Change the World RVA is a charitable foundation established to support high school and college students in Richmond, Virginia who are experiencing housing instability. We partner with other organizations, local churches, and professionals to make a difference in the lives of homeless youth.
The Problem. During the 2012-2013 academic year, there were nearly 1,400 homeless students in the Richmond Public Schools. Imagine how difficult it would be to study, take tests, and pay attention in class if you hadn’t slept well and were worried about where you were going to sleep. Many of our students are unaccompanied youth, completely on their own. Many sleep on friends’ couches, in relatives’ apartments, in motels, or in emergency shelters. Food insecurity and poverty pose additional challenges. Our students have faced a lot of disappointment and broken promises in their young lives.
What we can do. Despite these difficult odds, many of these students are working hard in school and dreaming of changing their circumstances. We can help. Sometimes the students’ needs are small. Bus passes and cell phones link students to school, jobs, and services. Sometimes their needs are big. Housing needs loom, for example. The students and their families can’t solve these problems alone. The schools can’t address these challenges alone. The good news is that as a community — with focus, resolve, ingenuity, and lots of luck & love — we can make great things happen for these terrific young people.
Services and support we offer. Change the World RVA helps these students succeed in high school, college, and in life.
- Obtain safe and stable housing;
- Pair each student with a network of caring adults, including a mentor;
- After school tutoring and meals;
- Food and hygiene pantries in 3 Richmond high schools (Armstrong, Huguenot, and George Wythe);
- Birthday Card Brigade;
- A year-long college prep course for high school seniors and college students;
- Field trips and college visits;
- Emergency transportation, bus passes, cell phones;
- Bridge to existing services (housing, health care, job training); and
- Support through the college years.
This is just a sample of the support we provide for our students. As needs emerge, we do our best to address them. Most importantly, we want each student to feel love and support from a network of caring adults — mentors, tutors, drivers, host families, teachers. And we want them to surround themselves with like-minded peers. We want them to learn to advocate for themselves and others.