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Getting in on the action
Volunteers pitch in to aid agencies on Day of Action
Kari Youngblood (right), of the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness, teaches a dance to children at Piedmont Child Care. The children are (front, from left) Amiya Martin, Trinity Tucker, Trinity Dodson, Zoe Wake, (second row, from left) Jaden Porter, DaQaevion Walker, (third row, from left) Amyah Richard and Janiyah Dillard. Also shown is Piedmont Child Care teacher Kim Dandridge (back, at right).
About a dozen 3-year-olds learned the “Walk the Dinosaur” dance Friday at Piedmont Child Care on Starling Avenue.
United Way Day of Action volunteer Kari Youngblood of the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness taught the ZumbAtomic class, which is Zumba dance geared to children.
Day of Action is when area volunteers work at local nonprofit agencies throughout the community. It was the local United Way’s 18th annual Day of Action.
This year, about 65 volunteers took part in about a dozen projects, according to Tiffani Underwood, executive director of the United Way of Henry County and Martinsville.
Youngblood said she was participating in Day of Action because “I like to work with children, and I thought it was a good thing to do.”
After the dance class at Piedmont Child Care, students Trinity Tucker and Janiyah Dillard said they enjoyed the dancing and the music.
Peggy Lester, director of Piedmont Child Care, said teachers there were watching the dance techniques so they can continue them with the children.
Youngblood said Ruth Anne Collins of the coalition was scheduled to read to children at Piedmont Child Care as part of Day of Action.
Another project there involved six volunteers from the Virginia Museum of Natural History installing cork boards on walls in three classrooms. Students’ work and educational displays can be put up on the cork boards, Lester said. Smart Beginnings provided the cork boards, according to Sheryl Agee, director of early childhood initiatives at the United Way who also heads up the Smart Beginnings Initiative.
Denny Casey, the museum’s director of education and public programs, said Day of Action is “a great cause for our community.”
Also on Starling Avenue, in the 800 block, several volunteers did yard work at Piedmont Community Services’ (PCS) intensive case management office. Stanley Logan, who works in mental health support services for Piedmont, said about 60 cases are handled out of that office.
The volunteers, mostly from Bassett Furniture and River Community Bank, pruned boxwoods, azaleas and ivy on the grounds of the former home.
Eddie White, vice president of human resources at Bassett Furniture, said he likes giving back to the community, and Bassett Furniture has long been active in United Way.
Clyde Williams, loan officer at River Community Bank, and David Koger of Martinsville, whose sister works with PCS, said they like helping the community and yard work.
On Spruce Street, about a dozen volunteers from city, county and state governments helped with a Habitat for Humanity house rehabilitation project. Nancy Moore, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Martinsville and Henry County, said it’s for a family with two autistic children.
The volunteers did such things as trim trees and bushes, remove ivy and prepare floors for tile, according to Moore and John Collins, chairman of construction and vice president of the local Habitat chapter.
Henry County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dawn Futrell said she was volunteering because Habitat is a “fine institution” that helps people help themselves, and that she had wanted for some time to participate in a Habitat project.
Shermale Motley works for the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services and is a United Way board member. From volunteering on the Habitat project Friday, she said, “I learned Habitat is more than hammering nails.” It’s also about yard work and improving the aesthetics of the property, she said.
Volunteer Sheilah Gilliam said she always gives money to the United Way, but Day of Action is more hands-on.
Dale Wagoner, deputy Henry County administrator and public safety director, said volunteering on Day of Action is “just the right thing to do.” He said United Way does a lot in the community, and this is an opportunity for volunteers to give back.
Other projects included:
• Smart Beginnings: Volunteers prepped and inventoried books for the Reach Out and Read program.
• Smart Beginnings: Volunteers did learning activities with children in local day-care facilities.
• Smart Beginnings: Volunteers moved furniture and filing cabinets for a local child-care provider to help improve use of space.
• CONTACT: Volunteers made well-being checks on reassurance (elderly) clients, assisted with filing and office organization and/or assisted with updating database entries for organizations/addresses.
• Grace Network: A volunteer helped design a brochure and marketing materials for the Pumpkin Patch fundraiser.
• Citizens Against Family Violence: Volunteers helped with yard work and cleanup, including landscaping, mowing, small tree extraction and trimming.
• Stepping Stones: Volunteers from Multi-Wall Packaging Corp. provided and served a birthday lunch to clients.
• United Way: Volunteers sorted and prepared campaign materials for distribution.
• Activate: Volunteers planted trees along a new section of the Dick & Willie Trail.