Thanks for staying tuned…we’re back with Deasia!

Thanks for staying tuned…we’re back with Deasia!

Deasia Brown (pictured above with Mrs. Bailey) is originally from Historic Brookland Park and joined our Young Leaders program in August of 2017. Her motivation for becoming a Young Leader was personal and professional development – quite forward-thinking at age 15! We encourage each Young Leader to share their dreams for their community. Deasia’s dream was to decrease homelessness in her neighborhood. The compassion and concern she has for others is truly awesome!   Deasia impressed us from the beginning with her capacity for self-reflection. This is a skill many teenagers, let alone adults, lack and it will take her far. She outlined goals for herself at the start of the program based upon this self-knowledge. These included improving her ability to communicate with others on a personal level, being more optimistic and increasing her work ethic. The Young Leaders program enabled Deasia to adopt community listening responsibilities with the potential for monetary outcomes.  In September of 2017, Deasia was the first Young Leader to complete the 10 required Community Listening interviews. She worked diligently daily to balance her school assignments, pick her younger sibling up from their school and meet with the Young Leader’s engagement coach every Wednesdays from 4:40 –6:00pm. Deasia completed 7 Neighborhood Strengths Surveys (NSS) in September and 3 in October.   Additionally, Deasia decided to join another project designed by Embrace Richmond called “Unsung Heroes“. During the Young Leaders program, Deasia shared that she enjoys the friendliness of her neighbors and the sense of unity in Brookland Park. But she noted that this image of Brookland Park often goes unnoticed or untold. Through Unsung Heroes, Deasia is empowered to change that narrative. She is partnering with a senior resident who has resided in the Historic Brookland Park area for 40 years or longer and is in the process of drafting a detailed narrative of their experiences in the community over time.   Deasia will also be the first youth in Young Leaders to progress to the next phase of the program known as “apprenticeship”. She will choose an existing Brookland Park Collective Action Team and learn the teams purpose, interventions, networking, target population and area of desired change.  She says that she has enjoyed her time with the Young Leader’s staff and community residents. Deasia reported that she feels more confident in her social skills as it relates to opening up, communicating with others and developing relationships, Furthermore, she stated her level...
Keeping Up with Tresean

Keeping Up with Tresean

Tresean Gilliam is one of the youngest Young Leaders to ever join the program at age 13. Initially, he presented himself as a very shy and reserved but respectful, mature young man. He readily admitted he needed to increase his self-confidence, improve his social skills and take more initiative with certain tasks and responsibilities. Although Tresean exhibited some caution with participating in young leader opportunities and duties, he was in attendance at every meeting, on time and open to taking a chance.   Over time, Tresean began to embrace the duties and responsibilities of a young leader with the support, and encouragement of the program’s engagement coach. He diligently rode his bike to every scheduled group meeting and individual session to complete a community listening project. Throughout the process, Tresean adopted the engagement coach as a mentor to address his personal goals and strengthen his skills as a young leader. He learned how to greet community members effectively — by making eye contact, speaking clearly and shaking hands. Once he gained confidence within his physical social skills, Tresean began to initiate conversations with residents more easily. He developed a talent for communicating with others through healthy, humorous but also detailed dialogue. His accurate and legible documentation of Neighborhood Strengths Surveys also illustrated a sense of growth achieved since joining Young Leaders.   Tresean joined Young Leaders in the summer of 2017 and is now 14. His “job” is to interview and complete Neighborhood Strength Surveys, capturing important information from local residents like their number of years in the community, community goals, associational involvement, personal skills and talents.   Tresean also joined Embrace Richmond’s “Unsung Heroes Project.” For this project, each youth partners with a senior adult who has resided in their community/neighborhood for 40 years or longer.  Tresean’s storytelling buddy is Micheal Jackson.  Tresean listend to and recorded Mr. Jackson’s stories and, in turn, shared his experiences. This exchange helped Tresean in bridging the generational gap, building rapport and gaining historical knowledge of his community. In these next few weeks, Tresean will take one story and craft it into a narrative that will be available to the public.    Tresean has also become a key member of Joe’s Bike Shop, a partner organization, that trains youth on how to repair bicycles. Tresean has become an important spokesperson for both Embrace and Joe’s helping to grow both programs.   Tresean’s story is one of personal and community success and continues to highlight...
2017 Neighbor Power: Year in Review

