Hope in the Valley

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I am pleased to announce that Valley Hope Counseling Center is one of the newest recipients of Win Win for a Cause donations. At the close of every sale, my clients will have the opportunity to choose Valley Hope to receive a portion of my commission instead of a traditional closing gift.

Valley Hope Counseling Center is a United Way agency and has provided affordable, quality mental health care for the residents of Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County since 1997. Their staff of trained counselors work with patients of all ages and income levels and are committed to the principle that quality care is of greater importance than financial gain.

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The important issues they address include anxiety and depression, relationships, domestic violence, sexual abuse and recovery, substance abuse, eating disorders, parenting, issues, grief and loss, and more. In addition to individual therapy, they also offer some group therapy, including anger management. This vital service helps clients cope with life issues and address them in a healthy way, allowing them to lead more productive lives – affecting more than just individuals, benefiting our entire community.

Valley Hope is hosting a Yoga for Hope benefit event October 1st  at Birdseed YOGA at 504 West Main Street. There will be yoga classes from 9a.m to 3p.m. for all ages and skill levels. 100% of the proceeds go to helping Valley Hope continue their amazing work. Hope to see you there!

Please visit Valley Hope Counseling Center’s website for more information about this wonderful organization and the services they provide in our community.

Help Choose the Next Win Win for a Cause Recipient!

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Do you know of a charity or non-profit making a positive impact in The Valley? Help me choose the next addition to the already amazing group of local charities that benefit from Win Win for a Cause donations by leaving a comment.

For any readers new to my endeavor, I created Win Win for a Cause to give back to the community and, hopefully, encourage others to do the same. I vowed to give a portion from my commission of closed real estate transactions to a charity or non-profit of the client’s choosing within 30 days of closing.

I feel that I can make our world a better place. Through Win Win for a Cause, I want my clients to experience that feeling as well. These donations give my clients the opportunity to support a cause that is near and dear to their hearts.

Recipients so far this year include AHIP, Wildlife Center of Virginia, WARM, and the Augusta Regional SPCA. For a full list of current recipients, click here. Scroll through my recent posts to learn more about some of these organizations.

This is your time to bring another charity into the spotlight. Nominate one (or many) of your favorite groups making a difference in the lives of others. As always, I encourage everyone to Pay it Forward through acts of kindness to effect change in the world.

I want to be MORE than your REALTOR… I want you to WIN WIN for a cause.

Who would you like to see join the list?

Add your nominee(s) in the comment section below the title.

Cultivating Gratitude

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The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. Studies prove that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.

Gratitude doesn’t need to be reserved only for momentous occasions like a big raise at work or finding your car keys in the morning even though you ran out of coffee. Find the joy and gratitude in the little things that add texture to life. Like the smell of fall in the air or the feeling of the sun warming your eyelids.

Make a decision to be consciously more grateful. Below are just a few ways to help cultivate an ‘attitude of gratitude.’

Write a thank-you note

You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationships by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of a person. Once in a while, write one to yourself.

Keep a gratitude journal

I love this – there are even gratitude apps available!  Make it a habit to write down the gifts you’ve received each day. Share them with a friend or encourage someone in a rough spot to stop and make a quick list of things they are grateful for. It can be as simple ‘I am thankful for this pillow to rest my head on after this exhausting day.’

Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. If you are having a difficult time starting, challenge yourself to picking just five things, but certainly don’t limit yourself.

Pray

People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude. Pray for acceptance of kindness from others, awe in rainbows and the little but amazing joys of life.

Meditate

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Just being present and accepting. Some people may focus on a word or idea, but you can also focus on what you’re grateful for at that specific time (a beautiful sunset, a pleasant sound, etc.).

For many people, gratitude is difficult, because life is difficult. Even beyond hardships, loss, and/or depression, there are many more mundane circumstances in which gratitude doesn’t come easily. Don’t express gratitude only when you feel it. Give thanks especially when you don’t feel it. Then share it.

 

What are you grateful for today? What made you smile today?

Voices of Hope and Healing

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SARA is another local organization doing truly extraordinary work and one that I am so proud to offer my client’s the choice of supporting through a Win Win for a Cause donation from my commission. Their vision is a community free from sexual violence is one we can all rally behind.

The mission of the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) is to eliminate sexual violence  impact by providing education, advocacy and support to men, women and children.

Each year they reach approximately 550 survivors and 1,100 students, as well as hundreds more through community outreach and prevention programs. SARA is fully accredited through the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the only such sexual assault crisis agency in this service area, and has been providing services to the community for over 40 years.

Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, SARA serves residents of Charlottesville, Albemarle, Nelson, Louisa, Fluvanna and Greene. They serve anyone who has personally experienced, or cares for someone who has experienced any kind of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual molestation, incest, sex trafficking, stalking, sexual harassment or unwanted touching.

Services are provided free to all survivors, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, age, economic status, education, parenthood, physical and/or mental abilities, national origin, immigration/documentation status or any other status.

