March 2023 e-newsletter

March 2023

Happy spring! I know it’s a few days early, but flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and in spite of the snow this weekend, there is that feeling of wonder and beauty that comes with the changing of the seasons.

Tomorrow: March 14 fundraiser at Dairy Market

Dino Hoxha has been one of Bennett’s Village’s biggest fans from the very beginning. Bennett and his family spent many a celebratory meal at one of Dino’s restaurants, and Dino was one of the first business owners to donate a portion of a day’s sales to help us build a place where all can play. Last month, he hosted a fundraiser at Pro Re Nata; this Tuesday, March 14, he’ll donate proceeds from his restaurants at Dairy Market. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m, 20% of all sales at Dino’s Wood-fired Pizza & Grill and Basta Pasta will go to Bennett’s Village. Stop by, bring your friends, and eat some yummy food!

Bench installed along path at Pen Park

Last fall, a Bennett’s Village volunteer noted the lack of seating along the path from the parking lot to the current play area and bathrooms. For many in our community—including those with mobility challenges or those who have low levels of energy due to chemotherapy, illness, or respiratory challenges—the walk from the parking lot to the nearest seating area is just too far, making it impossible to access the space. Bennett’s Village worked with City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation to install additional seating along the path. This is just one example of how Bennett’s Village is working with Parks and Recreation to lower the barriers to access to our outdoor play spaces. We hope you’ll check out the new bench the next time you head to Pen Park.

[Image caption: Green bench along a path with a rainbow in the background.]  

Twelfth Night tickets

The UVA Department of Drama has offered Bennett’s Village a fantastic opportunity to share our project with audience members attending their April production of Twelfth Night. In addition to letting us set up an information table in the lobby before the show, they’re also offering us two tickets to the show each night. We still have a few openings for Bennett’s Village volunteers to attend on the following nights: Saturday, April 1; Thursday, April 6; and Friday, April 7. You don’t even have to sit at the info table. Just arrive by 7:30 (the show starts at 8:00 p.m.) and enjoy the show as a thank you for your support of Bennett’s Village. If you’re interested, please reply to this email.

Planning the next phases

At Bennett’s Village, we’ve been hard at work these last few months raising money to complete Phase One and start to plan future phases of our multigenerational all-abilities play space. The accessible treehouse and path through the woods is just the beginning! A few weeks ago we met with city officials to begin mapping out the order of phasing for the rest of the project. Phasing is a bit of a puzzle and one that has to be coordinated carefully to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to support the additional elements to the space while keeping some areas open for play. 

[Image caption: Bennett’s Village Board members and City staff met in February to discuss future phases of Bennett’s Village.]

Kara McClurken/Bennett’s Village honored at UVA men’s basketball game by local business

Bennett’s Village President Kara McClurken was one of the finalists for the Carter Myers Automotive Moving Lives Forward award who were honored at the UVA men’s basketball game on February 28. Awardees are recognized for giving their time and talents, bringing awareness to our community’s needs, and serving others. In addition to a signed jersey from Coach Tony Bennett, the organization will receive $1,000 from Carter Myers Automotive in recognition of Kara’s dedication to” moving our community forward.” 

[Image caption: Kara McClurken (near the net at bottom) is walking onto the court as the announcers talk about her work with Bennett’s Village. A photo of Kara and Bennett is on the jumbotron.] 

Happy International Women’s Day

Last week, several Bennett’s Village volunteers gathered at Pen Park to celebrate some of the amazing women who are working hard to build a multigenerational, all-abilities play space. 

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