Hear Together

Hear Together: Full Circle Grief Center

As a school counselor, Allyson Drake worked with a number of students who were experiencing a loss or had a family member at home with a terminal illness. When she had trouble finding further grief support for her students in the community, she decided to start her own comprehensive grief resource center — Full Circle.  They provide individual and group counseling for adults and children starting at the age of three in Central Virginia. They also provide grief support trainings for organizations, nonprofits, schools, and corporations. We examine how Full Circle’s services have become even more crucial over the past year in this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below, and learn more on Full Circle’s website.


2021-05-28T11:43:36-04:00May 28th, 2021|Hear Together|

Hear Together: Lynchburg Grows

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) relies on a group of individuals to run a farm operation. The farm is then open to other community members who can sign up for a CSA membership where they receive locally-grown produce during a harvest season.

Lynchburg Grows is a 7-acre nonprofit farm in Lynchburg that offers their own Veggie Box CSA. Over the last few seasons, they’ve improved access to the program with a scholarship offering for low-income residents. But that’s not the only new initiative Lynchburg Grows has launched recently: They now partner with Sentara to offer a Fresh Rx prescription program, and their Farm Coach mentorship program provides one-on-one coaching for their farmers with disabilities.

For this Hear Together profile, we spoke with Executive Director Shelley Blades. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more about Lynchburg Grows’ programming here.


2021-05-10T14:36:21-04:00May 10th, 2021|Hear Together|

Hear Together: VA Center for Inclusive Communities

Founded in 1935, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities sought to address a rise in antisemitism, anti-Catholicism, and racism. Over the past eight-and-a-half decades, they’ve worked with schools, businesses and communities throughout the state to forge a cultural shift that’s more equitable, inclusive, and just.

Over the past five years, the Virginia Center has seen a 1300% increase in the demand for its services in the face of bias, bullying and discrimination. For this Hear Together profile, we spoke with President and CEO Jonathan Zur about recent trends and what we can do to bring our communities together. Listen at the audio link below and learn more about the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities here.

2021-05-06T17:03:47-04:00May 5th, 2021|Hear Together|

Hear Together: Our Community Place

Our Community Place has been serving the homeless population in Harrisonburg since the early ’90s. Beginning as a soup kitchen, OCP has now expanded into a full-fledged day program, providing basic necessities like showers and hot meals. They served 23,000 meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, up from 19,000 the year before. But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought another glaring need to the forefront: the demand for permanent housing assistance.

It’s not uncommon for property management companies to put up barriers, making it difficult for those who are low-income, have been previously incarcerated, or have a history of eviction to gain access to equitable housing. So OCP began working with area landlords to help them understand the needs of their client population. Last year, they placed an upwards of 50 residents in permanent housing, and have solidified 15 placements so far in 2021.

We spoke with Executive Director Sam Nickels for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below, and learn more about Our Community Place on their website.


2021-04-22T10:44:45-04:00April 21st, 2021|Hear Together|

Hear Together: RVAgriculture

After suffering a series of accidents and injuries, Lisa Dearden found that the key to regaining her health was changing her diet. She became passionate about local food sources, and opened a farm and started a market of her own.

Eleven seasons later, RVAgriculture has expanded to include five farmer’s markets and a robust online marketplace. The nonprofit has even incorporated creative programming, like their ‘Chef At The Market,’ where different chefs provide a recipe tutorial featuring seasonal food.

For this Hear Together profile, we spoke with Dearden about the importance of knowing where your food comes from, and how RVAgriculture has worked to keep local producers and local businesses alive during the pandemic.

You can listen at the audio link below, and sign up for their virtual classes and online marketplace here.

2021-03-24T10:29:36-04:00March 5th, 2021|Hear Together|

Hear Together: Reach Out And Read

From fairy tales and Dr. Seuss rhymes to mystery books and science fiction, storytelling has always sparked imagination and creativity in early childhood development. But research proves that the cognitive benefits don’t stop there. Reading leads to better social and emotional outcomes, and facilitates school readiness and language development.

Reach Out and Read is a book-sharing program where pediatricians prescribe parent/child reading and provide a book during wellness check-ups. The national program began 30 years ago in Boston; Now, there’s 100 Reach Out and Read sites statewide in the Commonwealth of Virginia that serve over 100,000 children.

Dr. Bergen Nelson is a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, one of the latest offices to offer Reach Out and Read. Since their start last July, they’ve given out an upwards of 4,000 books. We spoke with Dr. Nelson for this Hear Together profile. Listen at the audio link below, and learn more about Virginia’s Reach Out and Read programming here.

2021-03-02T15:04:15-05:00March 2nd, 2021|Hear Together|

Hear Together: Park View Community Mission

Park View Community Mission, located in Lynchburg, is the largest client-choice food pantry in the state of Virginia west of Richmond. Last year alone, the organization’s Food for Families program served over half a million pounds of food. They established Food for Thought in 2018, which is a backpack program providing meals for school-aged children. Park View’s commitment to health and food security extends to its Life Skills Institute, which provides nutrition classes and teaches homemaking skills to clients. Recently, Park View expanded its offerings to include Clothing Connection, a donation-based clothing space.

For this Hear Together profile, we spoke with Park View’s Director of Development, Ashley Steinweg, along with Jeanell Smith, who has been teaching nutrition classes at Park View for a decade. You can listen at the audio link below, and learn more on their website.

2021-02-08T11:23:03-05:00February 8th, 2021|Hear Together|

Hear Together: Jubilee Family Development Center

The Jubilee Center has been helping children and adults in the Lynchburg community achieve a path to success for over 20 years. They offer multifaceted opportunities for all age levels – from after-school tutoring, mentoring programs, and summer camps for kids to GED classes, vocational programs, and computer workshops for adults. They have a robust athletics program and a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) center.

We spoke with founder and Executive Director Sterling Wilder for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more on their website.

2021-01-18T10:11:11-05:00January 14th, 2021|Hear Together|

Hear Together: Circles RVA

Richmond’s adult poverty rate is nearly double the national average, which means that one in four people in Richmond are living in poverty. Two years ago, a group of concerned citizens created a nonprofit, Circles RVA, to break the cycle.

Circles RVA is a long-term, high-impact program that works with families in the Greater Richmond area, providing them the social network, financial tools, and emotional encouragement that people need to grow.

Participants enrolled in the program are called Circle Leaders, as they are leading their own journeys. As part of the program, they’re paired with Circle Allies, who help them along their path to financial stability and independence. Graduates of the Circles RVA program have celebrated major milestones like improved credit scores, purchasing vehicles, and paying down debt.

We spoke with Circles RVA Community Coordinator Kristin Blalock for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more on their website.

2020-12-21T13:29:56-05:00December 18th, 2020|Hear Together|

Hear Together: Kindness Cafe & Play

Currently adults with disabilities are underemployed or unemployed at a rate of 70% or higher in most communities. While school systems often provide daily structure, peer connection, and options for growth, these beneficial opportunities are lost in adulthood with a lack of employment.

That’s where Charlottesville’s Kindness Cafe + Play comes in. Located in the Piedmont Family YMCA, the cafe was founded in order to provide meaningful employment for adults with cognitive disabilities.

We spoke with founder and owner Katie Kishore for this Hear Together profile. Listen at the audio link below, and learn more on Kindness Cafe & Play’s website.

2020-12-07T14:42:19-05:00December 7th, 2020|Hear Together|