Give Choose adds three local nonprofits

By Laura Longley

A gift to any nonprofit is welcome any day of the year, especially this year as they cope with continuing financial struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic. But your gift of $10 or more made between March 2 and 16 through the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties may go even further, since some lucky nonprofits will receive an extra boost, thanks to prizes from a pool sponsored by local businesses.

This year you’ll find these three local nonprofits new to the list: 

Imagination Library of Loudoun

Twenty-five years ago, Dolly Parton launched a program in her home in Sevier County, Tenn., to give books to children from birth to age 5. Her goal was simple: give them an equal start. 

Inspired by Dolly’s success in putting 152 million free books in children’s hands and motivated by the pandemic, a group of committed book lovers in Purcellville partnered with the Rotary Club of Leesburg to establish the Imagination Library of Loudoun. 

As Kristin O’Rourke, a founding member explains, “Research shows that children who are read to and exposed to high quality books are better positioned to become lifelong learners, further developing skills in critical thinking, imagination, and management of emotions. Studies also find that by age three a child’s brain is 85 percent developed, yet formal school begins at age five, so we know these newborn and preschool years are impressionable.” 

Each child starts with the same book, The Little Engine That Could, and ends with the same book, Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come, unifying children through stories. Each book is mailed directly to the child, by name. In this start-up year, the project will be reaching 800 children in the areas covered by the local zip codes 20132 (Hillsboro, St. Louis, Purcellville), 20160 (Lincoln), 20131 (Philomont), and 20117 and 20118 (Middleburg). As members increase the funding base, they plan to expand the program.

Secret Garden of Birds and Bees: Wildlife Education and Preservation

This Philomont-based nonprofit is an all-volunteer organization working with wildlife rehabilitators, falconers, naturalists, biologists, and beekeepers to share the founders’ love of nature and wildlife with our communities. All donations go directly to the care, feeding, housing, and medical care of the birds and bees.

Led by Liz and Tim Dennison, Secret Garden of Birds and Bees offers a wide variety of age-appropriate programs that include coloring, making raptor puppets, meeting wild raptors, even dissecting owl pellets to learn about the bird’s meals and habitats. Tim tends the bees and spreads the word about the environmental benefits of beekeeping.

Due to the pandemic, the Secret Garden of Birds and Bees is doing only virtual events or in-person programs outdoors for small groups with social distancing and face masks

Loudoun Serenity House

A sober living house for women located in Leesburg, this organization welcomes women ages 18 and over, from any geographic location and with at least 30 days of sobriety. There, newly sober women can live in a controlled, supportive, and affordable environment where they can gain the tools necessary to bolster and maintain their recovery. Their stays can range from one to 18 months. If you or a loved one is interested in becoming a resident, please visit their website for an application form. To choose and give to one or all of these organizations, visit givechoose.org/index.cfm or contact Nicole Acosta at 703-779-3505 and nicole@communityfoundationlf.org.

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