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Help Somebody Spotlight: Allen Earehart, Volunteer, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services

ConnectVA and The Community Foundation are excited to share another shining example of a great person doing great work in our community, through the Help Somebody Hall of Fame – meet, Allen Earehart, active volunteer and board member for Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services (GFCFS) ! Diane Reale, Director of Volunteer Resources for GFCFS, reached out to us to share more about the firm commitment and incredible impact Allen has in the Goochland community.

How does Allen demonstrate the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame”?

Allen Earehart inspires others to do good through his vision and example. Allen’s vision for our community includes improving the lives of impoverished and at-risk individuals and families. He sets an example through his volunteer service at Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services in both hands-on roles and leadership positions. It’s not only the number of hours that Allen donates — over 400 in 2016 — it’s his selfless commitment to providing assistance to our neighbors in need that makes him someone who demonstrates the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame.”

Allen is a frequent figure at the Food Pantry, which provides food for over 170 households on a weekly basis. Twice a week he carries bags of food for our clients, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled. One morning a week he does a “food run” to FeedMore, the regional food bank, and once a month he leads a team to pick up food donations from local grocery stores. Allen puts our clients first. He is always looking for ways to improve how we deliver services to our clients. When it’s raining, he pitches a tent for our clients to stay dry while waiting for their turn in the Food Pantry. He was also instrumental in moving the Food Pantry into a temporary location while a new building is being built. During the move, Allen helped ensure that clients did not miss one day of food distribution. Allen worked on a team to implement a plan to double the number of days the Food Pantry distributes food in the new space. If Allen sees a gap, he looks to fill it.

Food donations for the GFCFS Food Pantry come from local residents, grocery stores, neighborhoods, corporate groups, faith organizations, schools, FeedMore, and others.

When Allen noticed that Clothes Closet volunteers and staff members had to stand on a hard floor for long periods of time, he donated anti-fatigue mats. When he saw that more handicapped parking spots were needed for clients, he designed temporary handicapped spots for Food Pantry distribution days. When the temporary space needed equipment for cleaning and painting, Allen brought ladders, a shop vac and other tools. Allen selflessly helps so many somebodies: clients, fellow volunteers, and staff members. He would prefer to go unnoticed, but we believe he is a great candidate for the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame.”

 

What’s the impact of Allen’s generosity?

As a direct result of his leadership, Allen has done much to improve the lives of the disabled and needy in Goochland County. His impact can be seen at the construction site of the GFCFS new building, in the number of people who get food every week at the Food Pantry, and in the direction he provides as a Board Member.

Progress on the new GFCFS building as of August 2017. The new building will be located at 3001 River Road West and expected completion is winter 2017.

Allen is a member of the Building Committee and IT Committee. He meets with the Owner-Architect-Construction team on a weekly basis. He uses his expertise to advocate for best solutions for the new building where our clients will be able to have all 11 GFCFS programs under one roof. Currently, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services is located in four separate buildings. In the Food Pantry, Allen fills many roles to ensure that the 170 families who come to Food Pantry every week have a selection of healthy food choices. His concern for our clients is paramount. He carries bags of food to our clients’ cars, picks up food from grocery stores, and makes sure that our clients have a safe and dignified experience at the Food Pantry.

A rendering of the new GFCFS building. The 20,000-square-foot facility that will provide space for 11 programs currently offered at three separate sites by GFCFS. It will combine critical assistance programs including medical and dental clinics, a food pantry, and an initiative to provide clothing to those in need. The existing main building at this location will be converted into emergency housing.

As a Board Member, Allen is on the Finance Committee. Keith Reynolds, Past Board President and current Board Member describes Allen as “an active board member whose enthusiasm and business perspective have been instrumental in making GFCFS’s vision of a ‘one stop shop’ for our clients possible.” If there is something that can be done to help our vulnerable neighbors, Allen is there to help.

 

About the Help Somebody Hall of Fame

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express gratitude for a person in the community who acts selflessly to improve the lives of others.  We want to share these stories in hope of inspiring more people in Greater Richmond to act with generosity.  There will be random drawing from those who are honored, and two honorees will select a nonprofit of their choice to receive $1000.  Read more about how to nominate someone here.

Read more →

 

Help Somebody Spotlight: Susan DeFazio, Founder and Director, Prevent A Litter

ConnectVA and The Community Foundation are excited to share another shining example of a great person doing great work in our community, through the Help Somebody Hall of Fame – meet, Susan DeFazio, Founder and Director of Prevent A Litter (P.A.L.)!

