HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - We are paying it forward to the co-founder of a backyard business venture that's a refuge for neighborhood kids in Varina.
When Jean Coleman opened the door to reveal her tool shed's transformation, her friend Yvonne was in disbelief.
"She showed me this little out building and I said ‘Wow, this is amazing, Jean,'" Yvonne said.
The Sugar Shack is a joint enterprise. Jean, her buddy Bubba and neighborhood kids painted and decorated. Jean filled it with toys and snacks, books and games and love.
"This is for them. Everything I do mostly is for the kids," said Jean.
"This woman is so influential in so many children's lives and in the neighborhood. She is special," said Yvonne.
Special too, is the Sugar Shack goal of safety.
"In her neighborhood, the only way a child can get to a store is to cross a busy road, and of course, you know it's very dangerous," said Yvonne.
"A little girl got hit going across Darbytown Road a few months back, and I figured this store would keep anything like that from ever happening again. We don't want that with our children," said Jean.
Jean also wants them to learn about managing resources.
"I give them the opportunity to learn how to count money, teach them how to use a register, calculator and things," said Jean.
"If they don't have a donation, she'll ask them a question about something they learned in school or something they should know in school, and if they answer it correctly, they'll get a treat," said Yvonne. "She just gives from her heart, and this money would really help her to give even more."
It's just a ten minute drive getting to Jean's house.
Yvonne Royster says her friend has no idea the real reason for her visit.
"I had let her know that I was going to send a story about her to channel 12 but you know, it's been awhile," said Yvonne. "She mentioned you didn't call me, and I said ‘Well Jean, maybe you weren't selected,' so this is going to be a real surprise."
Was it ever. It took some coaxing to convince the camera-shy neighbor kids to call Nanny to accept her token of appreciation.
Jean explains The Sugar Shack actually closed when school started. But we made it clear we weren't just there for the tour.
Nanny has hugs for everybody. She says the cash will not only help stock The Sugar Shack with Halloween treats, but now more kids can come to the holiday house party.
"We're having a Halloween party for those who are in this neighborhood, and they're so welcome to send their children around here," Jean said. "We're going to have plenty of treats around here."
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