A fast-growing large-scale association, Loudoun Valley II HOA is in one of many newly developing areas of Loudoun County. Neighbors are still getting to know one another, and people continue to experience a sense of newness since there remains so much ongoing construction all around them. With so many new homes and so many newly arrived residents, a great number of them from overseas, the area is still forming a sense of community. And community turns out to be the keyword—in particular, community service. Start with a simple mantra: give to others and do good in the world! Sounds easy enough, and it certainly seems to be the right thing to do. But what if you are not just one person but one of the thousands in a brand new community?
How can one person make a difference? Well, rest assured; giving back and committing charitable acts is undoubtedly contagious.
One event comes to mind when thinking of grace and appreciation of others: Last year (and this was quite out of the blue), the HOA team was approached by a newly elected board member to find a way to show our appreciation of our local heroes, the first responders in the area. Well, not much cajoling was needed – in hours the team arranged for a celebration that included a catered luncheon, and invites were prepped and on their way. On the day of the event, anticipation and excitement were the prevailing emotions. What a truly wonderful time! Perhaps the best part was observing the genuine surprise exhibited by the guests (it was clear they need to be shown more appreciation and more often!) coupled with the tentative approach of many residents (many from overseas) cautiously approaching these uniformed officials and offering their words of appreciation. The genuine emotions and the mutual regard shown clearly was felt by all who participated. The new board member was especially aware of the tenderness of the emotions involved…it was not long thereafter that another newly arrived Stateside resident asked if the HOA would host an event for veterans. This time there were so many who stepped up to sponsor the event, a tremendous outpouring of genuine heartfelt appreciation for those who had served to protect these (recently arrived) U.S. residents’ new homeland. Seeing such high regard for these veterans was something that touched the entire team.
The generosity has not stopped. This now gradually established community has clearly begun to establish a tone of philanthropy. Requests continue; donations to the local food bank, collecting coats for those in need, hosting Alex’s Lemonade Stand in support of children with cancer, books for local schools, hosting events for local teachers, Toys for Tots and donations to local firefighters. There is a reason why folk who are new arrivals to the States and who seem so tentative, so cautious about so much in their new land still want to show their appreciation for being able to live the American Dream and share their growing wealth with those around them. That reason is that what we call community service or charitable giving really comes from a universal place, a shared value that every member of Loudoun Valley II brings with them—family.
We hope that every new resident feels this way, that they can feel comfortable joining with any of their neighbors to strengthen the community just as one might help a child with homework or pick up a relative from the airport. No one pretends to enjoy every moment of it–anyone who enjoys grammar rules or navigating parking lots should not be trusted–but we feel the love and know we are stronger and happier for it in the long run. We can’t wait to see what next project our family comes up with.
By Rippy Gill, CMCA, AMS
Rippy is the HOA On-site manager for Loudoun Valley II Master Association, a Toll Brothers Large Scale Community and WMCCAI Award Winner.