Hear Together

Hear Together: Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

The Jefferson School is one of two remaining buildings from what was once Vinegar Hill–a 20-acre predominantly Black neighborhood in the heart of Charlottesville that was bulldozed in the ’60s after being seized through eminent domain. The Jefferson School started as the only Black school in Charlottesville, only to be decommissioned when schools were desegregated. The alumni of the original school wanted a place that would celebrate the building’s history, and by extension the Black history of Charlottesville, and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC) opened in 2013.

Along with a permanent picture gallery that tells the story of Vinegar Hill, the JSAAHC offers rotating contemporary art exhibitions featuring artists of the diaspora, lectures, a film and theater program, as well as six annual public celebrations. It is also home to the Isabella Gibbons Local History and Digital Humanities Center, which researches the history of Albemarle County and the surrounding region from enslavement through the present.

“There is a Vinegar Hill in every single city in America,” says Leslie M. Scott Jones, assistant curator of education and public programs at JSAAHC.

You can listen to the full segment at the audio link below and learn more about the Jefferson School at their website.

2022-06-14T12:27:40-04:00June 14th, 2022|

Hear Together: UMFS Foster Care

For 120 years, UMFS Foster Care has worked relentlessly to help children, teens, and families thrive in their communities. Their trained staff collaborates with foster parents and families to overcome the challenges of traumatic childhoods to create homes that are safe and welcoming.

There are about 4,800 youth in foster care across Virginia, with 1,800 of them open for adoption. Over the past year, they’ve noticed a 54 percent drop in foster parent approval, and UMFS is working to empower flexible, caring adults who want to serve children but might be unsure of how foster care can work.

We spoke with foster parent recruiter Katie Solvig for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more about their services and becoming a foster parent at UMFS.org.

UMFS is a proud financial supporter of WNRN.

2022-06-08T12:47:19-04:00June 8th, 2022|

Hear Together: Shenandoah LGBTQ Center

Built on a model of community collaboration, the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center has centered the voices of LGBTQ people in the valley since its inception. From the initial community listening conversations in 2018 came a wide variety of support services, including peer support groups, affirming healthcare referral, a queer resource library, and many more.

For this Hear Together profile, we spoke with executive director AnhThu Nguyen, who is committed to expanding the center’s support network throughout the Shenandoah Valley, to address the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ people across the communities of the commonwealth. You can listen at the audio link below, and learn more about the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center at their website.

2022-05-20T14:14:31-04:00May 20th, 2022|

Hear Together: Live Arts

Powered by more than 1200 volunteers, Live Arts is a nonprofit community theater in downtown Charlottesville that has presented engaging plays and musicals in Central Virginia for more than 30 years. The organization’s Pay-What-You-Can offering has been a staple of its programming for decades, as part of an early commitment to making sure that theater is accessible in the community and ensuring that no one is turned away due to inability to pay.

In addition to Live Arts’ quality productions, they offer year-round education classes and workshops, including teen play-writing and youth summer camps.

For this Hear Together profile, we spoke with Executive Director Anne Hunter. Listen at the audio link below and learn more about Live Arts’ upcoming classes and seasons here.

Additional support for Live Arts on WNRN is sponsored by Ting Gigabit Fiber Internet.

2022-05-02T16:34:22-04:00May 2nd, 2022|

Hear Together: Strength in Peers

Grounded in lived experience from their peer recovery specialists, Strength in Peers helps those in the community struggling with substance use, mental health, and trauma-related challenges. By centering treatment around each individual’s unique situation and needs, they help participants thrive by emphasizing their autonomy and goals. Serving Harrisonburg and Rockingham, Page, and Shenandoah Counties, Strength in Peers provides customized recovery programs, and helps connect individuals to community-based services to help with housing, employment, health care, and other challenges.

We spoke with executive director Nicky Fadley for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below, and learn more about Strength in Peers on their website.

2022-04-15T14:29:44-04:00April 15th, 2022|

Hear Together: Fit2Give

Ricky Martin has worked in the fitness industry for more than 30 years. He co-created Fitness Warriors through Sportsbackers, a program that offers free group fitness classes to underserved communities in Richmond.

Now, Martin has founded a new nonprofit, Fit2Give, which provides in-home personal training to help those who were extremely isolated during the pandemic stay mentally and physically healthy.

Certified through the University of Virginia and the CDC, Fit2Give has also launched a diabetes prevention program to level the playing field around health disparities in Central Virginia’s low income populations.

You can listen to our conversation with Mr. Martin at the audio link below.

2022-03-04T12:06:14-05:00March 4th, 2022|

Hear Together: Valley Associates for Independent Living

In the late ’80s, a group of citizens from Harrisonburg and Rockingham convened to discuss their concerns about disability services in the community. Most people with disabilities lived with their families or in adult care settings and were unemployed or underemployed, and independent living was in its infancy in Virginia. The group began to believe that what the community needed was a place where the different aspects of independent living were dealt with comprehensively and holistically. Additionally, they felt that an organization that utilized an individualized, community-based, and consumer-driven approach was needed to provide the necessary tools for many people with disabilities to achieve independence.

Today, Valley Associates for Independent Living serves over 500 individuals annually in the area in direct service, and strives to empower individuals to help overcome barriers that allow them to live fully engaged, independent lives in the community.

For this Hear Together profile, we spoke with Executive Director Gayl Brunk. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more on VAIL’s website.

2022-03-02T16:30:39-05:00March 2nd, 2022|

Hear Together: Descendants of Enslaved Communities at UVA

The Descendants of Enslaved Communities at the University of Virginia work to uncover previously unknown ancestries of members within the community through research and preservation. They collect oral histories, provide educational resources, and offer tours of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers near the Rotunda.

We spoke with founding members DeTeasa Brown Gathers, Carolyn Mitchell Dillard, and Cauline Yates about working towards restorative justice and honoring the legacies of enslaved and free Black communities and their descendants. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more about the organization here.

2022-02-22T09:02:06-05:00February 21st, 2022|

Hear Together: Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

In the Spring of 2020, the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers was completed with programing and initiative assistance from the office of the Descendants of Enslaved Communities at the University of Virginia. The memorial is adjacent to the Rotunda and across from the Corner, inviting community members to honor those both named and unnamed — and to work towards restorative justice.

We spoke with one of DEC‘s founding members, Carolyn Mitchell Dillard, to learn more about the memorial and efforts to uncover the ancestry for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more about the memorial here.

2022-02-22T09:11:33-05:00February 21st, 2022|

Hear Together: Pierce Street Community Garden

Although the Pierce Street Renaissance is the smallest historic district in Lynchburg, it boasts more historical markers for residents than any other street in the state of Virginia in a two-block stretch. It was home to Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer, tennis pro Dr. Whirlwind Johnson, and William Calloway, whose neighborhood general store was one of the first Black-owned-and-operated neighborhood grocery stores in Lynchburg.

Now, the Pierce Street Gateway Foundation is taking strides to revitalize the Calloway Store, starting with the property behind it, where they’ve partnered with the community to open the Pierce Street Community Garden.

We spoke with team member Sarah Blankenship to learn more about the garden and the property’s history for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more about the garden here.

2022-02-10T17:03:03-05:00February 10th, 2022|