Welcome Leroy Jefferson

Welcome Leroy Jefferson

We are thrilled to welcome Leroy Jefferson to the Embrace Richmond team!   In his role as the Strategic Implementation Manager, Leroy is providing coaching and support to neighborhood leaders and congregational partners across Metro Richmond. We first met Leroy though his lovely wife, Angela who serves as the co-leader of the Griffin Block club as well as the leader of our Come-Unity prayer circle.  Leroy and Angela returned to Leroy’s family home in the North Central community roughly two years ago and have a shared heart for this neighborhood. Leroy spent more than than 30 years working in the business sector as a bio-chemical researcher, a quality control manager and a business owner.  He will be applying his analytical and strategic skills to our Inside Out Community Development process as he walks with our partners who are transforming neighborhoods from the inside out. Leroy is also an ordained deacon and licensed minister with more than 30 years experience working in the local church and as the director of his own ministry.  Leroy’s unique experience in business and ministry are the perfect match for the opportunities Embrace Richmond has received through our growing partnerships. Please join us in welcoming Leroy to the team! If you would like to learn more about the work of our North Central team and the Great Neighbor Revolution that Leroy will be helping to support.  Check out our latest video highlighting this effort....
Students Strengthening Communities – Post #4 Neighborhood Spotlight Series

Students Strengthening Communities – Post #4 Neighborhood Spotlight Series

  “Is my school a community? Because my school needs more help than my neighborhood.” While engaging in the Dream Catcher listening project this summer, talking about the issues facing a community, one young person posed the very poignant question of “Is my school a community?” The question came as a surprise and it was clear that the answer is an obvious YES, of course a school is a community, and a community with strengths and assets and a culture, like any geographically defined community. The question was a call to extend the ABCD model to schools; and so Students for RPS (Richmond Public Schools) was born and the desire to have student voices heard through advocacy was made clear. When advocating for stronger schools, the student voice is important, but not always heard and students don’t know how to organize in a way that ensures they are invited to the table on these issues that so greatly impact them.  Across the country there are a number of organizations like Students Leading Students, who are are seeking to assist students in advocating for policy change at the local school level.  Here in Richmond, The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities is one of the organizations seeking to impact school culture.  VCIC holds intensive retreats for High School students to develop an action plan that will be implemented by the students.  However, our research revealed very few opportunities for High School students to engage in a way that impacts their entire school system. Students for RPS grew out of the desire of a group of students who wanted to advocate for...
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...
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...