How The Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite Fundraiser Helps Island Kids

The Martha's Vineyard Boys & Girls Club Has Been On island 75 Years!By now, you probably know that our Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite is a fundraiser for the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club. Why is this organization so important to support?  In our second year, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a little more time with some of the kids who belong to the “Club,” and I’ve seen first hand the impact it has on the lives of Island kids.

Painting Masterpieces

Tracing Bodies for the Paintings For Christmas In Edgartown Store WindowsThis year, I was able to stop by the Club’s After School Program, and visit the art room where the kids were working on those fabulous life-size paintings that go into empty store windows for the holidays in Edgartown.

When I first walked in, I was greeted by laughter and lots of smiles.  The kids were oblivious to me, and were so busy working together on their masterpieces.  There were paintings all over, smocks full of streaks of paint, and I enjoyed just standing back watching the kids have fun. After all, that’s what being a kid is all about, and it was clear to me that the Boys & Girls Club helps make that happen.

Joe Ruzzo & Adeline Riley Painting Together At Martha's Vineyard Boys & Girls Club After School ProgramTwo little artists, Adeline Riley and Joe Ruzzo, both 7-years-old, were working together on a Teddy Bear Santa.  Both were very into their work, very specific about the colors, and what they need to make the perfect painting.  Lucky for me, they decided it was ok if they took a break to talk to me.  They informed me it would be helpful to let the paint dry a bit anyway.

Adeline's Riley's Self-Portrait MV Boys & Girls ClubMaking A Difference: One Kid At A Time

First we talked a little bit about The Teddy Bear Suite, which they were excited for of course. Then I asked them what they liked about the Boys & Girls Club.  Both of them smiled, and said  art, and all the fun projects they get to do there after school.

Joe loves playing hoops too and having gym time. Adeline likes spending time with her friends there.  She also shared her self-portrait with me.  I asked her if she had that fancy outfit —  no, it came from her imagination.  In a time were so many kids spend time in a world filled with TV and video games, it’s nice to see them using their imagination. Those two are too cute, and how sweet are their paintings?  Another cool thing – since these two go to the Edgartown School, they just walk on over.

I also talked with another 7-year-old budding artist, Neveaha Benoit.  She was working on her self-portrait.  She had just finished tracing the outline of her body for the painting, and was working on the first coat of paint.  Needing a little help with her mouth and eyes, Mary, who works for the Club, was there to help her.  Another nice thing about the Club — plenty of adults there to supervise and lend a hand.

Neveaha Benoit With Her Self-Portrait At The After School Program MV Boys & Girls Club Teddy Bear Suite FundraiserNeveaha had a lot to say about the Club.  First of all, she likes it better than recess at school, and that sounds like a winning endorsement to me.  There’s air hockey (who wouldn’t love that), a big art room where you can really get into painting, and there’s lots of time for her to spend with her friends. Being at the Club is the best part of her day. She was even more excited to be there working on her big painting, and I can’t wait to see her finished self-portait in one of the store fronts.

The After School Program Needs Our Help

I think I’ve painted a pretty good picture as to why the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club is an important part of our community.  It’s After School Program has almost 300 members.  Kids who are there instead of home alone, or who knows where.

To make the program afforadable, parents only pay $20.00 a year.  Yes, only $20.00, that’s less than a dinner at most restaurants, to have safe, supervised, after school care.  As you can imagine, the Club has to raise a lot of money to support this program.

Teddy Bear Suite Supports The Program

What better way to celebrate the joy of the Holidays than to celebrate our children.  Please keep this in mind, when visiting The Teddy Bear Suite at the Harbor View Hotel during Christmas in Edgartown.

Admission is free because we want everyone to be able to enjoy the magic of the suite, where holiday memories are made, but there will be an opportunity for people to donate to the Boys & Girls Club. We will also be holding a  special raffle at the Harbor View only (stay tuned for details). If you are unable to attend the The Teddy Bear Suite, but would like to support our fundraising drive, you can donate online.

Thanks for reading On Point –  Don’t forget to vote for the name of The Teddy Bear Suite’s new mascot, voting ends Friday, November 30, at 5pm.  Also please  “Like” us on Facebook, on follow us on TwitterLinked InPinterest and YouTube.  See you in a week at The Teddy Bear Suite.