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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Smarty Mom: Valerie Glass

By Katie M

Today's Smarty Mom was "mominated" by a friend of mine, Carrie S, who wrote, "I have a friend who would be a perfect Smarty Mom. Her name is Valerie Glass. She is a stay-at-home mom who volunteers with a crisis assistance organization in Lewisville, volunteers at her church and her boys' schools, is going back to school to get her master's and plans all kinds of fun activities to keep her boys busy during the day. If that is not enough, she is also working to start a local chapter of Women of Vision, a Christian organization dedicated to giving back to the community and the world. I am exhausted just typing this list. She is a fabulous mom and a great friend and I think she would be a perfect Smarty Mom."

Well, we thought so too, and I'm excited to introduce you all to Valerie today!

Valerie and her husband Casey have three boys: Coulson (6), Charlie (4) and Carter (5 months). She grew up in High Point, attended college in central PA and then a few years after college she moved back to the Triad (Winston-Salem), then to Charlotte for a brief stint, and has called Lewisville home for two years. Valerie is a stay-at-home mom who is adding "part-time student" to her title as she works to earn her master's in conflict resolution. And when she can find the time, she enjoys knitting, crocheting, growing her garden, competing in triathlons, and volunteering.

I'm intrigued about your degree in conflict resolution. Tell us more about what this degree entails.
What I love about going back to school several years after college is that I get to explore new answers to the great question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" And Conflict Resolution is one of those broad, multi-disciplinary fields that can benefit any profession, so I still have lots of paths to explore and I might change my mind a couple times along the way. I have a passion for peace and I am really interested in programs that educate and encourage others to work out their issues, develop empathy for each other and investigate solutions with long term, lasting benefits for all involved. I don't what jobs will be available when I'm finished, but I would love to work in the schools or with community groups developing conflict resolution curriculum and peer mediation programs for our youth.

Carrie mentioned that you were part of a ministry with World Vision called Women of Vision, and that you are working with a group of women here in the Triad to consider starting a chapter here. Tell us more about World Vision and your plans.
More than 24,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from preventable causes related to poverty, disease and hunger. Throughout the world, poverty affects women and children disproportionately with lower literacy rates, less access to education, poor nutrition as well as oppression and discrimination. Women of Vision is a group of women who find this unacceptable and are determined to do something about it through advocacy, education and supporting development projects.

Women of Vision is a ministry through World Vision, a Christian humanitarian development organization that works in over 100 countries. Their goal is to help struggling communities around the world to develop lasting self-sufficiency. First they make sure that basic needs are being met by increasing access to clean water and nutrition. Then they work with the community to help them overcome barriers to developing sustainable agriculture, encouraging education and promoting economic development. Women of Vision support World Vision projects around the world, as well as local projects in our own communities. Basically it's a partnership of women who really want to serve and grow in Christ, and we know that together as a group we can make a stronger impact than alone.

When I lived in Charlotte, I attended a weekly Bible study sponsored by the Charlotte chapter of Women of Vision that explored the root causes of poverty and examined what the Bible had to say about it. The study really challenged my understanding of poverty and how Christians should respond. After the Bible study was complete, I decided to partner with Women of Vision. The group in Charlotte meets together monthly to explore issues surrounding poverty and to learn about local programs that are addressing the needs in their own community. They raise money to support projects in Ethiopia, Guatemala and West Virginia, as well as a local soup kitchen in Charlotte. Several of the women also volunteer at the soup kitchen regularly. They also promote child sponsorship (World Vision's main source of funding for their projects), send mission teams to their projects in Ethiopia, Guatemala and West Virginia, and participate in advocacy projects to promote the issues that affect impoverished women and children.

Here in the Triad, we haven't officially started a chapter yet, but we are trying to gather together regularly to learn from guest speakers about issues surrounding poverty and oppression and also to get involved by serving the community in various ways. We also hope to start a Bible Study group soon.

If someone reading this wants to participate, how can they contact you?
We welcome anyone who is passionate about growing in Christ and serving others, so if any of you TSP readers are interested, you can email us at and ask to be added to our newsletter.

