Azalea Charities tunes into community

Azalea Charities, a nonprofit organization, is giving back to the community in a different way — through a 30-minute news magazine called Community Charity News.

The program first aired on Sept. 24 and will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Comcast Channel 3 for the rest of October.

It will show the “good news” of the organizations striving to improve the community, said Frank Lasch Sr., Azalea Charities president and CEO.

The program features the Hylton Boys & Girls Club and the Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger’s Partners in Education.

Hylton Boys & Girls Club, on Dale Boulevard, received funds that went toward the club’s computer room, which looks like a Windows 98 box, said Vincent Borello, Boys & Girls Club area executive director.

“I have a great passion for the club because I believe in it,” Borello said.

Azalea also helped to buy wrestling mats for the wrestling program, Borello said.

“We’re giving together,” is Azalea’s motto. In an effort to promote literacy in the schools, Azalea Charities also helps fund the Partners in Education program.

“Teachers receive sponsored copies of the newspaper, delivered to their school, on the days of their choice,” said Jennifer Shepard, Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger newspaper in education coordinator. “They can really incorporate their lesson plans by using a newspaper article.”

Another part of the program includes a series of weekly fictional historical stories, “Ghost Train Journey,” which will run in the Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger every Tuesday until Dec. 17, Shepard said.

Azalea sponsors a variety of organizations, including five Boys & Girls Clubs, homeless shelters, the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, the Special Olympics, educational programs and other charities.

The membership fee is $100 per year to become a sponsor of Azalea Charities; all contributions are welcomed. None of Azalea’s membership money will go toward producing the show, Lasch said.

“This show is possible because of our sponsors and their caring and involvement in the community.”

“I think Azalea Charities is unique in we’re raising money and helping tell the story,” Lasch said. “There’s a lot of people out there doing good things and people don’t know the story. Azalea Charities’ effort is to tell that story,” he said.

If the program is accepted by the public, he will know by the amount of money coming into the charities, he said.

“Frank has a vision that no other man has,” Borello said.

He thinks people will have a better vision of what Boys & Girls Clubs do in the community, he said.

Azalea was officially chartered January 2000 and Lasch’s goal is to have 2,000 members by 2004, he said.

In November, Lasch said he would like to focus the next show on the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and homeless shelters.

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