VIA  Wine Tasting!! October 2, 2022

President’s Report 2015

President’s Report of 2015



Number of Projects – 134

Number of Volunteer Hours Spent – 34,893

Dollars Donated – $51,000.00

In-Kind Donations – $56,253

Fundraising Dollars – $63,520.10

The 235 member Village Improvement Association accomplished the numbers you see above. What does it take to make that happen? A dedication to the objectives held by the organization for 107 years is the answer. These objectives of increasing the intellectual culture, educational advancement and moral development of its members, furthering and promoting the interests, improvements and progress of Rehoboth Beach and doing and performing whatever charitable and civic work at Rehoboth Beach and elsewhere as may from time to time be decided upon by its members have energized and motivated the members to work exceptionally hard to continue what was begun so many years ago.

Here are the major components of the structure of the VIA and what was accomplished through each.

Community Improvement Program

During this second year of the program, colored ribbons were again given out at each meeting denoting the specific cancer featured that month. An article about that cancer was in the monthly newsletter describing the cancer with suggestions for prevention and treatment. Full participation in Wings of Hope to support Cancer Support Community, Courage Unmasked Rehoboth Beach (CURB) to support head and neck cancers and various runs to support breast cancer research were a few of the projects that culminated in volunteering 3,106 hours and donating $9,485.

Community Service Programs


The Arts Committee had 5 major projects. They include:

  1. A hanging mural depicting the history of the VIA painted by pointillism method by 22 members.
  2. The very successful Art of Accessorizing event brought local venders to the clubhouse to display that art.
  3. Organized and attended a viewing of the Metropolitan Opera’s double performance of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci.
  4. The journal art project continued and the journals were given to each of the participants of Courage Unmasked as well as to the Cancer Support Community.
  5. A visit to the historic Governor Ross Mansion and Plantation, an 1856 home, was organized and announced through the newsletter. The Arts Committee contributed 522 volunteer hours raising $3266 for the club and $1138 in-kind.


Our members were engaged in and educated about our natural environment, partnering with government agencies and not for profits in our local community. They restored a significant protective dune on our property using club members and local grants. Beach grass was planted in conjunction with DNREC. A sand fence was installed along the property line fashioned after the boardwalk side fence in compliance with DNREC and City guidelines. Earth Day was celebrated by having a property clean up day. The annual Trails Day lunch was provided by our members for the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park. Literature was consistently provided at the General meetings on topics ranging from Hiking and Trails to Plant based diets. A model of the restored Microdune was created for the Wings of Hope event at the Tunnell Center. Conservation had 7 projects with 106 members participating providing 360 volunteer hours .


Our members signed up for the Giant grocery store’s A+ Awards program that provided Rehoboth Elementary PTO almost $3,000.00.In addition Box Tops for Education provided the school with $138. Our members provided 123 hours of math tutoring to 16 students. In addition 94 hours were spent tutoring reading at Shields Elementary. Read Aloud Delaware had 11 of our members read to individuals and spent 321 volunteer hours. In addition our members read on Dr. Seuss Day to approximately 100 primary students.

225 lightly used books were donated to Sussex Correctional Institution. $5,000.00 was donated as scholarships to Cape Henlopen High School and Beebe Nursing School.

Members volunteered at the Library and Hoby and Clew leadership programs for teens.

There were 12 programs completed with 175 participating members providing 952 volunteer hours to the community.

Home Life

189 members spending 5,299 volunteer hours donating $34,105 completed 15 projects. These were: Send a Kid To Camp for West Side New Beginnings, sponsoring 64 children; 29 backpacks donated to Cape Henlopen School District Homeless Students; Food , clothing and toiletries donated to Community Resource Center; A Baby Shower for the Harry K Baby Pantry, collected 339 new outfits for the children; Food, toilet paper and financial donations were given to the Cape Henlopen Food Basket; Volunteered at All Saints Thrift Shop; 573 gifts brought to the Holiday Happy Hour Gift Raising event with an estimated value of $8, 595 given to Community Resource Center, West Side New Beginnings, Children and Families First/ Healthy Families America Program; Other supported programs were the Auxiliary of Stockley Center , Southern Delaware Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Crisis House, Immanuel Cold Weather Shelter, Casa San Francisco, Conley’s Soup Kitchen, and the Ronald McDonald House. Home Life fully participated in the Community Improvement Program, Colors of Hope.

International Outreach

In 2015, 68 members donated 3,144 pairs of gently used shoes to the Water Step Program valued at $18, 864. This program uses the money from the sale of these shoes to pay for their cost to manufacture water purification systems.

