The New Neighborhood

When I first started celebrate! RVA, I found myself in a somewhat comfortable environment. While it was certainly new to me, I was blessed to know numerous people working in the school. I had contacts and was taken under my mentors’ wings. I was taught the ropes of the school and the space felt natural to me, as I had toured it countless times and briefly volunteered for a different program in earlier years.

But this upcoming school year we are going into a new space, with new people. There will not be any familiar faces, no wings to be taken under, and no tours.

I won’t pretend I am not nervous to grow into new schools. Both the celebrate! RVA interns and I will be facing a huge learning curve. There will be plenty of pressure to make this programming as incredible, and as successful as our parties at Oak Grove.


However, I feel confident in and trust my phenomenal volunteers, board members, and donors to continue to support our mission and wrap their arms around our new school, the same way they have at Oak Grove Bellemeade.

I took the opportunity one beautiful Sunday evening, to drive around Gilpin Court + Jackson Ward, Carver Elementary’s zoned neighborhoods. I was admittedly hesitant. I didn’t know my way around, and no one was with me. I knew in my heart that I would never get to know new friends and faces if I didn’t take the chance to familiarize myself with the area. So, I drove. 

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I saw children running around outside. I saw families sitting out on their steps, talking and laughing. I saw an ice cream truck with smiling children eagerly awaiting a frosty treat. And I realized something:

Carver Elementary and the children there are full of the same potential joy, love, and celebration we discovered at Oak Grove. Where we thought little joy existed. we found that in that very place, joy was absolutely abundant. It just had to be encouraged. Children had to be given opportunities to celebrate their lives, and then they would find a place of love and celebration in their hearts, that they didn’t know even existed. We blossomed at Oak Grove, and will do the same at Carver. We will celebrate hundreds of children and will make sure they know just how loved and cherished they are by our community.

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Thank you for supporting celebrate! RVA during this exciting growth, and for celebrating our mission, no matter where we might be. Because no matter where we go, joy, love, and an enormous celebration will surely follow.Celebrate RVA 1.16.15-0925

Photos by: Steven and Lily Photography and Ash Carr Photography