VCU Community Engagement News

Center for Community Engagement and Impact

Exterior of the VCU Health Hub at 25th building.

The grants will increase equitable opportunities for developing community-led programs.

The Health Equity Community Microgrants Initiative was developed to provide capacity-building funding for grassroots, community-based organizations located in the East End to create new and/or enhance existing programming to address community-identified needs and social determinants of health impacting residents of the East End. Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D, interim director of the VCU Health Hub at 25th, has successfully utilized microgrants in Petersburg and Nottoway County as a key community capacity building program to support the work of grassroots organizations.

Similarly, in the East End, microgrants provide an opportunity for us to recognize the groundbreaking work that occurs at the grassroots level, each and every day. As a university and the VCU Health Hub at 25th, we work in partnerships with other community organizations and the microgrants provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate our support for the multilevel and layered work required to address social determinants of health. Priority was given to organizations and projects that clearly address social determinants of health identified by the East End community as a current priority; propose ongoing, sustainable programming that may continue beyond the grant cycle; and demonstrate a strong commitment to authentic community engagement.  In spring 2022, the hub announced the microgrants recipients.

The VCU Health Hub at 25th is very proud of the entire inaugural microgrants process, which included a grant writing 101 workshop. We congratulate each of the recipients for the work that they do every day in the East End to improve the quality of life of the community members. We would like to thank the grant review committee, which included VCU Health Hub at 25th staff and East End community members. We were all so impressed to learn more about each organization and their commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of East residents. The VCU Health Hub at 25th is looking forward to partnering with each of our microgrant recipients and most especially to work collaboratively to enhance the impact of our collective work in the community. 

The following organizations were awarded the 2022 Health Equity Community Microgrants:

Program Name: Creating Life Changes That Stick
Organization Name: AdaPt 2 HeaLing LLC
Amount Awarded: $1,000

This project will provide a resource, information and tools to individuals and parents in the East End that they may not have access to. From my personal experience raising my children in the East End for over 18 years these types of resources and information would have been helpful in supporting myself and family. I see people struggle every day in need of solutions, tools and a buildup of Hope. This stems from a lack of quality resources, quality information, motivation and quality solutions to their everyday concerns. This project will provide an opportunity for participants to find their voice, address issues, and strengthen their wellness and Hope! 

The following workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to receive needed support in implementing their goals and needs using the provided tools for the changes they aim to achieve. This coaching workshop would provide information, resources, and tools that would get them contemplating the changes and needs they have and how to pursue them. Tools, information and opportunity after the workshops will provide participants time to work on their solutions in a safe space and decompress. This workshop will be followed by a 1–2-hour follow-up to support the participants. 

All workshops are created to serve 2-10 participants per each workshop. It is preferred that the workshops are treated as a closed series but not required as participants’ schedules permit. 

This project is created by AdaPt 2 HeaLing LLC and presented by a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist that uses lived and learned experiences that focus on daily mental health needs. This project will provide an opportunity for participants to find their voice, address issues, and strengthen wellness and Hope. 

Program Name: Chat n’ Chew
Organization Name: A Few Good Roots Inc.
Amount Awarded: $1,000

Chat n’ Chew is a program designed to effectively assist those located in the East End of Richmond. Our target consumers are specifically the elderly and disabled. The Fairmont house was chosen as a pilot location for the Chat n’ Chew primarily due to its high volume of stated population and the expressed need for this type of support by the Housing Administration. The purpose of Chat n’ Chew is to aid those affected by disabilities and older age, with access to substance abuse programs, mental health stability, independent living and case management needs. Over the next 12 months, we plan to host 2 hour sessions each month where Chat n’ Chew will address the social determinants of mental health and addiction, housing security, health access quality and equity, food security, employment and financial security. Interactive discussions will be held and workshops will be presented on topics such as budgeting, self-care, access and connection to community resources, coping skills, substance abuse, and provide a healthy outlet where questions can be answered. The needs of the community at the Fairmount house will be evaluated on a quarterly basis by a survey of the residents and administrative staff.

Program Name: Armstrong Leadership Program
Organization Name: Armstrong Leadership Program
Amount Awarded: $2,000

ALP seeks to nurture and support a core group of 35-50 student leaders selected annually from grades 9-12 at Armstrong High School. Students are supported by a program director, an assistant director and an Intern. Over 75 volunteers provide personal mentoring, tutoring, job-shadowing opportunities and cultural exposure. The social determinants of health/health equity focus areas addressed by ALP are positive youth development and intervention. The project will assist a cohort of 45 to 50 Armstrong High School students in grades 9-12. The community-identified need impacted by ALP is personal development, leadership training, one-on-one mentoring, post graduate preparation, cultural exposure, service learning and trauma informed care practices.

Program Name: Healthy Girls Matter
Organization Name: The Beauty Within Girls
Amount Awarded: $2,000

The Beauty Within Girls organization will offer two free workshops through their Healthy Girls Matter campaign. This campaign will host 30 girls ages 9 -13 for the purpose of promoting healthy eating, thought, and life-skills habits. Our first workshop will focus on affordable nutritious snacks and using art as therapy. The second workshop will focus on mindfulness activities. We hope our workshop attendees will leave with information and resources they can share with their families, inspiring mind, body, and spirit health throughout the East End community. 

Program Name: Birth in Color Breastfeeding Initiative
Organization Name: Birth in Color RVA Foundation
Amount Awarded: $2,000

Birth in Color aims to create the human lactation program. Funding will be used to establish a community-based outpatient lactation clinic as well as breastfeeding education at no cost to community members.

Program Name: Lay Health Promoter Program
Organization Name: Capital Area Health Education Center
Amount Awarded: $4,000

Lay Health Promoters (LHPs) are community residents who are committed to health promotion & dissemination, learning the signs/symptoms of chronic diseases, and encouraging healthy lifestyle options. LHPs complete 36-40 hours of classroom/virtual training in topics such as: Obesity, Diabetes, Nutrition, Oral Health, Heart Disease and Cancer. LHPs also receive Blood Pressure training and will obtain a Blood Pressure Cuff, Stethoscope and Thermometer upon graduation. LHPs are active in their communities and churches with health education, promotion and supporting others in making healthy choices. This innovative, grassroots level program yields individual and community health and the well-being of neighborhoods.

Program Name: Chimborazo Elementary School Garden Project
Organization Name: Chimborazo Elementary School PTA
Amount Awarded: $1,000

In Church Hill, an influx of unaffordable housing limits nature’s green space and prevents families from leaving small, lower-income homes with smaller yards, specifically in the Chimborazo Elementary School zone. Paired with isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health of Chimborazo Elementary students has suffered. In response, the Chimborazo Elementary PTA will improve school grounds to include an accessible garden program for grades PreK-5. It will become an outdoor classroom to be managed and maintained by students with assistance from caregivers. Granting students agency to manage their own garden and educating them on growing sustainable food will improve mental health of East End youth. With increased time outdoors in a familiar, safe environment, confidence will grow around science-based learning about nutrition and relationships with neighbors will strengthen through partnering events (cooking classes hosted by restaurant chefs, markets selling harvest with proceeds benefiting the school).

Community Engagement Programs at Oakwood Arts
Organization Name: Community Engagement Programs at Oakwood Arts
Amount Awarded: $4,000

Oakwood Arts (OA) requests capacity building funding in support of a variety of community engagement programs at our organization’s East End home. These programs include: 1) workshops and professional development opportunities for East End creatives and students; 2) film screenings as part of the East End Film Society; and 3) maintenance of the Oakwood Arts Learning Park.

Our project focuses specifically on the health equity areas of education and employment/financial security for local youth and adults, as well as directly addressing racial equity and opportunities in creative industries in our region. Like all of OA’s programs, these are free and open to the public, specifically the East End community. OA’s work addresses the community-identified need for training, education, and networking opportunities in creative fields such as film and television production, photography, graphic design, and visual art.

Program Name: Real Talk 4 Returning Citizens Reentry Program
Organization Name: Free Dome Unlimited, Inc.
Amount Awarded: $2,000

The purpose of the program is to utilize an evidence-based curriculum and additional information for our REAL TALK 4 RETURNING CITIZENS (RT4RC) programming, and also partnering with Community Partners to facilitate classes and workshops that are implemented by certified, qualified and lived-experienced facilitators, to address the social determinants of health that affect high-risk communities and individuals primarily in the City of Richmond, to decrease recidivism rates, and increase support services to address homelessness, substance abuse, and other issues for Community Members and Participants, under the guidance of Program Director Anita L. Johnson and our facilitators who are recognized and commended for their years of service in the community. The Returning Citizens of the communities we serve are identified as returning from incarceration, opioid abuse, chronic homelessness, and traumatic experiences.

Program Name: East End Career Opportunities Workshop
Organization Name: Justice and Peace Committee Holy Rosary Catholic Church
Amount Awarded: $1,000

While the job market is robust and starting pay is increasing across the city and state, it is still very competitive for those without college degrees to find long term positions with the potential for growth that in turn provide health insurance and stability to defeat health inequity. There is significant opportunity for permanent stable employment immediately surrounding the East End. These career areas include hospitality such as restaurants and tourist venues, as well as warehouse and supply chain management and public works. Some of the best opportunities for transitioning from unskilled to skilled labor and careers are on the next hill at VCU Hospitals. The East End Career Opportunities Workshop (EECOW) is designed to help East End residents sixteen and older increase their employment dynamism by offering professional advice and instruction on the value and practice of writing a good resume, and direct feedback in practice interviews.

Program Name: Richmond Doula Project
Organization Name: Richmond Doula Project
Amount Awarded: $1,000

The Richmond Doula Project (RDP) is a grassroots, nonprofit organization of full-spectrum doulas with the goal of providing affordable support and education to all people in any life transition. RDP Doulas support Full Spectrum Birth Support, Postpartum Support, Abortion Support, Grief Support, Trans-formation/Transition Support and End of Life Support are all the ways doulas in our collective serve in the Richmond community.

Program Name: Stork’s Nest Initiative of Alpha Phi Zeta Chapter
Organization Name: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Alpha Phi Zeta Chapter
Amount Awarded: $1,000

The purpose of the Stork’s Nest is to encourage economically disadvantaged women to seek prenatal care within the first trimester of their pregnancy. This program has two components: incentives and education. Stork’s Nest clients “earn” points toward incentives such as maternity or baby care items through a variety of positive, health-promoting activities: attending prenatal visits, participating in prenatal education classes, stopping at-risk behaviors such as smoking cigarettes and consuming alcoholic beverages, reducing stress, etc.

The grant will be used for outreach and promotion (advertisement, social media, flyers, etc.) and for funding incentives for the summer cohort participants (purchase gift cards, baby items, mom items, grocery cards).

Categories VCU Health Hub at 25th
Tagged , , , , ,