Tag Archives: charity


Prom Dress Rewind

All girls dream of going to the prom. They have fun finding the perfect dress with their friends, scoping out the best color-matched accessories and shoes to make the picture-perfect night meet all of their expectations. With the assistance of local teachers and educators, many of the girls who couldn’t afford the cost of a prom ticket and the daunting expense of the right outfit are now able to have their dream night come true.

Amanda Bostick, Student Support Specialist with Communities in Schools at Lexington Senior High School, has found a way to put the happiness back into prom for many local teens. Each year, Bostick and staff gather prom dresses and allow students who are unable to pay for a dress to peruse through gently worn dresses and find the perfect one for prom.

AmandaBostick“In 2009, with help of Librarian Cheryl Chauncy, we pulled together a few used prom dresses and laid them in my office for the girls to see,” according to Bostick. “As the girls would filter through my office throughout the day, they would check out the dresses and find one that worked best for them. It sparked an idea and made us realize the true need for many of the teens at Lexington Senior High School. The following year we joined the event with Touching Davidson County with Love and offered a guest speaker to talk about young women’s empowerment and we had a good turnout.”

Every young lady dreams of going to the prom, but for these girls it’s just not an option because they can’t afford it. “The staff gets together to help them pay for their prom tickets and the whole purpose is to help these girls fit in. Prom is an excellent opportunity for young ladies to feel good about themselves and to dress up. Many of these kids don’t have clothes to wear to school each day, so they definitely couldn’t afford a prom dress,” added Bostick.

Year to year Bostick and staff will gather donated dresses to offer during the event. “We host the event in the library, offer refreshments, and allow the girls to look through the available dresses and try on until they find one they like.” Each year, according to Bostick, between 50 and 75 dresses are available. On average, 50 girls will participate in the event annually.

“We try and host the event during the week because transportation can be a huge issue for these teens and we want them to have the opportunity to participate if there is a need,” said Bostick. In partnership with Communities in Schools, alterations are paid for if adjustments are needed, and the dresses are free.

 The biggest need is not only for dresses, but also for accessories. “We will get donated dresses, but where we are lacking is in accessories like necklaces, accent jewelry, and shoes. Girls today are dealing with body shaming, social media, and for most of these girls, extreme poverty at home on top of their day-to-day challenges,” added Bostick. “I believe that positive self-esteem can get you so far in life. Being a strong woman from the inside out and not worrying about what others think of you is part of my daily encouragement to over 100 students I case-manage at the high school.”

As an advocate for the students she supports, Bostick realizes the importance of someone in their life who encourages them that an education and positive self-worth are ways to get out of their impoverished situations. “Many of these kids are the only financial support for their entire families,” said Bostick. “Trying to be more understanding of their situations is important, but so is instilling the importance of graduation and how it leads to success in life.”

Many of the students that Bostick works with are working really hard to succeed, but deal with the language barriers of their parents, lack of proper food, or even lack of power or water at home. “I always encourage them that their education is a way out of these situations,” said Bostick.

A program that is also available to qualified students is an after school program called Life Instructions for Teens or L.I.F.T. This program is offered through a grant from the North Carolina Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils and allows kids actually to get paid for attending the program on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“This program offers life skills like resume building and speaking in public,” said Bostick. “There are approximately 25-35 students in the program and the great upside to the program is that once it’s completed, the staff works with the students to get them paid jobs during the summer months. I tell students every day, no matter what their situation is, no matter how defeated they feel, always walk with your head up. I tell them to thank God every day that they got up that morning and be proud of yourself and who you are,” said Bostick.

Suffering from her own childhood issues, Bostick makes it a point to make sure that everyone feels wanted and no one feels they are forgotten about. The prom dress donation opportunity is just another example of how Bostick and the staff at Lexington Senior High are able to keep these children on the path for success and to help them know someone is caring for them. According to Bostick, “We are an amazing school where we all want to help each other out and give these teens the best opportunities to succeed. In my mind, no one is ever to feel left out!” she emphasized.

