11/26/2013 9:47:00 AM Sandy Hook tragedy sparked Village's Acts of Kindness
When Anne Curry, anchorwoman for NBC TV, invited local communities around the country to honor the 20 children and 6 adults who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December of 2012, Steve Kemp, Manager of Marketplace Café urged the owner, Ken Rouse, to take Ms. Curry seriously.
Her suggestion was that we focus on our own communities and create ways to demonstrate "Acts of Kindness." The challenge was to enhance our sense of community through practical ways of showing that we do care about each other right here in our own backyard neighborhoods. Marketplace Café decided to become creative and get involved helping "make that happen."
The result is that here in Verde Valley and the Greater Sedona Community, throughout the 2013 year, there has been an ongoing "celebration of life" with a series of events focused on Acts of Kindness. In February, a significant fundraiser benefited Big Park Community School.
In April, Yavapai Food Council was the beneficiary of another fundraising event that highlighted their "Weekend Backpack Program for Hungry Kids."
On October 26 and 27, the focus was on Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters.
A total of over $18,000 has been raised to date for these worthy causes with additional funds still coming in.
Previous press stories highlighted the details of the February and April events. The highlights of this latest October celebration include a raffle on Saturday, Oct. 26, and a Four Course Wine Dinner and silent auction on Sunday, Oct. 27 to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS.)
Participants included two bands from Verde Valley School and "Diversity" - Rene'e and Tim Claybon, who coordinated the musical program for the entire day and evening on Saturday. "Meadowlark" - Rick Cyge (guitar) and LynnTrombetta (flute) provided the music on Sunday evening for the Wine Dinner.
Steve Bailey, representing Southern Wine and Spirits, provided enlightening information during the wine pairing with each course of the dinner. Others donating their time and talent were Heather and Erin Halstead (face painting), Nina Morningstar (chair massage) and Toby, the Cowboy, representing Tito's Vodka.
Six new volunteers stepped forward to be Big Brothers and Big Sisters, one of the most encouraging developments, since the primary goal of the fundraising is to match Big Brothers and Sisters with Little Brothers and Sisters.
Rabbi Alicia Magal and her mother, Nika Fleissig, provided an "inspiring" few minutes on Sunday night, when Nika, a survivor of the Holocaust, shared her excitement in being alive and her enthusiasm for life at age 93.
In addition, the Acts of Kindness organizers participated in a small way this year to help the Desert Southwest Region of the Alzheimer's Association achieve their ambitious goal of $35,000 for the Sedona "Walk to End Alzheimers."
Clearly, this has been a meaningful and successful series of events in 2013 and we have been able to celebrate our enhanced sense of community as a result of this "Acts of Kindness" Program.
THANKS to everyone who contributed and participated in making this an important focus for 2013.
It will be exciting to see what new plans evolve for 2014.