The Rapp: Gratitude through cookies, safety through songwriting

See you in 2016

Important news: Rappahannock News will not be published next Thursday, Dec. 31.

Our next edition will be published Thursday, Jan. 7. In the meantime, we wish you the happiest of Christmases and New Years.

As always, we’ll post news and event updates on rappnews.com between print editions.

Cookies, carols and appreciation

CCLC's Cookie Lady, Judy DeSarno, helps with icing and frosting and other matters of importance before CCLC teachers and kids headed out to deliver the cookies and sing carols last week.Lisa Pendleton
CCLC’s Cookie Lady, Judy DeSarno, helps with icing and frosting and other matters of importance before CCLC teachers and kids headed out to deliver the cookies and sing carols last week.

The preschool children at the Child Care and Learning Center reminded five local organizations and friends how thankful they are for the services provided to the county. Last Thursday (Dec. 17), the teachers and preschool children of CCLC traveled to the Valley Health Family Medical office, Union Bank & Trust, the Rappahannock County Health Department, the Library and to a beloved former teacher’s home — to sing Christmas carols and to deliver cookies.

The children spent the day before personally decorating each and every cookie (led by CCLC’s own Cookie Lady, Judy DeSarno). They thoughtfully iced and sprinkled each of the 100 cookies in song and magically flew many reindeer cookies to the cookie drying area with loving hands.

The children take on this yearly project with much attention, because they are taught early on that giving to others is a valuable part of being a good steward to our community. One of the things we love about children is their innocent reactions and responses to life. Young children naturally have big egos to which generosity and graciousness during gift-giving time is a priceless skill taught by others around them. “We thank our whole community for caring about the families and individuals within it,” writes CCLC’s Lisa Pendleton. “It is because of you that we can teach our children that givers are the ones that make a real impact on our world.”

CCLC's preschoolers sing carols at Valley Health Family Medicine in Washington.Lisa Pendleton
CCLC’s preschoolers sing carols at Valley Health Family Medicine in Washington.

Speaking of changing the world . . .

Kid Pan Alley performed Dec. 12 with the Manassas Symphony Orchestra and Maestro James Villani.Cheryl Toth
Kid Pan Alley performed Dec. 12 with the Manassas Symphony Orchestra and Maestro James Villani.

Kid Pan Alley started 15 years ago right here in Rappahannock. The 60 songs they wrote in Rappahannock County Elementary have grown to a catalog of more than 2,500 songs written with children across the country. There are songs about every imaginable subject. But one subject keeps coming up over and over—bullying. It’s a big issue in schools everywhere. By writing a song about it, the kids find a safe place to work through their feelings, work together and inspire each other to create a better world.

“Stand Up and Be Heard, One Little Song Can Change the World” grew out of these songs. It’s a character development/bullying prevention assembly program focusing on respect — respect for each other, the community, the environment and oneself, featuring songs written with the children.

Kid Pan Alley has launched an Indigogo crowdfunding campaign to bring this program to more schools throughout the country and to record an album of the songs to be distributed to schools and libraries across the country. Past Kid Pan Alley albums have featured artists including Amy Grant, Sissy Spacek, Delbert McClinton, Cracker, Kix Brooks, Corey Harris, Suzy Bogguss and others.

Said Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock: “Kid Pan Alley is where creativity starts. Without this amazing program, most kids will never know the joy of writing and singing their own song.”

If you’d like to help Kid Pan Alley with a tax-deductible contribution and inspire thousands more children to speak to each other in song and to share values and build self-esteem, self-efficacy and respect, visit bit.ly/give2kpa.

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