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    Child Development

    The Child Development Taskforce (formerly Childcare) seeks the establishment of a community alliance to increase availability of quality, affordable childcare in Lynchburg. Grant money in the amount of $5,000 was awarded to fund the development of a strategic business plan to establish a Lynchburg Childcare Alliance comprised of businesses, churches, City leadership and individual citizens interested in participating in a pilot program to fund and establish increased availability of childcare in Lynchburg.

    Facilitators: Jane Gerdy (jane@eelc.info) and Lisa Darby (elizabeth.darby@lynchburgva.gov).
    Steering Committee Liaison: MaryJane Dolan (maryjane.dolan@lynchburgva.gov).


    The Community Taskforce is the result of joining the Poverty to Progress’s Poverty 101 group with the Bridges of Central Virginia’s Getting Ahead Graduates, Government, and Community committees. The Poverty 101 group was awarded $2,500 to fund structured community dialogues and an open mic event to raise awareness of the impacts of poverty in Lynchburg, and to develop a tool for risk assessment for the nine P2P categories. The Group has launched the Thriving Community conversations, the Poverty Speaks…Lynchburg is Listening community event and dialogue groups, and the Lynchburg Poverty Challenge. The focus of the BOCV’s groups (Getting Ahead Graduates, Government & Community) has been bringing knowledge of the Bridges out of Poverty model to individuals, community groups, non-profit organizations, businesses and government agencies through trainings, through the development of best practices, and through Gettin’ Ahead In a Just Gettin’ By World classes. Over 1,000 people in the Central Virginia region have attended Bridges out of Poverty trainings and over 30 individuals have participated in Getting Ahead classes with more classes scheduled in the future. Grant money from the Virginia Department of Health paid for community training for 200 of these individuals, training for all VDH staff and several of the Getting Ahead participants.

    Steering Committee Liaison: Lindsey Cawood (lindsey.cawood@vdh.virginia.gov)


    The Faith Taskforce is committed to educating faith communities about poverty and partnering with them to implement ways to reduce poverty and build community. The taskforce has developed a mentoring program for inmate re-entry and for Getting Ahead participants, hosted numerous education forums, held poverty simulations, and are networking with faith communities to connect their resources with those in need. The current goal is to create ways for faith communities to partner with the schools. There is not a grant award for this taskforce since it was not part of the Poverty to Progress initiative.

    Facilitators: Shawne Farmer (ioashawne@ntelos.net) and Keith Anderson (hilifavrd@icloud.com)
    Steering Committee Liaison: Shawne Farmer (ioashawne@ntelos.net)


    The Education Taskforce has three workgroups working in different areas: Pre-K, Tutoring, and Trauma.

    The Pre-K Workgroup’s goal is to improve kindergarten readiness by increasing access to quality Pre-K programs and promoting preschool literacy. This group was awarded $4,903.40 to fund training for community members, to fund the implementation of the research and evidence based Classroom Assessment and Scoring System (CLASS) tool in at least 50% of the LCS special needs programs, to assist up to 10 families the cost of a birth certificate needed before a child can begin school, and the distribution of a summer activity book and a Going to Kindergarten story book to every preschool student.

    Facilitator: Terry Brennan (trzzmd@gmail.com)

    The Tutoring Workgroup’s goal is to have a positive impact on achievement, attendance, discipline and character in Lynchburg City School students. This workgroup was awarded $930 grant money to support providing coordinated tutoring assistance to LCS students.

    Facilitator: Laura Hamilton (laura@beaconofhopelynchburg.org)

    The Trauma Workgroup’s goal is to have a trauma informed care perspective in area schools and agencies. To this end they have had trauma informed training for educators and Lynchburg Social Services, have purchased (with grant money awarded from HumanKind and CASA) two trauma informed films, Paper Tigers and Resilience and held several screenings of the films throughout the area.

    Facilitator: Ashley Graham (agraham@humankind.org)
    Steering Committee Liaison: Owen Cardwell (Cardwell_oc@lynchburg.edu)

    Food Disparity

    The Food Disparity taskforce is engaging the community in the Oasis project, the creation of a non-profit grocery store located in a food desert. This group was award $1,450 to host a community event to report the results and use of the 2016 Oasis Project survey, the progress of the project and to gather guidance, support and feedback from the community impacted by the actions of the Oasis Project.  

