A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Summer is here and we have so many exciting things going on at Better2gether! We wrapped up our most successful fundraising event to date- the 2nd Annual Better2gether Golf Classic presented by Call Federal. A huge thank you to our valued sponsors and volunteers that made this a great day, and created a sold out event. We also held our first in person event for families with the help of our wonderful community partner, Kiwanis of Midlothian-Chesterfield!
We have grown the organization to support four new families and 6 children with medically complex illnesses, and we are receiving new applications weekly. A heartfelt “Thank you!” to our community members who’ve already made donations towards the purchase of additional Kindles and backpack supplies. As we are committing to supporting more children and families each month, these items are needed now more than ever. Please visit our website’s donation page so you can learn how to bring these much needed (and much appreciated!) items to families in our community.
With two more family events on tap for the summer and the 4th Annual RVA Cares 5k scheduled for October 29, we have great opportunities for you to be involved! Thank you for the many ways you support Better2gether, allowing us to impact the lives of children with medically complex illnesses and their families. We hope to see you soon!
Executive Director, Co-Founder
Meet our Champion of the Month: Landon
Like most ten-year-old kids, Landon enjoys playing video games (Minecraft is his favorite), reading and swimming. But unlike most kids his age, Landon has spent countless hours attending to his medical needs as a result of his Muscular Dystrophy diagnosis.
Throughout his young life, Landon has experienced multiple medical appointments and medical tests including EKGs, echocardiograms, bone density scans, blood work, and pulmonary exams.
Yet Landon approaches his medical challenges the way he approaches just about everything in life: with an equal mixture of realism and optimism. “He doesn’t really complain about anything hardly at all,” shares his mom, Beth. “He just accepts everything in life the way it is. I would describe him as ‘go with the flow.’”
But Landon does more than simply go with the flow. He actively considers alternative view points and encourages others to alter their perspective to cope with challenges or stressors. “If I ever get frustrated or impatient about something,” explains his mom, “Landon always says ‘Well, what about…?’ and then brings up a different point of view.”
You can also add “humble and accomplished” to the list of adjectives to describe Landon. Landon came in first place out of the entire 4th grade in a math competition at his school. “And he didn’t even brag about it,” shares his mom. “I found out from his teacher because he didn’t even tell me!”
For this interview, Landon’s mom Beth asked him what he would like to share with others about himself. “He said he has Muscular Dystrophy,” Beth explains. “I asked him, ‘Other than that?’ and he responded, ‘Why? That’s cool!’ I can’t really sum him up any better than that.”
Beth first learned about Better2gether through her participation in the Moments Support Group, a Better2gether resource designed to support the unique challenges faced by parents of children with medically complex illnesses. She and Landon look forward to participating in future events and connecting with other local families in the community.
Recap: 2nd Annual Better2gether Golf Classic Presented by Call Federal Credit Union
Thanks to our incredible sponsors, players, volunteers, and silent auction participants, we were able to raise over $39,000 at this year’s 2nd Annual Golf Classic on June 8; our most successful fundraiser yet!
Because of you, we will be able to make a more widespread impact in the lives of families with children battling rare and complex illnesses in Central Virginia.
Special thanks to our Title Sponsor, Call Federal Credit Union, for their invaluable partnership for the second year in a row.
We’d also like to give a big shout out to the many wonderful organizations listed below who donated to our raffle, tournament prizes, and online silent auction. Thanks to their generous donations, we were able to raise close to $8,000 in funds alone. Be sure to check them out!
In addition, Mike King with “Mic on the Mike” broadcast his radio show live on air during the tournament! He connected with players, sponsors, and volunteers and highlighted all of the golf action in real time. Thank you for your partnership and participation, Mike!
RVA Cares 5K and Kids Fun Run, Halloween Edition
Date: October 29, 2022
Location: West Creek Parkway, Performance Food Group
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 4th Annual Better2gether RVA Cares 5K and Kids Fun Run with a Halloween twist on October 29, 2022!
We hope you’ll join us for a scary good time running, walking, or strolling through the course at a new location, Performance Food Group at West Creek Parkway. Not to mention we have a spooktacular Post-Race After Party planned including:
Visit www.RVACares5K.com to register and for more information.
Interested in sponsoring the race? Check out our sponsorship benefits and opportunities by clicking below.
Summer Bash Event Series
Summer days mean our Summer Bash Series is back! Spend time with Better2gether families and get involved by volunteering to help with an event. Opportunities are listed below.
Beats in Bloom Music and Gardening Event
Date: Saturday, July 23
Better to be Together for a Moment Summer Picnic Event
Date: Saturday, August 6
A big thanks to Kiwanis Club for lending a helping hand at our June art event! Pictures of the action below.
Since 2020 the Kiwanis Club of Midlothian-Chesterfield has been a strong supporter and wonderful community partner of Better2gether. This group of dedicated members can always be counted on to volunteer in multiple ways including the most recent June Jubilee event where they helped kids with arts and crafts projects and provided a delicious lunch. A huge thank you to Jim Friedline, Wayne Compton and the many dedicated members that so generously use their time and resources to improve the lives of families with medically complex children.