Support Services Include:

24-Hour Crisis Hotline – free, confidential, 24-hour support to survivors, their families and friends, allied professionals, and the public.

Therapy – free and confidential therapy for men, women, and children of all ages who have been affected by sexual violence.

Emergency Room Advocacy -SARA staff members are on call 24 hours every day of the year to accompany sexual assault survivors in the UVA Emergency Room. ER Advocates offer support to the survivor, help to address urgent needs, and ensure that survivors understand their rights and their options.

Additional support services include Legal System Advocacy, Support Groups, Therapeutic Horse and Farm Camp for Young Girls, Counseling and Advocacy for Non-Offending Parents and Families of Abused Children.

Prevention

In an effort to reduce the epidemic of sexual abuse, SARA also provides programs to prevent anyone in our community from becoming a perpetrator of sexual violence.

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SARA’s community education and training efforts increase public awareness about the impact of sexual violence, promote community involvement, foster a multi-disciplinary systems approach to victims of sexual violence, and challenge the prevailing attitudes and dispel the myths which perpetuate the problem of sexual violence. SARA offers free specialized training, workshops and sexual violence prevention programming to the general public, as well as professional groups and individuals in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties.

There are several ways to help this vital organization achieve and maintain its goals.

A donation of time or money can mean all the difference in the world to a survivor living through one of the worst events of their life.

Donations

 $20 keeps the hotline running for a day.

 $30 provides a new set of clothes for a victim seen at the ER whose clothes are collected as evidence.

 $125 provides a therapy session for a child or adult victim of sexual violence.

 $150 provides a full day of prevention programming to a local school.

Volunteer

Join their team as a Volunteer Hotline Advocate or Community Outreach Volunteers.

By funding these positions, you are supporting a fundamental change in our community, where survivors of sexual violence are supported and heal well, and where the next generation stops sexual violence before it starts.

Is there a local charity you would like to see join the Win Win for a Cause list?

Providing Shelter in the Storm

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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.

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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?

Give a Child a Voice and a Chance.

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This week I am spotlighting another local organization doing incredible work in the Shenandoah Valley. Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Inc., provides trained volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in our area. I am proud to say that CASA is one of the deserving organizations supported through Win Win for a Cause contributions.

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Each year in the Charlottesville / Albemarle region, hundreds of children are victims of violence, sexual abuse and severe neglect. CASA is an organization that trains Court Appointed Special Advocates, who work one-on-one with abused and endangered children to assist the courts in determining the best environment to ensure each child’s safety and well-being. Volunteer court advocates may be the only voice that can truly speak for these children.

Last year, 118 volunteers advocated for over 200 children in 16th Judicial District of Virginia, promoting and supporting safe, permanent and nurturing homes for child victims. Piedmont CASA promotes awareness about child abuse and neglect through community education and outreach.

Piedmont CASA depends on volunteers. Be an advocate for a child in need – your time or donation will help provide the voice that saves a child. Volunteers come from all walks of life – all you need is to be 21 years or older and to have a desire to make a difference in the lives of local children. In addition to advocates, CASA is seeking Office Volunteers to help on an as needed basis.

If you are interested in this type of volunteer opportunity, please contact CASA at volunteer@pcasa.org.

If you buy or sell a home this year, what organization would you like to receive the donation in your name?

 

“The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.”

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I am proud to say that the Wildlife Center of Virginia is one of the recipients of donated commissions from buyers and sellers I have represented and is a wonderful organization that I am proud to help my clients support.

As those of us who are fortunate enough to live in Central Virginia know, the Shenandoah Valley boasts a rich history and heritage, as well as an amazingly scenic beauty that is home to a diverse animal population. The Wildlife Center of Virginia provides a much-needed healthcare service, often on an emergency basis, to the native wildlife residents.

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Located in Waynesboro, the Wildlife Center of Virginia, an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine, has rehabilitated wildlife in the area for over thirty years.

Operating out of a 5,700 square-foot building, the Wildlife Center consists of the veterinary clinic, diagnostics laboratory, operating suite, and radiology room, as well as offices for administration and outreach staff. The Center also has an array of outdoor facilities for non-releasable education animals as well as recovering patients, including large flight pens, a bear enclosure, an aviary, deer fawn pens, and more.

Since 1982, the Center has:

  • Treated more than 65,000 wild animals, representing more than 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
  • Shared the lessons learned from these cases with some 1.5 million school-children and adults across Virginia.
  • Trained a corps of wildlife medicine practitioners, including veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and volunteer wildlife rehabilitators.

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In 2007, the Wildlife Center received the National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation as the Conservation Organization of the Year. To see the most recent stories or to donate to this wonderful organization, please visit them at http://wildlifecenter.org/about-center/press-room.

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The Wildlife Center offers many educational programs throughout the year to ‘teach the world to care for wildlife and the environment.’

Would you know how to care for a wild animal in need of emergency help?