In their own words -- Our Community Partners
Over the past year, I have had the great pleasure of working as a community partner with Change the World RVA. This partnership has been transformative for me personally, and for our community. After moving to Richmond to work with the VCU School of Social Work in 2013, I quickly learned that services to support homeless and unstably housed youth are severely limited here. This was incredibly distressing to me. I soon learned, however, that an amazing group of volunteers were refusing to just stand by and do nothing. In the spring of 2014, I made my first visit to Change the World RVA and met several young people who were fired up and ready to make a change in our community. Together, we built an action research team to do just that! Having the opportunity to work with these young leaders has been life changing, but seeing them take on leadership roles to advocate to address youth homelessness has happened because Change the World RVA was there all along the way. They believe in the youth and their ability to make change. They also get what it takes to support their leadership – transportation, child care, cheerleaders! In a community where resources are scarce and eligibility for help is limiting, Change the World RVA has been able to respond quickly and flexibly to meet the needs of young people – often preventing another instance of homelessness. The passion and vision of this organization and its leadership has inspired others to ask, “What more can we be doing?”. Not only does Change the World RVA respond to the immediate and pressing needs of homeless and unstably housed youth, such as housing and food, they also use their experiences and partnerships to mobilize our community to take on this important issue.
--M. Alex Wagaman, PhD
Assistant Professor, VCU School of Social Work