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The Mount Vernon Kiwanis Club is holding a raffle to benefit United Community Ministries (UCM) and the grand prize is $10,000. Raffle tickets are $100 each and will be sold until Saturday, May 21, and the winner will be drawn that night at the "Evening Under the Stars" anniversary event at the Mount Vernon yacht Club (need not be present to win). There will also be several smaller cash prizes, and all proceeds from the raffle will go toward UCM's programs. No more than 250 tickets will be sold, and more than one person can purchase one ticket, but the cost is not tax deductible. All checks should be made payable to Mount Vernon Kiwanis, and credit cards cash are accepted as well. Contact Eileen Marshall at 703-768-7106 ext. 327, or via e-mail at do1@ucmagency.org.

Sexual Assault Response and Awareness (SARA) in Alexandria received an award from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund. The agency received $500 to give to individual victims of sexual violence to help with any of the following expenses: relocation, transportation, health care, counseling, car repair, security devices, child care and food. The SARA’s 24-hour hotline number is 703-683-7273. SARA helps by providing support groups, counseling and other options.

Crown Council’s Smiles for Life campaign will run now through June. Crown Council dentist, Dr. James D. Geren, DDS, is offering teeth whitening services at a significantly reduced price, and will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to help children facing serious health and educational problems in communities throughout North America – 50 percent of the proceeds will stay in the community and go directly to United Community Ministries’ Bryant Early Learning Center.

This year, for the first time, 50 percent of all Smiles for Life proceeds will be donated to children’s charities designated by the participating dentists. Geren has chosen United Community Ministries’ Bryant Early Learning Center as his Smiles for Life partner. The remaining 50 percent will be donated to Garth Brooks’ “Teammates for Kids” Foundation.  For more information about Smiles for Life, visit www.smilesforlife.org or call Geren’s office at 703-360-5881.

The Fairfax County Park Foundation is now selling a Preserve, Protect, Play awareness wristband. The band is green and is available at many Park Authority locations, as well as the Park Foundation web site. The goal of this project is to increase awareness of the Foundation and the projects it support. The Foundation hopes to raise money in support of local parks by selling the bands for $2 each. Bulk sales are available at www.fairfaxcountyparkfoundation.com. For more information, call the Park Foundation at 703-324-8581.