A group of high school students who live in Ashburn’s Belmont Country Club are carrying on a tradition of giving back to the community that was started eight years ago as a way to raise funds for local families in need.
The Belmont BOWS — or Being One Who Serves — was founded by Tracy Bongianino and her daughter Nikki in 2012. The group of girls decorated mailboxes with evergreens and bows, and sold cupcakes and flowers for Valentine’s Day. Over the years, they have been able to contribute more than $7,000 to the Loudoun Impact Fund, which supports the needs of families and children in Loudoun.
Two years ago, the original BOWS graduated from high school, and they passed the tradition to a new group of students who are now in ninth grade.
With a wagon full of pine and a box full of bows, each year they travel around the neighborhood asking for donations in exchange for mailbox decorating. This year, in order to keep the delivery safe and contact-free, donations and decorations were arranged ahead of time using a social media page.
Nancy Gordon, mother of one of the Belmont BOWS, said the response “has been incredible this year,” with the group raising more than $2,500. The group also received donations from Sexton Christmas Trees and Meadows Farms.
Gordon’s daughter, Shannon, who helped coordinate this year’s fundraiser, understands the importance of giving back to the community.
“I love serving others and being able to give to those in need. I like using what I have been blessed with to bless others,” said Shannon Gordon, president of the BOWS. “Since my big sister Alyssa was part of the group of girls who originally started BOWS, it makes me happy that I’m able to continue serving the community by continuing the group that she and her friends began.”
Another BOW, Ava Zulandi, said this is her third year volunteering with the group.
“I have had so much fun decorating mailboxes with my friends. It’s an honor to carry on this tradition and give back to the community,” she said.
For more information, or to contribute, visit cfnova.org/donate/being-one-who-serves.