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The City of Richmond’s service plan guides and connects Richmond residents and organizations to volunteer opportunities that address our city’s pressing challenges.
The original service plan was the result of a seven-month engagement and planning process consisting of interviews, focus groups, and online surveys with local government, businesses, nonprofits, and neighborhood association, which was coordinated by Rochelle Monk, Community Service Director and Chief Service Officer.
In January of 2013 thanks to generous funding by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the City of Richmond launched a citywide volunteer initiative, called Richmond ESC (Excellence Serving our Community), in order to promote impact volunteering to address some of the community’s biggest challenges: neighborhood revitalization, environmental restoration, and low academic performance among high school students, among others. Now as an umbrella term to describe the active initiatives in the City of Richmond, the program has successfully engaged thousands of citizen volunteers.
Impact volunteering is a strategy that engages citizen volunteers to identify and solve public problems alongside municipal government. It is a participatory process in which citizens and city officials develop a shared vision, set short- and long-term goals for their community, and then work together to achieve those goals. As partners, they communicate throughout the process and reflect on their work — discussing and evaluating what they have done and holding themselves accountable for results.
In 2015, the City of Richmond once again engaged Richmond citizens to identify public challenges to address and developed three impact volunteering initiatives that will move the needle on key priorities identified by Mayor Butt.
EMPOWER neighborhoods to revitalize their own surroundings. The City of Richmond, with funding and AmeriCorps VISTAs from Cities of Service, launched Love Your Block in the fall of 2015 to assist neighborhoods with revitalization projects. Support is provided in the forms of mini-grants, technical support, and in-kind donations.
ENGAGE parents, guardians, and other residents to support young adults and children’s educational development and health and wellness. In partnership with Community Alliance for Learning’s WriterCoach Connection Program and the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the City of Richmond helped recruit over 100 volunteers to support the development of writing and critical thinking skills for over 450 high school students.
EXPAND the capacity of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) to visit and train People with Disabilities and others with Access and Functional Needs (PWD AFN), a group that has historically suffered disproportionately from disasters. Richmond volunteers will work one-on-one with PWD AFN people to create emergency plans, build trust, and create formal support networks. This will greatly improve this population’s disaster resiliency.