The story of Embrace Richmond really began when two Richmond women from backgrounds and lifestyles that were polar opposites met each other–one as a client and one as a volunteer at a CARITAS shelter.
Embrace Richmond founder and Executive Director, Wendy McCaig was one of those women. She was volunteering at the CARITAS shelter and discovered one of the women, along with her infant daughter was being discharged from CARITAS — which was good news! The not-so-good news: Wendy learned the family had no furniture and they would be sleeping on the floor in their newly acquired apartment. Wendy–and some of her friends and suburban neighbors–collected furniture for the family. In just two days these women collected enough furniture to completely furnish the family’s home.
You can probably guess that the story didn’t end there. Actually, that is where Embrace Richmond was born–in the hearts of two women–more alike than they were different in spite of their backgrounds and current living situation. Their friendship grew and Wendy learned her friend really wanted to help other individuals in similar circumstances — down on their luck, in need a helping hand.
Embrace Richmond is the umbrella organization for four main programs: Community Works, Just Works, Faith Works and Dream Works.
Community Works is an urban development program designed to help strengthen at-risk communities by expanding social networks already in place within communities and then linking the at-risk communities with outside resources. This program is currently active in two Richmond communities: Fairfield Court and Hillside Court. Hillside Court is located between Commerce Road and Jeff Davis Highway in South Richmond. Hillside Court consists of just under 450 households with an average annual income of $8,600 and more than half of whom receive public assistance or social security. The team meets twice a week within the community. On Tuesday the gatherings are for leadership team and the Thursday get-togethers are open to the community and those interested in volunteering, from 1:00 – 2:30 pm on both days.
Fairfield Court is located in the near east end of Richmond just off of Mechanicsville Turnpike near I-64 East. With an average household income of $9,663 per year, Fairfield court consists of about 425 households. Embrace Richmond’s missional community meets in Fairfield Court on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-11:30 at the Fairfield Boys and Girls Club. The Tuesday gatherings are for the project leadership team and the Thursday gatherings are open to the community and those interested in volunteering. If you would like to learn more about Embrace Richmond’s Fairfield Community Works program, contact Jamie Mitchell at email@example.com. If you would like to learn more about Embrace Richmond’s activities in Hillside Court contact Tammy McClure at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approximately 75% of the Embrace Richmond budget goes toward training, supervision and the payment of living allowances for participants in the Just Works Program. Embrace Richmond employs an average of 15 homeless and at-risk individuals per year. The individuals serve the community through the Hillside and Fairfield Community Works programs and in the CARITAS Furniture Bank Program. The Dream Works program is a community leadership development program consisting of one-on-one mentoring and training. The goal Embrace Richmond’s Dream Works mentoring program is to help individuals build healthy, positive relationships.
Unity Works is a 6 – 8 week training program for groups of 10-30 individuals who have the desire to help strengthen at-risk communities. Those individuals identified to have leadership potential participate in Unity Works sessions made up of both individuals from within our urban communities and individuals from congregations.
Faith Works provides short-term urban mission experiences for youth and adults. Some of these projects – typically lasting 5-8 hours, which typically take place on the 2nd Saturday of each month, include distributing food and clothing to at-risk individuals, helping to furnish the home of a formerly homeless family, coordinating community beautification projects and more. Embrace Richmond partners with community residents or neighborhood non-profit agencies on Faith Works projects.
To find out about upcoming Embrace Richmond Events, meet the staff, and learn more about how you might be able to help out, visit the Embrace Richmond Website.
The Embrace Richmond offices are located at1125 E. Commerce Road, Richmond, VA 23224. Phone: 804-343-5008.
Want to make a donation or volunteer to help? Contact Embrace Richmond at email@example.com.