Wendy Speaking at 21-C

Photo courtesy of 21-C.org   Embrace’s Executive Director Wendy McCaig will be speaking at the 21-C Conference at Gayton Baptist Church in Richmond on January 28. The theme of the conference is Endurance: Spiritual Leadership for the Long Haul and Wendy will be speaking on her experience as a church and nonprofit leader.  This should prove to be a great gathering of people who are looking to be courageous, strong leaders of the church in a new millennium.  You can register for the conference and find more information at...

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire – Christmas Volunteer Appreciation 2010

Our Blessing Day this month was spent in fellowship, celebration and appreciation.  Embrace Richmond held a Christmas Volunteer Appreciation day where volunteers from Embrace and the communities came and enjoyed good food, music and a chance to be told Thank You.  People were also able to share what Embrace has meant to them over the past year.  Several community members spoke about the opportunity to serve, meet neighbors and be involved in something great.  The sharing culminated in an amazing song sung by Chinary.  She shared about how her voting rights had recently been restored and how that made her incredibly thankful and appreciative, especially during the holiday season.  The air filled with Chinary’s strong, melodic voice as “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” rang out and filled the room with a great spirit that we will not soon forget. Embrace has several Thank Yous even now after the party.  Thanks to Brandermill Church for providing Thanksgiving boxes that community members cooked and brought to share.  Thanks to Dot and Mary from Shalom Baptist for joining us.  Thank you to members of Eikon who have supported our Hillside community all year for participating. Thanks to several board members who joined us and brought goodies and hats and scarves for the kids.  Thanks to Susan for planning and preparing a lot of the food and thanks to all of our community members who came out and joined in on the fun! We have a few photos of the event with more to come.  Check them out on Facebook.  Don’t forget you can also follow us on...

Many Things to be Thankful For

Embrace Richmond would like to send out a huge THANK YOU! to the following for all of your help and service.  We couldn’t be successful at helping others without your help! Blessing Day and Health Screening Fair on Nov. 11 About 40 Hillside Court residents received care at our Blessing Day and Health Screening Fair.  We also blessed two families with furniture thanks to our church volunteers. Thanks to MCV Family Medicine, Shalom Baptist Fellowship Church, Richmond Healthy Start and Capital Area Health Network! Food Pantry Trip and Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 18 Over 35 Hillside residents were blessed by a hot Thanksgiving meal and food bags.  Some residents even helped prepare the food. Thanks to the Richmond Baptist Association, St. Paul’s Baptist Church for hosting and Salisbury Presbyterian Church for driving! Thanksgiving Dinner Box Giveaway on Nov. 20 Thanks to The Brandermill Church for donating 41 Thanksgiving boxes that blessed Hillside community leaders and residents! Thank...

Its right under our nose…

Charles Fitzgerald Embrace AmeriCorps Member Charles participated in a Homeless Immersion Experience at Longwood University in Farmville.  Here are his thoughts from that event. I am always interested in anyone whose willing to bring awareness to the homeless situation. What struck me as odd was the age of the kids that were interested. I ask one of the students were there any areas of congregation of the homeless and the response was no. Where’s this interest coming from if the problem isn’t in their area? We have this problem staring us right in the face and the city acts like it really doesn’t exist. I think it’s a shame that people who don’t see the problem everyday care more about it than the city where the problem exists....

A formerly homeless man's take on a forum about homelessness

Charles Fitzgerald Embrace AmeriCorps Member In this post, Charles talks about his experience at the Monroe Park Forum on homelessness and the closing of Monroe Park.  Read more details on the forum and other perspectives from Wendy, Stephanie and Ashlee.  Learn more about Charles’ story through video here. I was really moved by the number of interested people who attended but with that kind of money being spent why not. What also grabbed my attention was the way the small group process that Wendy always uses brought about a way for everyone to be heard and represented.What I also know and believe is that the park renovation will cause a lot of people who depend on the food and clothes being passed out in the park to really feel abandoned. What is truly needed is a centralized place in that area where all can gather. The Conrad Center idea of busing would be like putting a band aide on a gun shot wound. The funds would run out and the problem would resurface. If all involved could just come together on a central location in the same area, all could be served. It seems so hard to agree on something that had worked for years before (the old Daily Planet on Canal street). I pray that all turns out well because the park was a safe haven for me in my early days of...

