Jammin’ on the Boulevard!

Jammin’ on the Boulevard was “jamming!” This event was a result of the Music Action team’s goal of bringing the community together around musical talents. The event took place in the parking lot beside Nomad’s Deli.  Brookland Park neighbors danced, clapped, listened and shared neighborhood stories. Several singers performed popular songs, gospels and oldies. Our, DJ Norman Washington, made the event inviting and kept the high energy going! The group of neighbors were full of diverse talent but the diversity in age, creed, culture and race was remarkable. The group joined hands at the end to sing ‘Lean on Me’ as we left to walk back to our homes. This event helped Brookland Park appreciate the beauty of their neighborhood.  ...

Brookland Park Collective Meeting

Have you ever met neighbors that are willing to meet frequently, engage in monthly activities and prepare close to gourmet style, home made dinners for their evening meetings? We have. We’ve witnessed  sincere community work evidenced in the way the Brookland Park Collective members participate, laugh and discuss with each other. The atmosphere formed from block clubs and action teams feels light and nurturing. In late May, this group gathered together once again at All Souls Presbyterian Church to touch base about the exciting happenings in Brookland Park. Leroy, our strategic implementation manager, worked to facilitate conversation about next steps for each action team. The music action team(stay tuned!) was able to nail down times that they would practice. Resident led events were recapped and new neighbors shared their testimony of feeling included. One couple shared that they planned to take an evening stroll but did not end up completing it because they stopped to say hello to a neighbor and ended up chatting for hours. These are just some of the outcomes that community bonding can bring. The Brookland Park Collective meets every other month from 6:00-8:00 pm. If you live in the Brookland Park area and are interested in joining the collective or want to engage with a block club on your street contact Leroy Jefferson at leroy@embracerichmond.org.  ...

Brookland Park Community Clean Up

Monthly, residents of Brookland Park take pride in their community by cleaning up public spaces. In May, Embrace Richmond engaged in the RVA Clean Sweep partnering with  Minister V, the founder of Youth Ministry Entertainment (Y-Me), the Battery Park Civic Association and the North Central Civic Association. Community clean ups not only beautify the area but build community relationships increasing social trust and social capital. These are important outcomes of Embrace’s work towards building communities based on resident assets. If you are interested in joining in this community building event join us on Saturday, June 17th from 10:00- 11:30 am. The group will meet at the Battery Park Community Center located at 2803 Dupont Circle, Richmond, VA 23222. Please remember to wear clothes toe shoes and bring a bottle of water!...
Mission Shift Training Staunton UMC

Mission Shift Training Staunton UMC

  On May 23rd, Wendy McCaig facilitated the second session of Mission Shift Training with more than 70 individual lay and pastoral leaders.  This training was hosted by the Staunton District of the United Methodist Church and churches came from across the region.  This training was unique because of the number of congregational leaders seeking to implement asset-based principles in a rural context.  This is important because according to the Wall Street Journal, rural counties rank the worst compared to medium or small metro areas, big cities and suburbs in regard to measures of socioeconomic well being.  In the past, the worst rankings were found in urban areas. There was a wonderful energy to this group as they shared ideas on how to contextualize the Asset-based Community Development model.  It was exciting to see them tailor the principles to their community. They gave examples of how their various churches were building stronger communities through their various missions efforts.  This collaborative conversation was the highlight of the training for many. Below are a few quotes from the participants in this training: “I am hopeful. These aren’t just concepts…they are proven!” “I realize that ministry is not just about “giving” but about relationship.” “The tools I learned today were most rewarding!” If you are interested in receiving or learning more about ABCD visit here or email Wendy at wendy@embracerichmond.org.  Ademy, J., Overberg, P. (2017, May 26).Rural America Is the New “Inner City”. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from...
Welcoming Jackie as Embrace’s Operations Manager!

Welcoming Jackie as Embrace’s Operations Manager!

Embrace welcomes Jackie Washington with open arms! As a recent master’s degree holder from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work Advanced Standing program, Jackie brings a refreshing perspective to our work.  For the past 5 years, Jackie has been working at the intersection of families, communities and development in areas of revitalization, social justice and collective trauma. She understands Richmond’s history and is informed by the cultural fabric of this city. In fact, she sees this fabric as Richmond’s greatest asset. Most importantly, she practices social work from a strengths based approach.  This aligns well with Embrace’s asset-based community development work. Jackie wants to empower residents to lead themselves. To do so, she will be developing our Young Leaders program. She hopes to incorporate innovative ways to engage young people that will excite them to lead their communities. She hopes to assist them by sharing her knowledge about leadership, community trust building and organizing. Jackie will also assist with Embrace’s sustainability through fund development and communications.  She is open to meeting other community leaders that will aid in furthering Embrace’s mission. Contact her...
Senior Luncheon

