To the Editor:
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Alice’s Kids, a new charitable organization that provides direct assistance to needy children in Mount Vernon, I would like to thank the Riverside Estates community for participating in our “Fun Run” on Saturday, May 5. I especially wanted to thank 11-year-old Beth Pyles who was the inspiration for this event.
Children living in poverty are affected in many ways. Their families may need housing assistance, food or money to keep the electricity or water running. And in Mount Vernon we are fortunate to have a number of non-profits that provide help in these situations. But when that child goes to school with holes in their shoes, wearing the same shirt five days in a row or missing a lens in their glasses, their poverty becomes more public. As one who lived on welfare as a child, I remember how we could generally keep our plight within our four walls but when we went to school it was a different situation. Alice’s Kids is designed to help those children with “minor” needs that nonetheless affect them in a big way.
Working primarily with Target, we helped a young man buy a pair of soccer cleats so he could try out for the high school team, we have helped numerous families buy clothes for their children and we’ve bought beds for two children at Hollin Meadows Elementary School who were sleeping on the floor. We’ve purchased trophies for the Janna Lee community dance troupe to replace the used trophies they got last year, paid for school supplies for an 18-year-old girl who is working her way through college and helped stock the “clothes closet” at Woodlawn Elementary that is used for children who spoil themselves during the school day.
One person described Alice’s Kids as the “petty cash drawer” of non profits and, indeed, our effort has been endorsed by all the major Mount Vernon non profits. Working with referrals from county social workers, church staff, teachers and other charitable organizations, we have seen how a little help can go a long way. It doesn’t take much to raise the self esteem of a young child and we are thrilled to be making a difference.
If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution to Alice’s Kids (www.aliceskids.org), please send it to PO Box 60, Mount Vernon, VA 22121.