Blessing Day Nov 2010

Our November Blessing Day was a great success!  We had a medical clinic, prayer walks, children’s activities, a coat drive and two house blessings.  It was a huge crowd and we appreciate all of the volunteers who did such great work and hope they had a good experience.  Many people were served and many came out to serve.  It was truly a time of bringing people together and empowering those who want to serve their community. Thanks again to all of our volunteers!  Check out photos on Facebook.  Feel free to tag yourself and your friends and share the photos with...

Through the Eyes of an Eight Year Old Girl

This post originally appeared at www.wendymccaig.com and was written by Embrace Richmond founder and Executive Director, Wendy McCaig. Saturday was one of the largest Blessing Day Events we have had at Embrace Richmond in the four year history of the event, with more than 100 individuals from all over the city turning out to bless Hillside court.  MCV brought over a dozen health care professionals and students who assessed the health care needs of more than forty residents during our health fair, roughly  80 coats were distributed, two families received furnishings and volunteers from five different congregations walked every section of the community greeting residents and praying for the families of those who have lost their lives in Hillside court in the past six months.  The night prior to the Blessing Day, yet another youth was shot in the Hillside community.   Thankfully the young man was not killed. As a part of our debriefing process we ask volunteers three questions.  First, “What will you leave behind as a result of this experience?”   Secondly, “What memory will you take with you?”  Lastly, “What will you do different as a result of this experience?” We usually leave the community and do our debriefing back at our building with the congregational volunteers. However, Saturday it was beautiful outside so we decided to do the debriefing in a large field in the community and invited community residents to join us.  My debriefing group was roughly half congregational volunteers, primarily youth, and half community residents, primarily children. The first question is usually the easy one.  The most popular answers are “I am going to...

Is There Nothing We Can Do Together? – Reflection on the Monroe Park Forum

Stephanie Rice Embrace Community Story Coordinator Last Thursday I attended an event with other Embrace Richmond members including Wendy, Charles and Ashlee.  The event was a community forum organized by Councilman Samuels to talk about how the closing of Monroe Park would affect the homeless and what we could do about it.  The event was unlike anything I had been to before and I was interested in the process, but am still asking myself: Is there really anything we can do?  There was great consensus that something should be done.  Everyone from residents to homeless services providers to committee members to anarchists agreed that the park closing would change the way homeless individuals in Richmond get what they need to survive, but how to go about that seemed all over the map.  Some suggested busing people to the Conrad Center then busing them somewhere else where they can have shelter.  Some wanted to keep an outside open place, such as a park, available for services.  Some wanted to make a collaborative effort among those who provide services, but then where? and how?  Some simply wanted to keep helping homeless individuals no matter where they were. I was a little discouraged with my table, seeing too much discord and disagreement or simply not coming to one, plausible solution.  But then there was a time when a representative from each table went to the front to tell everyone what their group talked about.  There were several from the group Food Not Bombs that continued to advocate for keeping a part of the park open, which sounds like a great idea but seems unlikely...

A Dream Come True? – Reflection on Monroe Park Forum

Ashlee Murphy Embrace Faith Works Coordinator On Thursday, November 4, one of my dreams came true. I had always wanted to be a part of a think tank or some type of major conversation that focused on a societal issue and I finally had that chance! Councilman Samuels sponsored a dialogue about the closing of Monroe Park and its impact on the homeless population. People from Homeward, Embrace Richmond, Food Not Bombs, the Conrad Center, Daily Planet, the Monroe Park Advisory Council and many other non-profits, churches and concerned neighbors came together to voice their opinion about the best way to care for the people who use the park when it closes for reconstruction. We were all distributed amongst the tables in the room and asked to discuss some possible solutions to the impending crisis. At my table, we had an older lady and gentleman who lived near Monroe Park, a full-time anarchist and two staff members from the Daily Planet. The older gentleman was frustrated because he didn’t feel safe sitting in the park or bringing his grandchildren there to play. However, he was deeply concerned about the upkeep of the park. He said he had helped clean it up after groups came to serve food or distribute clothing and left the excess there assuming someone could use it. Instead of being used, things usually ended up strewn all over the park. Conversely, the anarchist strongly declared that food was not left in the park, because he drove the bus for Food Not Bombs and picked up all the refuse after it was served. He felt like part...

A BIG Thank You to Its Chic Again!

Thanks so much to Its Chic Again for choosing to support Embrace Richmond!  On October 23 & 24 Its Chic Again, an upscale consignment shop in Mechanicsville, held some great events and donated a portion of their proceeds to Embrace.  It was a great weekend and we are so thankful!  The donation goes directly to Embrace to help us help our communities every day. Check out Its Chic Again and see what’s in. Thank...