Lauren Early, Manager of Prevent A Litter, reached out to us to share Susan’s story and her humble approach to making a difference in our community for animals.  Read more about this nonprofit founder/animal activist!

How does Susan demonstrate the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame”?

Susan has spent most of her life helping those who cannot speak for themselves. Not only is she the Founder and Director of Prevent A Litter Veterinary Hospital, she also takes part in marches, protests and things of that nature to ensure that all animals are treated humanely. She is so dedicated to the well being of all animals the she doesn’t consume anything that has meat or dairy in it, nor does she support any organizations that test on animals.

Susan consistently makes contributions to nonprofit animal welfare groups and has rescued hundreds of animals throughout the years with her own nonprofit organization, Care About The Strays (CATS), which was established before she created Prevent A Litter. She is always helping others who need help with their companion animals even buying food or giving flea meds to homeless people and their animals.

 

PAL staff

What’s the impact of Susan’s generosity?

By creating Prevent A Litter Susan has saved millions of animals lives simply by getting them spayed or neutered. Prevent A Litter was the first low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Virginia and since its inception in 1999, they have fixed over 100,000 cats and dogs. This is all because of Susan’s vision. Every single animal they spay or neuter will no longer contribute to the staggering number of homeless animals that must be euthanized every year simply because they have no home. Without Susan, there would be thousands, if not millions of animals to add to the overpopulation crisis.

Susan is very modest and rarely takes credit for all the work she does and the positive changes she has made for the animals of Richmond and the entire State of Virginia. So many people don’t even know of the work that Susan has done. She’s proof that even the quiet, “unknown”, activists can make a huge difference in the world without the benefits of constantly being in the spotlight.

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Help Somebody Spotlight: Keri Treadway, Teacher, Richmond Public Schools

Keri is a first-grade teacher at Fox Elementary and has been with Richmond Public Schools for 14 years. Her dedication to her students and her city extends far beyond her day job, however.  She shows up, she organizes, she donates, she solicits support from local businesses, all in the name of the children she cares so deeply about.  Keri is a co-founder and organizer behind the “Support Richmond Public Schools” movement as well as “Building a Better RPS“.

Keri Treadway’s first grade classroom at Fox Elementary. She has a reading loft, artwork hanging from the ceiling, a listening station, and her classroom is decorated with polka dots!

Support Richmond Public Schools is a grassroots movement in the city of Richmond where community members connect, learn and advocate for positive change in the school system – from work environments, to salaries to funding and more.  Keri has helped organize several rallies and fundraisers through Support Richmond Public Schools.

Recently, she played a key role in advocating for a needs-based RPS budget. She is now focusing her attention on a campaign to urge elected officials to resist moving the Mayor’s Education Compact forward until a new Superintendent has been selected.

In addition to the “Support Our Schools” rallies and fundraisers she helped facilitate last year, Keri also coordinated volunteer efforts that led to over a dozen RPS schools being updated by volunteers over the summer through Building a Better RPS.

Building a Better RPS is a community based effort that brings change to the Richmond Public School System through projects and fundraising efforts to support students and teachers.  It was inspired by the momentum behind “Supporting Our Schools” and officially became a nonprofit last summer.

Keri and other board members from Building a Better RPS built partnerships with local restaurants and breweries to raise $20,000 last summer.  The money supports work like landscaping and enhancing the appearance of the schools.  The organization has frequent fundraisers, and the next one will take place at Garden Grove Brewery.

Keri volunteering with Building a Better RPS – an organization she co-founded and is a board member.

Keri has also helped other teachers set up DonorsChoose projects. DonorsChoose.org is a national nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects.

The person who nominated Keri for the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame” says that “she is a fierce warrior and we are lucky to have teachers like her advocating for our children.”

If you’d like to stay up-to-date with the work of Support Richmond Public Schools or get involved with their work, request to join their Facebook group.  Now that school is winding down for summer, you can join Building a Better RPS at an upcoming volunteer project; the next one is taking place at Armstrong High School, where community members will help landscape the school.  Visit HandsOn Greater Richmond’s site for more opportunities to volunteer at Richmond Public Schools.

 

About the Help Somebody Hall of Fame

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express gratitude for a person in the community who acts selflessly to improve the lives of others.  We want to share these stories in hope of inspiring more people in Greater Richmond to act with generosity.  There will be random drawing from those who are honored, and two honorees will select a nonprofit of their choice to receive $1000.  Read more about how to nominate someone here.