To make a donation or for additional information call Amanda Bostick 336-242-1574


7th Annual Sportsmen’s Saturday

By Les Gura Wake Forest Baptist HealthWire

Tracy Nunn, manager of Rehabilitation Services at Wake Forest Baptist Health Lexington Medical Center, described her newest piece of equipment as being “like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

The “Neo” machine allows Rehab Services therapists—at the touch of a screen—to provide electrical stimulation, ultrasound, EMG biofeedback, EMG-triggered stimulation and laser to treat patients’ pain and direct their rehabilitation programs.

Rehab Services obtained the machine thanks in part to money raised at the 2015 Sportsmen’s Saturday, the annual raffle for big-ticket prizes and cash. Early bird tickets are now on sale for the 2016 Sportsmen’s Saturday, set for Oct. 29.

Each year, the proceeds of Sportsmen’s Saturday are targeted for one major improvement at Lexington Medical Center. Last year’s proceeds went toward new equipment at Rehab Services, one of the busiest departments at the medical center. As many as 150 patients a day and more than 25,000 a year visit Rehab Services for physical, occupational, and speech therapies.

Another important change being made at Rehab Services thanks to proceeds from the 2015 Sportsmen’s Saturday is a covered drop-off area. By November, patients in wheelchairs or using walkers or crutches will have a protected passage from their vehicles to enter Rehab Services.

“We value any help we can get,’’ said Nunn, thanking community members. “To have something that allows us to see more patients, to be more efficient with our patient care, and to provide better patient care just makes our day; that’s why we’re here.”

Growth and Community Connection

 Sportsmen’s Saturday has grown tremendously since it began in 2010. The first event sold 1,200 tickets and $60,000 worth of prizes were given away. A total of 2,000 tickets are available for this year’s 7th Annual Sportsmen’s Saturday. More than $100,000 in cash and prizes—as well as an auction—will be offered.

To date, the event has raised $628,700. Including matching money from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, more than $1 million has gone toward improvement projects at Lexington Medical Center.

Besides Rehab Services, previous community donations through Sportsmen’s Saturday have led to major improvements at the Cancer Center, and expansion of the Emergency Department and other facilities at the medical center. In each case, improvements have increased patient access and comfort, as well as offering new care technologies.

Bill James, president of Lexington Medical Center, said the event is a special one for the community and the medical center.

“Sportsmen’s Saturday is an opportunity for people to have fun and enjoy good food in an exciting atmosphere,’’ he said. “But it’s also a very important fundraiser for Lexington Medical Center that has resulted in tremendous benefit for our patients.

“We look forward to continuing to offer improvements that provide better care and comfort for our patients thanks to the generosity of this community.”

Biggest event yet

This year’s raffle will again be held at the Historic Southern Railway Freight Depot. Early bird tickets are available through Sept. 12 at 19 locations around Davidson County, as well as online. Those who buy early are eligible for five special cash drawings.

Nina Smith, chair of the Lexington Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, said she expects Oct. 29 to be the biggest Sportsmen’s Saturday yet.

“We have five auction items this year, which is more than in past years, to go with all 18 of the prizes and a dozen cash awards,’’ Smith said. “With a maximum of 2,000 tickets being sold, you have a great chance to win amazing gifts’’.

The high-end, sports-themed prizes include a Sea-Doo Spark with trailer, an Avalon Pontoon, a Harley-Davidson Low Rider® and a Chevy Silverado 4X4.

Among the items to be auctioned are tickets to a NASCAR race with pit and suite passes donated by the honorary chairman of Sportsmen’s Saturday, Richard Childress. Also set for auction are tickets to a Charlotte Panthers football game and a wildlife carving by Davidson County artist Keith “Bub” Wright.

Sportsmen’s Saturday will begin at noon on Oct. 29; gates open at the Southern Railway depot at 11 a.m. For a complete list of prizes and to purchase tickets, visit  Lexington.WakeHealth.edu/Sportsmens



The Holiday House was hosted by Dan and Laurie Briggs in 2011 as pictured here in the snow.

