When the Impact Goes Beyond the Child 

Written by a guardian of two children who have been long time participants in our programs.

Good Neighbors has been a Godsend over the many years we have been with them. When we first started, there were issues of acting out, disciplinary problems, and inability to communicate appropriately.


Anywhere else these issues would have been ignored, and were. But GN not only tried to understand the reasons behind the problems, they worked with both the girls and us as a team to help teach appropriate and lasting skills. As the eldest got older, issues of self isolation became pronounced.

They helped by recognizing, understanding and respecting her preferences, while at the same time giving her the confidence to start working on those things that were the hardest for her.

She is now a teen looking forward to driving and her first public job. The youngest child has gained much perspective on how to listen and help others by watching the interactions demonstrated through GN leadership.


They both love to volunteer helping others, and have a lot of empathy for those in need.Without Good Neighbors, I feel the eldest would be struggling with everyday issues so much more, having Asperger’s gives everything in life a very different perspective.


They, with Gods help, have worked miracles over the many years."


Roanoke Women's Foundation Awards $30,000 to Good Neighbors

SML Good Neighbors was one of six awardees recognized by the Roanoke Women’s Foundation (RWF) at its annual luncheon on November 7, 2019. The $30,000 award will be used to support our Student Enrichment in the Arts program, the 2019 Summer Enrichment program, and computers and related software.


The RWF is a philanthropic organization based on a model started in Seattle, Washington in 1995. It was established to provide women an avenue to become leaders in charitable giving by offering a vehicle for collaborative giving in response to our communities’ many needs. The RWF grant process is highly competitive. To receive this award is a great honor.


Lisa Lietz (left), Executive Director, and Cindy Decker, Grant Coordinator, accepted the award on behalf of Good Neighbors.


Foundations & Trusts:

AmazonSmile Foundation
Bedford Community Health Foundation Carilion Clinic
Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia
Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation
James A. Meador Foundation
Roanoke Women’s Foundation
Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour Several family trusts

Civic Organizations:

Fraternal Order of Eagles, Social Fund Moneta Lions Club
Pelican Point Yacht Club
Smith Mountain Arts Council

Smith Mountain Lake AAUW
Smith Mountain Lake Women’s Club SML Boat & Classic Boat Society SML Lions Club


American National Bank & Trust Capps Home Building Supply Haywood’s Westlake
Food Lion

Kroger Foods
Lietz Electric
Pro B Solutions, LLC

Religious Organizations:

Bethlehem United Methodist Church Epworth United Methodist Church Patmos United Methodist Church Presbytery of the Peaks Resurrection Catholic Church Roanoke Quakers

The Brethren, Smith Mountain Lake Trinity Ecumenical Parish

Several partners and over 100 loyal individual donors.


Volunteer Spotlight

Judy Wolfe began volunteering with Good Neighbors in 2008. She started as a reading buddy and has served in several officer positions over the years.


However, she has also become our volunteer coordinator and chair of special events. Judy ensures our list of reading buddies is full, raffle prizes are plentiful and is the best "thank you" note writer around. Judy's passion for reading with children and Good Neighbors is at the heart of everything she does and shines a bright light for all of us to follow.


Thank you for being a outstanding example of what it means to be a good neighbor.

Student Enrichment in the Arts "The Wizard of Oz"

SEA: Off to see the wizard! In its 6th year, Student Enrichment in the Arts (SEA) is sparkling like Dorothy’s slippers. The fall semester of SEA at Sontag, Dudley and Moneta Elementary Schools brought an abridged version of the Wizard of Oz to life under the direction of Brett Roden, Brynn Scozzari and Emma Sala with the Roanoke Children’s Theatre.


Partial funding for this program was provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Support from the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant assisted in facilitating the program at Moneta Elementary School this year as well. This eight-week program teaches students in grades 2 - 5, the basics of theatre culminating in a showcase. Elementary students in our community have no local access to participate in theater with the exception of SEA, which launched in 2014. the arts are vital in developing children.


Research shows that participation in theater can help children develop imagination and critical thinking as well as refine cognitive and creative skills, enhance reading expression and comprehension, improve pronunciation, projection, and enunciation, build self-confidence and more.


Good Neighbors is excited to continue this program in the second semester at Burnt Chimney, Rocky Mount and Windy Gap Elementary Schools. Stay tuned!

The Cornerstone of SML Good Neighbors


The Cornerstone of SML Good Neighbors

SML Good Neighbors hosted its Second Annual Cornerstone Society Reception on November 8th. The Cornerstone Society is for supporters who have contributed at least $1,000 to the annual fund since 2007. The reception is held annually to thank members for being the cornerstone of our programs and to update our wonderful donors on the impact they are making on our community.

Our board chair, Diane Burakow, opened the program by welcoming our guests. Executive Director, Lisa Lietz shared program updates and recognized the 2019 Youth Mentorship Scholarship Award winners. Two of the winners were present and shared a few words about what the experience has meant to them.

