Connections of Two Remarkable People

In the last month, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club held their annual Youth of Year award ceremony and hosted Civil Rights Leader Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker for a discussion on youth finding their legacy. The two events are closely connected to the Club’s mission of educating and empowering youth who give back to their respective communities and we’ll share perspective on those connections in this week’s Salvation Army News Update.

Dove Arceneaux, a senior at Franklin Military Academy was recently awarded the title of 2015 Youth of the Year from The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club and in April will compete with other Youths of the Year from their respective clubs across the state to be regional youth of the year. Dove was also on hand at the Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker Finding Your Legacy event to present Dr. Walker with The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Community Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award and talked to us recently about some of the things she heard and a bit about herself.

And related to Dove’s comments on Club staff seeing leadership in her and through her work with younger kids after school at the Club, comedian Micah White talked about leadership during the panel discussion at the Dr. Walker Finding Your Legacy event.

In addition to education, Dr. Walker also emphasized the role faith played during the Civil Rights Movement and important role it plays in the lives of youth.

There was a ton of other great conversation around leadership, accountability, voting and leaving a positive impact on your community and we encourage you check that out on our website at

A Legacy of Adversity to Progress

Many of us have been through circumstances were we have called out to God for help…and Charles is no different but God’s healing and protection for him was something different…and we’ll share that in this week’s Salvation Army News Update.

Second Corinthians chapter four verses eight and nine say, ‘We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;’ and Charles experienced many of those but through faith in God and personal ambition he’s proving he’s not been crushed.

It was that ambition and self-motivation that led Charles to enroll in The Salvation Army’s A Step Up Program which included a certification class as a Personal Care Aide through a partnership with the Professional Career Institute.

A gift to the Online Red Kettle is one way to feel God’s presence and bring His blessing to Charles and other men, women and children who may face challenge but long to fulfill their potential. The Online Red Kettle closes January 31st. Thank you for allowing us to the share this story with you.

One parting note, on Monday, February 23, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club will host Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker for a special speaking engagement to area youth on finding their legacy. Dr. Walker was the former Chief of Staff to Dr. Martin Luther King and is a graduate of Virginia Union University.

Their Life Will be Like a Watered Garden, And They will Never Languish Again

We have just a couple quick notes for you today, so stay right there and we’ll get to this week’s Salvation Army News Update.

First off, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club is preparing to celebrate its 60th Anniversary of investing in futures and developing youth in the Richmond area. Please take a minute and visit to check it out and RSVP for the event on Tuesday, September 30. There will be an open house beginning at 4pm and brief program stating at 5pm with the event ending at 6pm. We really hope you can make it.

Also, this past Saturday the Club welcomed folks from Renew Richmond, a non-profit committed to spreading the word and opportunities for living healthy in low income areas along with a couple dozen volunteers from Fort Lee to the Club at 3701 R Street to develop an urban community garden.

Finally, The Amazing Raise hosted by the Community Foundation is coming up on Wednesday, September 17 and 18th and here with a brief word about it is our volunteer Tim who you might remember from a news update about a month ago.

Again, we’ll be communicating via email and social media over those two days on ways to support The Salvation Army in the Amazing Raise and opportunities for gifts to mean even twice as much. With that said, we’ll take a break from the tradition news update next so we can share some great stories of compassion and hope during that time. We’ll see you back on September 24.

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.

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 to sign up for our weekly newsletter and see follow-ups from Merci’s STEAMtrix program. This has been a Salvation Army News Update

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.

Think Pink Tea and Fashion Show Coming to Boys & Girls Club

On Saturday, June 14, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club will host their annual Think Pink Tea and Fashion Show from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

The event is an opportunity for the young ladies at the Club to dress up in some of their best clothes and strut their stuff down the runway in front of their family and friends. The emcee for this year’s event will one the of newest members to The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Advisory Council, Kelli Lemon.

The event is open to the public and is free to attend. A donation of $5 at the door is encouraged and appreciated.

Supporting Veterans on D-Day Anniversary By Purchasing Donuts

Friday, June 6 is the 70th anniversary of D-Day when allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy during the epic and defining battle of World War II and June 6 is also National Donut Day and we’ll tell you how donuts, d-day and The Salvation Army are all connected in this week’s Salvation Army News Update.