The House that Charity Built

Long-running Fundraiser Celebrates 55th Year

By Ryan Jones

The first week of December marks for many Lexington families the start of traditions that typically involve securing a tree to trim, hanging some lights, adding a wreath or two, and settling in to enjoy the festive atmosphere with close family and friends.

But for those homeowners lucky enough to be inducted into the Holiday House Hall of Fame, the first week of December means stepping aside to let a league of ladies descend, decorate, and, finally, march hordes of strangers through each room to admire their handiwork.

Every year since 1960, one local family has agreed to let their home be the site of the Charity League of Lexington’s signature fundraiser, which draws hundreds of visitors from across Davidson County and generates enough money to support a year’s worth of charitable outreach geared toward children.

Mayor Newell Clark will be the host home for 2014
Mayor Newell Clark will be the host home for 2014

This year on Dec. 5 and 6, Lexington Mayor Newell Clark will join the ranks of past hosts, opening his Colonial Revival-style home on West Third Avenue to the public for the 55th annual Holiday House. Across the street at the J. Smith Young YMCA’s brand-new event space, 119 West Third, will be the Shoppes of Holiday House.

“I’m excited to do it. I love my home. I’d open the doors right now and let people walk in,” laughed Clark. He bought the house in 2009, five years after moving back to North Carolina from Santa Barbara, CA. “I think probably one thing I’m most excited about is that this is the first house to be shown in the newly-named historic district for the city.”

Like several other homes located in what is now known as the Park Place Historic District in Uptown Lexington, Clark’s was built using the plans of Atlanta-based architect, Leila Ross Wilburn in the early 1920s.

“[A female architect] was pretty unheard of back then. She did a lot of homes in Lexington and this house is definitely one of them,” Clark said. “There’s a long history of multiple families living here. Folks that have been in that home that are in their 80s will still see the home they remember, but it’s been freshened and made more contemporary [while] paying respect to the architecture and the architect.”

One thing Clark wants to be visible amidst the holiday décor is his own careful blend of contemporary and antique style.

“In one room I’ve got a cabinet from the 1800s and a couch that’s Lexington Home Brands that was built last year. [Visitors] will be able to see a blend of artwork I’ve collected; abstracts and realistic work by local artists I like and some of my work, my photography, throughout the house. I love hearing [other people’s] stories of unique pieces of furniture, paintings, and how they collected it. That’s what I think people will see in my home. I live my life as a public official and my home is my sanctuary to escape and just be with my family. But I also know I like to get creative ideas from other people. That part of sharing my home I enjoy.”

Though he’s excited to show off pieces like a framed mirror in his living room that was reclaimed from one of the home’s original medicine cabinets, Clark is adamant that people who visit the Holiday House take note of the fact that it isn’t a museum.

“It’s me and my daughter here. It’s well-designed and well-built but it’s also a home. I’d like for people to get that feeling because that’s how we feel. We truly use every room in the house,” he said. “Each room has its own character; they serve purposes.”

In spite of the unusual circumstance of hundreds of strangers viewing his private life, Clark is attracted to the idea of supporting an organization with a long history of helping the community.

The home of Mark and Mimi Elmore was the host home for the Holiday House in 2010
The home of Mark and Mimi Elmore was the host home for the Holiday House in 2010

“It’s personal to open your home. People hear me speak or see me on TV or read about me in an article and they think they know me [but) it’s a different thing to walk into someone’s home,” he said. “I believe in the mission of the Charity League and the work they’re doing to raise money to help with initiatives for kids. If something I can do to help is open my home, then I’m willing to do that. All of this goes back to how giving this community is. Every year someone says, ‘I’m opening my home, come through it,’ and it’s amazing that through the years folks do that; they do it to help their community. It’s fantastic to be part of that group.”

Ralph and Mary Allison Bailey were the first to open their home to the public to support the Charity League’s mission.

“We needed some money,” laughed Julia Strader, who served as the Holiday House’s first chairwoman the same year she joined the league as an official member. “The [Bailey] house was new and we thought people would be very interested in going through it.”