Matthew Uselton, a parent of two children who have attended the summer enrichment day camp program, spoke to the guests saying "I've seen both my children grow within the program over the years. I'm thankful for this opportunity... As a parent, I can't thank you enough."


2019 Summer Teaching Staff Intern, Guy Ramsey, tearfully shared about his experience this summer, "This program needs to be preserved, we don't know everything these kids are going through. The little bit of time we do have these kids, they walk through our doors and get to be kids. There is nothing more special than that... Every moment I got to spend with these kids, I will always treasure." Myah Williamson, a former camper and current scholar in the academy shared her experiences in the programs over the last six years. In speaking about her early years in camp, Myah shared that Mrs. Chris (Board member, reading buddy and teacher assistant) was her favorite reading buddy and was the one who taught her how to take a break when getting frustrated during reading. The last speaker of the evening, David Baldacci, best selling novelist and philanthropist, communicated the importance of literacy with the audience and the importance of strengthening organizations like Good Neighbors.

The program came to a close with a surprise celebration and recognition of Sarah and Russ Baskett. A plaque was presented to recognize their most valued and collected contributions to the founding and longevity of Good Neighbors.

Required Minimum Distribution

Written by Russell C. Baskett

For our loyal donors, here’s a way to 1) provide financial support to SML Good Neighbors and 2) also reduce your tax bill. It’s a great option for many of us over 70 1⁄2 .

If you are an IRA owner at least 70 1⁄2 , you can make a tax-free charitable contribution to a qualified charity. Any charity that is a 501(c)(3) organization is qualified. Since SML Good Neighbors is a qualified charity, we would love for you to consider this option.

Some of us are now required to take an annual Required Minimum Distribution from our IRA because we have reached 70 1⁄2 . When that required distribution is taken, we pay taxes on it as part of our taxable income. We knew up front that these funds were in a tax-deferred plan and that we would pay the taxes, maybe at a lower rate, when we began withdrawing the funds at retirement. This was part of our financial plan for income after retirement. Some of us are fortunate enough to not need all of that income. And we may also find it unnecessary to leave these funds in an estate for our children since they are self sufficient. If these conditions meet your situation, and you would like to provide financial support to SML Good Neighbors by this route, please work with your financial planner or accountant to learn about the details and prepare the paperwork. You can donate up to $100,000 per year through this plan. The funds are sent directly to the charities you support--tax-free, and, therefore, are never part of your taxable income. For those of us with assets not nearly this large, here’s an example of how your taxes could be effected. If you are in the 24% tax bracket and make an IRA charitable contribution of $5,000, your income tax bill could be reduced by $1,200. You never receive the income and therefore pay no tax on the $5,000.

Again, check this out with your accountant or financial planner. Your contributions to support our SML Good Neighbors children are an investment that will keep working much beyond our lifetimes. Please share this with friends and family and tell them why you support SML Good Neighbors; maybe they will become part of the Good Neighbors family when they hear the story about our programs and the children we serve. And call us if you want more information or suggestions.

Need suggestions for professionals who can assist you? Kevin A. Mele PC CPA & Faber CPA Firm, LLC are both familiar with our organization and can help provide guidance.

Join us in building up our future leaders!

Thanks to supporters like you, we are able to sustain our mission to support, educate, and nourish young people with enrichment programming while providing transformational leadership experiences for college students. As the year comes to a close we ask that you extend your impact by making a financial contribution this giving season.


A gift of $500 can send a student to our summer enrichment camp for four weeks. Within these four weeks, students maintain or improve their reading scores; participate in fun and educational programming that focuses on peace, nature, culture, and global diversity; and have access to daily breakfasts and lunches as well weekend bags to stock their household pantry.


By pledging $85 a month or more you will become a member of our Grand Club. These members become guests at our Cornerstone Reception, further strengthening our Good Neighbors community and recognizing the value and extent of contributions made. We love inviting supporters, Good Neighbors interns and participants to share stories and experiences with one another as well as you, our dedicated supporters.


The Good Neighbors mission began with a few caring individuals who saw a need in our community. From a modest summer program, we have grown to offer services, experiences, volunteer opportunities, and internships, to people of all ages and backgrounds. We each play a unique role in the Good Neighbors mission, and couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you for your support.



A warm thank you to those who shopped the Annual SML Good Neighbors Barnes & Noble Book Fair this year. Through in-store and online sales totaled $3690, a percentage of those sales will help provide new reading materials for our summer students.

Special thank you to local authors Lynda Farrington Wilson,  JT & Terri Clark, Heath Lee and RS Belcher for joining us opening weekend of our book fair. 

Thank you Miss Brynn from Roanoke Children’s Theatre for joining us as well, we value our continuing partnership with RCT.

Thank you to the Staff of Barnes & Noble at Tanglewood Mall and our amazing volunteers!

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SML Good Neighbors, Inc. P.O. Box 2 Moneta, VA 24121 / 10664 Moneta Road, Moneta, VA 24121 / 540-585-4912

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