Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Working with Renew Richmond on Community Garden

On Saturday, September 6 beginning at 9:00AM, members of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club will work with a group from Renew Richmond to develop and urban garden on the Club’s property of 3701 R Street in Church Hill that will grow fruit and vegetables for the community and provide programming for area residents.

The design for the garden was developed by Renew Richmond, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering communities to cultivate healthier lifestyles through nutrition and agricultural education.

“Our goal is to create a garden learning program which all projects and participants radiate outward into the local community,” said Renew Richmond’s Director John Lewis in a letter. “Renew Richmond is excited about the possibilities of working with The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, and neighboring community, to create an urban garden that will provide fresh, healthy, locally grown fruit, vegetables and information on sustainable living to the community of Richmond.”

The garden, at its peak, is intended to be cared for and nurtured by community members and serve as a gathering place for those in the area of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club to participate in and learn about healthy and sustainable living.

“This partnership is just another example of the exciting things going on at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club,” said Hugh Jones, the Club’s Executive Director. “John has been great to work with and is passionate about bring this program to our neighborhood and as an organization who invests in futures, we owe to our members and community to offer this.”

2014 marks the 60th anniversary of The Salvation Army’s relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and operation of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Church Hill. An event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Club will be held on Tuesday, September 30 beginning with an open house at 4:00PM and brief program at 5:00 PM. Visit Celebrating60.SalvationArmyCentralVA.org to learn more.

About Renew Richmond
Renew Richmond is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering communities to cultivate healthier lifestyles through nutrition and agricultural education. While Renew Richmond’s programs serve individuals of all socio-economic backgrounds, their primary focus low-income populations with increased statistical risk for nutrition related health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic obesity.

Unique Program at Boys & Girls Club Has Youth Ready for Back to School

It’s back to school time and that means the end of the fun and exciting summer camps at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club and end of the fun & exciting STEAMtrix learning program held at the Club over the summer…a program that had the attention of Virginia’s Secretary of Education and Director of STEM and we have interviews with them in this week’s Salvation Army News Update.

Merci Best’s STEAMtrix program at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club encouraged students to participate in science, technology, engineering, arts and math in addition to curbing a possible summer learning loss. Well, Merci also spread the word of her program even had the Virginia Secretary of Education and Director of STEM at the Club for the finale.

Dr. Healy said that the commonwealth presently recruits to fill STEM jobs from outside the state and that currently there are about 40,000 unfilled STEM jobs in Virginia. Both Dr. Healy and Ms. Holton also addressed what the STEAMtrix program was doing to help curb summer learning loss and have kids ready and excited to go back to school.

Big thanks to everyone who came out to support Merci and help her make this program possible for the campers at the Club this summer. Well, coming up in a couple week’s The Community Foundation will again host the Amazing Raise a 48 hour fundraising period for participating non profits to spread awareness and receive additional donations during particular periods over the two days. Here’s one of our board members, Mary Margaret Allen with a message about this year’s event.

In the coming weeks, we’ll keep you posted via email and social media on how can support The Salvation Army during the Amazing Raise and make a difference in lives in our community.

Church Members Offer Ministry to Hurting Neighborhood

On Tuesday, August 5, The Salvation Army Richmond Citadel Corps offered ministry to the community nearby the Citadel Corps on Orcutt Lane in Richmond as part of the National Night Out effort to promote engaged communities and resistance to violence. There were two murders within just a few miles of the Corps in late June (See Story on WRIC.com).

“It is an important part of our ministry that we get out and spread the word of God,” said one Corps member. “Plus, this community is hurting and it’s important that they know we are here for them, praying for them and with them.”

During the event, volunteers from the Corps served food from the mobile kitchen, prayed with community members, offered activities and balloon animals while a small band from the Corps performed.

The Salvation Army Richmond Citadel Corps offers praise and worship opportunities throughout the week for all community members of all ages.

Virginia Secretary of Education Visits STEAMtrix Finale

The STEAMtrix program at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club taught by Club Alumna Merci Best came to an end. The four week program culminated with visits from the Virginia Secretary of Education, Anne Holton and Virginia Director of STEM, Dr. Megan Healy, respectively.

“To have someone like Merci, a product of the Richmond Public School system and Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club back here to teach this kids that math can be exciting really speaks volumes to them,” said Secretary of Education Anne Holton. “Merci is a bright girl with a real go-getter attitude and it’s fun to watch someone doing something exciting and interesting.”

Merci wrote on her blog (The Best of Merci B) “The culmination of my pilot STEAMtrix program was an amazing success. Thanks for all your support throughout the journey.”

Watch the News Update with Merci’s Interview

Innovative Program at Boys & Girls Club Curbs Summer Learning Loss

Studies show that over the summer months, most students experience learning losses and more dramatically, low income students are shown to lose more than two months in reading achievement but this is where Merci Best an alumna of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club is stepping in and we’ve got her story in this week’s Salvation Army News Update.