The Holiday House wasn’t the first fundraiser the league had put on since it was founded by a group of good-hearted, card-playing women in 1935, but it stuck. Strader, a Lexington transplant from Greenville, SC said the first event brought in a little over $400.

“I thought we were on to something, but you never know until you see how it works out and in a small town in particular. Every year it just increased with people interested. We’ve come a long way.”

Nowadays the fundraiser brings in between $6,000 and $10,000 annually in ticket sales. That doesn’t include the revenue from the Holiday House Shoppes, which can approach $11,000 in a good year. The Shoppes are a sister fundraiser based on the original bazaar-style event hosted by the Charity League that fell to the wayside in the mid-1980s. Members contribute projects, crafts, and pre-prepared food items to be sold alongside items from outside vendors.

“We brought it [the Shoppes] back in 2007-ish. We knew we had some talented people within the group and the leadership was in place for that,” said Ellen Welborn, a longtime League member. “It’s hard to go up on the ticket price for the house, so we decided we would do that [to bring in more money].”

Welborn said most visitors to the Holiday House have been coming for years.

“It’s a tradition with a lot of clubs and groups of women. They’ll come in the morning, go through the Shoppes, and then have lunch.”

“The Holiday House is a great tradition. I think people look forward to it as a kickoff for the holiday season,” said Paula Turlington, a 25-year veteran of the Charity League. “People love to come see the homes themselves, but I think they also really enjoy seeing [them] decorated for the holidays. They get ideas to decorate their own homes.”

Brenda Houser, who is serving as co-chair of the Holiday House this year along with Christa Weeks, said the makeup of visitors is usually a good mix of people from Lexington and surrounding areas.

“A lot of folks come in from the county; some folks with ties to friends, family or colleagues will come in from out of town. We do our best to advertise it on news stations outside of just Lexington and Davidson County. Our goal is really to raise as much money as possible from everywhere.”

One of Turlington’s most memorable Holiday House experiences was in 1999 when the then-home of Ed and Peggy Hinkle was featured.


Christmas Trees of Davidson County

A Winter Wonderland

Again this year, people from across the Triad will visit Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center to celebrate the holidays as businesses and civic organizations decorate trees for a month long display. Then, as it has for more than a decade, TMC’s lobby transforms into a festive winter wonderland with the lighting of the annual Christmas Trees of Davidson County. The lobby is open for visitors to enjoy daily from 6:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

“This is the Foundation’s gift to the community during the holidays,” shares Novant Health Foundation Thomasville Medical Center executive director, Susan Reece. “The winter wonderland serves as a one of a kind holiday greeting to those who support us throughout the year. It is truly a spectacular sight to stroll through the lobby of sparkling and festive Christmas trees.”

The entry hall at Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center
The entry hall at Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center

Thomasville Medical Center has become a favorite holiday gathering place for the community. Each tree is uniquely decorated and has a story of its own. There is no cost to a business or civic group to participate. Some organizations donate the decorated tree to the foundation which accepts bids through a silent auction on the trees throughout the month. The lucky winner then purchases a beautifully decorated holiday tree with proceeds benefiting the foundation.

Reece shares that money from this year’s auction is earmarked for the hospital’s growing oncology program, providing patients in financial need who are being treated for cancer with nutritional supplements and an exercise program to aid recovery. Proceeds will also be used to help launch rehabilitative support for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We want people to view the hospital as a place of wellness, and hosting something that brings people to the hospital for no other reason than to view the trees and celebrate the holidays is a great opportunity,” says Reece.

Throughout the month are a variety of activities going on in the lobby as well. Visitors can enjoy carolers from an area church or daycare, employees singing around the piano, and samples of hot cider or cocoa. Visitors come by car, bus and caravan, and many families use the festive scenery as a backdrop for their annual holiday card to friend and families.

Reece recalls observing a young couple with their two day old baby posing for their first family photos using the trees as the backdrop. “They even put the baby under one of the trees for the picture like the baby was the gift,” says Reece. “And then there were those who visited from area nursing homes and visited with Santa. They shared they couldn’t remember the last time they talked with Santa. We are honored to be a part of the community and are honored to share this winter wonderland with each and every visitor.”