Proving Them Wrong: Joseph Roberts – Hillside Community Leader

At Embrace Richmond we use the term ‘Street Saint’ to describe those individuals with leadership qualities that originate from their spirit. Despite living in poverty and surrounded by challenges, these individuals rise to the occasion and seek to help others despite (or because of) their own personal experiences. In a sense, when you look at what our ‘Saints’ are doing, and the place they are doing it from, it tends to give you an entirely different perspective on the act of giving to others. No where is this more clear then in speaking with Joseph Roberts. Quiet and unassuming, Joseph came to Embrace Richmond with a lifetime of hardship and the determination to make it better for himself and others. It hasn’t been easy; at age 9 he suffered a brain aneurysm. Joseph shared what that experience was like for him, “But the really crazy thing about it was when they took to me to school anyway on that day. Once they saw I couldn’t even get off the school bus, they had to drive back across town just to get me to the hospital. No one knew anything was seriously wrong until they gave me a spinal tap and found blood. After they operated on me, I had to learn how to walk and talk again. But, God is good.” He says this as he takes his right hand to place his left hand on his lap. Joseph is paralyzed on his left side, though he can walk, he can’t move his toes or arm on the left side. “It was devastating and I kept thinking, ‘why me’...

Making the Grade – Tesia's Story

We first met Tesia during a listening conversation we had on the topic of employment needs in Hillside court.  Tesia was shy, quiet and I am not sure she really trusted us in the beginning.  In the first conversation around employment, I was shocked to learn that one of the top barriers our residents noted to employment was a lack of motivation and encouragement.  I heard several stories about how residents had been seeking employment for years and could see in their eyes that they had given up hope.  However, 23 year old Tesia was different.  She had not been beaten down the way many of the more seasoned residents had.  Tesia got involved at Embrace and began volunteering. She shared with us her dream – the dream of one day being a hair stylist. To reach her dream Tesia, needed to go to school.  We connected Tesia to Don, one of our vocational mentors.  Don evaluated Tesia’s skills and learned she needed help with the entrance exam, particularly in math. After studying and failing the math portion by a small margin, Tesia was discouraged to the point of giving up.  Don connected Tesia with Dolly, a volunteer math tutor. So Dolly began to meet with Tesia.  Dolly shared, “After I left Tesia one day, I stopped by Virginia College on the way home.  I met with several staff members, all of whom were extremely helpful and I was impressed. They checked their records for Tesia and told me that she had missed passing the entrance exam by just one point.   When I returned to Hillside the next week,...

Investing in a Cause – Kevin Nentwich

Embrace Richmond couldn’t survive without volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors. Equally important are those community minded individuals willing to give resources to Embrace. We are incredibly thankful for those willing to donate and invest, not only their money, but their heart into the work we do. One such person is literally an investor.  Kevin Nentwich, owner of Financial Consultants of America, has supported Embrace Richmond for nearly a year. “I wanted to support something locally,” he says, “and I was pointed to Wendy and Embrace Richmond. I started reading her blogs and doing my own research and realized I wanted to meet her and learn more.” That partnership has proved to be a winning combination. Mr. Nentwich has spent time not only learning more about Embrace, but seeing first hand the work it does. “That’s partly why its so meaningful to me,” he continues, “I know that Wendy is out in the field seeing people eyeball to eyeball, and then getting involved myself and meeting some of the folks who have been touched by Embrace….it’s just a fantastic thing to know you have made a difference in someone’s life.” It is through the generosity of Kevin, and others like him, that Embrace is able to support individuals, who might otherwise be unemployable, and give them valuable work experience while improving the living conditions of their own community.   This idea matches the philosophy of Financial Consultants of America, who want to see local support build upon itself.  Any investor wants to see the value of their stock or bond go up, likewise,...
A Faith Filled Gift – St. Mark's United Methodist Church

A Faith Filled Gift – St. Mark's United Methodist Church

The lovely ladies from St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, led by Laura Wert, shared a wonderful gift with the women of Hillside Court.  Hillside resident Deneka Green (featured in this photo), shared this reflection and words of appreciation. We went to The Women of Faith Conference in Washington, D.C.  It was wonderful even before we got on the highway.  We were introduced to the other women who were going with us on this mini vacation.  We had prayer and were given two beautiful t-shirts.  We were on our way. I didn’t expect to meet these other women.  But after meeting them, they were really great people.  We had some nice conversations on the van. When I first heard about us going, I was happy because I was getting away for a day or night. But then, I thought about it.  I didn’t even know what Women of Faith was.  I wondered if this was going to be for me.  But, when I got there and listened to Lisa Harper, Lori Robertson, Natalie Grant and the worship team, and I can’t forget Mr. Henry Cloud and Mr. Ken Davis,  I knew what this conference was all about then.  It really touched my heart.  Before I left for the conference, I was going through some things and depressed. But, after being there at that conference and listening  and hearing wonderful stories, my depression was behind me. I enjoyed every word, but really enjoyed MaryMary.  I love that group. I even bought their book.  I liked it when they sang “I Cried My Last Tear Yesterday.”  I want to thank Ms. Walker. ...