Kalvin Bugg: Embrace Young Heroes

Kalvin Bugg: Embrace Young Heroes

I met 19-year-old Kalvin Bugg, AKA Bugg, while out recruiting youth for our young leaders club pilot project in the Historic Brookland Park area. I enticed him to join us with the offer of pizza and a chance to earn some money. That was four weeks ago and already he is proving that young people are the heroes we have been waiting for! This giving season we are inviting you to show your faith in the next generation by sponsoring a young leader like Bugg.  Funds will be used as follows: a third of the funds go directly to the young leaders in the form of stipends a third of the funds go to support weekly young leaders club meetings a third of the funds go to support the development of block clubs that provide support for the community development efforts the youth are engaged in The cost of supporting each of our young leaders is $1,200 a year, or $100 per month. Our goal during this campaign is to raise sufficient funding to support 24 young leaders across Metro Richmond. Would you, a group you belong to, or your congregation consider sponsoring one of our young leaders?  We will be reporting live on Facebook with updates from our Young Leaders and encourage you to “like” Embrace Richmond on Facebook to keep up with the good work of these young heroes. Will you give an emerging leader a chance to be the change they want to see in their neighborhoods?  Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated.  To learn more about the work done by local young heroes check out...
Conversations on Race and Community: Neighborhood Spotlight Series Post #3

Conversations on Race and Community: Neighborhood Spotlight Series Post #3

This semester we are blessed to have a team of amazing interns.  We have assigned each to neighborhood action teams across the city and have asked them to document what they are learning about each team.  This week, our insights come from Emily Krudys, a student at Union Presbyterian Seminary.   I have lived in Richmond for almost twenty years, but barely know my neighbors outside of my near West End community.  Now as a seminary student at Union Presbyterian Seminary on Brook Road, and as an intern with Embrace Richmond this is changing, and I am changing.  It is about time.   I am meeting new neighbors in the Northside community of Barton Heights and surrounding areas along Brookland Park Boulevard.  This community, along with the folks at All Souls Presbyterian Church , are seeking to create a “beloved community” and examine “who is my neighbor” and what it means to seek to “love your neighbor.”   They are hosting open, frank, and caring conversations about Race and Community  on the first Thursday of every month.  The topic of the first meeting was simply “What kind of community do you want?”  In that conversation, I learned that my Northside neighbors are from a proud and strong heritage, a neighborhood where some families have lived for generations.   This is a community that, in 1952, with courage, foresight, and intention, formed the first integrated Presbyterian church at All Souls.  Now, coming together again as neighbors, we seek a community that is safe and connected.  A neighborhood that is open and “neighborly,” but where neighbors, old and new, respect the history,...
The Spirituality of Community Building – Neighborhood Spotlight Series #2

The Spirituality of Community Building – Neighborhood Spotlight Series #2

These wonderful insights into the spirituality of community building come to us from Owen Bagley, one of our thoughtful interns.  What began as a prayer group on Brookland Park Boulevard, today continues as members of the Northside neighborhood come together to pray for their community. In honor of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity the group reflected on the meaning of Christian unity.  Is Christ’s body divided?  What does it look like to have unity without uniformity?  Is Christian diversity important or beneficial? With a multitude of Christian traditions represented, the members of the prayer group discussed the aspects of faith which each tradition contributes to the larger body of Christ.  In this eye opening discussion we each shared how we learn, benefit, and grow spiritually through conversations and interactions with one another.  Each tradition brings a unique element to the table, all of which further and strengthen the Christian body. In our Richmond communities, diversity is ever present.  Yet through prayer and conversation, this group of Northside neighbors has found value in such a blessing. As a student in seminary, I found this discussion to be particularly applicable to my life.  One of the members of the prayer group shared an enlightening metaphor of the Christian body.  He said that when we reflect on our bodies, what we often notice are the cuts and bruises, the scrapes and the infections.  These areas of the body, however small they might be, often draw the majority of our attention.  Of course, we cannot ignore the wounds our bodies receive; wounds need healing.  Yet, they often consume our focus and our...
2015: Our Most Impactful Year

2015: Our Most Impactful Year

As we reflect on this past year, the word that comes to mind is impactful. At the beginning of 2015, we were engaged in asset-based community development efforts in two neighborhoods. At the end of 2015, we are blessed to be supporting efforts in seven neighborhoods with two more community engagement efforts under development. This rapid expansion in asset-based community development efforts across Metro Richmond is the direct result of the hard work of our community partners who successfully completed both our Mission Shift training programs and the summer Dream Catcher projects. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to train over 200 church and community leaders in ABCD in 2015. The video below contains the highlights of this past year: The most exciting achievement this year was the expansion of the Dream Catcher project which engaged over 20 neighborhood youth in the community building efforts in their neighborhoods. As a result of their hard work, seven new action teams were formed. These teams are addressing issues of safety, community connectedness, economic revitalization, school strengthening and youth activities. Below is a short video about this project: Additionally, Embrace Richmond turned 10 years old this year and celebrated our 10 year journey with nearly 100 of our closest friends and supporters. We have captured the highlights of this 10 year journey in this video. The amazing year we had would not have been possible without our community partners, our donors, our wonderful staff, the hardworking neighborhood leaders, our board of directors and the countless volunteers who have served so faithfully. Please help us make 2016 even more impactful by...