Providing Shelter in the Storm


The homeless are often overlooked because they are not always visible. One wonderful local organization opens its doors each winter, committed to helping homeless adults in our community find shelter during cold nights. I am proud to say that People and Churches Engaged in Ministry (PACEM) is one of the local groups supported through Win Win for a Cause donations.

At the end of March, PACEM closed their shelters after the 11th winter of providing shelter and compassionate support to 201 people who are homeless in the Charlottesville area.

The idea for PACEM was formed In 2003 during discussions among Charlottesville clergy and homeless advocates. Members of Charlottesville’s Downtown Ministerial Alliance realized they shared the experience of showing up for work in the morning and regularly finding homeless neighbors sleeping in the doorways. The need to provide shelter for individual who could not access existing programs was evident.

The Downtown Ministerial Alliance and Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH) joined together to create PACEM.


PACEM opened the doors of its shelters during the winter of 2004. Eleven years later, they continue as a grassroots organization, committed to helping homeless adults find shelter during the cold winter nights.  PACEM has provided more than 73,000 total nights of shelter for homeless individuals in our community.

Want to help?

If you are interested in volunteering your time, you can find information here

The next time you’re shopping on Amazon, please enter through AmazonSmile.  A portion of every purchase you make goes to a non-profit organization of your choice. PACEM is now one of your choices.

If you’re eligible to contribute to the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, PACEM’s CVC number is 03345.

                             How do you plan to give back to the community?

If You Cannot See Where You are Going, Ask Someone Who has Been There Before



If you haven’t seen ‘STEM’ in the headlines lately, stay tuned, because you will. STEM, short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, is an area of study and jobs where women (and minorities) are grossly underrepresented. Proof of the importance of this fact is that eight of Forbe’s magazine’s Ten Most Powerful Women in business work in STEM fields.

The single most common factor these women share? A mentor. In honor of Women’s History Month, I encourage you to positively impact young lives and help guide the next generation of ground-breaking women.

If you aren’t a six-figure earning glass-ceiling buster or aren’t a woman and think that excludes you from this conversation, you’re not off the hook that easily.  There is more than ample opportunity to be a mentor in other ways –  intellectual, mental, spiritual, emotional, athletic…. The point is to share some of your accumulated skills and knowledge. You know, those things you wish you had figured out a decade earlier?

A mere 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. BUT, a recent study by EY’s Women Athletes Business Network and espnW found that 94% of women executives have a background in sport and more than half of women in C-level positions played at the collegiate level. Soccer moms and dads, I’m talking to you.

Mentoring is a chance for both participants to learn. If you want a mentor, and I urge everyone to continuously seek opportunities to grow, don’t be shy. Ask that person who has something you want, whether it is a job in engineering or great spiritual peace, if they would be willing to speak with you. Most will be flattered. Start that conversation today.

If you work in a STEM field, find local opportunities to mentor here:

If you don’t, here are a few options:

 Do you have a mentor story you would like to share?

A person who made an impact in your life? Please share your experiences and feel free to add additional resources for mentors and mentees.




The Most Common Way People Give up Their Power is by Thinking They Don’t Have Any

Task Force

Some problems seem so large, so daunting, that we feel we can’t make a difference. That there is no way we can possibly effect any change.

Thankfully, there are some among us who take that first step to address a problem that seems so insurmountable. In Rockfish Valley, Pastor Marion Kanour is such a person. She formed the Nelson County Domestic Violence Task Force, which met for the first time in January 2014. She and 15 other like-minded individuals with purpose and courage met to create working groups to determine their first steps needed to help combat the devastation of domestic violence here in the Valley.

“Domestic violence is often unspoken and underreported,” said Kanour. “That’s why we want to increase awareness and create community support.”

The group meets on third Saturdays to support one another and plan for their goal of a shelter in Nelson County. The group plans to create a brochure, a newsletter, and a website to be resources for those who need help. The group has already created a peer counseling system, a hotline for those in immediate need, free self-defense classes through task force member Josh Copson, and a weekly support group for those leaving abusive relationships.

This month is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Commonwealth Attorney Anthony Martin will present a program at Nelson County High School this month to help raise awareness of the cycle of abuse.

The task force plans to continue all of these activities, with the ultimate goal of creating a shelter in Nelson County.

Domestic violence affects a shocking number of people – likely including someone you know. The non-denominational task force is in the process of obtaining non-profit status and is actively seeking alliances from area churches, businesses, and community groups.