In both World Wars I and II, The Salvation Army sent officers and support to provide ministry to the troops on the front lines of battle. That ministry included counseling, attending to spiritual and medical needs and what they were so often remembered for, serving donuts. One soldier said:

I don’t know what we boys would do if not for The Salvation Army. Those women certainly have courage to come right out there in the trenches, and they’re so good and kind. They not only give us donuts but they bring us salvation.

And this Friday, June 6, which is both the anniversary of D-Day and National Donut Day, your purchase of donuts at a Martin’s store will support The Salvation Army’s work with homeless and struggling veterans in our community. A portion of your donut purchase at Martin’s will help to support work with men like Joseph.

Donations online at also supports work with veterans like David and Dennis who both served in Vietnam but support of Donuts Of Hope also provides resources to empower youth in Church Hill, keep families stay in their homes and serve meals to hungry folks in our community every day.

Donuts of Hope is a wonderful opportunity to learn about The Salvation Army’s tradition of service on the front lines, whether those front lines be overseas on in our backyard.

Youth Participate in Abstinence and Etiquette Banquet & Performing Arts Hosts Year End Concert

Youth from The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club participated in the For You I Will Banquet and youth from The Salvation Army School of Performing Arts put on a concert at the Richmond Citadel Corps.

In the last couple weeks, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club hosted the For You I Will Banquet for teens and pre-teens at the Club. The For You I Will program is a health & life skills program at the club that encourages abstinence and healthy relationships. The event was held at L’s Restaurant in the East End and featured speakers on etiquette and abstinence and about 35 youth from the club participated in the event.

Coming up, the club will host the Think Pink Tea and Fashion Show on Saturday, June 14 from 11am to 2pm with one of the newest Club Council members, Kelli Lemon, who you may recognize from the RVA happy video as the emcee of the event.

The event open to the public and a five dollar donation is appreciated. Well last Tuesday, The Salvation Army School of Performing Arts hosted their annual Year End Concert at The Richmond Citadel Corps. In the year Sara Elliott has been director of the program she’s formed partnerships and been back and forth between Richmond Citadel Corps and The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club offering lessons and enriching lives through music education.

There were more than 50 people in attendance to experience the wonderful performances of what kids from the Corps and Club had learned over the past year. We’re always looking for volunteers with a passion for music so if you feel like you’d like to make an impact through music, please get in touch with Sara at

Project WARM Volunteers Remember Program Founder & Celebrate Success

Each winter, The Salvation Army works with volunteers from a program called Project WARM (Wood Association of Richmond Metro) which provides quality firewood to families and households who heat their homes with wood burning stoves. The founder of the program, Lou Wilson, recently passed away at the age of 84. Mr. Wilson began the program in 1976 and was a great friend of The Salvation Army.

In 1976 Lou Wilson saw a news segment of a single mother who was taking apart furniture and burning clothes to keep her children warm with their wood burning fireplace. A believer that service to humanity is the best work in life, Wilson began cutting, splitting and delivering firewood to households in similar situations. As awareness of his efforts grew, so did the demand for firewood but his volunteer base grew as well. And soon Project WARM, had partners like the City of Richmond and The Salvation Army, in 1989 the Richmond and Tuckahoe Jaycees joined the effort and that’s when George, Kay and Steve came to know Mr Wilson.

Mr Wilson’s son Marc and grandson Jonathan run the Project WARM program in the Roanoke/Salem, Virginia area.

Also, The Salvation Army’s Social Services Manager loves the Project WARM program and volunteers for their passion to serve and the compassion they show when delivering the firewood to the families identified by The Salvation Army. Project WARM volunteers log some 700+ volunteer hours a year and deliver firewood in their own vehicles on their own gas.

Before his work with Project WARM, Mr Wilson had served in the United States Navy and retired in 1966 as Chief Petty Officer after 29 years of service. Lou and his wife Mary Ann were married 39 years and Mary Ann is active member of The Salvation Army Advisory Board. The Wilson family asks that gifts in his memory be made to either the Virginia War Memorial Education Fund or The Salvation Army.

To learn more about Project WARM or other Salvation Army programs and services please visit us at