You are also working with one of your friends to start a diaper bank to supply diapers to local health departments and community aid organizations through "diaper drives." What else can you tell us about this project?
This is another project that is just getting started. My friend works for the health department in a nearby county and she was shocked to discover that when families can't afford diapers, they will often line a diaper with paper towels so they can re-use the diaper or the baby will stay in the same wet diaper all day long. Obviously this is a basic health concern, but she was unable to find local resources that could provide diapers. Food stamps and WIC don't provide for the purchase of diapers. After some internet research, she realized that a diaper bank is the solution, but she also discovered that there aren't any diaper banks in NC. So she is looking into starting one. We are still doing some background research to determine the size of the need in the area and check out other resources, but we hope to do some diaper drives this fall at local preschools and to have some collection boxes at some grocery stores. If any TSP readers want to help organize a diaper drive at their school or preschool, please let me know! You can learn more at

Great info, Valerie. Now let's move on to some lighter topics...

Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?

Consignment Sales, Target and Kohls

Favorite place to splurge on kids clothes?
I have 3 boys - splurging on clothes? I might as well flush the money down the toilet. My 6 year-old will refuse to wear it, my 4 year-old would stain it in the first 10 minutes and the baby would spit up on it and then grow out of it. (I'm a very practical person.) But I guess every now and then we want something a little nicer. I like The Children's Place. And they have pretty good sales, so it doesn't always have to be a big splurge.

What is your favorite family activity?
Legos. My boys could play with Legos all day long and it's something my husband and I also enjoy, so it keeps everyone happy. We also love to play the Lego video games together. If you're not familiar with the Lego video games, it's worth checking out. The different boards in the video game are all designed from Lego blocks and the characters are little Lego people and they can do some funny stuff. Our family favorite is Lego Star Wars.

Best place to eat lunch and/or dinner with the kids?
Chick-fil-A and Jason's Deli

Favorite date place?
We love the classic dinner-and-a-movie date because we are pretty boring people. But when we want to take it up a notch, we go to see one of the drama productions at WFU. The tickets are inexpensive and the plays are always interesting.

Funniest things your kids have ever said?
I keep a list of their great sayings and it's so hard to choose, but here are some that provide some insight into how their little boy minds think. When my oldest was 4 1/2 years old, here's some advice he gave his 2 year-old brother about swinging on a tire swing: "You have to hold on real tight. You can't let go. If you let go, you'll fall through and knock your eye out. And your knocked out eye will be all yucky and then you'll die!" And when my middle child was 2 1/2 years old, I asked him, "What are you going to do today?" His answer - "I'm gonna get my booger and put it on my finger," (holds up pointer finger) "and put it here" (wipes finger on his shirt)

Favorite park in the Triad?
City Lake Park in Jamestown. I live on the other side of Winston-Salem, so I don't get there too often, but it has an awesome playground, a short train ride and lots of other activities. I remember going there with my mom when I was a kid, so it also holds some fond memories for me.

Mini-van or SUV?
Mini-van - I love automatic doors!

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
We have a lot of great opportunities for kids like the larger cities (museums, zoos, sports, etc.) but without all the huge crowds and traffic.

Best mom secret YOUR mom has shared with you?
Boys will be boys. (She also had 3 boys, before she had me)

Best birthday party you have attended?
My 6 year-old's most recent birthday party was at Tiger Kim's Taekwondo and it was pretty awesome. First the kids got a quick lesson in respect and self control before letting loose with a great energetic workout. But my son would probably say that his friend's Star Wars birthday party was the best ever. Darth Vader came and gave everyone jedi training with inflatable light sabers.

Smartiest way you stay organized?
LOL! My friends can attest that organization is not my strong suit, so you don't want me giving any advice on that topic.

Who is your hero?
My mom and dad have been awesome examples for me.

I could not live without my... FRIENDS! I have some of the greatest friends ever. The birth of my third son 5 months ago help me fully appreciate how wonderful they are and how much I need them. My friends brought meals to me after the baby was born, 2-3 meals a week for 2 months. And they help with all the little things that just make the day smoother, like watching one kid while I take another to the bathroom, or helping with a stroller, or being that third hand that I need while I'm nursing or holding the baby. And most importantly, they are there to listen to my gripes and frustrations and quietly remind me of the important things in life. Thanks guys, you're awesome!

And thank you, Valerie, for giving us this great interview. I am still laughing at your son's funniest comments above! Good luck with the pursuit of your master's and with all your endeavors. You are certainly an inspiration!

And Smarties, don't forget to register for our September giveaway with Invitations Only. You could be one of FIVE lucky readers to win a $20 gift card. Just click here to take a short survey, and we'll announce the five winners after Noon on Friday, September 10. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

I laughed at your response about splurging on boys' clothes. I completely agree!

Donna said...

Awesome article. I'm very interested in the women of vision and the diaper bank. I have a passion for similar things, and this article was an inspiration to me.

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