorts. The event is held at the Martinsville Speedway infield.
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.