The Transylvania Times -

Dunn's Rock News


January 30, 2020

The Get Set group shows some of the blankets made for local children. (Times photo by Park Baker)

Preparing For Success

It's hard to say "no" to Kae Parker – or maybe it's just easy to say "yes" to her. Kae, who retired after 28 years of directing the county's Child Development Program and New Adventure Learning Center, and who in retirement works to recruit and support foster care families, has what you could call a "heart for children."

When she put out a call in September for "comfy cozy blankets" to include in the Get Set Transylvania toolkits for families with young children, she was hoping to receive about 500 blankets. When all was said and done and the toolkits were assembled last Friday at Keystone Camp, over 789 blankets had been created to share with children.

The blankets were the brainchild of Renay Knapp of the N.C. Cooperative Extension and Kae, who are part of the Get Set Family Support working group, which came up with the contents of the "Trauma and How to Comfort Young Children" toolkit. This is the fifth of eight kits being distributed to the roughly 550 families registered with Get Set Transylvania. This program seeks to prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. Renay and Kae thought having something cozy to hold onto when facing overwhelming situations, like visiting the doctor or going to school for the first time, would provide solace for children.

Kae reached out through church groups, Dunn's Rock News, Linus Project, and WNC quilting, knitting and sewing groups. Word spread, and beautiful blankets came pouring in, filling Kae's basement. Over 45 seamstresses and eight quilting groups participated in making the blankets, and many others donated funds for the purchase of materials.

Kae invited those involved in the production of the blankets to witness the assembly of the toolkits at Keystone Camp last week. The gathering also provided a chance for folks to learn more about the kits' contents from representatives of some of the non-profit groups involved in their development, including The Family Place and SAFE.

In addition to the blankets, the toolkits contain information for parents and activities for children prepared by Sesame Street in Communities, local resources for families and projects that families can work on together. The project in this set is a "Calm Down Kit," an activity that helps children learn how to cope with strong emotions like sadness or anger. Given options of calming activities, like rocking in a chair or pushing against a wall, children decide which activities would help them most in times of stress. Then they cut and paste pictures of these activities onto cards, and bind them with a ring to create their own Calm Down Kit.

The Get Set Transylvania program involves an impressive collaboration of county offices, non-profits, concerned citizens and local businesses. For more information on the program, check out the website at

In her thanks to the blanket contributors, Kae improved upon the saying that "many hands make light work" – and added "many hearts make life work!"

Putting Books In Every Hand

Rosman Elementary Instructional Coach Crystal Whitman hopes to help her students build their own personal libraries by sending at least five new or gently used books home with each child at the end of the school year. She is asking for contributions from the community to help provide books for the school's 325 students. The school's 7th annual "Give 5, Read 5 Drive" will accept donations through May. For more information on the program or to arrange for a book pickup, contact Crystal at 362-4331.

The Dunn's Rock Hiker

Rumor has it that a middle-aged Dunn's Rock hiker is getting ready for an Appalachian Trail attempt, beginning Feb. 16. The outdoorsman, whom I'll call DRiker due to his wish for anonymity, will begin the 2,200-mile trek in Amicalola Falls State Park, Ga., on an approach trail to Springer Mountain. It's something he's been contemplating for 20 years.

The years have not dulled DRiker's ambition to test his limits, both physically and mentally. He says he looks forward to "seeing new vistas, wildlife, sunrises and sunsets and studying the stars." His biggest concern is making sure he's properly prepared for the weather and other challenges of the trail.

DRiker hopes that his early start will help him "beat the bubble" of folks attempting the trail in 2020. Only about 25 percent of the hikers who start the trail actually complete it. Dunn's Rock News will keep you posted on DRiker's progress. The most important thing he's taking with him? A good attitude.

No Dollar In The Holler

Everywhere I go, folks want to know the latest about the efforts to head off the building of a Dollar General store on the corner of Greenville Highway and Becky Mountain Road. The latest news is available on the group's Facebook page. There is also a link on the page to sign up for emails, which give updates and a list of a number of ways that volunteers can help in the effort.

Community Center News

The Community Playgroup meets on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Children up to age five are invited to bring their caregivers for a morning of fellowship and fun.

The first dinner and program of 2020 will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 19.

The board has elected its 2020 slate of officers: Dewey Aiken, president and grounds maintenance coordinator; Martha Ellenburg, vice president; Anita Lawrence, secretary; Carol Dodson, public relations and volunteer coordinator; Janet Robertson, treasurer and building and food service facilitator; and Gail Buchanan, member at large. Thank you to these volunteers.

To rent the Dunn's Rock Community Center, contact Janet Robertson at (828) 883-2678. Dunn's Rock news and story suggestions can be made at


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