Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blue Ridge Roller Derby qualifies for Women's Roller Derby Playoffs

Blue Ridge Rollergirls to Compete in Division 1 Tournament in Sacramento, CA 
The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) announced today that the Blue Ridge Rollergirls qualified for the 2014 WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs in Sacramento, California, Sept. 5-7, as the #10 seed. The tournament seeding reflects the June 30 WFTDA rankings, which were based on sanctioned games played through that date.

Ariel Zimmerman, who jams for Blue Ridge as Little MerMadness, is excited for the chance to play roller derby at the highest possible level. “The odds might not be in our favor,” she states, “but no matter what happens, we will come out stronger than when we went in.”

The international WFTDA Playoffs and Championships tournament series brings together the most talented, highly trained and committed skaters and officials from WFTDA member leagues to display the “Real, Strong, Athletic and Revolutionary” game play that pushes the limits of the sport worldwide. Whether participating on the track, cheering in the stands, or watching online, the WFTDA tournaments provide everyone who loves roller derby an opportunity to witness the most anticipated match-ups of the year.

The following teams will be playing in Sacramento Sept. 5-7 to compete for a shot at advancing to the WFTDA Championships in November. The top three teams from each of the four international D1 Playoffs will attend Championships to compete for the sport’s highest honor: the Hydra trophy and the title of WFTDA Champions.

  1. Gotham Girls Roller Derby, New York, NY, USA
  2. Minnesota RollerGirls, St. Paul, MN, USA
  3. Denver Roller Dolls, Denver, CO, USA
  4. Rat City Rollergirls, Seattle, WA, USA
  5. Terminal City Rollergirls, Vancouver, Canada
  6. Santa Cruz Derby Girls, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
  7. Tampa Roller Derby, Tampa, FL, USA
  8. Kansas City Roller Warriors, Kansas City, MO, USA
  9. New Hampshire Roller Derby, Manchester, NH, USA
  10. Blue Ridge Rollergirls, Asheville, NC, USA

The WFTDA Playoffs and Championships offer seven full weekends of full-contact competition. Learn how to join the action in Sacramento; at the Championships in Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 31-Nov. 2; or, at any of the WFTDA postseason events at Those who can’t make the trip can still cheer on the Blue Ridge Rollergirls from home, via the WFTDA’s broadcast channel,!

YMCA of WNC offers summer food program to help kids get their "fill of fun"

The YMCA of Western North Carolina joins national effort to serve 5 million meals to 150,000 kids and teens, in partnership with the Walmart Foundation

Western North Carolina, July 15, 2014 – In an effort to combat child hunger, YMCA of Western North Carolina will offer its free Summer Food Program, thanks to a $70,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation. Combining food and fun, the program provides nutritious meals and snacks and fun learning enrichment activities to keep youth healthy, active and well-nourished all summer long. The program runs from now until August 8 and is open to kids ages 18 and under.   

Research shows that more than 30 million children in low-income communities receive free or reduced-cost meals during the school year, but only 2.3 million of these same kids have access to free meals when school is out. To help fill summertime gap and ensure fewer children go hungry, the YMCA of Western North Carolina will serve over 650 children here in Western North Carolina. At more than 1,100 summer food program sites nationwide, the Y will strive to serve 5 million healthy meals and snacks to 150,000 kids this summer.

“At the Y, we are focused on keeping kids mentally and physically active while ensuring they have access to healthy food so they’re well-nourished and avoid the ‘summer slide’,” said Paul Vest, President and CEO, YMCA of Western North Carolina. “The YMCA’s Summer Food Program will help kids stay healthy, active and energized all summer long, ensuring they start the school year ready to achieve.”

Participants in the YMCA of Western North Carolina’s Summer Food Program will receive two meals or snacks each weekday and enjoy various fun activities.

To reach more youth who may be unable to visit the Y, the YMCA of Western North Carolina is taking the Summer Food Program out to “open sites” in the community by partnering with Hall Fletcher Elementary School and Bethel Seventh-day Adventist Church to bring healthy meals and snacks and fun activities to these kids. The sites will be open to all children 18 years and younger from mid-June until August 8. We have also included events at these two locations with our Healthy Living Mobile Kitchen (HLMK), a 72-passenger school bus that has been remodeled to function as a nutrition education and food assistance outreach hub to serve areas in Buncombe, McDowell, and Henderson counties.  During the summer, we are using the HLMK for families to enjoy cooking demonstrations, free produce distributions, and nutrition education sessions.  

The Y is committed to nurturing the physical, mental and social-emotional development of youth and is working to ensure that all kids have access to nutritious meals, so they can continue to be healthy and thrive when out of school. The YMCA’s Summer Food Program, now in its fourth year, is part of a year-round effort to fight child hunger in partnership with the Walmart Foundation. In 2013, the Y provided a total of 7.5 million meals to children across the country through Afterschool and Summer Food Programs.  In 2013, the YMCA of Western North Carolina served more than 40,000 meals and snacks to children in Buncombe, McDowell and Henderson counties.

During the school year, they YMCA of Western North Carolina will also serve healthy meals and snacks in its afterschool program to provide kids with nourishment and academic enrichment.

To learn more about the YMCA of Western North Carolina’s Summer Food Program, call or email Nicole Coston, RD, at (828) 674-8023 or or visit

The Story of Jeff Powell and his 4Veterans Movement

What would you do if you were disabled and then honorably discharged from the Military? Would you take a bow, graciously acknowledge you’ve served your country, completed your Tour of Duty to the best of your ability, and now comfortably (or not) relax while relying on others to take care of you?

Would you live in the past, bound by all kinds of anxieties and fears, angry and frustrated with society and the state you find yourself in; or in the present, bound by boundless challenges and obstacles, all as your now less-than-normal life goes on without you and your former self?

Or would you heed the call, and honor the request, of your Commanding Officer’s final parting words?

Well, instead of admitting defeat and giving up, that is what Jeff Powell did, and this is his story:

Jeff was stationed in California, serving the US Navy Seabees when he became disabled, and upon his discharge, his Commanding Officer made a final, parting request. He asked Jeff to continue supporting the Military Men and Women, as well as his future Veterans.

Jeff accepted this challenge gladly, committed wholeheartedly, and helping others has now become his life’s mission. Even after he became disabled, having to deal with his disability, and pulling through other hardships such as becoming homeless, readjusting to society, and caring for his ailing mother, Jeff’s CO's words remained clear to him.

Jeff’s Inspiration and Vision

Jeff immediately became a Verified Veteran Supporter and established, a non-profit organization, resource, and a community forum and blog for all matters Veteran; and then another website called Military Veteran Entrepreneurs at, which is a helpful resource to launching a successful online business, where Jeff’s eBook “Your Guide to Launching an Online Business” is available for sale and all proceeds go to worthy Veteran causes.

Then, keen to improve his education after returning to civilian life, Jeff soon exhausted his book stipend, because of the exorbitantly restrictive cost of books. Knowing there must be SO many books out there that someone else could be using more productively, and rather than give up and be a burden to society, Jeff decided to hire a team of professionals to build a website that would cater specifically to the needs of his Veteran college students, as well as to help alleviate the astronomical cost of text books that so negatively affect them all.

So Jeff created Coming soon!, as the perfect place for Veterans and all College Students alike, to buy good used books, and to donate or sell their books. Books4Veterans aims to make the further studies and self-improvement efforts of our Veterans a little easier, and a whole lot more affordable; while showing gratitude to those who served our country, and to take a stand and lend a hand to those who’ve helped make our freedoms possible.

Then, realizing there were SO many other ways he could serve his fellow Veteran and his community at the same time, Jeff expanded his vision and created many other supportive websites, resources, forums and societies for Veterans.

Jeff’s “4Veterans” Initiatives

The “4Veterans” concept is Jeff’s brainchild, or rather heart-child, and his mission is simple: To bring people together – Business, Government, Veterans, all Americans – to help and support each other. Jeff says: “Together, we can all lend a hand and weather any crisis!”

Apart from Books4Veterans, Jeff has dedicated his life to developing many other projects, or ‘hobbies’ as he prefers to call them, for the greater good of all Military Veterans, their families and their communities. As a shining testimony to his unconditional commitment, and his incredible motivation and drive, here’s a list of all the worthy Veteran initiatives Jeff has pioneered to date:

·         Running4Veterans ( 
·         Verified Veteran Supporter – ( 
·         Military Veteran Entrepreneurs (

Jeff is now intent on giving back and helping the greater Veteran community throughout the United States, especially when comes to books to further their studies and improve their lives, and other resources that unite and inspire communities, throughout the country.

Jeff says: “Serving the community is a state of mind, the kind of passion that carries you day-to-day, and that is what drives me every day throughout this journey.”

With Jeff’s tireless energy and unconditional commitment to helping his fellow man, his 4Veterans initiatives go the extra mile by providing a supportive community service that helps alleviate some of the challenges and obstacles encountered by Veterans and non-Veterans alike.

Although Jeff still faces many challenges, both in his personal life and with his disability, he is one of the most courageous, motivated and dedicated people supporting Veterans in the United States today. Jeff truly has the passion for, and a deep insight of, what it takes to help his fellow Veterans, all while showing unconditional support for the Department of Veteran Affairs.

And there is a bittersweet twist in Jeff’s life story. Shortly after Jeff’s son Jeremiah was born (April 19) Jeff lost his Mother to a prolonged illness on Independence Day this year, July the 4th 2014. Jeff was unwaveringly at her side to the end, and his Mother, an avid Veteran Supporter, left Jeff a final request too: “Keep up your good work, my son. Our country is proud of you!”

Jeff is now more inspired than ever, to help and serve.

If you want to share your ideas or concepts with Jeff, or if you need his advice or want him to speak at one of your events, feel free to contact him directly at