Giving Back with Lisa Schaffner
Nonprofit Charity Spotlight: Relationship Foundation of Virginia
Who doesn’t want a better relationship – with your spouse or significant other, with your children? So often many of us talk about trying harder and communicating better in our relationships, especially those promises we make at the beginning of a new year, but then the weeks and months pass us by with little change. But it can be different in 2018! The Relationship Foundation of Virginia is Giving Back to our community by teaching us – as individuals or couples – how to build better, stronger relationships and families.
THE ROAD TO HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
The Relationship Foundation of Virginia works with youth, new fathers and couples of all ages teaching them how to have stronger, healthier relationships. “The number one reason for dysfunctional relationships is bad communication,” explains Chris Beach, Relationship Foundation of Virginia executive director. “We are giving them skills on how to talk about their feelings.”
Beach is well suited to head up the 20-year-old nonprofit organization, which was founded in 1998 to combat Richmond’s high divorce rate. As a child of divorce himself, Beach experienced how a bad relationship breaks the entire family. “At age 16, I had to grow up quickly. I became the man of the house, and I had to get a part-time job and take care of my family,” says Beach, who now works with youth in middle and high schools, teaching them how to be in smarter relationships.
RFVA taught more than 700 youth in 2017, up from 65 kids in 2014. “If it keeps one person from being in an abusive relationship or it keeps one girl from getting pregnant, we’ve done our job,” exclaims Beach, who is the father of four boys, ages 7 through 13. “We’re teaching the importance of consent, the importance of marriage and giving them the skills to talk about their feelings.”
In addition to youth programs that teach about respectful relationships, RFVA focuses on new fathers in “Boot Camp for New Dads,” where first-time dads learn from those who know best – experienced dads – what it’s like to deal with a crying baby and to change a diaper. There is also “Date Night” where couples gather monthly to talk about their relationships. “One of my recent favorites,” explains Beach, “is when we walked in Hollywood Cemetery and talked about our bucket list with our partners. We called the date night ‘Till Death Do Us Part.’” There have also been Nacho Ordinary Date Night and Courting at the Capitol.
BOOMERS LEADING THE WAY
RFVA is looking to the boomer generation on two fronts this year, to become active volunteers and to sign up for a Date Night program. “As boomers are retiring, we want to help them keep their relationships fresh,” says Beach. “For many couples, they’ve been married for 30 years and it’s time to get reacquainted. It’s time to fall in love all over again, and not to lose that spark.”
Beach, who eagerly offers he’s married to his best friend and has been for the last 15 years, says boomers are the best generation when it comes to defining smart, healthy relationships. “They’d get a job. Date someone. Get married. Have children. What better example than boomers to talk about communication skills and tips from couples who have been married for several decades? They make great Date Night hosts,” exclaims Beach enthusiastically.
Beach tells me RFVA wants people to think twice about their relationships and to be proactive. RFVA’s website sums it up best: “By understanding the complexity and joys of relationships, we help everyone be more successful, which makes our community a better place to live.” Now, that’s truly Giving Back to RVA.
RELATIONSHIP FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA
HOW IT HELPS: Provides programming that helps individuals and couples build stronger, healthier relationships, which in turn builds a stronger RVA community.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Volunteer as a Date Night instructor, as a youth panel participant or as an event volunteer.
CONTACT: Visit “Get Involved” on the website, call Chris Beach at 804-288-3431 or email Chris@rfva.org.
PETER PAUL DEVELOPMENT CENTER
HOW IT HELPS: Serves children and families in Richmond’s East End through youth, senior citizen and food distribution programs.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Volunteer, mentor or donate needed items on Peter Paul Development Center’s wish list.
CONTACT: To volunteer or donate needed items, contact Rosemary Jones, volunteer services director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-780-1195.
RICHMONDERS INVOLVED TO STRENGTHEN OUR COMMUNITIES (RISC)
HOW IT HELPS: Tackles root causes of injustice, including affordable housing, education and health care, by uniting 21 congregations around the Richmond metropolitan area.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Attend an event such as the RISC Justice Rally on April 9 at 6:30 p.m., or visit a member congregation.
CONTACT: To get involved, visit the RISC website, call 804-476-0889 or email email@example.com.