Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
Communities in Schools of Richmond (CIS-R) works to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Working inside 38 public schools in Richmond and Henrico, we help to align community resources with students in need. This could mean a pair of eye glasses or winter coat, academic enrichment, or behavioral counseling. Our goal is to support at-risk students so they can focus on learning and reach graduation.
My focus of my work is primarily volunteer and partnership management as well as branding. I chair the organization’s Volunteer Committee, helping to develop best practice strategies for our site coordinators to implement in their daily work with volunteers. I work closely with corporate partners to identify and map out large-scale projects — assuring for smooth and effective support. In terms of branding, I strive to tell the story of the work we do alongside our schools, partners, volunteers, students, teachers, and parents.
Q: What do you love about your job?
As the CIS-R storyteller, I get to sit down with some pretty incredible people for story interviews. From parents of the year to students who donate their entire piggy bank savings for a charity, I am regularly reminded of the humanity in the work we do. There are so many community members who, whether they have a lot or a little to give, are supporting students so they can reach graduation. Learning about those people and their stories is what makes my work rewarding.
Q: Tell us about your biggest accomplishment.
My biggest accomplishment has been developing strategies to understand our audience and share the highlights of our work and that of our partners with the Richmond community. In my time with CIS-R, I developed our newsletter, The Connector, and broadened our audience on social media through the sharing of stories, photos, videos, school programs, activities, and other highlights.
I have learned much about working with large numbers of site-based staff — CIS-R has really amazing site coordinators who work hard and support one another. I have learned that it is so important to consider each person’s needs and meet them where they are.
Prior to her work with CIS-R, Devon worked for a small nonprofit in Cochabamba, Bolivia supporting volunteer efforts with local community aid organizations. She has also worked with Friends of the Wood Food Program, Women In Community Service and other nonprofits in the Washington, DC area. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech.