FALL 2022 NEWSLETTER

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Celebrating 15 years of service!

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead.

Fifteen years ago, a small group of caring residents finalized their plans to launch SML Good Neighbors. In 2007, they provided sack lunches and weekend bags to summer school students in five elementary schools in Bedford and Franklin Counties.

 

Fast forward to the present, and the beneficial domino effect of SML Good Neighbors’ founders is evident. What began as an idea and conversation and morphed into an exploratory committee has blossomed into an organization that serves about 400 children each year through educational, enrichment and nutritional programs.

 

Our summer enrichment day camp operated May 31 – June 23, 2022 at Dudley Elementary School in Franklin County, and June 27 – July 21, 2022 at Moneta Elementary School in Bedford County. Throughout the eight weeks of programming, SML Good Neighbors served 301 students. Our partnership with Franklin County Public Schools continued this year, integrating summer school remediation for five elementary schools. After a 2-year hiatus due to COVID, our partnership with Bedford County Public Schools was restored this year. Summer school remediation was integrated for elementary students in the Staunton River district at our Bedford County camp.

 

Campers were supported by eleven carefully selected summer teaching staff interns from seven different colleges and universities, our summer program coordinator, special education aides, a nurse and a social worker. Over 80 (eighty) volunteers visited camp to serve as reading buddies, camp facilitators and teacher assistants. A dozen more volunteers assisted in our weekend bag program, packing and delivering bags with six meals for the weekend and a new book for each child, each week of the program. About 6,000 meals and over 1,000 books were provided to campers and academy scholars through the weekend bag program this summer. Volunteers from Lake Christian Ministries assisted with ordering and delivering food for the weekend bags, as well as with moving supplies to and from camp locations.

 

In addition to receiving books, campers and academy scholars were able to write and bind their own books this year, thanks to volunteer Linda Caskie and a grant from the Nora Roberts Foundation. The grant enabled SML Good Neighbors to purchase a book binder and create our own publishing center. About 1,200 books were developed by students through our publishing center this summer. Literacy has always been important to SML Good Neighbors and this new publishing center continues to support that, along with reading buddies and writers’ workshop at camp. Nearly 200 campers were present for both pre- and post-reading assessments at camp. Of those, 98.96%  maintained or improved their reading levels over the course of the program.

 

Campers were also able to enjoy field trips this summer for the first time since 2019. Our younger campers visited Booker T. Washington National Monument to learn about the park’s rich history and participate in a stream ecology program with volunteer Master Naturalists. This activity is a camper favorite! Our older campers visited the Giving Gardens at Booker T. Washington National Monument and participated in an instructional tour with local Master Gardeners.

 

A small academy program was hosted in Franklin County, simultaneous with camp, for middle school students. Academy scholars took several field trips, including to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Bridgewater Plaza and Homestead Creamery. These students also wrote, directed, produced and performed their own play for the younger campers on the last day of the academy.  It was a comedy / drama about Godzilla and “Chicken Nuggies” that prompted lots of laughs and also included a positive message promoting kindness and community.

 

The importance of social-emotional skills was emphasized at both camp and academy this summer. During intern training, a volunteer provided instruction on the zones of regulation, mindfulness and self-care. The interns were able to integrate these lessons into their planning and activities. In our post-program family survey, 75% of families reported that the social-emotional skills and growth at camp was one of the greatest benefits to their child this summer.

The 2022 Charity Home Tour is Almost Here!

SML Good Neighbors is honored to have been selected again as one of the eight participating charities. The Tour will take place October 7-8 (10 AM - 5 PM) and October 9 (1 PM - 5 PM). Tickets are valid for all three days and allow you to visit each of the eight private homes by car or boat.

 

The Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour is the community fund drive to support critical services for those in need in the Smith Mountain Lake region in southwest Virginia. The Tour accomplishes this through partnerships with volunteers, charities, businesses and individuals. The tour has provided millions to local charitable organizations.

 

SML Good Neighbors will be showing The Wilhelm Home. This lovely home in Montego Bay has amazing views of Smith Mountain from all its rooms. Large double entry doors open to a marble foyer that reveals the open floor plan of family room, dining room and kitchen. This 2-level home has 4 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, including a bonus room over the garage with a full bath, separate heating unit and elevator.

 

To purchase tickets, please visit smlcharityhometour.com. Thank you SML Charity Home Tour for being Good Neighbors! Special thank you to the generous sponsors and the wonderful volunteers we have this year!

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A Fantastic Season at the Coves at SML

The 2022 Summer Concert Series at The Coves Amphitheater was a success! “Located on the edge of Smith Mountain Lake VA, The Coves Amphitheater was designed and built to provide a one-of-a-kind music venue for world-class talent. Designed to be a gathering place for lovers of all musical genres, The Coves Amphitheater was integrated into Smith Mountain Lake's first sustainable community. From Grammy award winners to local talent, The Coves Amphitheater will showcase the best-in-class talent for years to come.”  We want to extend a warm thank you to all of the volunteers who worked the shows, and to The Coves at Smith Mountain Lake for supporting and valuing the work of SML Good Neighbors.

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Come Enjoy Happenings Under the Tent

SML Good Neighbors is proud to be one of the Community Partners at the brand new SML Pavilion. Various events will be hosted at SML Pavilion through the year, benefiting local nonprofit organizations. Upcoming events include SML Oktoberfest on October 23rd from 1pm to 6pm and the Holiday Craft Festival on November 19th from 10am to 4pm. SML Oktoberfest will feature the Mountain Top Polka Band, German-themed food and drinks, as well as several contests. The Holiday Craft Festival will feature unique offerings of local vendors and crafters. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. To learn more about the venue or upcoming events, visit smlpavilion.com.

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SML Gives 2023

SML Good Neighbors will host the 2nd Annual SML Gives on March 15, 2023.  SML Gives is an online event that provides nonprofits the opportunity to fundraise, gain exposure and build relationships. It is also an opportunity for the community to come together to raise as much money as possible to make a big impact for the participating nonprofits. During SML Gives 2022, the community raised over $86,000 for 13 local nonprofits in 24 hours. Our goal for SML Gives 2023 is $100,000! The application for nonprofits to participate will open on November 1st. For more information, visit smlgives.org or email director@smlgoodneighbors.org.

Thank you

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to all of our volunteers, supporters and partners. Your support enables SML Good Neighbors to continue fulfilling its mission. Our board of directors, program volunteers, volunteer and program coordinators, special fundraising event planners, partners and donors are the cornerstones of our organization. Thank you for the impact that you continue to make on our community every day.

2022 Organizations & Partners

100+ Women Who Care SML

Alice Swain, GM, Ryals Jordan, Inc.

AmazonSmile

Atlantic Bay Mortgage

Bank of the James

Bedford Community Health Foundation

Bedford Public Schools

Bedford Regional Water Authority

Bethlehem United Methodist Church

Booker T. National Monument

Boone Accounting INC

Capps Home Building Center

Carilion Clinic

Civitan International SML

Don Evans, State Farm

Food For Kids - Weekend Pack a Sack

Franklin County Public Schools

Franklin Order of Eagles SML #4344

Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation

Haywood's Jewelers Westlake

Joe Bowman Auto Plaza

Lake Christian Ministries

Kroger

Mango's Bar & Grill

Master Gardeners

Master Naturalists

MemberOne Credit Union

MKB Realtors

Moneta Lions Club

Mountain to Lake Realty

Mountain View Shore Book Club

Nora Roberts Foundation

Patmos United Methodist Church

Powell's Landscaping

Presbytery of the Peaks

Resurrection Catholic Church

Remax - Debra Gatto

Ronnie Mitchell & Sons Landscaping & Lawncare, Inc.

SEATOW

SheDoos

SML Boomer Band

SML Charity Home Tour

SML Democrats

SML Lions Club

Sounddawgs Productions

The Al Stroobants Foundation

The Clorox Company

The Coves at Smith Mountain Lake

The Paint Booth Guy, LLC

The Virginian at Westlake

Thurman Foundation for Children

Trinity Ecumenical Parish

Truist Bank

Wainwright & Co. Realtors - Edna Jamison

Virginia Children's Theatre

JoJo Stockton and Soulacoustix Win It All at 3rd Annual Battle of the Bands

At the end of the evening, after judges’ scores and audience votes were tallied, Soulacoustix took home the $500 prize for Overall Winner, and also won People’s Choice. The group beat out the close runners up, One Take and Seph Custer & The Flatbreaks, who weren’t far behind in judges’ scores. The event raised almost $2,000 for SML Good Neighbors. Congratulations to Soulacoustix and thank you to everyone who helped to make this event fun and successful!

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Coming Up: Student Enrichment in the Arts

We will be partnering with Virginia Children’s Theatre again this semester at Dudley and Sontag Elementary Schools. The program meets one day a week for eight weeks. Students will learn theater basics, creative drama and improvisation. Family and friends will be invited to the last class for a showcase. We have partnered with Virginia Children’s Theatre (formerly Roanoke Children’s Theatre) for over a decade now and have offered the Student Enrichment in the Arts program since 2014.

 

Student Enrichment in the Arts programs are fun and helpful for the students; it’s also wonderful for the volunteers and staff to see the transformation take place in these young actors over the course of the program. Seeing their hard work at the showcase is always a joy but we noticed that, many times, our young actors could not be heard over any sound equipment available. We presented this challenge to the Smith Mountain Lake 100+ Women Who Care and they responded. Thanks to their generosity, SML Good Neighbors was able to purchase new, professional sound equipment for the program. We are so excited to introduce the students to using this equipment.