As author and activist Audre Lorde told us so many years ago, “Your silence will not protect you.” I encourage you to speak up for yourself or someone who will not or cannot speak up for themselves. Use your voice, your skills, and your compassion to help this organization make a positive impact on the community. An impact that says domestic violence will not be tolerated and that help is available.

‘We need funds and we need support,’ said Kanour.

The task force is sellingBravelets as part of their fund-raising efforts. Purchase your bracelet to support this great cause and increase visibility of this often unacknowledged problem.

All proceeds will go to fund a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Nelson County, Virginia.

Fighting The Winter Doldrums

Once the holidays are over, when the days are still short and the nights are even colder, even the best of us can feel a little down. But it’s always possible to make our own light and warmth.

Here are some ideas for brightening the winter blues:

Crocuses in snow1. Make the best of it

Find the things you love about winter, the things that make you feel cozy and warm. Instead of saying it’s cold outside, think of how great it is to sit in front of a fireplace (whether it’s real or virtual). Look for the best that winter has to offer: Take up a winter activity such as ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hockey or sledding–or just spend an afternoon making a snowman with friends.

2. Volunteer

One of the best ways to keep yourself on track is to make time for others. Look for nearby opportunities and jump in to help.

Oscar Wilde once said, “Wisdom comes with winters.” So let’s celebrate the wisdom we’re gaining as we spice up our winter and make our days worthwhile.

snowmanmakingsm3. Stay active

One of the best ways to beat the blues, or any stress, is to exercise. It improves your mood by releasing feel-good chemicals, and it also helps you stay healthy. You can benefit from a workout at the gym, a long walk, or just dancing around your living room.

4. Bring in the light

If you’re depressed, it’s possible that you suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Bring in the light and spend some time with a full-spectrum lamp that mimics sunlight, or ask your doctor about more intensive solutions such as bright-light therapy. You may find substantial relief for the winter blues.

Tired, exhausted and bored woman yawning5. Take care of yourself

Do something that makes you happy. Find something, even something small, to treat yourself. Having something to look forward to can keep you motivated. Winter seems endless! But if you plan something exciting, your mood can improve just by anticipating it.

6. Get your Zs, but don’t overdo it

Make sure you get the right amount of sleep–not too little, and not too much. Sometimes when it’s dark and cold outside a warm bed is hard to leave. Overcoming that tendency is another reason to plan some fun for yourself.

7. Get stuff done

One way to take advantage of the cold months is to use the time to do the things that were hard to take care of when summer weather kept you outdoors. Clean your home, rearrange your office or your hard drive, learn a new language, read a complicated book, learn something new.  Be sure to collect anything that can be donated and take it to Goodwill or the DAV so those in need might benefit!

Christmas Charity

kid_christmas_giftThe christmas season (and ANY time) is a good time to start thinking about helping other people.  This includes providing food, clothing and toys for families to enable them to experience the joy of the Christmas Season. Giving warmth, love and hope. That’s what Christmas should be all about. A time to share our good fortune with our neighbors in need across the world.

Here’s a list of Christmas related charity programs and humanitarian organizations. Some small, some big. But all good.

ANGEL TREE: Angel Tree is a ministry of Prison Fellowship, delivering love in the form of Christmas gifts and a message of hope to children of prisoners.

CHRISTMAS WISH PROGRAMS: Christmas Wish Program, Inc. is a nonprofit organization run 100% by volunteers and donations. CWP is designed that way to let the public share in the joy of giving and the opportunity to help build a brighter future for local children.

Hans with presentCHRISTMAS SPIRIT FOUNDATION: Help needy children and families in the United States during the holiday season, and promote environmental stewardship throughout the year.

HOLIDAY PROJECT: The Holiday Project’s mission is to enrich the experience of the holidays by arranging visits to people confined to nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions

MAKE A WISH: Make this holiday season special by helping a child’s dream come true. Make a Wish’s unique holiday donation options will help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

MY TWO FRONT TEETH: My Two Front Teeth offers a personalized online gift-giving experience to aid underprivileged children. These children are selected through community organizations and allowed to individually pick their one holiday wish.

xmascharityPLAN COMMUNITY OF CHILDREN : Give a gift to the people of Africa this Christmas and help reduce the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS.

