As the Village Improvement Association (VIA) moves into its second century of service to Rehoboth Beach and environs, we, the women of the Village Improvement Association, remain dedicated to our mission. Our dedication, concern, money, and time given to the well being of our beloved Rehoboth Beach and surrounding communities, the residents, and visitors has been, still is, and will continue to be, constant. While working alongside other dedicated club members, we have abundant opportunities to enrich our own lives through volunteer work and club fellowship. There are many areas through which this can be accomplished.
• Arts in the Community – Members are encouraged to create and contribute to arts education and activities in all communities. We do this through our continued support of the Rehoboth Art League. Creative arts are encouraged as a method of self-expression by members in areas such as photography, short story writing, and poetry.
There is also participation in a community Youth Writing Program.
• Conservation – Members become educated about the importance and benefits of beautifying their communities and preserving natural resources. The VIA stimulated citizen action to address these concerns by creating a Micro-Nature Park between the clubhouse and the boardwalk, starting the Sussex Gardeners Club, being responsible for benches and drinking fountains on the boardwalk, creating a fishing pier for children at Lake Gerar, moving the lighthouse and planting shrubs along Rehoboth Avenue near the entrance to town, just to mention a few. We support and feed volunteers who contribute their time to Trail Days clean up at Cape Henlopen State Park.
• Education – Members participate in literacy programs and education in community programs. They promote a commitment to lifelong learning by fostering and supporting educational opportunities in the community. They stimulate citizen actions to address impact and concerns related to low literacy. Areas in which the VIA volunteers and supports are the Rehoboth Beach Public Library, Lewes Public Library, Read Across America, Read Aloud Delaware, Mildred Gray Beebe School of Nursing scholarship, Cape Henlopen High School Citizenship scholarship, tutoring/mentoring in local schools, providing school supplies to West Rehoboth, book clubs, and financial donations.
• Home Life – Members and communities are introduced to organizations that can improve the lives of those in need such as Habitat for Humanity and a group of women builders who contribute to that cause. Through our health program, members are informed about prevalent medical problems affecting women, and are encouraged to adopt methods for optimizing their own physical health and quality of life; and through our finanacial programs we explain areas of retirement, credit, identity theft, and the like. We also suppport the Stockley Center.
• International Outreach – Members become involved in programs concerning women, children, literacy, human rights, and the environment. They support programs such as the Red Cross, UNICEF, Operation Smile, and the Heifer program.
• Public Issues – Members become aware of the importance of active citizenship and are encouraged to participate in related activities. We do this by supporting veterans, military members, and their families. We recently participated in the Stockings for Soldiers program.
• Special Projects – Membership Program, Public Affairs, Advocates for Children, Fundraising Program, Domestic Violence Awareness Program, Leadership Program, Legislation and Public Policy Program, Women’s History and Resource Center, etc.
Our participation in these areas and special projects has contributed to our 100 year record of achievements. Our members accumulate hundreds of volunteer hours which are recorded and sent to the Delaware State Federation of Women’s Clubs and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The VIA was the first local club to calculate volunteer hours in a standardized format to allow accurate computation for reporting purposes. The report of these hours serves as a history of our club’s activities and a record of our achievements. They help us learn, change, and expand.