VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION
Number of Projects 264
Volunteer Hours 53,864
Dollars Donated $92,700
In-Kind Donations $58,245
Dollars Raised $162,401
The 253-member Village Improvement Association (VIA) of Rehoboth Beach, DE, continued the rich tradition of helping to shape the future through caring volunteers and funding, insuring positive impact for people and organizations in need, during the 2016-2018 presidency of Rose Marie Patin.
The Community Improvement Project was to rejuvenate the relationship and create an enhanced awareness of the services of the Rehoboth Beach Public Library (RBPL). Each of the GFWC Committees were asked to participate and include projects with the RBPL. The highlight of the project was with the cooperation of the Delaware State Archives Department so that a historical marker could be placed at the entrance of the RBPL detailing the VIA’s role in establishing the RBPL in 1912!
The main direction of the Committee was supporting the President’s Community Improvement Project by sponsoring a variety of exhibits at the RBPL. In addition, the Committee called attention to the other art events in the community such as local musical entertainment, jazz festivals, annual film festival, poetry and book readings, writers’ groups, and dance and craft lessons available. The annual Art of Accessorizing, a fundraiser sponsored by the Arts Committee with members modeling the creative and attractive items of local merchants was a huge success!
Recycling and maintenance were key priorities of this committee. In addition to joining the city-wide goal of planting a Black Gum tree near the clubhouse and planting beach grass as a part of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment Control Beach Grass Planting event, this committee joined with the VIA Book Club in erecting a Book Box for the community to enjoy reading in the community. It is a self-serve book box encouraging reading and recycling books for others to enjoy. Donations of food and supplies were given to the SPCA. Members donated used mascara wands for Appalachian Wild which are used to collect larvae and fly eggs off of wildlife.
The Director of Policy and Advocacy from the Delaware Coalition Against Violence spoke at a VIA general meeting to make members more aware of the existing domestic violence with the State and Sussex County, and existing agencies and organizations to help those in need of shelter.
Commitments to literacy, local elementary schools, libraries, HOBY/CleW, and supporting scholarships were the focus of this committee. Mentors were recruited to read at elementary schools and donate books to the Book Box. One member assisted with planning, funding, and implementing the CleW workshop for high school students. More than $16,675 was donated by the VIA for education projects and over $10,000 to the Rehoboth Public Library.
The homeless in our community continued to be a concern of our members. Food, clothing, money and time were donated to various agencies and church groups. Helpful health topics were published in the VIA Newsletter. Over 100 members participated in the Holiday Gift Giving event in which members bought and donated a $25 gift card for teens in foster care, homeless teens, and elderly in nursing homes. A total of $2625 was collected.
Locally, VIA supported the International Outreach Program (ISOP), serving international students who work at the beaches during the summer with lunches and dinners, and promoting good will to the international community. The Committee supported Water Step, a program designed to bring safe water to communities in developing countries by donating shoes to be shipped to an exporter that sells the shoes. The funds obtained from the exporter were used to provide three chlorination systems, each of which is capable of filtering 10,000 gallons of water each day.
A Strategic Plan was a primary focus for the VIA leadership this year. The Plan was a project to shape the VIA’s vision and future for the next decade in several areas. Communication via website was a major focus during this time with the ability for members to record volunteer hours, purchase tickets for VIA events, post messages on line. Lisa Rochester Blunt, a member of the House of Representatives form Delaware addressed the membership on the roles of women in leadership.
A VIA Directory of members was published with professional photos and contact information. A digital name tag process was developed to record member attendance by swiping their name tag. Using a module in QuickBooks has facilitated the recording of member volunteer hours. A Buddy system was devised that assists those members that are evolving with technology.
Stocking for Soldiers were filled and distributed along with a holiday card with a message for thanks for service. Home of the Brave for men and women were supported with dinners, clothing, and toiletries. Beach Goes Blue…was a project coordinated with USO and Chamber of Commerce to celebrate and honor public servants.
Women’s History and Resource Center
Primary project of this committee was to gather all the documents and artifacts of the VIA’s history stored in a variety of locations, so they might be catalogued and preserved in one central area. A grant was obtained to fund an intern to assist with the project. The archives will be housed in the Rehoboth Beach Historical Museum.
Creating non-revenue funds to support the many VIA projects is a multi-dimension task that VIA members excel. A total of 28 events resulted in $162401 being raised.