By Sherrie Norris
In its ongoing effort to make a positive impact upon local families, the Blue Ridge Partnership for Children is hosting its annual signature fundraiser in Avery County next month.
On Monday, September 17, from 6 – 9:30 p.m., the Linville Falls Winery will be the site for Taste of the Blue Ridge — An Evening in Tuscany — which includes a meal catered by Reid’s Café, a fabulous “dessert dash,” wine tasting provided by the winery and craft beer tastings provided by Home Place Brewery.
Organization spokesperson Ruthie Styles, who serves as Community Development Manager, shared that this event is expected to sell out quickly as returning patrons know it to be an enchanting evening for a great cause, complete with fun games and great prizes, as well as a silent and live auction with nice items donated by local businesses and individuals. The highlight of the evening might possibly be the opportunity to bid on a seven-night trip to Tuscany during the live auction.
Proceeds from this annual fundraiser will benefit the organization’s ongoing participation in the Imagination Library and Play & Learn programs, as well as its community outreach.
Styles explained that through the popular Imagination Library program, an ongoing project supported by entertainer Dolly Parton, children receive a free book in the mail every month from birth until their fifth birthday.
“We at Blue Ridge Partnership for Children add components to support families’ understanding of their role in reading aloud to their child daily — and that it helps to build strong early literacy skills.”
Working with the Dollywood Foundation, the Blue Ridge Partnership for Children pays $30 per child each year for books and shipping costs.
“With 1,700 children receiving monthly books across the three counties we serve, (Avery, Mitchell and Yancey), these costs are funded by Smart Start, state funds, private grants and generous community donations through fundraisers and individual contributions,” Styles added.
Weekly play and learn groups are offered throughout the three counties, also, she explained. “We provide children access to materials for learning and help them enjoy interacting with other young children.”
Parents and caregivers attend the sessions with their child, gaining support for their role in leading their child’s learning, she added. “Early literacy skills are a focus, with efforts to engage parents through strategies they can use to extend their child’s learning.”
Led by multiple staff members across all three counties, these services are funded through Smart Start, blended with support from private grant services.
“Engaging our community through family-friendly events is a central component of the Blue Ridge Partnership for Children’s work,” Styles added. “As families and community partners learn more about the critical importance of the first 2,000 days of early childhood, we can work together to ensure services are available to support children’s development.”
Whether it’s families exploring community resources (while having loads of fun!) at the organization’s annual Child Fest event, or children learning through block play at one of the BLOCK Fest events hosted in each county, Styles said, the partnership staff takes its responsibility ”very seriously” of engaging the entire community in the support of young children.
The overall mission of Blue Ridge Partnership for Children is to enhance the lives of young children and support their families to ensure a strong foundation for learning. They do a great job making that happen, but they cannot do it alone. Plan now to be a part of this upcoming fundraising event.
Linville Falls Winery is located at 9557 Linville Falls Hwy., Newland, NC.
Piedmont Natural Gas is serving as presenting sponsor for the event.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online through a secure ticketing site at www.BlueRidgeChildren.org.