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The 13 members of Girl Scout Troop 4117, all of whom are finishing up sixth grade at Toano Middle School, decided they wanted the focus of their spring project to be helping children in need.
That mission led them to select Avalon: A Center for Women and Children as the charity they wanted to support. They raised almost $800 for the shelter during a pasta dinner they staged May 29 to benefit the nonprofit.
Olive Garden and Papa John’s Pizza lent a helping hand to the Girl Scouts’ efforts by donating food to match the amount that the troop purchased.
Avalon provides shelter to survivors of domestic abuse. It also offers legal services, counseling and a 24-hour crisis line.
The money will be used to benefit children at Avalon and in housing situations set up by the shelter. Avalon has two six-bedroom units that can be used as transitional housing for those who need more than a short-term stay at the shelter.
The event was a boon to Avalon, which often struggles as an organization with the perception that volunteers will be asked to deal directly with victims who are in a “time of crisis,” Volunteer Coordinator Charvalla West said.
This prospect is overwhelming to many people, which discourages them from giving their time, she said.
“Events like the Girl Scouts put on are a great example of how people can help without ever having to go to a shelter,” West said.
She said the pasta dinner was “a very well-put together event” and that the scouts showed “great initiative.”
Bridget Casey, Avalon’s Director of Development, echoed that sentiment and said that everyone at Avalon was impressed.
“We absolutely love when we see youth in our community who are excited about giving back. Events like this help us stay open,” Casey enthused.
One of the appeals of working with Avalon was that the Girl Scouts were able to personally pick out what they want to buy for the children in need.
The Avalon campus will be receiving outdoor water toys that can be enjoyed by the children there throughout the summer. Additionally, the Girl Scouts have “adopted” two families who they will purchase toys and clothes for based on a wish-list that was provided to them.
“We are a group that was started by, is supported by, and that serves people in our community,” West said. “We are so appreciative of what this group of young ladies, and everyone else who works with us, allows us to do.”
Jazz and Wine Night Set for This Weekend at Williamsburg Botanical Garden
Williamsburg Botanical Garden in Freedom Park is inviting locals to come out and enjoy a night of jazz and wine.
After the successful concert in Freedom Park from Flute Frenzy last month, the Botanical Garden has invited local band Take 757, a young jazz sextet, to play this Friday. A rain date is set for Sunday.
This series of concerts has been conceptualized as a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the creation of the gardens.
Peggy Krapf, who has been involved with promoting the wine and jazz night, said the goal is for events like this to “be more visible in the community and bring new people into the garden to see and learn about what we do, and perhaps become volunteers and supporting members.”
Since the Williamsburg Botanical Garden is operated by volunteers and paid for through fundraisers and community support, increasing its profile in the community is a necessary and vital goal.
Located inside Freedom Park at the intersection of Longhill and Centerville Roads, the garden is a space where visitors can view and learn about a variety of beautiful and useful plants.
Many educational and recreation programs take place there, including gardening demonstrations, classes for children, and theraputic workshops for people with physical disabilities.
The concert will begin at 6 p.m., and guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs and bug spray. Wine and light snacks will be available. This event is free, but donations are encouraged.