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...
A Peek at Our Present : The Dreamcatcher Outcomes

A Peek at Our Present : The Dreamcatcher Outcomes

Here are the shared dreams that came out of our summer Dream Catcher projects:  North Central Neighborhood: 1. Healthier educational opportunities for junior high and high school students in the Northside area, starting with a listening project to discover what our students would do to improve their educational opportunities. 2. Micro-enterprise development to help fuel the revitalization of Brookland Park Blvd, starting with a young artist co-op that helps our youth turn their talents into a small micro-business that could potentially draw more residents to Brookland Park. 3. A continued desire for greater community unity including honest conversations about race in our rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, as well as an intentional block-by-block community building effort to help neighbors develop deeper connections with one another.   Broadwater Townhomes: 1. More family friendly activities that help neighbors build relationships, such as cookouts, a community garden, prayer team, parent support group, and play groups. 2. Improved recreational and fitness opportunities, such as a basketball court, better access to the weight room, a boxing club, teen-only swim times, an improved playground, and a lifeguard at the pool. 3. More opportunities for youth to excel, such as a robotics workshop and study groups.   Lincoln Mews / North Oak Apartments:       1. Improved relationships between residents through better conflict resolution and increased respect for one another and the neighborhood in general; starting with a row-by-row connecting strategy to help residents build stronger relationships with one another. 2. More community-wide events, such as cookouts, community conversations, and parent support groups. 3. More opportunities for the youth to engage in positive activities, such as an arts...
Explore the Pages from our Past

Explore the Pages from our Past

It is so hard to believe we are 10 years old! Embrace Richmond was officially incorporated in 2005 and in the ten years since then we have… 1. 2005: We started the furniture bank in response to a homeless woman’s desire to help other homeless families. This endeavor grew into CARTIAS in 2008. 2. 2009: We started an asset-based citizen-driven community development effort in Hillside Court and built a resident-led association called, The Hillside Court Partnership. We handed off the development work in Hillside Court to the Partnership in 2013 and continue to support their efforts today. 3. 2013: We helped residents on the Northside start the Better Together Food Co-op in partnership with Northminster Church.     4. 2013: We helped to strengthen the Brookland Park Area Association by working in partnership with the merchants on Brookland Park Boulevard. 5. 2014: We launched the Great Neighbor Academy that has trained more than 150 community and congregational leaders in Asset-Based Community Development best practices in its first year. 6. 2014: We developed a youth-led community listening project called Dream Catchers, which we expanded in 2015 by mobilizing youth in seven neighborhoods and working in partnership with six community-based organizations and congregations. 7. Today: We are working in partnership with community-based organizations in five neighborhoods who have committed to strengthening neighborhoods using an asset-based community development approach. The best words to describe our past would be innovative and collaborative. But we aren’t done yet! Want to know what’s next for Embrace Richmond? Join us on November 5th, 2015 as we celebrate the past 10 years and look forward to the next 10. Register HERE today to reserve your...
Community Reveals Its Dream Catcher Dreams

Community Reveals Its Dream Catcher Dreams

“Never underestimate a community that cares” was a common theme at the convening meeting at All Souls Presbyterian on Sept. 3. Lead by the amazing Essie Reinke, a handful of teens decided to help their local neighborhoods as they begin to focus on their future. This past summer Embrace Richmond sponsored a group of teens to connect and communicate with their six neighborhoods. The Dream Catcher Listening Project was created to listen to the hopes and dreams of these local neighborhoods. For over six weeks 21 children individually interviewed their neighbors and made personal profiles for each person. Cherell Williams, a member of the Dream Catcher project, discussed how diverse the neighborhoods were and their separate hopes for the future. She described that while many neighborhoods hoped for a friendlier atmosphere, most neighborhoods main hope was safety and security. “When I think of a neighborhood, I don’t want a group of strangers – I want a family,” she said while presenting her project. She talked about how much she had grown by caring about her neighborhood, spiritually and emotionally. She’s now focusing almost all of her energy into the fall Community Unity project, which connects neighbors together through block clubs. Dominique, a brilliant young girl whose experience was life altering, talked about her experiences with “Mrs. B” and “Mr. Flyfe” and their amazing generosity and how it influenced her to create her own outreach program. Dominique’s dream is to start a Young Artist Coop, which will be selling local artists work, to give them a chance to not only make money but express themselves artistically. All of the profiles shown...
Make a Lasting Impact During The Amazing Raise

Make a Lasting Impact During The Amazing Raise

Embrace Richmond is joining this year’s Amazing Raise, a 36-hour fundraising event hosted by the Community Foundation in Richmond. It’s THE perfect opportunity to give back and make an impact on the communities we serve. Watch our new video to see first-hand how your donations are impacting our communities: Essie Reinke, the 2015 Dream Catcher Project coordinator seen in the video above, said, “It was fascinating to see how so many neighbors all shared the same dreams for their neighborhood and how empowering it was when they learned that others cared about the same things they cared about.” For example: In Broadwater: It was teen and children’s activities that inspired people to get involved. In Hillside: It was the desire to keep children safe that united the neighbors. In Shady Hill: It was a desire for community beatification that sparked the passion of the neighbors. In Lincoln Mews: It was the dream of a more respectful, healthy environment that led people to commit. In Battery Park: It was the dream of economic revitalization that moved neighbors to action. In North Central: It was the desire for greater community unity that got neighbors excited. You can be a part of making these dreams come true during the Amazing Raise, which begins at 6 a.m. Sept. 16 and ends at 6 p.m. Sept. 17. Click here to get...
Amazing Summer With Much More to Come!

Amazing Summer With Much More to Come!

This summer Embrace Richmond partnered with congregations and community-based organizations to expand ABCD efforts into six neighborhoods across Metro-Richmond through our Summer Dream Catcher project. The goal of the project is to teach neighborhood youth how to do effective community listening so that they discover what their neighbors care enough about to act upon. Throughout the summer the youth conduct interviews.  At the end of the summer, they host a community-wide celebration and share with their neighbors what they learned. The project was a smashing success.  All the communities that completed the project and hosted convening meetings, had between 20 and 100 neighbors show up for their year-end celebrations and all of them had enough neighbors interested in getting involved to start action teams.  Most importantly, residents in every neighborhood agreed to lead the projects that emerged from the listening effort. The youth who participated in this project have exceeded our expectations; so we are not ready to let them go! This year, we are doing something new. We are inviting the youth who completed the project and who want to continue on in leadership roles to become year-long interns.  They will each receive a small stipend and each will work with adult mentors to custom design an internship experience that best utilizes their gifts, talents and passions. In the coming months, we will be sharing stories of how these youth are working with their neighbors to be the change they want to see in their communities. You can play a roll in these youths’ lives this week during the Amazing Raise, a 36-hour fundraiser on Sept. 16 and...