Neighborhood Spotlight Series #1: Anita in Northside

Neighborhood Spotlight Series #1: Anita in Northside

When I began interning at Embrace Richmond in September, asset based community development was a new and terrifying concept for me. I was brand new to the world of social work and community development and had never used, let alone heard, this language before. It took almost an entire semester and several hours of research and training to understand what it means to do asset-based community development. The problem was, I understood ABCD intellectually, but I was having a difficult time envisioning what this model would look like “in the real world.” I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of this work, and how one small organization could make the impact that Wendy envisioned. This semester, I get to experience firsthand how a block-by-block approach to ABCD works in one Northside neighborhood. Tuesday night, I sat in the living room of one of our resident leaders and watched her passion and desire to see her dreams for her neighborhood come through as she spoke to more potential resident leaders. Her name was Anita and she spoke from the depths of her heart as she explained the work she has accomplished over this past year to create numerous successful events that brought her neighborhood together. She spoke honestly about the struggles and the hurts that she faced as neighbors wrestled with her vision and even hosted gatherings to criticize her efforts. She started her work as a block connector by simply asking her neighbors what they thought would help make her block better. In the beginning, things were slow. At the first game night, one neighbor showed up, but Anita was determined...
Meet The Interns

Meet The Interns

Embrace Richmond has heard and seen so many inspiring stories throughout Richmond and over the years. If we’re lucky enough, sometimes we become part of those stories. In an effort to share the stories of people who go above and beyond to lift up their communities and themselves, we have created a team of storytellers. This team of five interns will be on the ground in Richmond neighborhoods and communities over the next few months finding the best and most creative ways to get these stories heard. They are an enthusiastic group and are eager to learn all they can about the members of the Richmond community, but before they can do that, they want to tell you a little about themselves. Kelli McNeal is a born and raised Ohio-an who moved to Richmond in the summer of 2013. She is working on completing a dual degree in Masters of Divinity at Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond and a Masters in Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has Bachelors degrees in Accounting and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies from Ohio State University.  She married August 1st in Sidney, Ohio and is currently enjoying life as a newlywed.  She is an avid Ohio State University fan and loves taking a break from studying to watch the Buckeyes play any sport. She has been with Embrace Richmond since September and is currently working in North Side to help expand the block-by-block approach that has already had great success.  She is excited to work with amazing resident leaders and to experience the passion for their communities.   Owen Bagley  comes to us from Atlanta,...
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...
Embrace Insights: Shady Hill Community Builders Training

Embrace Insights: Shady Hill Community Builders Training

Embrace Richmond had the great opportunity to work with the Shady Hill community last month and introduced them to our community builders training. Members of the community came together to find out what their strengths were and the most effective ways to put these strengths into action and improve their community. After all of our community building training sessions, we ask the participants to let us know what they learned and how their perspectives have changed in result. Here are some of our favorite insights: The most rewarding thing has been to be able to be an active participant with a team to make the community better.   (This training) helped me to see the community I serve in as a place to see the residents grow and develop their gifts.   I feel like the ABCD model can work for any nonprofit that works in the community. We are so proud of the Shady Hill community and look forward to all of the change they will bring to their community. If you are interested in community building training for your community or ministry, e-mail Wendy McCaig at wendy@embracerichmond.org for more...
Embrace Insights: Our First Henrico Partner

Embrace Insights: Our First Henrico Partner

Embrace Richmond had the great opportunity to work with the UUCC of Glen Allen last month and introduced them to our mission shift training. The majority of the group who gathered together to see what mission shift training could do for their ministry thought the opportunity was a rewarding opportunity and opened their eyes to the idea of working “with” their community instead of “for” them. After all of our mission shift training sessions, we ask the participants to let us know what they learned and how their perspectives have changed in result. Here are some of our favorite insights: “I now realize that helping is not always ‘giving.'” “I have a new way of looking at what real help is. It’s facilitating folks in taking ownerships to help themselves.” “It was eye-opening to see social justice work encouraged from bottom up rather than top down.” “It changed me to think less about how it might change me and more about changing the world!” We are so glad that they enjoyed the outcome of their training and are excited to work with UUCC in the future! If you are interested in mission shift training for your community or ministry, e-mail Wendy McCaig at wendy@embracerichmond.org for more...
How We Celebrated Our 10th Birthday

How We Celebrated Our 10th Birthday

This past Thursday, Embrace Richmond invited our partners, supporters and friends to help us celebrate the past ten years’ worth of milestones and accomplishments of our organization. The event was hosted at the Firehouse Theater and funded by our generous Board Chair, Don Reich. Two of our newest merchants from Brookland Park Boulevard, Nomad’s Deli and Streetcar Cafe provided the food for the event with an assortment of wraps, sandwiches, wings and platters to make sure no one went hungry.   We hosted a reception for the first hour, which was then followed by a presentation led by our executive director, Wendy McCaig. The presentation featured firsthand stories from those who have been with us since the beginning and those who have joined us over the years to help us grow Embrace Richmond and the communities we work with.   Close to 90 people came to celebrate with us and we couldn’t be more grateful or humbled to have so many people involved with Embrace.   Thank you for a great 10 years and here’s to 10...