Focused Outreach Richmond at GRIP’s June Quarterly Meeting

Focused Outreach Richmond has been working hard to establish partnerships with other community providers as well as just becoming a presence in what we do. Just imagine then how thrilled (ok and a little nervous on behalf of the speaker) we were when Amy Wight, the director of GRIP [Gang Reduction and Intervention Program] asked us to speak at their June Quarterly meeting. We immediately said yes and Sydney Lester, our Director of Development, set to work on a presentation that would include both River City and Focused Outreach Richmond’s work in our community.

The meeting itself was short (thankfully not the three hours it was slated for!) but was a great use of time as we were able to find out about events, see what is coming up, and network with other providers. Amy opened the meeting with a brief overview of all the many activities that took place over the last quarter among the community partners of GRIP. Some of the great things providers are doing included: health classes, workforce development community workshops, parent workshops, computer literacy classes, GED and resume development classes.

Amy also shared the great news that GRIP had been awarded another small grant to expand their services into the East End. So far, GRIP has been busy there, involving themselves in the Creighton Court Community Day this past April and getting involved with the VCU Service Learning program at Armstrong High. This program works afterschool with 9th grade boys who are repeating the 9th grade and gives them academic help, mentoring, and other positive services.

Sydney Lester

Finally, we were up. Sydney made sure to clarify with the group that even though the agenda said she would talk from 10 AM – 11 AM, that was not the case, think more like 15 minutes. Sydney was able to give a great overview of the mission, vision, goals and programs that both Focused Outreach Richmond and River City Comprehensive Counseling Services offer. She also focused on the importance of community partnerships, sharing resources, and used inspirational photos and sayings like, “It doesn’t matter who kicks the ball as long as it hits the back of the net.” Maybe a little cheesy – but it certainly gets the point home that all providers have the same goal: uplifting those in their community and that we all have to work together to make that happen. During Q&A, a lot of questions were fielded and the CEO of River City got a shout out as being a “great counselor” for counseling one of the participant’s godsons.

The meeting wrapped with an overview up-coming GRIP events and a networking time where the providers were able to catch up with friends, make new connections, and discover tools that will be useful for their own communities. Thank you Amy and GRIP for inviting us to take part in this event!

Kent Smith