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Project Faith Tackles Handful of Good Deeds

FCS students from K-12 invest sweat equity for their school.

Faith Christian School in Roanoke County (K-12) completed its annual “Project Faith” fundraiser last week. The school’s only major annual fundraiser is used to fill in some of the gaps tuition doesn’t cover, according to development officer Susan Childs.  She added that she was happy to announce that, “we have reached, and surpassed our Project Faith goal of 0,000 as of noon on Monday (0,831.49). We are humbled by the generosity of so many faithful donors!”

This year around 500 students, parents, teachers and friends of the school tackled several different projects after garnering pledges and sponsorships from family members and local businesses. The youngest Faith Christian students mulched trails in the wildflower garden at Mill Mountain Zoo; others worked to clean up the campground off the Blue Ridge Parkway spur, while the oldest group of students brightened up the YWCA headquarters downtown with new coats of paint and a mural in the children’s play area.

Tess Jones is head of the lower school at Faith Christian (K-5). About sixty children were helping mulch, weed and do general cleanup near the zoo and Discovery Center on Mill Mountain. “The City owns this and we [are] working with Friends of the Blue Ridge as well,” said Jones, adding that the “kids love to work. They can see instant feedback on the work they have done.”

Jones said helping others goes along with the vision statement for Faith Christian, which includes the phrase “a will to serve.”  There are almost 300 students at FCS this school year. “It is a lot of fun,” said Jones about Project Faith, and “we look forward to it.”

Meanwhile Melissa Woodson, executive director of downtown Roanoke’s YWCA, a shelter for women and children, was overjoyed when 150 volunteers descended on the circa-1926 building to do some painting, inside and out.  “They did in three and a half hours what we could not accomplish in three years,” said Woodson, “I cannot say enough about how pleased I am regarding the transformation.”

Brighter colors, using paints supplied by the local Sherwin Williams dealer, helped make hallways and a ballroom suitable for rental more inviting. The Faith crew also did some cleanup work – even singing hymns as they scrubbed steps, according to Woodson, who found herself close to tears at times.

Outside, project manager Curtis Witt oversaw students who painted a wall where a dilapidated outbuilding used to be. “The kids did an awesome job this year,” said Witt, who assigned students to specific teams when they showed up at the YWCA. “These kids are amazing.” He is always impressed with how much work can be accomplished in just several hours – with lots of well organized, willing student volunteers in tow.

The YWCA, supported by United Way, Foundation for the Roanoke Valley and others, will holds its annual fundraiser, the Women of Achievement Awards banquet at Hollins University on June 9. Woodson is still looking for sponsors and concedes she is asking for support in “a tough environment.”

Art teacher Scott Maynard watched as his high school age students painted a cheery mural in the children’s play area: “[they] designed the mural. We wanted to go with a women and children’s theme. They did a fantastic job.” 11th grader Katie McIntyre was painting some details into the mural. “It is really fun to do, to brighten up the environment. I love that we can have fun [while] going out and helping people.”

By Gene Marrano
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