Training Opportunity at Woodlake UMC this January!

Training Opportunity at Woodlake UMC this January!

Our Executive Director, Wendy McCaig, will be leading a 6-week Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) training at Woodlake UMC this January! (Registration and dates below). When is this ABCD Training?  (January 11-February 15th) Thursdays from 7-9pm  Do I need to register for this training class? Yes! Space is limited so please register today! Where do I go?  Woodlake UMC, Student Center 15640 Hampton Park Drive, Chesterfield, VA 23832 (804)739-4535 If I have questions, who do I contact?  For questions on the upcoming ABCD Training, contact Susan Custer. For questions related to Embrace Richmond, contact Heather Lyne. Have you wondered what it might look like to move beyond giving a can of peaches or writing a check to a local charity?  Through this series of workshops, Wendy will help participants discover how to shift existing temporary relief programs to long-term community development efforts using asset-based community development (ABCD.)  She designed this ABCD program to help churches make the shift from doing ministry “for” those in need to doing ministry “with” local residents.  Participants will learn about the seven approaches to community missions and help assess current missions efforts.  Wendy will incorporate  group exercises as well as opportunities to share personal experiences into each workshop.   In January of 2016, Wendy presented at Woodlake during the Richmond UMC District training. When she delivered her “Embrace Mission Shift” workshop, it opened Susan Custer’s eyes to a completely different way of serving others. She says she “knew at that point, we needed to bring the training to Woodlake so others could hear it and see where God would lead us.” Susan has been involved in Missions at Woodlake for twenty years and remains actively engaged through local and international mission projects as a member of the Mission Committee. “Through presentations to our Mission Committee and our pastors over the last year, others saw the value of this training. The rest is history, and now we have the training dates...
Thanks for staying tuned…we’re back with Deasia!

Thanks for staying tuned…we’re back with Deasia!

Deasia Brown (pictured above with Mrs. Bailey) is originally from Historic Brookland Park and joined our Young Leaders program in August of 2017. Her motivation for becoming a Young Leader was personal and professional development – quite forward-thinking at age 15! We encourage each Young Leader to share their dreams for their community. Deasia’s dream was to decrease homelessness in her neighborhood. The compassion and concern she has for others is truly awesome!   Deasia impressed us from the beginning with her capacity for self-reflection. This is a skill many teenagers, let alone adults, lack and it will take her far. She outlined goals for herself at the start of the program based upon this self-knowledge. These included improving her ability to communicate with others on a personal level, being more optimistic and increasing her work ethic. The Young Leaders program enabled Deasia to adopt community listening responsibilities with the potential for monetary outcomes.  In September of 2017, Deasia was the first Young Leader to complete the 10 required Community Listening interviews. She worked diligently daily to balance her school assignments, pick her younger sibling up from their school and meet with the Young Leader’s engagement coach every Wednesdays from 4:40 –6:00pm. Deasia completed 7 Neighborhood Strengths Surveys (NSS) in September and 3 in October.   Additionally, Deasia decided to join another project designed by Embrace Richmond called “Unsung Heroes“. During the Young Leaders program, Deasia shared that she enjoys the friendliness of her neighbors and the sense of unity in Brookland Park. But she noted that this image of Brookland Park often goes unnoticed or untold. Through Unsung Heroes, Deasia is empowered to change that narrative. She is partnering with a senior resident who has resided in the Historic Brookland Park area for 40 years or longer and is in the process of drafting a detailed narrative of their experiences in the community over time.   Deasia will also be the first youth in Young Leaders to progress to the next phase of the program known as “apprenticeship”. She will choose an existing Brookland Park Collective Action Team and learn the teams purpose, interventions, networking, target population and area of desired change.  She says that she has enjoyed her time with the Young Leader’s staff and community residents. Deasia reported that she feels more confident in her social skills as it relates to opening up, communicating with others and developing relationships, Furthermore, she stated her level...
Keeping Up with Tresean

Keeping Up with Tresean

Tresean Gilliam is one of the youngest Young Leaders to ever join the program at age 13. Initially, he presented himself as a very shy and reserved but respectful, mature young man. He readily admitted he needed to increase his self-confidence, improve his social skills and take more initiative with certain tasks and responsibilities. Although Tresean exhibited some caution with participating in young leader opportunities and duties, he was in attendance at every meeting, on time and open to taking a chance.   Over time, Tresean began to embrace the duties and responsibilities of a young leader with the support, and encouragement of the program’s engagement coach. He diligently rode his bike to every scheduled group meeting and individual session to complete a community listening project. Throughout the process, Tresean adopted the engagement coach as a mentor to address his personal goals and strengthen his skills as a young leader. He learned how to greet community members effectively — by making eye contact, speaking clearly and shaking hands. Once he gained confidence within his physical social skills, Tresean began to initiate conversations with residents more easily. He developed a talent for communicating with others through healthy, humorous but also detailed dialogue. His accurate and legible documentation of Neighborhood Strengths Surveys also illustrated a sense of growth achieved since joining Young Leaders.   Tresean joined Young Leaders in the summer of 2017 and is now 14. His “job” is to interview and complete Neighborhood Strength Surveys, capturing important information from local residents like their number of years in the community, community goals, associational involvement, personal skills and talents.   Tresean also joined Embrace Richmond’s “Unsung Heroes Project.” For this project, each youth partners with a senior adult who has resided in their community/neighborhood for 40 years or longer.  Tresean’s storytelling buddy is Micheal Jackson.  Tresean listend to and recorded Mr. Jackson’s stories and, in turn, shared his experiences. This exchange helped Tresean in bridging the generational gap, building rapport and gaining historical knowledge of his community. In these next few weeks, Tresean will take one story and craft it into a narrative that will be available to the public.    Tresean has also become a key member of Joe’s Bike Shop, a partner organization, that trains youth on how to repair bicycles. Tresean has become an important spokesperson for both Embrace and Joe’s helping to grow both programs.   Tresean’s story is one of personal and community success and continues to highlight...
Grateful to Welcome Heather as our New Operations Manager

Grateful to Welcome Heather as our New Operations Manager

Although we were sad to bid farewell to Jackie Washington last month, we know she will accomplish wonderful things with our friends at Six Points Innovation Center (6PIC) in Highland Park. Congratulations Jackie! Heather Lyne joined the Embrace team earlier this month to take on Jackie’s role as well as other administrative and programmatic duties. Heather holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs and International Affairs and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She found graduate school, where she specialized in community change studies, to be an unexpected, humbling, and all-together fantastic experience. These studies provided Heather with new visions and a foundation in asset-based community development (ABCD). She finds working with communities to be constantly inspiring, challenging, rewarding and dynamic. Heather hopes to empower fellow multi-passionates working at the grassroots level in Richmond through her role at Embrace. For the past two years, Heather provided executive support to the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Office at Virginia Tech as an International Programs Coordinator. She managed the logistics of the National Science Foundation’s (IRES) International Research Experience for Students between Virginia Tech and the University of Nottingham and the Rolls-Royce International Internship program in Derby, U.K. Heather is a proponent of democratizing domestic and international education opportunities. She was grateful that these programs fully-funded students and allowed them to grow as people and professionals. Heather has also apprenticed with the City of Roanoke’s Office of Arts and Culture since January. Under the guidance of Susan Jennings, the City of Roanoke’s Arts and Culture Coordinator and Douglas Jackson, a Capacity Development Specialist for the...