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Side by Side launches the “LGBTQ Challenge” – “Let’s Get Better in Quarantine”

Side by Side’s LGBTQ Challenge, which stands for “Let’s Get Better Together in Quarantine,” is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign where participants commit to personal betterment goals while raising funds for LGBTQ+ youth in Virginia.

RVAHub Staff

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Richmond-based LGBTQ+ youth nonprofit Side by Side is announcing a new fundraiser – and there are some self-improvement opportunities involved.

Side by Side’s LGBTQ Challenge, which stands for “Let’s Get Better Together in Quarantine,” is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign where participants commit to personal betterment goals while raising funds for LGBTQ+ youth in Virginia.

Presented by Capital One, the “30-ish” day challenge runs from National Coming Out Day on October 11 to Friday, November 13.

Personal betterment goals can focus on the mind (reading all the Hunger Games books; learning a new language), the body (running or walking challenges; attending regular outdoor yoga classes) or the spirit (sewing 30 masks for a local charity; learning 30 new TikTok dances).

Participants are encouraged to share their progress on social media with the hashtag #LGBTQChallenge and ask friends and family to support their hard work with donations to Side by Side.

Side by Side aims to raise $30,000 by the end of the challenge.

“We’re excited to create an engaging, socially-distant event that builds community,” said Side by Side executive director Ted Lewis. “All the money raised will go to support LGBTQ+ youth living in Virginia.”

During the LGBTQ Challenge, Side by Side will host virtual events via social media with raffles for prizes from local Richmond businesses. The fundraiser culminates with a grand prize for the individual or team that raises the most money for Side by Side.

Side by Side organizes weekly support groups for LGBTQ+ youth 11-20 in Richmond, Petersburg, and Charlottesville throughout the year as well as homelessness services for LGBTQ+ young adults 18-25. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit switched to hosting virtual meetings to keep youth, volunteers and staff safe. Side by Side also offers mental health counseling, training for K-12 schools, and more.

To participate in the LGBTQ Challenge, visit https://secure.frontstream.com/lgbtqchallenge. There is a $25 fee to register.

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ChildSavers expands school-based therapist program with Richmond Public Schools

A program expansion is offering more students in the Richmond-area access to mental health services in school.

RVAHub Staff

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ChildSavers recently added Thomas C. Boushall Middle, George W. Carver Elementary, and J.H. Blackwell Elementary to its school-based therapy program.

School-based therapy increases access to trauma-informed mental health services by embedding clinicians in schools. ChildSavers’ partnership with Richmond Public Schools launched during the 2017-2018 school year with funding from the Robins Foundation Community Innovation Grant.

The nonprofit now serves 10 schools within the Richmond Public Schools system with therapists in Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle and Preschool, Fairfield Court Elementary, Woodville Elementary, Henry L. Marsh III Elementary (formerly George Mason Elementary), Overby-Sheppard Elementary and Oakgrove-Bellemeade Elementary.

“Providing mental health services at school breaks down barriers and allows more students to access trauma-informed therapy,” said Robert Bolling, ChildSavers CEO and president. “The program is also an important opportunity to bring mental health resources to students of color, specifically Black youth. This is important work and we’re proud of our ongoing collaboration with Richmond Public Schools.”

ChildSavers uses school-based therapy as a critical tool to address racial disparities in mental health services among adolescents. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), only one-in-three African Americans who need mental health care receives it. Black Americans are also more likely to be exposed to factors that increase the risk for developing a mental health condition, such as homelessness and exposure to violence.

Ninety-one percent of the youth served in the school-based program are Black.

Therapy sessions are held via Zoom to align with Richmond Public Schools’ virtual learning plan during the pandemic. Teachers, staff, and parents can refer students to the service and therapists are currently accepting new clients.

“Expanding the therapy program helps us create safer and more inclusive school cultures,” said Jason Kamras, Richmond Public Schools superintendent. “We see positive results in academics and social well-being in our schools with therapists. Not only are clinicians providing critical therapeutic services, but ChildSavers’ school-based teams are also serving as valuable resources for teachers and staff by helping them navigate challenging situations.”

For more information about ChildSavers, visit www.childsavers.org.

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Voter Registration Deadline Extended to Thursday

If you couldn’t register to vote yesterday, you have until 11:59 PM on Thursday to get registered.

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A federal judge Wednesday extended the deadline for registering to vote until 11:59 p.m. Thursday. This change comes after online voter registration and many other state services were left in the internet dark for a good portion of Tuesday after a construction project cut a very important cable in Chesterfield County. The deadline applies to in-person and online voter registration.

“What we have here is a case where somebody forgot to call Miss Utility in Chesterfield County,” said U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. during a brief hearing.

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Rocking Participatory Art Project on Brown’s Island this Weekend

We can’t be together but we can be Together Apart.

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Covid-19 has put on hold many of the activities we all love. High on my personal list is the Richmond Folk Festival that should have kicked off tonight. To fill the gap of live in-person music there are a ton of online musical acts, past and present, to check out, starting Friday night with Dr. Michael White & the Original Liberty Jazz Band (traditional New Orleans jazz) 2012 . (See Full Schedule)

Artist Kevin Orlosky has developed an interactive art exhibit that will allow anyone to participate.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we have all been forced to give up the majority of our social lives. The physical separation of social distancing can easily make us feel disconnected from each other. The goal of Together Apart is to illustrate our similarities as well as the unique ways we are dealing with this pandemic and communicate the ways we can still connect together while we are apart from each other.

Kevin found human touch to be what he yearned for most while isolated, and quickly came to see how a handshake, a hug, or even a high five makes a tremendous impact on overall happiness. He will be using the imagery of a hand for this interactive community sculpture. What is something you miss, or yearn for during this period of social distancing?

How to Participate
The artwork will manifest as a massive stone labyrinth that when viewed from above makes a hand. Become a part of the sculpture by painting a rock at home that represents something you miss, mourn, or are excited to experience again after the period of social isolation ends. Bring your rock to Brown’s Island and place your rock on the black fabric inside the contours of the rock perimeter. Images of the daily progress will be shared on Kevin Orlosky’s Facebook and Instagram feeds. The installation will end on October 16th.

Follow daily updates for Together Apart
Insta: @awesomeorlosky
FB: @awesomeorlosky
Kevinorlosky.com

 #togetherapartrva

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