Merci Best began attending The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club before she could even walk, now at 19 years old she’s a rising sophomore at William & Mary and her passion for education and showing students the opportunities they have ahead of them is what has inspired her STEAMtrix program.

Merci loves to show students that they can have fun during the summer while learning and that African Americans, especially African American women, can hold leadership roles in the community and in these fields. Her program is coming to a close but she said the students have been grasping the core values of her curriculum and are seeing the opportunities ahead if they stick with their education.

As always, thanks for watching. Please continue to visit us online at SalvationArmyCentralVA.org to sign up for our weekly newsletter and see follow-ups from Merci’s STEAMtrix program. This has been a Salvation Army News Update

Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Remembers Fallen Alums at National Night Out

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club hosted a cookout with music from Lonnie B of Power 92.1 and activities as part of National Night Out, an effort to promote engaged communities and resistance to violence. Over 400 community members came out to the event which promoted communication among neighbors and a unified stand against violence in the East End community. Over the last decade, violent crime in the area has claimed the lives of nearly a dozen Boys & Girls Club alums.

Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club To Host National Night Out Cookout

In the evening of Tuesday, August 5 The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club will host a cookout with music from Lonnie B of Power 92.1 and activities as part of National Night Out, an effort to promote engaged communities and resistance to violence.

Beginning at 5:30PM The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in the east end of Church Hill will welcome all community members to the Club, 3701 R Street, to enjoy food and entertainment with neighbors and friends as they strengthen the community through engaged relationships.

“National Night Out is an event that is designed to bring the community, neighbors, alumni, and parents together to build healthy relationships,” said Dot Crenshaw, Program Director at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. “We also use it as an opportunity to remember our fallen community members.”

In the last decade almost a dozen Club alumni have been victims of violent crimes in the area.

“The lessons our members learn at the Club encourage them along the path of nonviolent conflict resolution and avoiding situations susceptible to violence,” said Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Hugh Jones. “National Night Out is a great way to spotlight and engage the community in the work we do to promote nonviolence and positive decision making year-round.”

Guests at the National Night Out event will also have the opportunity to walk-thru the Club and see all that is has to offer for children and adults in the surrounding community. 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of The Salvation Army’s relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and operation of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. Additional information to mark this anniversary will be forthcoming.

About National Night Out
National Night Out began in 1984 in an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Mrs Virginia Visits Salvation Army to Talk Disaster Preparedness

Hurricane season in Virginia runs from June 1 through November 30th the greatest impact in Virginia are the I’s Ike, Isabelle and Irene and it seems that rarely does a storm with an A name even get mentioned. Well, Arthur was all over the news last week so we figured this would be good time to talk disaster preparedness in this week’s Salvation Army News Update.

The Salvation Army is active year-round in thousands of communities across the United States and
over 125 countries across the world and when disaster strikes, The Salvation Army can often respond promptly and stay longer than other organizations because of our place already in that community. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared in the event of a disaster.

Here in Central Virginia, we recently teamed up with reigning Mrs Virginia International, Cheryl
Nelson, to share tips on disaster preparedness. Cheryl is an Emmy-nominated TV host, reporter and
meteorologist who is passionate disaster preparedness.

Cheryl came out to our most recent Community Meals picnic night on Tuesday, July 8. She gave a
presentation to our shelter residents and then visited with the folks who came to the community meals dinner.

We hope to be working with Cheryl more and want to be able to keep you up to date in the event of a
disaster so grab your mobile phone and text STORMRVA to 51555 to subscribe to our disaster related text messages. We’ll only send updates when severe storms are headed toward Central Virginia and provide tips on staying safe and where to find relief.

Salvation Army Offers Picnic Night for Community Meals Attendees

On Tuesday, June 24, The Salvation Army served the daily Community Meals dinner outside as part of Picnic Night. The idea of Picnic Night originated from The Salvation Army’s Advisory Board’s Social Services sub-committee. The purpose of Picnic Night was to free up the space of the cafeteria from 6:15 PM to 7:30 PM when it is normally occupied by community meals attendees and instead be able to offer a program for the residents of shelter which includes men, women and children.

The dinner service was offered from The Salvation Army’s mobile kitchen which is normally reserved for feeding during disaster relief. During the evening, Majors Timothy and Donna Carter visited with the attendees and offered spiritual ministry and an open ear while Case Manager Toni Hutchinson answered questions and provided insight on other Salvation Army and community resources. 187 meals were served, a new community meals dinner service record. The next Picnic Night will be Tuesday, July 8 at 6:15 PM.

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Club Alum Returns to Host Weekly Education Program

On Friday, June 27 The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club hosted their STEAMtrix Summer Kick off. Merci Best, who is a Club alumna now attending the College of William and Mary, is facilitating this special summer education program. Where we would normally we hear of STEM education programs (a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Merci adds the A for Arts in a weekly program that Summer Day Camp members will participate in. The program is designed to keep Club students sharp educationally during the summer and exploring the possibilities for their future which starts today.

The Honorable Don Coleman, School Board Chair for Richmond Public Schools and alum of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, was in attendance for the kick-off of the program.