Event benefits scholarship fund for local students — and donations are ‘way down’ this year
Washington resident Kit Goldfarb was the first individual to receive the “PEACE Ambassador” award at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, presented by the Scrabble School Preservation Foundation.
The virtual program was played Sunday, Jan. 15, on Culpeper Media’s website and taped at The Little Washington Theatre on Gay Street in Washington, in cooperation with Culpeper Media Network and the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community’s Claudia Mitchell Fund.
Goldfarb was recognized as a “PEACE Ambassador” for her work as executive director of SANGO-Kenya, a nonprofit that concentrates on sustainable agriculture, nutrition, growth opportunities and improving the lives of women and children in rural Kenya. SANGO- Kenya’s programs include classroom training and technical field support to women, smallholder farmers in nutrition and sustainable agriculture practices.
“I was so honored and completely surprised to find out that I was receiving the award,” Goldfarb said. “I grew up in the South, and Martin Luther King meant so much to the communities where I lived and his work influenced me a lot … The things he stood for with regard to equality and raising people out of poverty, really are the underlying motivations for much of what I do.”
The programs Goldfarb undertakes through the nonprofit are designed to be easily replicated in other areas facing similar agricultural and food security challenges. Goldfarb makes frequent and extended trips to Kenya, working directly with the people in training and development, and returned from her most recent trip in December before the holidays.
SANGO-Kenya’s pilot program in 2020 began with 19 women in one village, but as of October 2022, the program has grown to include 130 women smallholder farms in three villages.
“Kenya is a country that's experiencing a lot of economic downturn and climate change has made a huge impact, and they really regard food security as critical to keeping peace there,” Goldfarb said.
The annual MLK celebration is also used as a fundraiser to support the Julia E. Boddie Scholarship Fund to assist students in Rappahannock County pursuing higher education. Donations are still being accepted online or by mail (make checks/money orders/cashiers' checks to: Scrabble School Preservation Foundation, Inc./JEBoddie Scholarship, P.O. Box 121, Amissville, VA 20106).
Scrabble School Preservation Foundation President Nan Butler Roberts said donations to the scholarship fund are “way down this year,” and normally by this time, “we're on track for several thousand dollars, and we haven't heard from our consistent donors and no new donors.”
“As most should know, the scholarship dollars stay in the Rappahannock community to assist graduating seniors to further their education,” Roberts wrote in a statement. “Since Scrabble School Preservation Foundation absorbed the Julia E. Boddie Scholarship Fund in 2021, we've been able to provide $6000 in scholarships; a major increase from the early days of $500 to $1000 each year. We encourage anyone to make a donation; which is also tax deductible, a win-win for everyone."
Since 1988, the committee has awarded 65 Rappahannock County students with $34,000 in scholarship money. There are only two requirements for a student to be eligible for a scholarship — that student must attend a public school, and they must have a financial need. The Julia E. Boddie scholarship committee works with guidance counselors at Rappahannock County High School along with the Headwaters Foundation in notifying students that the award exists, and then once a student applies, the committee reviews their application.
The headlining guest and musician for the MLK celebration was Ruby Hayes, a vocalist and actor. Additional music was presented by local artists, Bobby G & Friends, Marie Davis, James Daniels, Mike Groves, Archie Borgus III, and Michael T. White, Marcia Cole, and Wakefield Country Day School students.