May 27, 2021

Neighbors, it's with mixed emotions that I say goodbye as your local Publisher. It's been 10 years since I started the NRV edition after moving to this area and looking for things to do with my kids. Roanoke had a Mac Kid edition, and when I inquired about our area, they suggested I start one. I was still using GPS to find my way around, but the thought of an excuse to go exploring and working with small business was appealing, so I said yes. I could never have predicted the amazing experiences and relationships that would come my way through that decision. I have loved helping families connect and spend time together and support small businesses along the way.  Among the highlights have been:

  • Having numerous parents tell me how useful Macaroni Kid is. We have featured a packed calendar each week for 10 years never missing a Thursday newsletter, plus shared summer camps, hikes, playgrounds, road trips & more in our guides.
  • Reminding people to #shoplocal. I hope you've found new local favorites to support know how important you are to our local economy. Every day we have a decision to spend our money local and keep money in our community. 
  • We gave away hundreds of tickets to events at The Berglund Center, Salem Civic Center, Moss Center, RedSox, The Lyric, Sinkland Farms, and other venues. We event sent scout troops to see the Harlem Globetrotters! 
  • Connecting parents to one another at special Macaroni Kid events including Parent's Night Out, Lion King & Tinkerbelle Parties, New & Expectant Mom Shower & more. 
  • We've offered free activities at dozens & dozens of community festivals and events over the years in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Floyd, Riner, Radford, and Shawsville.
  • We've filled bookshelves, stocked food pantries, donated dozens of gift baskets for charity auctions, and sent care packages and tickets to local families we learned were going through rough patches. We gave away hundreds of gifts from sponsors and thousands of samples. I hope you found a product or service you love through a sample, review, or ad introduction. 
  • I've traveled on press trips throughout Virginia, Tennessee, New York, Bowling Green KY,  San Jose, CA, the Florida Keys and more. This prompted me to start a travel blog- to have a place to keep some of these stories! 
  • Most of all, I've met wonderful people that include readers, sponsors, community partners, and a team of 500+ other Macaroni Kid Publishers who have helped. Thank you to Joe, Gabrielle, Aidan, Julie, Alice, Rhonda, Marie, Lisa, Amber, Charlotte, Toni, Angela, Kayt, Lindsey, Erika, Dorothy, Feliz, Sam, the Jennifers and others for your help and support. I've loved working with Jamie and Beth in Roanoke Mac Kid, I met my perfect travel partner Kamlyn through Mac Kid on a press trip, and learned from a team that is incredible. There are many communities that need a local Publisher- Learn more here. 

I could have never predicted so much would come from that decision to try something out of my comfort zone, and I share this in case you are considering an opportunity and need a nudge!  Our new Publisher Shannon O'Donnell will bring new ideas and enthusiasm into our local edition. She's been working with me behind the scenes for months, and she does something I've always admired- homeschooling her children. Shannon is a Blacksburg native and a strong supporter of the New River Valley.  I can't wait to follow her success.  

Last, I need to thank Erin, who has kept our calendar packed for years.  Even in COVID, she found virtual programs to entertain, educate and exhaust the kids, and there has literally not been an empty day in our calendar for years! You might know her as The SleepyTime Teacher, but she's an amazing fun finder! 

Thank you for reading NRV Macaroni Kid.  I hope you've found this resource valuable and will share it with other local parents. And I invite you to connect with me on Facebook On Instagram and on Twitter.  Neighbors, I will see you around the valley! 

Me and Jonny Unser at a test-track Tire safety event for Cooper Tire.  Check it out.