Ali and Oliver Landow will be the honorary chairs at next week's FACES 2012, an art, food and wine fundraiser for The Children's Home (TCH), a residential home in Catonsville for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned.
The Ellicott City couple will be honored for their long-time support of TCH, which goes far beyond writing checks. In addition to taking kids out to sports games and helping them with homework, the Landows two years ago started started renting the Columbia Ice Rink to give the kids a holiday ice skating party.
The Landow's 11-year-old-son Zack and his hockey team (the Huskies) give skating lessons and, of course there's piza and ice cream.
Ice Skating Day has become a TCH holiday tradition during a time of year that can be difficult for the children, many of whom do not have a family to spend the season with.
Patch asked the Ali and Oliver some questions about their work with the TCH and the children they've met along the way.
Patch: Why did you begin volunteering in the first place with The Children’s Home as opposed to “just writing checks?”
Landows: Ali and I chose to volunteer with the Children’s Home because we wanted to have a direct positive impact on some of the residents. We immediately saw results in our interactions with some of the kids and our son Zack. From attending baseball games, tennis matches and fun dinners to just helping out with homework.
Patch: Who were the children that you became close with at the Children's Home? What was it about them that made you decide they wanted to forge a stronger relationship?
Landows: We spent time with several kids over long periods of time. The boys ranged from 8-17 years of age. The time we spent with them was enlightening for them and ourselves. The kids had the opportunity to attend activities they might not ordinarily be able to and our son was able see and appreciate how impactful volunteering can be to help those in need.
Patch: What brought you to Ellicott City?
Landows: Ali and I moved to Ellicott City in the mid 2000s because absolutely loved the community, the tree lined streets, the schools and all of the pleasant people.
Patch: Where did the idea of Ice Skating day come from?
Landows: We decided on an ice skating day because it was becoming very difficult to just take one or two kids out at a time to do things. The others felt left out and did not seem fair. But doing an event at the rink allowed us to reach all of the kids who wanted to skate and also have a pizza/ice cream party over the holidays.
Zack has always been a big part of our participation with The Children’s Home, but due to his skating expertise, he can really help out on the rink.
Patch: What does Zack think of his parents’ work?
Zack is very proud of what we do and his ability to be an active participant. He often asks what more we can do for the kids at The Children’s Home, so we are always trying to be creative and think of new ways to help!
FACES 2012, an art, food and wine fundraiser, takes place Wed., Oct. 17, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the American Visionary Art Museum in downtown Baltimore.