TOYS FOR TOTS: Donate a new toy or give a donation to help make Christmas a little brighter for a needy child in your community

Great Gifts That Give Back

As consumers we have a choice of where to put our dollars, of where and how to spend them so that they are put to the best use possible.  When you are shopping for items for unique holiday gifts this year, why not consider purchasing gifts that give back to those who made them or gifts that pay it forward to charitable organizations? While we can give a beautiful gift to the person on our holiday list, we can pay it forward at the same time and put our dollars to use twice.  With that said, here are 5 suggestions of unique holiday gift ideas that give twice:

A Different Kind of Ballerinatutuproject

Is there someone in your life who has everything but you just want to make them laugh?  Check out Ballerina.  Photographer Bob Carey has taken brilliant photographs of himself wearing a pink tutu in various locations and compiled the photographs into this fabulous table book.  It costs $50, but ALL net proceeds support women with breast cancer.  For more information and to see a few of the photos, go to:

Cure by Design

Rachel began selling beaded bracelets to raise funds to find a cure for diabetes. Since then she has begun designing bracelets for several important causes. For every piece of jewelry sold at Rachel’s Cure by Design over $30, she donates $10.00 to the cause plus $10.00 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Teardrop2_largeFoundation. Rachel has developed a beautiful selection of bracelets, necklaces and earrings to choose from, all of which would make a terrific holiday gift.  To see her designs, head on over to:

Headbands of Hope

For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s foundation to fund cancer research.  The photo to the right is one of my personal favorites. The rhinestone and pearl trim is detailed and made from premium metal, pearls, and stones. All beading is attached by an elastic strand in the back to fit different head sizes. Cost is $24.85. Purchase your headband for hope and donate one to a girl with cancer at

Let There be Wine

Charity Wines make the perfect gift for the sports fan on your list. The site partners with professional athletes and celebrities to create wines that help raise funds for a variety of charities throughout the country.  To search the site and find a retailer, go to: Hurry, charity wines are exclusively single run wines.  Once they are sold out they are retired and no longer available.

glovesKnitted Beauty

Knits for Life is an Etsy store that makes ethical goods for everyday people.  She uses mostly all organic, recycled, and natural farm-direct materials for her knit wear.  For every hand made item purchased, a tree will be planted through The Nature Conservancy.  To browse the shop for your favorite, go to:


Bottom line:  This is the Season of Giving so give the people you love a gift that gives to people you don’t know who need your help 🙂  HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!!!!



Breaking The Cycle of Extreme Poverty

hungrychildrensmDid you know that Universal Children’s Day takes place on November 20th. First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to promote the welfare of the world’s children, something that  dedicated a lifetime’s work to.

Universal Children’s Day should serve as a reminder that many children around the world suffer from extreme poverty, violence, disease, lack of opportunity, exploitation and discrimination.

Du Boisrouvray says, “If we can lift a community of children out of extreme poverty you can prevent an entire future generation from suffering.”  She feels strongly that targeting child poverty and prevention must be a key focus for those drafting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next year. The SDGs will determine how the $2.5 trillion in development aid is spent up to 2030 and any decision must be made through the lens of how it will affect the world’s poorest children.

A big focus for FXB International is to protect future generations from living lives blighted by extreme poverty, and the hardships that come with that. du Boisrouvray’s goal was to break the cycle of extreme poverty for good, and it became clear to me that no one single intervention in isolation would ever be enough to target these diverse, but interconnected challenges — interventions had to be integrated.

As a result, she developed a program to eradicate poverty by implementing healthcare, housing, education, nutrition, and business.  Each of these drivers relies on the others to help break the cycle of poverty and secure long-lasting change the world’s poorest children and their families.

At the time of setting up FXB International 25 years ago, AIDS was ravaging the African continent, leaving orphans in extreme poverty with little hope for their future. The Ugandan government was one of the few that acknowledged the existence and extent of the AIDS epidemic.  This is where du Boisrouvray decided to start her work supporting orphans and vulnerable children.

This successful model has since been rolled out all over the world, and, to date, 86% of FXBVillage program participants have become self-sufficient, bringing themselves of extreme poverty and giving them hope for a better future. Over the last 25 years, the FXBVillage program has helped 12,000 families and 800,000 children out of extreme poverty, in Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, India, China and Colombia.

Albina-du-BoisrouvrayMy son, François, was passionate about rescuing people. As a helicopter pilot, it was his job – but also his life. When he died, I wanted to keep François’ passion alive – by promoting the things that fascinated him, and by rescuing orphans and people around the world from extreme poverty. And so FXB International was born, with the ultimate aim to bring about peace and security in the world by focussing on children, youth and women.

Albina du Boisrouvray, Founder and Honorary President

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