Complex Care Clinic Kids Snack Drive
Colonial CrossFit in Chester is hosting a food pantry collection site for the Complex Care Clinic snack pantry. Visit their website at www.colonialcrossfit.com
If you have any questions, please contact Better2gether’s Resource Coordinator, Carissa Russo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shop Better2gether’s Amazon Wishlists
Looking for more ways to contribute? Make a donation by shopping our Better Bags Backpack and Tote Bag wishlist or Complex Care Clinic wishlist on Amazon. Your contribution will help ease the burden of families caring for a child with medical complexities.
Here’s How You Can Help
Better2gether Virtual Speaker Series for Families
Because of the support of our valued community partners, we’re proud to bring a monthly virtual speaker series to our families which addresses important health topics and issues.
Thank you to the following organizations for their contributions:
- ABLEnow for discussing details regarding how to open a disability bank account without affecting the benefits received.
- CATS for addressing needs related to durable medical equipment, assistive technology, and environmental modifications.
- Sportable for addressing needs related to adaptive sports.
- Anthem for providing
information regarding the Medicaid Waiver, as well as tips and tricks for the best ways to utilize case management.
- Mental Health America of Virginia for talking to caregivers about their own mental health and self-care.
- Read to Them for discussing why their mission is to create a culture of literacy in every home.
- Moms In Motion for discussing service facilitation and information regarding the Medicaid Waiver.
If you’d like to learn more about presenting in our virtual speaker series, please contact Better2gether’s Resource Coordinator, Carissa Russo, at email@example.com.
Meet our Board Member: Chris Smith
After spending nearly 20 years working his way up the corporate ladder – from Accountant to Division Controller – Chris Smith decided to take a step back and make some changes in his life. He wanted to continue working in the field he’s passionate about, but also wanted more flexibility to spend time with his wife Karen and their now 18-year-old daughter Shelby, and to give back to the community.
Along with Jimmy Comer, a licensed agent in Property, Casualty and Life Insurance, Chris co-founded RBI Services. “Our goal is to take the headaches of accounting, payroll and insurance away from small business owners, as well as help all taxpayers get their fair shake at an honest price come tax time,” he shares.
In addition to supporting the needs of local small businesses, RBI has another important mission – to give back to the community it serves.
When you visit the RBI Services website, their corporate values are clearly stated: “Our commitment to our community is the backbone of RBI Services. The same concept applies to businesses. Making decisions based on what’s right for each individual family and small business – plus giving back through serving on nonprofit boards and volunteering – creates stronger community.”
And that’s exactly what Chris set out to do.
Chris first learned about Better2gether through community networking and was eager to get involved. “When I met (B2G Executive Director) Stephanie Becker, her energy and passion for Better2gether was infectious,” he says. “Joining the Board, I looked at how lucky we are and saw the struggles others have been through. I knew there had to be some way to help parents navigate it.”
As a tireless, hands-on Board member and Treasurer, Chris is committed to helping grow the organization. “I want to create a place where parents can get the answers they need and the support their deserve to help their families flourish,” he shares.
Midlothian Rotary Club Grant
We are thrilled to announce Better2gether was selected to be the recipient of a grant through the Midlothian Rotary Club. The club raises funds throughout the year and solicits charities to apply for funding. After a rigorous grant process with numerous applications, the Midlothian Rotary awarded $35,000 to nine charities. A huge thank you to the club for their support of Better2gether!
Junkluggers/Remix Market Community Partnership
We are excited to announce a new community partnership! Andy Taylor and his team at JunkLuggers and ReMix Market will come to your home or work and remove unwanted items, freeing up space for you to live and work more successfully. This company does a lot more than haul away your junk. As their website says, they exist “To enhance lives, our community, and the environment by donating, recycling, and supporting local charities.” That means items don’t end up in landfills; instead they donate items to local charities and fix up the unwanted items and resell them at their bustling store, ReMix Market. Don’t blink as high quality merchandise arrives and leaves daily!
As a true steward of our community, Taylor selects a charity to donate a portion of his proceeds to quarterly. Better2gether is honored to have been chosen to be the community partner of this incredible organization. We appreciate their support and are proud to partner with an organization working to create meaningful change in our community.
PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TODAY!
There are thousands of families in RVA caring for a child with a medically complex illness who have no non-medical support. Please consider donating today so Better2gether RVA can meet the needs of these deserving families and children.
What Your Donation Does:
$50 – provides a Kindle Fire for distraction and entertainment during long doctor appointments
$75 – provides a gas card and meal gift card to help relieve the financial burden for families during an unexpected hospital stay
$150 – stocks a tote bag filled with books, supplies and a medical binder to equip parents with tools to care for their child
$200 – grants 4 children access to our Create2gether Art Program
$500 – helps fund MOMENTS, Richmond’s only support group for parents of medically complex children