Wendy at Inhabit Conference

In just a few weeks Wendy will be speaking and leading a symposium at the Inhabit Conference in Seattle April 19-20. Inhabit is part of a movement focusing on practice, presence and place. To learn more watch the video...

Choosing to Dream Big

At Embrace we talk a lot about being dream releasers, inspiring our neighbors to imagine what their neighborhood can be; to see beyond the current, often dismal, reality to a new future that we can make together. Last week at our prayer time one of our neighborhood leaders, Richard, showed up with a four foot long roll of paper covered in sharpie titled “I can see . . “. As you can see in the picture, Richard dreams big. He dreams that we can make Brookland Park pedestrian friendly, with rental bicycles, golf carts and even rickshaws to move people up and down the street. He sees a place where the neighborhood can learn about sustainable energy and have an “Apollo of Achievement” to teach kids about robotics, chess and debate. He dreams of a shelter for girls, a place for senior adults to connect to each other, and stores from national retail chains. I love Richard’s vision because he chooses to dream big and ignore cynics who only imagine more of the same. It’s too easy to look at the Brookland Park corridor and see the empty barber shops, abandoned buildings and closed stores and imagine that it always has been, and always will be, this way. The cynics ignore the astounding potential and entrepreneurial spirit of Brookland Park’s people. We have neighbors who look at a store front and see a bustling restaurant or stand in front of the abandoned theater and imagine an arts center. Our neighbors look at a dilapidated house and see a tool to teach job skills. They are able to see beyond...

The Southside Superstars Have a Dream

While celebrating Martin Luther King Day with our friends from Hillside and Brandermill Church, the Superstars dance team shared their dreams with us.  Here’s just a few of them: Kyerra: To Heal Others Erykah: To stop Violence Aja: For people to be less judgmental Ladeja: to be respectful of others Kanye: to help the homeless Shanaya: for all to finish school and graduate Join us in praying for these future dream...

Hillside MLK Celebration

Monday we joined our friends from Hillside court and Brandermill Church to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day together. We shared fantastic food put together by the Hillside Cooking Team, watched the Southside Superstars cheer, and listened to a dramatic reading of Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speech. It was a fantastic to join together and celebrate the great stuff going on in Hillside and the life of Dr....

Intermediary: Making the Shift

In a few weeks, our website will undergo some changes.  These changes are in response to an internal shift we have been undergoing for several years.  In the 8 years that Embrace Richmond has been working with low-wealth individuals, we have learned a lot: We learned that to solve the issue of homelessness, we do not need more shelters – we need more permanent affordable housing. We learned the only sustainable way to reduce poverty is not more charitable programs – it is more jobs. We learned that many are trapped in unhealthy cultures that promote drug usage, violence and hopelessness.  We do not need more jails – we need to change the neighborhoods. Most importantly, we learned that the only way to change the culture of a neighborhood is not by bringing in “outside experts” but by empowering local change agents. We also learned that the best way to empower local change agents is through training, coaching and supporting their efforts.  We do not need more volunteers – we need more encouragers. Over the past eight years, we have coached and trained dozens of local leaders and helped them live their dreams by connecting them with groups that can encourage and empower them.  Today: Charles helps formerly homeless men by providing permanent affordable housing and job coaching. Rudy helps young men avoid the path of drugs by caring for and mentoring at-risk youth. Patrice supports families in Hillside Court and has identified, trained, and is now coaching other Hillside leaders. None of these leaders do what they do for the money – they do it because it is...