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An Appreciation of VICCC's Board Member & Friend, Earl Brown

Updated: Aug 3

Many people know and love Earl Brown, and were saddened for him when his long- time partner and love, Lynn Price, died of cancer on April 2. The VICCC Board agreed that we wantedto find a way to memorialize Lynn and to show our great appreciation to Earl. Our Center Director, Judy Shelor, began by penning this tribute:




A few months ago, the idea of the "Buddy Bench"appeared on Facebook, and it caught the imagination of the VICCC Board and staff. Buddy Benches are increasingly being placed on school playgrounds.They are seats where a child can go and sit if he or she is having a bad day, is sad, or worried, or new at school, or feeling lonely. Other children are encouraged to go to the Buddy Bench, and invite the child to come and share play. It becomes part of the school's culture to acknowledge that children need kindness, and care, and empathy, and that, rather than bullying or ignoring a sad child, children themselves can be a big part of creating a welcoming,inclusive atmosphere in the school. The idea works.The VICCC Board voted unanimously to find an unpainted wood bench, which the children could take part in decorating, to be used as our Buddy Bench at VICCC. The need was immediately and generously met by Bennet Cassell, husband of our Board President, Teresa, who built the exact right bench and offered it to be our Buddy Bench. Thank you, Bennet!


Earl Brown had been the first person to respond to this idea, and the first to say, "Let's do it!" The idea of teaching children to care for one other, and toinclude one other, is consistent with everything Earl has always stood for. In honor of Earl, and in memory of his Lynn, the Buddy Bench will be dedicated in their honor.


The Buddy Bench is now situated on the VICCC playground. With the artistic aid of VICCC's Founding Grandmother, Elizabeth Foster, the children have placed their painted hand prints on the bench, so that it is now their bench. They will be encouraged to use it if they are having a hard day, or just wantsomeone to play with, and all the children will learnthat a child sitting on the bench will be invited tocome and play, and to be part of the happy andloving place we call VICCC.






Virginia’s First Lady Visits Blacksburg to Highlight Child Care & Agriculture


Virginia’s First Lady, Pamela Northam, made a few stops in our hometowns this week. Many of these visits come as the state is taking steps to expand access to affordable childcare and recognize Agriculture Week.

“I’m a firm believer that they are our most precious resource,” said Earl Brown, a board member at Valley Interfaith Child Care Center (VICCC).

“I was just reading with the children and they were so smart. They knew what was happening in the room, they were able to follow or able to sit and listen to a long story,” said Northam. Northam stopped at an early childhood center in Blacksburg to spend a bit of time with kids,but also talk about the state’s Child Care Subsidy Program.


“We are so appreciative of incredible work that the early childhood community has done since the beginning of this pandemic. They always do amazing work with our most important treasure, which is our youngest, littlest learner,” said Northam.

The expansion is designed to support families and childcare providers, like the

Valley Interfaith Child Care Center. “They have been open and in-person keeping their children safe, happy and healthy and learning throughout this whole pandemic, and we just wanted to come and say thank you so very much,” said Northam.

The center supports low-income working parents with infants and toddlers, so having the extra support from the state helps uphold their mission.


“And our mission has always been to have our children be beloved, cared for, valued and educated people, that they are going to need to be and want to be before they start school,”said Jeanne Roper, a board member at VICCC.

“You have to have leaders involved in getting things as far as support and believing in programs that children are our most precious resource. It all starts there.”


“And our mission has always been to have our children be beloved, cared for, valued and educated people, that they are going to need to be and want to be before they start school,”said Jeanne Roper, a board member at VICCC.

“You have to have leaders involved in getting things as far as support and believing in programs that children are our most precious resource. It all starts there.”



Note From The Director


You get by with a little help from your friends. This has always

been a great adage, and a good song. That has never been

more true than the last year. Our friends have given us a

helping hand. We received funds through the CARES grant

program. We also received funds from you, our donors.

Without those funds, we would not be able to give our children

a quality experience. When our little ones come to us, we want

to give them that quality, intentional experience. Through the

years, this community has been a friend to VICCC. In fact, many

of you, helped build us into what we are today. Whether it is

giving to the music program, our donating funds for a new

playground, you have had a hand in making us what we are

today. We thank you for partnering with us through the thick

and the thin. Last year was a thin year for so many and we are

looking forward to better days for us all. VICCC is still serving

low-income families with quality care. We thank you, in

advance, for partnering with us again. If you can give, through

our NAP tax credit program with a minimum gift of $500, or

through a smaller denomination, we consider you a friend.

Now is the time for us all to pull together and support one

another. Thank you for being a friend.


Judy Shelor

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