Senior Luncheon

Last Thursday, seniors were brought together with Embrace’s help around a central dream-to become more connected.  Their convening was a result of a Dream Catcher Project led by Embrace’s Young Leader, Beverly. The Celebrating Seniors Luncheon, held at Boogaloos Bar and Grill, provided an opportunity for the seniors to fellowship with one another over a meal, poetry and singing. They also got a chance to listen to the audio shorts recorded by Beverly. As they listened, they nodded, smiled and laughed about the memories of the past that were shared. Towards the end of the gathering, many of the seniors asked if the group could come together again. Some even stood up and said they felt charged with making this happen. When asked how they felt about the luncheon everyone shared the sentiment of appreciation. They were thankful to be acknowledged. The luncheon reminded them that they were a valued asset to their community. It reminded them that they had the power and wisdom to make needed changes. As a result, the group plans to come together again under their own direction with assistance from Embrace. This group of seniors will form an action team that will work to make their convening a monthly...
We’ve Moved!

We’ve Moved!

Embrace Richmond is now located on the 2nd floor of 3800 Chamberlayne Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227! The building is exactly on the corner of Chamberlayne Avenue and Laburnum Avenue going west. We are so excited about our new space especially because we share the building with Shalom Farms. This new space will allow our community partners and residents to access us more easily. We welcome you to stop by and visit us!  We can still be reached at  804-404-3610....
Embrace Receives VCU Partnership Development Grant!

Embrace Receives VCU Partnership Development Grant!

We are so excited to announce that Embrace Richmond in partnership with VCU Wilder School of Government, VCU Center for Society and Health, Engaging Richmond and the City of Richmond Sustainability Department have been awarded the CEnR Partnership Development Grant! This award is provided by the VCU Council for Community Engagement. Our proposal entitled, “Asset-Based Community Development: A Model for Community Strengthening”, is set to lay a foundation that empowers organizations to both create an asset-based model and make it adaptable to Richmond communities. Specifically, the grant’s “partnership development” funds will assist the five organizations in exploring how our current community engagement efforts might be more closely aligned. VCU researchers will assist us in strengthening and evaluating the impact of ABCD across the region. This combination between strengthening partnerships and measuring the impact of ABCD is sure to support a trend of collaboration and strength based community work here in the city of Richmond. We could not be more excited to collaborate with such a dynamic group of community partners and university departments! We are not only looking forward to the outcomes of this research but are excited to enhance the assets of our communities and support resident identified priorities while doing so. More information about this grant can be found here. Information about other 2017-2018 recipients can be found...
Board Emeritus

Board Emeritus

  As a small group of six neighbors and friends sat around my dining room table at the first “Embrace Richmond” board meeting in 2004, none of us dreamed what would come out of our collective efforts. We had almost no board experience. I had no idea what an executive director was and we were literally making it up as we went.  Around me sat five very brave souls – our founding board of directors.  Among them was Mr. Jim Allen.  I cannot remember how I met Jim, it just seems he was always a part of Embrace.  The only thing I do know is that he was divinely appointed. He was with us in the early days as we hauled furniture up and down those steps at what used to be Highland Park United Methodist Church.  He figured out how to set up our accounting system and served as our Board Treasurer for years.  He co-authored our by-laws and he and his wife became our first monthly donors. They are now our longest running financial supporters.  While all of these gifts made a lasting mark on our organization, it is Jim’s patient presence that made a lasting mark on me as a new often overwhelmed executive director. Jim was never the one in the front of the room meeting our guests, teaching a class or accepting an award.  He was always in the background.  In other words, he is the guy who had my back in good times and in those tough years.  He did things like taking out the trash, sweeping the floors and for years he collected...
Youth Leading Earth Day Activities

Youth Leading Earth Day Activities

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Embrace Richmond in partnership with Huguenot Road Baptist Church and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia hosted 10 youths in an Earth Day celebration event.  The youth were ages 12 – 17 and were from several churches around the city and even three that were from Fredericksburg, VA! In honor of Earth Day, we focused on conservation, preservation and upkeep. In doing this we walked the Historic Brookland Park Boulevard corridor cleaning up streets, alleys and buildings that had become prey to litter and waste.   The youth were given stories in history  of the area and enlightened on how important it is to preserve what we have for future generations. The chaperones Leroy and Rudy from Embrace along with Tim and Angie from Huguenot Road Baptist Church found themselves trying hard to keep up with these young people, but at the end of the day things were clean, pristine and looking good.  Mission Accomplished! THANK YOU to our new friends from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for supporting our efforts in the Historic Brookland Park community!        ...