Local charities receive funds from Yadkinville Rotary Club

By Kitsey E. Burns kburns@civitasmedia.com

February 13, 2014

YADKINVILLE — The Yadkinville Rotary Club presented several local charities with mini-grants on Tuesday. The money for the grants was raised during the group’s 16th annual pancake breakfast in December. The Sparrows House, New Hope Pregnancy, Yadkin Family Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program, Yadkin Smart Start and Yadkin Arts Council each received a check for $700. Surry Community College also received a check for $500.

In addition to donating money, Rotary President Robin Testerman told the recipients that they also hoped to donate their time as well.

“We want to be engaged not just by handing you a check, but we also want to volunteer and come help you with a project,” Testerman said.

The Yadkinville Rotary Club meets weekly at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center and the first award was presented to the arts council.

“We are so appreciative of the Yadkin Arts Council,” Testerman said. “They let us meet here and they do a lot of projects with us and do a lot for the community so we’re excited to give them this grant.”

John Willingham, president of the Yadkin Arts Council, accepted the honor.

“The grant from the Yadkinville Rotary Club will be used for the general operating of the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center to help us bring more programming to the community,” he said.

The next grant was presented to Carolyn Choplin, executive director of Yadkin Smart Start.

“We are going to be using our money to sponsor children through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library so that children from birth to age 5 can get a free book every month,” Choplin said. “It helps to encourage parents to read to their children and spend quality time with them.”

New Hope Pregnancy also benefited from the Rotary mini-grants and will be using the money to update its lobby area.

“All of our furniture is mix and match hand-me-downs, so we will be using the money for new furniture in our lobby,” said Jennifer Hemric, executive director for New Hope Pregnancy. “It’s important to make a good first impression and we want clients who are coming here in crisis mode to feel comfortable and at home.”

Melissa Hanks accepted the award on behalf of the Yadkin Family Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program. Hanks is the program’s director and said that receiving the grant meant a lot to the organization.

“Sometimes the victims we serve have had to leave their homes and they don’t have anything,” Hanks said. “We definitely want to use the money to go directly to support the victims by providing them with transportation or gas, clothing or other essential items they may need.”

A $700 grant also was presented to Jennifer Bowman, executive director of The Sparrows House.

“The money we received is going to go towards the establishment and opening of a domestic violence shelter here in Yadkin County,” Bowman said. The county does not have a women’s shelter and the group is searching for a home that can be used for victims of abuse and their families.

A representative from Surry Community College was not present to accept its grant, but Testerman said the group plans to use the $500 it received as a scholarship for a deserving Yadkin County student.

In addition to the local grants, $500 also was given to The Rotary Club of Kernersville that will go towards an international project to provide clean water to schools in Lebanon.

At the close of the ceremony, Testerman praised the group for its work in fundraising and volunteering.

“I think we’re a very engaged and active group for 27 members in a small community, so thank you Rotarians for everything you are doing to help our community and make it a better place,” she said.

Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.