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Support Valley Haven

LaFAYETTE — The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of most events of the annual Hike/Bike/Run fundraiser for Valley Haven School. Last year was the first time since the Hike/Bike/Run began in 1977 that there were major limitations on the fundraising effort. Even so, approximately $35,000 was raised through such events as a virtual run organized by Roger Keel and the annual Walt Meadors Invitational, which took place at the Point University Golf Club in late summer.

It was helpful, but far below what’s raised in a normal year. For more than 30 years in a row, the Hike/Bike/Run had brought in more than $100,000, money that can be put up as a match for the state and federal grants that are important in keeping the school running at a high level.

The 2021 Hike/Bike/Run campaign is now under way, and hopes are high that things will be go much better this year.

Valley Haven School has faced some major challenges over the past year.

“We are going to make it, but it’s going to be tough,” said Executive Director Craig Brown. “We have lost some employees due to lack of funding, and the number of students being served is down. We hope to build it back up once everyone is vaccinated.”

Brown is hopeful the community will pull through for Valley Haven once again this year.

“This community has always gone above and beyond in its support of Valley Haven,” he said. “They know the school is needed, and they are behind it. We are blessed to have their support.”

The first event in this year’s campaign will be LaFayette Day. It will be taking place on Court Square in downtown LaFayette on Saturday, April 10. It will be going on from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT (8-3 Central).

“LaFayette Day will be pretty much the same as always,” Brown said. “There are some differences. We won’t have the inflatables for the kids. It’s just not feasible to sanitize them as often as we’d need to. Also, there won’t be a firefighter’s competition this year.”

This will be the 25th year for a LaFayette Day, and the main events will go on as they have in previous years. There will be an estimated 45 vendors selling arts and crafts items and cooking barbecue, chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers hot off the grill. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. EDT (9-1 Central) there will be a car show featuring street rods along with antique cars, trucks and tractors.

The annual motorcycle ride will start at 10:30 a.m. EDT (9:30 CT) near the Alabama/Georgia line on Highway 29. For those who pre-register, it’s $20 per rider or $25 on the day of the ride. Each registered driver will receive one food voucher for a barbecue sandwich sack lunch. Make checks payable to Valley Haven School, P.O. Box 416, Valley, AL, 36854. For more information, contact Valley Haven at (334) 756-2868 or jweldon@valleyhavenschool.org.

The annual auction will be taking place at Valley Community Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. EDT (4:30 Central) on Friday, April 23. The doors will open at 5 p.m. so everyone can see the items that will be up for bids.

Anyone who wants to donate an item for the auction may call the school at (334) 756-2868. “You can bring it by the school or we can pick it up,” Brown said.

Valley Haven School has programs for both adults and children. The adult program has basic education classes, independent living skills training and vocational training. Valley Haven’s early intervention program is for infants and toddlers up to three years of age and includes speech, occupational and physical therapy.

“We never stopped services in our early intervention program,” Brown said. “We have been doing it virtually, and we will soon go back to in-person meetings. This is a valuable service, and our staff is doing a great job with it.”