Henrico County VA

Perfectly Goofy

Runner, volunteer joins elite group
At 33, Henrico resident April Engram is presumably well past the age of fascination with Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Goofy.

But she is mighty pumped up, just the same, about the recent acquisition of some decorative accessories bearing the likenesses of the Disney trio.

The most coveted of the three award medals attests to her success at completing what’s known as “The Goofy.” And her efforts to acquire it were anything but Mickey-Mouse.

To earn all three medals, Engram participated in a two-day, 39.3-mile adventure held in January at the Disney resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

After finishing a half marathon on Saturday, she followed it with a marathon on Sunday – otherwise known as the Race and a Half Challenge. Runners who finished both the Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse races within the pacing requirements took home the Goofy medal in addition to their finisher medals from the other races.

But that’s not all Engram brought home.

By participating in The Goofy as part of a group of runners from the Comfort Zone Camp’s Grief Relief Team, Engram helped to raise more than $40,000 to send grieving kids to camp.

The nonprofit bereavement camp, offered free to children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver, includes confidence-building programs and age-based support groups that ease emotional isolation and help campers heal. An estimated $500 apiece is needed to send the children, who range in age from
seven to 17, to a session of camp.

A member of the Greater Richmond Chorus, Engram began volunteering with Comfort Zone Camp (CZC) almost six years ago after a few chorus friends suggested she look into it.

“I was fairly new to Richmond at the time,” says Engram, “and wanted to get involved with something in the community. My friends thought that I had the perfect personality for camp, so I went to a volunteer training and a short while later was matched [with a camper].”

After several years of spending multiple weekends as Big Buddies to campers, Engram says, she and some other volunteers decided “to blend our loves of running and camp -- and run for the cause.”

While planning the trip to Florida, Engram scored another victory by securing several borrowed cars for the team volunteers to use during their weekend. Following a team discussion about transportation for the trip, Engram went online to do some research and learned of a car donation program through Avis.

“A gentleman at Avis,” she says, “generously offered up four SUV’s for the weekend at no charge to us. It was definitely a blessing.”

Engram, who works as a regulatory coordinator at VCU Massey Cancer Center, isn’t sure which athletic-event-slash-fundraiser is next on her agenda. But she is quick to point out that she is still a few dollars short of her Grief Relief goal, and that it’s not too late to give.

What’s more, it’s clear that she has found a volunteer home with Comfort Zone Camp, and that serving as a Big Buddy and “doing The Goofy” are only the beginning of her efforts on behalf of the charity.

“I drank the Kool-Aid, as we say,” admits Engram of her commitment to CZC. “And the rest is history.”

To help Engram meet her goal for the Grief Relief Team fundraiser, visit http://tinyurl.com/7yqpjwk For d.etails about CZC, visit http://www.comfortzonecamp.org
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Deep Run HS plans fall musical

Tickets for Deep Run High School’s fall musical production – Aida – will go on sale Nov. 3. The Elton John-Tim Rice pop opera, inspired by Verdi’s classic opera, tells the story of enslaved Nubian princess Aida, who falls for captain of the guard Radames, who is betrothed to the Egyptian princess.

Performances will be held Nov. 13-15 at 7 p.m. each day. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.

CAT Theatre to host auditions

CAT Theatre will hold auditions for Book of Days on Sunday, Oct. 26 and Monday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. each day. Auditions will be held at CAT Theatre, 319 North Wilkinson Road in Henrico. Book of Days will run Jan. 23-Feb. 7 and is one of CAT’s submissions to the Acts of Faith Festival.

Book of Days, by Pulitzer Prize winner Lanford Wilson is an exploration of faith, justice, and corruption, amidst the backdrop of murder – and community theatre – in small town America. Book of Days was first written for and produced by Jeff Daniels Purple Rose Theatre Company of Michigan.

Director Leslie Cline is seeking five females between the ages of 20-65 and seven males between the ages of 24-65. > Read more.

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Sisters in Crime Central Virginia Chapter will present “Plotting the Cozy Mystery” with author Carolyn Greene from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Tuckahoe Library, 1901 Starling Dr. The meeting… Full text

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