What fulfills you? For some, it’s giving back to the community they live in and to causes they care about. At Trilogy, part of living the Good Life is connecting with one another and various organizations in order to do just that. That’s why, this month, we’re introducing the first “Members Giving Back” installment of 2015. In this series, we like to feature some of the wonderful work being done by members at various Trilogy communities.

Read on to discover the generosity of our members and discover how you can get involved while living at Trilogy.

Raising Funds to Fight Cancer

Contributed by Karen Eagan of Trilogy at The Vineyards

Trilogy Member Karen Eagan organized the “Friends of Ridge” fundraising group in honor of her late husband, Ridge, who lost his fight to Glioblastoma Multiforme on November 2, 2011. Karen and Ridge both strongly believed that Ridge was able to live abundantly three years after diagnosis because of the medicines that research had provided.

Over the past 3 years, “Friends of Ridge” has raised $36,440! Every penny of that, and every penny raised this year, will go directly to the National Brain Tumor Society, which has already donated over $30 million dollars to brain tumor/cancer research, including early funding for Dr. Matthias Gromeier of Duke University, recently featured on 60 Minutes!

For more information about the National Brain Tumor Society, visit their website at www.braintumorwalk.org/bayarea. If you’d like to make a donation, click “Find a Team” and enter “Friends of Ridge.”

Supporting Women in Crisis

Contributed by Pam Clements of Trilogy at Vistancia

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women have been in an abusive relationship. That’s why there are shelters like A New Leaf’s Faith House, a refuge for women and their children who are escaping from an abusive situation. One of the main goals of the Trilogy at Vistancia Women’s Club is to help support Faith House and the families who seek shelter there. Through fundraisers, the Trilogy at Vistancia Women’ s Club provides much needed funds and special activities for the families at Faith House – to bring a touch of normalcy into their turbulent lives, and as one mother recently commented, “a smile on her children’s faces.”

The Trilogy at Vistancia Women’s Club was formed eight years ago as a neighborhood group to help women get acquainted as they moved in to the Trilogy at Vistancia community. Over the years, more than 700 women have participated by gathering each month to enjoy lunch and entertainment. These women come from diverse backgrounds and careers but all are dedicated to helping their community by giving back through organizations like Faith House, Toys for Tots, St. Mary’s Food Bank and Food for Kidz.

The Trilogy at Vistancia Women’s Club sponsors two large fundraising events each year to benefit Faith House:

  • The Holiday Home Tour where Trilogy residents open their homes that have been decorated for the holidays. Guests can tour the homes and get inspiration for their own home décor. This event usually attracts about 500 residents and their guests and is a much anticipated event each year. This past year the event raised $15,000 which was donated to Faith House for new furnishings and to fund activities such as BBQs, Mother’s Day Brunch, holiday parties and for school supplies.
  • The Corks for a Cause gala, which is a not-to-miss wine tasting and food pairing event, complete with live music, a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, cash bar, and dessert buffet. Last year, this event raised $25,000, which went directly to Faith House to help fund new furnishings for the transitional housing unit.
Group of women toasting and clinging wine glasses together

For more information on A New Leaf programs and services, including Faith House, please visit their website, www.turnanewleaf.org. For information about Trilogy at Vistancia Women’s Club, please visit www.tavwc.weebly.com.

Helping Kids to Connect with Nature

Contributed by Carlyn Hinds of Trilogy at Monarch Dunes

Dorothea Lange Elementary School is located just 3 miles from Trilogy at Vistancia, and thus poses a wonderful volunteer opportunity for community members to make a difference. For more than three years, Carlyn Hinds has been the volunteer garden manager at Buddy’s Garden, the school’s garden.

Buddy’s Garden is a learning center where kids develop an understanding of concepts from ecology to nutrition, and are able to apply this knowledge to their daily lives. They receive first hand experience in the interconnection between nature and their place in the natural world. The garden also connects them to the food system, teaching them about healthy food choices. The current garden contains 10 planter boxes, a worm bin, two stainless steel tubs, a work table, shed, water supply, and the support of local nurseries, two Master Gardeners and the Parent Teacher’s Association.

This outdoor classroom is a favorite place for the kids to be! It is amazing to see what kids are willing to do in the garden – the kinds of things that you know they wouldn’t be so willing to do at home such as weeding, taking out the green bins for pick up, planting, recycling, picking up garbage, and trying different foods like cabbage, radishes, onions, garlic, mint, rosemary, lettuce, broccoli, and more.

While Carlyn currently has help, she is always looking for more volunteers and would love your help preparing the curriculum, lessons and tending to the garden so this program can continue to give back to the students of Dorothea Lange Elementary.

Giving Hope to the Hungry

Contributed by Tom Surh of Trilogy at Rio Vista

For the past three years, Slow Food Rio Visa (SFRV) has sponsored its annual Slow Food Festival. SFRV is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and each year for the past three, it has donated increasing amounts of the proceeds from the Festival to the Rio Vista Community Services food bank. The festival is put on entirely by volunteers, and is always looking for people to help pour wine and beer, serve food, help set up and break down, and many other tasks.

More information about Slow Food and the festival can be found at Slow Food Rio Vista Face Book Page.  Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more information can contact Tom Surh.

Many Ways to Make a Difference

Contributed by Don Moak of Trilogy Orlando

Don Moak and his wife are very active in the Trilogy Orlando area and want to share the following ways to get involved in the community:

  1. Volunteering with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office
    Volunteering with the Sheriff’s Office at the South Lake District station in Clermont comes with duties such as greeting the public, assisting in situations that do not require the attention of a sworn Deputy, answering phones, entering data, and doing fingerprinting. While the work itself is not too hard, it does take attention to detail and a readiness to help, sometimes when people are at their worst. Additonal volunteer opportunities available with the Sheriff’s Office at other locations can be found by going to the Sheriff’s website at lcso.org.
  2. Seniors vs Crime
    This is a Special Project of the Florida State Attorney General using seniors (55 and older) to help victims of scams and fraud. While this group has no law enforcement authority, they do work with victims in civil cases to attempt to recover what was wrongfully taken from them. Additionally, the special project group makes presentations to individuals to inform them of scams and the resources available to report and hopefully recover what was taken. Offices are located in virtually every county in the state of Florida if you’d like to get involved.
  3. Quilting at Trilogy
    Trilogy Orlando member Mary Greer leads this volunteer effort at the community. She has done an exceptional job finding funds and organizing those who are interested in piecing and quilting. The club creates and assembles quilts to donate to organizations such as Lutheran World Relief, Winnie Palmer Children’s Hospital, and the Sheriff’s Office. This is a volunteer opportunity that literally reaches around the world.

But, that’s not all our members are up to! There are so many worthwhile projects happening at Trilogy locations, we’ll be posting a “Part 2” to this post in a few weeks, be sure to check back then. If you have any questions about how to get involved with these organizations, or others at Trilogy, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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