2017 Neighbor Power: Year in Review

For those of you who don’t know us, we are an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) organization that trains, coaches and financially supports youth and adult leaders working to bring about positive changes in their neighborhoods. During the upcoming campaign, we want to highlight the neighbor powered development taking place in the Historic Brookland Park area.  Through prior listening projects, residents identified crime, a lack of social trust, youth unemployment and blight along the commercial corridor as the key issues facing their community. Last year, our faithful donors gave $15,000 during our 2016 Young Heroes campaign to expand our youth development efforts into a year-round program called Young Leaders in the Brookland Park area. These donations were generously matched by Financial Consultants of America enabling us to reach our goal of $30,000.   To keep the momentum going in Brookland Park, we need your support to reach our 2017 goal of $30,000. To help us achieve this goal, our faithful supporters from Financial Consultants of America are once again offering to match dollar-for-dollar up to $15,000 in gifts received from this campaign. If you share our belief that great neighbors make neighborhoods great, please donate during our Neighbor Power Campaign. The majority of the action teams and initiatives listed below were started over the past year and would not have been possible without your faithful support. Remember to keep up with our #ABCD happenings by “like-ing” and following our Embrace Richmond page on Facebook. Comprehensive list of initiatives and programs:   Brookland Park Young Leaders Project: Helps older youth advance toward college and a career by providing paid internship opportunities in their own neighborhood.  This program is coordinated by resident leader: Kevin Starlings.  Youth Development Steering Team: Launched in 2017 Action team leaders and partner organizations work together to expand opportunities for youth.   Young Leaders Club: Launched in 2017 Provides youth with paid internship opportunities, adult mentorship, and peer to peer support as they assume pivotal roles in strengthening their own neighborhood(s). Community Listening Projects:  Youth are paid...
“Each One, Teach One”: A Great Neighbor Reflects on Giving Youth a Chance

“Each One, Teach One”: A Great Neighbor Reflects on Giving Youth a Chance

Embrace Richmond is proud to announce that Boogaloo’s Bar and Grill is a recipient of a $500 Great Neighbor Award to support their efforts to create jobs for young adults who live in the Historic Brookland Park area.  We are thankful that Nerisa Ford and her team not only hired Levon Murry, one of our young leaders, but that they have been willing to host many of our community conversations free of charge.   Nerisa chose to open Boogaloo’s at 210 W. Brookland Park Boulevard because she was “drawn to the area’s history, and its proximity to downtown and the VCU area”. But Nerisa also saw a different opportunity – to create a gathering space for the neighborhood. Neighbors can “get to know one another through conversations at the bar, watching their favorite teams on TV and listening to music”. Her Cajun-inspired menu and the bar-n-grill feel of her restaurant is an inviting addition to the boulevard. Nerisa hopes that other businesses continue to move to the Brookland Park Historic Area, giving residents more places to walk to and work.    Brookland Park has been a “supportive customer-base ” for Boogaloo’s but retaining employees posed other challenges. Nerisa decided to embody her mantra of “Each One, Teach One” by hiring youth from the neighborhood. “Levon (pictured below with one or our bartenders) has become an integral part of the Boogaloos family.  He is a hard worker, has an engaging personality, is willing to learn all aspects of the business, and is always on time.” Businesses who do not view youth as viable for employment are missing out on an...

Unsung Heroes Project

z   Unsung Heroes Snapshots is a series of stories starring senior adults and youth from the Historic Brookland Park community. Every week our Young Leaders are interviewing senior adults and discovering new things about their community.  Through these “snapshots” we will share small sections of the audio recorded interviews that our young leaders are conducting to give you a sample of the richness of this experience.  This series is linked to the first phase of our Unsung Heroes Project which grew out of the efforts of our young leader, Bev Key, and our Wise Guides series. Thanks to a generous grant from CultureWorks, we have been able to expand this into a year-long story and performing arts project.       We hope you enjoy the below short snapshots of some of the Historic Brookland Park area’s unsung heroes.     ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ UNSUNG HEROES: VIDEO SERIES UNSUNG HEROES: PARTICIPANT...