    Facilitators: Jeanell Smith (jeanell1@vt.edu), Nakesha Moore (nmoore@vsu.edu), Jonathan Susman (jsusman@liberty.edu)
    Steering Committee Liaison: Ruth Talian (ruth.talian@lynchburgva.gov)


    The Housing Taskforce’s goal was to determine the actual state of housing in Lynchburg and provide the momentum to eliminate housing insecurity. The Housing Collaborative was awarded a Community Impact Grant from the Virginia Housing Development Authority of $20,000 to fund a study that included the number of housing insecure households and housing insecurity by race and ethnicity, income, and by household type, the supply versus the demand for homes that low-income renters can afford, the levels of rent assistance, the opportunities for home ownership for families of low income, and housing quality. The results of these studies can be accessed here.

    Facilitator: Denise Crews (dcrews@lyncag.org)
    Steering Committee Liaison: Joan Phelps (joan.phelps@unitedwaycv.org)


    This area had representation in both Bridges of Central Virginia and Poverty to Progress. The BOCV’s subcommittee was called Courts/Law Enforcement. This group implemented (with the chief’s permission) a warning citation initiative for officers to use at their discretion instead of issuing tickets, developed a DMV checklist to be used in court to help folks navigate the steps of getting their license back, and created a professional clothes closet organized for newly released inmates for job interviews and/or court appearances. The P2P’s Legal group focused on a re-entry project to reduce barriers for people when re-entering into the community after being incarcerated. This group was awarded $3,740 to fund the printing of a brochure of resources and the purchase of backpacks containing personal necessities to be given to Lynchburg Adult Detention Center inmates being released.

    Facilitator: Jane Henderson (henderson.sarahjane@gmail.com), Josh Quintero (joshjq@gmail.com
    Steering Committee Liaison: Veronica Washington (ronniewash@aol.com)

    Health/Mental Health

    The Health/Mental Health Taskforce’s goal is to improve both awareness and access to health and mental health resources. Their current effort is focused on improving awareness of the Community Access Network Clinic that serves everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

    Facilitator: Tab Robertson (Tabatha.robertson@horizonbh.org)
    Steering Committee Liaison: Debra Jefferson (debra.jefferson@horizonbh.org)


    The Transportation Taskforce is currently working on a cooperative city transportation app called Move UP. The software for this application is still being developed. The taskforce was awarded $5,000.

    Facilitators: John Salmon (john.salmon@centrahealth.com), Brian Booth (bbooth@gltconline.com)
    Steering Committee Liaison: Joan Foster (jfitzfoster@gmail.com)


    The Workforce Taskforce’s goal is to facilitate the coordination of all the existing workforce programs in the area. Among the successes are the facilitation of Getting Ahead classes with participants receiving services from Virginia CareerWorks to help them become self-sufficient, partnering with Virginia CareerWorks and Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance to pilot training programs with local businesses for immediate employment with livable wages, the implementation of free ‘Success in the Workplace’ workshops, and the organization of several job fairs.

    Facilitator and Steering Committee Liaison: Keith Cook (keith.cook@vcwcentral.com)

    History of the Taskforces

    The ten Bridges to Progress Taskforces are the result of the merging of the 9 Poverty to Progress groups with the 10 Bridges of Central Virginia’s subcommittees. Both initiatives had groups focusing on Education, Housing, Legal (Courts/Law Enforcement), Workforce (Business), and Health/Mental Health.These comprise five of the ten Bridges to Progress taskforces. The Poverty to Progress Initiative had three groups not represented in BOCV, Childcare (now called Child Development), Food Disparity, and Transportation which are now B2P taskforces. The BOCV initiative had a Faith Based subcommittee that was not represented in P2P which became the ninth B2P taskforce.The tenth taskforce is the result of joining P2P’s Poverty 101 and BOCV’s Community, Government, and Getting Ahead Graduates to form Bridges to Progress’s Community taskforce.The common goal of bringing awareness and education about poverty is the reason these groups merged well together.