32 members donated 775 volunteer hours providing 4,000 meals with $2,135 donated to the International Student Outreach Program (ISOP), students from other countries who are traveling to the US for summer employment and enrichment.

Heifer International, a program providing livestock and environmentally sound, agricultural training to families in order to promote self- sufficiency in over 40 countries was supported financially by the members.

474 clean, empty medicine bottles were collected and sent to the Medicine Bottles for Malawi, a poor nation where pharmacies and hospital facilities wrap medicines in torn pieces of paper. This program will keep medicines clean, out of reach of children and out of our landfills.

Public Issues

Throughout the year members were provided with information monthly on safe driving and home safety.

Home of the Brave I and II were provided monthly meals for HOB I and both were financially supported.

Members volunteered at Fort Miles, a WWII facility located in Cape Henlopen State Park and at the USO in Dover.

188 members participated in the USO Stockings for Soldiers. More than 300 bags were sent with an estimated value of $7,500 worth of gifts for overseas military.

300 holiday cards were written to Stockings for Soldiers and 150 cards for the Veterans Retirement Home in Milford, DE and both Homes of the Brave.

A total of 188 members participated in these programs donating 751 reported volunteer hours, $3500 and $8,600 in-kind.

Domestic Awareness and Prevention

People’s Place was the concentration for 60 members giving 26 hours to collect and distribute bath towels, face cloths, washcloths, bath mats, laundry soap and softener to this facility, a domestic violence shelter. The membership was kept informed on needs and events related to Domestic Violence.


At the end of 2015 the VIA had a membership of 235. Each meeting had between 10 and 15 guests wishing to obtain membership. Membership requires 2 sponsors, attendance at 3 meetings and participation in an orientation with at least one of their sponsors and confirmation from the Board of Directors.

Bylaws and Standing rules were reviewed, revised, presented and voted on in 2015.

A new program was presented to record the members’ volunteer hours on QuickBooks Pro online. 153 members are now fully online with this program.

For the first time, a pictorial directory was presented to the members. In addition, a listing of members’ interests is now online assisting Chairwomen in the need for finding women with particular skill sets.

12 membership projects allowed 430 recorded volunteer hours for this program.


The development of leadership skills is encouraged in many areas. Chairwomen are encouraged to mentor upcoming chairs for the events or programs provided by the club.

Many workshops were presented to enhance particular skills such as GFWC Entry Writing and grief journaling. Club Webmasters provided workshops to get members comfortable with the process of recording their volunteer hours.

The General meetings always have a written agenda and most committees provide agendas at each session.

Women’s History and Resource Center

23 members volunteered 272 hours on 8 projects designed to highlight the 106 year history of the VIA. They include; the Second Hundred Years Membership Roster database; Family Tree Project; Participation in Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and Museum’s exhibit of Famous Women of Rehoboth Beach; participation in painting a mural depicting the 100 year history of the club; a remembrance of deceased members presented in the monthly newsletter; active participation in the Rehoboth Art League ,an organization started by the VIA; lastly, a Historic Marker was awarded to the VIA in response to over 100 years of service to the community.

Fundraising and Development Advancement

There were 17 fundraisers realizing $63,520.10 in revenue for the club. They include: 4 dinners at local restaurants; The Chocolate Festival; The Annual Fashion Show; Cottage Tour Luncheon; Golf Tournament; Bus Trip to Nemours Mansion in Wilmington; Wine Tasting; Holly Days; Lewes Historical Society Bake Sale; St. Nicholas Tea and Sleigh Boutique; VIA Clubhouse Rentals; VIA Cookbooks; Commemorative Bricks; Bridge; Yoga; 50/50. 7013 hours were recorded as a result of the participation of 162 members.

Communications and Public Relations

In order to increase public awareness of VIA activities and their contributions to the community, this program had 26 projects using Social Media, Website, Newsletter, Traditional Print and Links. In public relations, a team of 59 members volunteered 2 days a week for the Boardwalk Kiosk Information Booth during the summer. This service is designed to assist visitors at the resort area in locating restaurants, hotels and attractions offered.


11 newsletters were presented to the members online. There is an editor in chief and 2 assistants. An average of 15 pages comprise each edition. The Community Service Programs, the Community Improvement Program, Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention, events, leadership quotes, dates to remember and needs are included. For those who do not have a computer, a “buddy system” is in place. Volunteers make sure that a hard copy is delivered.

The Book Club met monthly offering discussion on member chosen literature.

Yoga was offered every week with a trained teacher

Bridge was offered, as well.

ESO, a member society, encouraged reading. A list of books read was kept by the Chairwoman and awards will be given according to the number of books read.  In 2015, 73 members read 2058 books.

It was a very good year!

Theda Blackwelder, President