Read more →

 

Help Somebody Spotlight: Jocelyn Marencik, Founder, Got Tec! Richmond

We are honored to have received (and are still receiving!) so many incredible nominations for the Help Somebody Hall of Fame.  This week we are highlighting the work of a Sophomore Student from Deep Run High School – Jocelyn Marencik.  Jocelyn founded the initiative “Got Tec! Richmond” whose mission is to deliver needed technology equipment to underserved schools, teachers, and students in the Richmond area.  She was nominated by her proud father, Don.

Jocelyn dedicates countless hours to community service and is truly a role model for young people in our community.  She said, “I’ve made community service a part of my life since Kindergarten. In 7th grade I ran my own fundraiser at Moody Middle to raise over $1,500 for both the school PTA and “From the Heart Stitchers”, which gives their hats, blankets, etc. to the homeless, people going through chemo, and babies in need. I’ve also helped make hundreds of hats for them. This year I decided to blend my love of technology with community service and came up with “Got Tec Richmond”, which stands for Gifts of Technology (for) Teachers, Education & Children.”

Read more about Jocelyn’s story and her impact in the community:

How does Jocelyn demonstrate the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame”? 

Jocelyn founded and manages a local community initiative named “Got Tec Richmond” which funds and delivers technology equipment to under-served schools in the Richmond area (mainly RPS). She generates funds for the initiative by crocheting and selling hats, scarves, and blankets and selling them, by selling elastic band bracelets she makes, through community aluminum recycling drives, through micro-grants, and commercial and individual donations.

With the donated equipment she then organizes, teaches, and mentors at “Learn to Code” days at the same schools with the help of the ITRT’s (Instructional Technology Resource Teacher) at the particular school. This helps the students learn 21st century computer and other technological skills to help them succeed throughout school and beyond. Having modern technology equipment also helps the teachers at the school with additional tools and creative methods to further enhance learning. Overall this gives those in inner city schools the same learning opportunities as those in the better financed suburbs providing an avenue for future success. Jocelyn spends 5-10 hours each week on her initiative fundraising, marketing, delivering equipment to schools, organizing learning events, and mentoring/teaching others about computer coding.

 

What is the impact of her generosity? 

Jocelyn has been able to fund technology equipment for teachers and students in 23 separate RPS schools and 47 total classrooms. This includes two entire technology libraries consisting of Chromebooks and tablets. The indirect impact is well over 1300 students. The estimated value of the donated equipment is over $12,000 after only one year of existence of the initiative.

She has also organized and mentored at 6 learn to code events so far impacting 200 students directly who attended. Again, this has provided students an opportunity to learn needed 21st century skills they otherwise wouldn’t have. Also in a partnership with the Virtual Learning Center at MIT and the Scratch Foundation, she will shortly be donating two sets of Scratch language learning cars to each and every Richmond elementary and middle school for the ITRT’s and teachers to use as guides for setting up technology lessons plans and activities.

 

Is there anything else you want to share about Jocelyn?

Jocelyn is a sophomore in the Center for Information Technology at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, VA. She has won a National Center for Women & Information Technology Virginia affiliate award and is a She ++ Include Fellow.

She is an officer of the CIT and DRHS Key Club and is a member of the Computer Science National Honor Society. Jocelyn founded the initiative as it meshes her two loves of computer technology and community service. She also crochets hats and blankets for donation to cancer patients through “From the Heart Stitchers”, has donated over 5200 food and other items to the Henrico Christmas Mother drive over her school years and has organized drives of cat food, litter and toys for CARE (Cat Adoption & Rescue Efforts).

 

About the Help Somebody Hall of Fame:

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express gratitude for a person in the community who acts selflessly to improve the lives of others.  We want to share these stories in hope of inspiring more people in Greater Richmond to act with generosity.  There will be random drawing from those who are honored, and two honorees will select a nonprofit of their choice to receive $1000.  Read more about how to nominate someone here.

Read more →

 

Help Somebody Spotlight: Robbie Schureman, Volunteer, Virginia Dental Association Foundation

We are excited to share another Help Somebody Spotlight – Robbie Schureman! The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express gratitude for a person in the community who acts selflessly to improve the lives of others. We want to share these stories in hope of inspiring more people in Greater Richmond to act with generosity. There will be random drawing each quarter from those who are honored, and two honorees will select a nonprofit of their choice to receive $1000. Read more about how to nominate someone here. Robbie is a dedicated volunteer and Board Vice President at the Virginia Dental Association Foundation (VADF), but, as the person who nominated him (who asked to be anonymous) says, “Robbie is one of the most committed volunteers and advocates that the VDAF and its Mission of Mercy (MOM) program has ever had, always keeping his "MOM hat" on and an eye open for opportunities to further support the program. He is also one of the most down-to-earth, genuine folks you'll ever meet!”

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