 

Another exciting announcement is that we have a brand-new partner for the Student Enrichment in the Arts program, Jack Tale Storytellers. Using Nellie McCaslin’s and John Hodgson’s principles regarding new understandings of themselves, new ways to communicate through facial expression, voice, and body, and new ways to approach ideas through improvisation, students will practice communicating in different ways: with voices, facial expressions, and body language. They will learn various ways to cooperate in movement and expression. Part of each session will explore storytelling as a way to understand Appalachian culture. Students will improvise Appalachian stories and music. This program will be held at Windy Gap Elementary school beginning in January. We hope to bring Jack Tale Storytellers workshops into more schools next year.

 

We are very grateful for the support of our Student Enrichment in the Arts programming. We will post updates on our social media and in our newsletters, so be on the lookout to see how classes are going.

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Program Feedback from Families

SML GOOD NEIGHBORS
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“This program was wonderful for my child. She needed a positive experience with learning and friendships to counter some negative experiences she had the school year prior. I appreciate that she was able to participate, despite not needing the academic remediation. She truly enjoyed her time this summer and I am thankful!”

 

“My child had been struggling with multiplication and the summer teacher showed her a different way to work the problems. A light switched on and she is able to figure out multi digit multiplication problems consistently now. I am so appreciative!”

 

“Every day my daughter would come home excited to tell me about her day. She would play school with her brothers and try to teach them how to read (they’re 3 years old). It helped her keep a routine and structure over the summer and the transportation was such a huge help! We can’t wait to apply for next summer if given the opportunity, thank you!”

Good Neighbors Day

SML Good Neighbors celebrated their 15th anniversary during their Annual Good Neighbors Day Concert at Trinity Ecumenical Parish on May 20, 2022. The SML Boomer Band entertained the crowd of over 100 supporters with hit songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s. The event raised almost $10,000 for SML Good Neighbors’ children’s programs.

 

During the event, we recognized the first two recipients of the Nancy Horton Scholarship. The 2022 recipients are Cynthia Lin and Jeremiah Lee. To learn more about their accomplishments, please read the article, “SML Good Neighbors Awards Scholarships to Two Graduates,” posted August 14, 2022 on smithmountainlake.com.

 

Both scholarship recipients attended the event, accompanied by family members. Nancy Horton, who founded the scholarships, and her husband, John, also attended. Guests enjoyed watching our scholarship recipients dance with Nancy and John in the Trinity Ecumenical Fellowship Hall. About two weeks after the event, Nancy Horton lost her long and courageous battle with leukemia on June 5, 2022.  Judy Wolfe shared that “Nancy Horton was everyone’s best friend.  She made friends easily and was always ready to have fun. She refused to be stressed. She was devoted to her family and handled the rigors of being a Navy wife with poise and determination including the many times John was deployed overseas. Raising a child with special needs qualified Nancy for sainthood. Here at the lake, she loved riding with the She Doos and enjoyed participating in their rides and events. She made many friends while volunteering at the Discovery Shop, SML Good Neighbors and swimming at the Bedford YMCA!

 

Nancy loved life and loved her family and her friends.  She was an active participant in SML Good Neighbors and she helped with many of our special events.  She gave of her time, talents and resources to help with the Charity Home Tour, bingo, concerts and Good Neighbors Day Celebrations. She was particularly proud of the scholarship fund she established at SML Good Neighbors. She was disappointed when we didn’t win the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grant - she had encouraged everyone she knew to vote for Good Neighbors. Some of you may have received daily reminders! We were walking one day and she said she wanted to do something for Good Neighbors.  She decided she would match up to $25,000 for two scholarships for graduating seniors who had participated in SML Good Neighbors.  She made this pledge and asked ‘that the money be given to deserving students who would attend either a vocational school, community college or a four-year school.  I wish the SML Good Neighbors also consider repeat scholarships to a student who is making strong progress toward completing their studies and that the award be large enough to increase the probability of success in their studies.’”

 

The impact of Nancy’s generosity will continue to touch many lives and we will hold our memories of her in our hearts.

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The Cornerstone 

The Cornerstone Society of SML Good Neighbors recognizes individuals, families, organizations, foundations, churches and others that have contributed at least $1,000 to the Annual Fund of SML Good Neighbors since the founding of the organization in 2007. An annual reception is hosted each November to thank the members of the Cornerstone Society and to share the impact they have had in the last year. Invitations to our members will be mailed out soon. Members, please save the date for this year’s reception, which will be held on November 4, 2022 at Resurrection Catholic Church. Thank you for your dedication and passion for serving our community.

The Mission 

Developing good neighbors skills and values in children through programs that nourish, educate and support them while providing life-changing experiences for college students through leadership development internships.