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CountrySide and Cascades Blog: Laughing for a good cause
  When you’re a Girl Scout in the D.C. area, you quickly learn about the importance of sharing resources.

Every troop in the region supports the scouting organization’s SHARE program, which raises funds to make sure scouting is available to all by offering financial assistance when needed for membership and troop dues, supplies, camperships and program fees. The project also supports training programs for adult leaders and many other resources.

This week, Sterling-based Girl Scout Service Unit 70-18 is helping the SHARE project by hosting the area’s fifth annual SHARE-a-laugh fundraiser on Dec. 2 at Algonkian Elementary School.

The family-friendly evening features two Loudoun-based improvisational comedy troupes—The Last Ham Standing, which performs regularly at the Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville, and the Potomac Falls High School SOFA (Silly Outrageous Funny Actors) troupe. The emcees of the event include members of CountrySide-based Girl Scout Troop 952.

Donations to SHARE will be accepted at the door. In addition, the proceeds from the food and refreshments sales will benefit the SHARE project. Cash is the only form of payment accepted for refreshment  sales.

The doors open at  6:30 p.m.  All seating is general admission. For information, call  202-258-3706.

Shop local

Award-winning CountrySide-based photographers Dora Ramirez and Gerry D’Onofrio recently released a limited edition 2017 “Beyond DC: Beautiful Northern Virginia” calendar. A preview of the calendar by the fine art photographers is available online at  gerdora.com.

‘Naughty or Nice’

Eastern Loudoun’s Stagecoach Theatre Company debuts its second annual Naughty or Nice Christmas Cabaret with a dinner theater performance  Dec. 3  at Savoir Fair in Round Hill. The show includes classic carols and contemporary holiday tunes. The production comes to the Cascades Senior Center on  Dec. 17. The doors open at  6:30 p.m.; the show begins at  7 p.m.  Beverages will be available for purchase. This performance does not include dinner.

Additional dinner theater performances are scheduled for  Dec. 11  at Leesburg Brewing Company and  Dec. 18  at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg. A  performance without dinner takes place  Dec. 9  at Lansdowne Woods. Information and reservations are available at http://www.stagecoachtc.com.

Tween foodies

The Loudoun County Library at Cascades presents Edible Gifts, a session for youngsters in grades 4 through 6, on  Dec. 5  from  5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Participants will sample recipes and make gifts to take home. For information, call 703-444-3228.

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Sterling Blog: Making things better
My mom used to tell me that the important thing was to leave things better than how you found it – whether that meant picking up the piece of trash that you didn’t drop or volunteering when no one else had stepped up. It’s sounded so easy when my mom would say it, but in practice it’s tough. It’s hard to get out of the habit of “not my job” and into the habit of “I can help.”

Four young women in our area though are leading by example. Alyssa, Ariel, Erin and Melana, representing Cadette Troop 1142, chose to have a long lasting impact on our area while working on their Girl Scout Silver Award – the highest award for a Girl Scout cadette. Working together, they looked for a way to leave Sterling better than they found it by way of a Buddy Bench at the Sully Elementary School playground. Working at least 50 hours on the project (a requirement of the Silver Award), the cadettes contacted Trex, a company that creates composite building products from recycled materials. The company offered to make the bench – if the cadettes would get them the materials. To make the bench, Trex would need 500 pounds of soft plastic, such as grocery bags.

The young women went into action in July. Setting a goal of six months to collect the materials, they canvassed the neighborhood with fliers and social media posts and contacted local businesses. In less than three months, they had their 500 pounds. Food Lion, at Briarcroft Plaza, offered to transport the plastic to Trex to get started on the bench. On Nov. 7, the cadettes held a dedication ceremony to officially present the bench to Sully Elementary.

Thank you to the cadettes, their leaders and their parents who supported them through all of this. We are raising a wonderful generation of young women who are making Sterling a better place for everyone.

Just a reminder that this weekend is your last chance to see the Sterling Plamakers’ production of “Little Women: The Broadway Musical” at the theatre at Sterling Middle School.

Show times are 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. This show is wonderful for the entire family and a lovely way to fight off the winter blahs. You can avoid the rush by getting your tickets ahead of time at http://www.Sterlingplaymakers.com or just get them at the door. Tickets are just $15 for all seats. For more information, visit the Sterling Playmakers website or their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/sterlingplaymakers.

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Cascades and CountrySide Blog: The most generous time of the year
If you’re looking for ways to help some of your neighbors in eastern Loudoun, LINK – the all-volunteer nonprofit that provides emergency food to those in need in Sterling, Ashburn and Herndon – could use your help. The organization has several projects underway that offers a variety of opportunities for volunteers of all ages.

Each year, LINK sponsors special programs for the holiday season. This year, more than 750 families have signed up for holiday help. The programs are supported by food drives, gently used coat and new toy drives. Individuals and organizations are welcome to launch drives in support of these holiday efforts. To get a project underway, send an email message to Lisa Lombardozzi at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

In addition, volunteers are needed to help out during the holiday events, which take place at two locations in Sterling and one in Herndon. Online volunteer sign-up for the Thanksgiving event, which runs through Nov. 19, is available at tinyurl.com/LINKThanks. Online sign-up for the Christmas event, scheduled for Dec. 12-17, is at http://www.tinyurl.com/LINKWinter.

LINK has other projects that can use volunteer help now and throughout the year. LINK volunteers pick up food that otherwise would be thrown away at Algonkian and Lowes Island elementary schools and Sterling Middle School and transport it to the LINK food pantry, low-income apartment complexes and other locations. These “food rescue” pickups occur during school hours and usually take about an hour. Online volunteer sign-up for this program is at tinyurl.com/LINKschools.

The organization also needs volunteers for its Mobile Food Pantry events, held on the second Tuesday of each month from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the rear parking lot of Christ the Redeemer Church, on Route 7 in Sterling. This project, with food donated by the Capital Area Food Bank, has distributed more than 340,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, fruits and nonperishable food to more than 7,900 families. Online volunteer sign-up is available at tinyurl.com/LINKmobile.

The top needs for food donations include hearty canned soup, canned chicken, boxed rice/pasta side dishes, canned fruit, tomato sauce, boxed potatoes, paper products and toiletries. For more information, visit http://www.linkagainsthunger.org.

Thank you

LINK received fresh produce from the Community Lutheran Church in Cascades and its community garden and toiletry bags for LINK clients assembled by the Sterling United Methodist Church Senior Activity Group. The Dominion High School special needs classes are volunteering throughout the school year to help in the LINK pantry with food sorting and labeling.

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Sterling Blog: Crafting for a cause
Sterling Blog: We’re all a bit Jo
Cascades and CountrySide Blog: Malone Foundation Class of 2016 announced
Cascades and CountrySide Blog: A spooky wind blows through eastern Loudoun
Sterling Blog: Playing the field
Cascades and CountrySide Blog: ‘Trick or Treat’ premieres this weekend
Sterling Blog: Sterling’s got talent
Sterling Blog: SterlingFest this Saturday!
Cascades and CountrySide Blog: History about everyone, for everyone at the African American museum
Sterling Blog: What’s your favorite season?
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