Two Ways to Give Big to Our Community's Children in April




Give Big to Our Community’s Children this April!



“Let’s read three more books before we go outside to play!” – Child enrolled in Reading Hour


Hello, Smart Beginnings NRV Champion,

We wanted to share with you what we’ve been up to this spring and ask for your help to ensure the best beginning for our community’s children!

As of today, Reading Hour has grown and is serving 156 children in 4 of the 5 localities in the New River Valley in 20 different childcare centers. We are so grateful for everyone who has helped to make Reading Hour grow and succeed since its inception two years ago. From Reading Hour mentors to donors to celebrity readers, you have been a part of bringing the joy of reading to many children over the past two years. Thank you!

Give Big NRV: April 20th

We need your help to continue to reach as many children as possible. On April 20th we are participating in Give Big NRV (an online giving initiative of the Community Foundation for the NRV). Help us reach our goal of $3,000 by midnight on the 20th!. Your donation will help send books home with children enrolled in Reading Hour and ensure programming for children over the summer and into the fall. Please make a donation on April 20th to add to our community’s funds raised in a single day.

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“Young children who have access to books in the home and who are read aloud to regularly have the best chance of becoming successful readers.” – Catherine Snow, Peg Burns, and Susan Griffin, 1998


Book Drive for Free Little Libraries

We have also partnered with Giles Early Childhood Partnership (GEEP) and the Radford Rotarian to build and install Free Little Libraries this month. We are collecting books to stock these community libraries, as well as those located in Montgomery, Floyd, and Pulaski. To participate in our Book Drive, please come see us at 201 W Roanoke Street in Blacksburg with new or gently used children’s and teen’s book to donate. If traveling to Blacksburg is a burden, please contact us for other box locations.


Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook!

Together we can continue to help every child develop a love a reading and believe that they, too, can be successful!


Moe's Percentage Night for Smart Beginnings NRV

From 5-8pm on Thursday, December 10th, Moe's in downtown Blacksburg will be hosting a percentage night for Smart Beginnings NRV. 20% of the proceeds will go directly towards our Reading Hour Program where we ensure that the children in the NRV are getting the proper literacy attention needed. The funds will be used to support volunteer background checks as well as supplies for literacy crafts for the children to participate in. So, please take an enjoyable break to support the children's Reading Hour on your Reading Day! Don't forget to bring the flyer posted below!

Here's the flyer that will need to be presented in order for proceeds to go towards Smart Beginnings NRV. If you can't print this out or haven't received one yet, then you can present this electronic copy on your phone. One for you and one for a friend. Don't forget!

Here is a PDF


and here is an image.


Environments and Transitions Professional Development a Huge Success

85 Teachers and Directors attend a 6 hour training entitled "Environments and Transitions" at NRCC in Dublin. During this day teachers/directors could choose from 10 sessions ranging in topics from "Engaging Environments" to "Literacy with Intention". Our keynote speaker addressed the "Important Interactions for Instruction" using the CLASS tool. While John Massey added NRV and APP center director's in the best way to manage change in his session, "Change Management".

2016 AmeriCorp Member Kaitlyn Hagreen

Kaitlyn Hagreen Hello! My name is Kaitlyn Hagreen and I got involved in AmeriCorps - Smart Beginnings because I really believe in what the program is accomplishing. I am an alumna of NRCC where I received my Associate's in Early Childhood Development. I worked on a project my last semester there focusing specifically on children's literacy. I am excited to be a part of this program and to see it grow into the NRV and to promote children's literacy!


2016 AmeriCorp Member Sarah Clark

Hello! I'm Sarah Clark and I'm currently a freshman at Virginia Tech studying Public Relations and Music. As a member of a service-based living learning community at Tech, I was introduced to VT Engage and the opportunities serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Smart Beginnings. Some of my passions include service, education, and children, so I am excited to be able to combine all three as I work with children and childcare centers in the New River Valley. I recognize that my early access to literature fostered a love of reading that has carried me through my upbringing to one of the top universities in the world, and I hope that through my service this year, I can help start to provide those foundations for children in the area to have the same access to the opportunities I have had.


2016 AmeriCorp Member John Mauger

I'm John Mauger, and I am a junior at Virginia Tech studying Sociology and Marketing. I heard about the AmeriCorps Smart Beginnings program through my friends with SERVE LLC. I wanted to get involved in a national service program as a way to have an active and direct involvement in my community. I am very excited to help change young lives and pave the way for improved literacy. Hoping to make a lasting change no matter how small.


Terry Arbogast joins Smart Beginnings NRV Board of Directors

Terry Arbogast Terry E. Arbogast, II has served as Superintendent for Giles County Public Schools since August of 2004. Prior to this, he served as the Deputy Superintendent for the school system, as well as Principal and Assistant Principal at NHS. He began his career as a Math teacher in Fauquier County before coming to Giles County. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, a Master’s degree from George Mason University, and his Ed.D. from Virginia Tech. He is excited about the opportunity to work with the members on the Smart Beginnings NRV Board of Directors and is eager to learn more about how the school system can work with local agencies to continue to strengthen the early education of our young students.


2016 AmeriCorp Member John Dworin

John Dworin I'm originally from the DC suburbs and have called Blacksburg home for the last 3 years. After I graduated from college with a degree in International Relations I decided to participate in a full-time AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program on the West coast which was the most transformative experience of my life. It led me to see the value in service and enjoy the company of others with a similar ethos. Since then, I taught middle school for 5 years, served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Honduras and lived in Mexico City as an exchange teacher. I chose to volunteer with AmeriCorps again because I wanted a path to connect with other local volunteers and get involved with what I see as the most important social justice issue facing young people today, early childhood literacy. In my spare time I play soccer, go fishing and enjoy all things outdoors.


2016 AmeriCorp Member Savannah White

Savannah White I’m currently a senior at Virginia Tech majoring in Psychology and minoring in English. Growing up near areas of poverty stricken neighborhoods in Charlottesville Virginia, I was able to see how a little bit of service for those in need goes a long way. Being able to join the Smart Beginnings and VT Engage as an AmeriCorps member allows me to continue my journey of interactive, local service combined with my love for children. I’m so excited that I get to be involved in ensuring that children in the area are getting the literacy attention that is essential to their growth. I hope to help make a positive difference in the community and to assist children in fueling their love for reading and learning all together!


2016 AmeriCorp Member Laura Montgomery

Laura Montgomery I am currently a senior Political Science major here at Tech. I'm originally from a small town in Maryland, La Plata. Over the last three years, I have come to consider Blacksburg my home. As the daughter of a fifth grade teacher, education and literacy are two things I hold so close to my heart. I hope while working that while working with Smart Beginnings I can share my love of reading with those around me. In my spare time, I enjoy watching the Hokies play, going on long walks with my dog, Maybelle, and reading!