Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas, an award-winning law firm with locations in Warrenton, Culpeper and Front Royal, kicked off the fourth-annual fall cocktail gathering at its Warrenton Blackwell Park office on the evening of Thursday November 1. As a seasonal tradition, local business colleagues, leaders and officials were invited to join the three partners, Andrew Thomas, Richard Dulaney and Carl Lauer, to toast to the autumn season and recognize the services of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier.
What began in 2015 as a hybrid approach to jumpstarting the season of holiday office parties while recognizing a few local causes has evolved into a more focused effort to pay tribute to one local non-profit that resonates strongly with the firm. Year after year, attendees of the fall gathering enjoy a light evening of cocktails, appetizers, and mingling with colleagues and friends in celebration and honor the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier.
The decision for involving the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier was a collective no-brainer for the law firm.
“As a former board member, my partners and I are all very pleased to continue contributing [to the Club] because it’s a great organization—I’ve seen it from the inside and they’re a skilled group of people running it,” says Andrew Thomas, the firm’s Warrenton-based partner.
Representing the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier at the cocktail party that evening were Executive Director Lynne Richman Bell, Resource Development and Mentor Specialist Elizabeth Rose, Chair of the Board Scot Small, and a number of other members who serve on its board.
“The partners of Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas have a sincere love for this community and for the importance of its tightly-knit fabric; it’s evidenced by their commitment to nonprofits,” says Bell. “The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier has been lucky to have the firm dedicated to our work and investing in the youth of the community so that we can provide great futures to all children, regardless of the social determinants that they might be born into.”
As the evening went on, the attendees heard from each of the firm’s partners about what the Club means to them before extending the mic and a contribution to the Club.
“It’s a great organization that has been around for a long time and it’s making a difference. So we look to see how we can chime in, synchronize and make a little bit more of a difference,” partner Richard Dulaney, who operates mainly out of Culpeper, says. “This is an organization that offers heart and acceptance and guidance to the young people that will build the future of leaders, leaders that have a moral compass, that will do the right thing, and that will focus on what we have in common.”
Carl Lauer, the firm’s Front Royal-based partner, harks on his early days starting out in the community.
“When we started doing [the event] on an annual basis, I was reminded of my old days as a Warrenton-Fauquier JC. Our creed was ‘service to humanity is the best work in life.’ And service to the Boys & Girls Club is something really special,” says Lauer.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier’s executive director, Lynne Richman Bell, captured the room’s attention, sharing the significant strides that the Club has taken to make an impact on the Fauquier community’s youth. She touched on the Club’s expanding range of outcome-focused programs and the initiative to grow a greater presence in Marshall earlier this year with a new Club location. The Fauquier Clubs have also been a leading example for the national organization in that they are the first chapter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America to have every staff member trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid. They have raised the bar for other clubs across the nation by surveying 93% of the Club kids annually in the National Youth Outcomes Initiative. The Club also set a goal to improve its Optimal Club Experience by 7% each year from 2018 to 2022. In 2018, they have already improved the score by 10% over 2017.
The firm was grateful to use the cocktail party as an opportunity to show their network of professional peers what they have personally experienced in building an ongoing relationship with the Club.
“It’s the energy. When you walk into that place, you hear the kids laughing, and you feel it before you see it,” recalls Thomas about his first impression of the Warrenton Club. “It’s not really a linear thing, it’s an emotional thing. And the people running it and on the board are mirroring that energy.”