July marks the beginning of National Make a Difference to Children Month. As summer break continues, at-risk children are often left without the support and structure that the school year provides. The annual holiday is meant to raise awareness about the importance of mentorship and guidance for today’s youth. You can learn more about the national holiday and its founder here.
While Virginia is home to many nonprofits that are paving the way for our youth, we’ve compiled a shortlist of organizations you can support this month. Make a difference this July by volunteering, donating or amplifying any of these local organizations.
Families Forward Virginia
Families Forward Virginia impacts the lives of children by disrupting the cycles of child abuse, neglect and poverty. Founded in 2017, the organization provides support for both children and parents through advocacy groups, home visiting programs, child abuse prevention toolkits and more. Families Forward also provides annual child abuse prevention trainings to parenting professionals and educators across the state.
ART 180 is based in Richmond and dedicated to creating a safe space for children to explore their creative side. The organization defines itself as “a collective of artists, young people, teachers, community members and supporters of all kinds.” Art 180 partners with likeminded organizations and schools in order to provide creative development opportunities for Richmond youth, such as cultural dance classes and costume design workshops.
Hailed as one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in Charlottesville, ReadyKids equips local at-risk students and families with various learning opportunities, family counseling and support. Through programs like REAL Dads and STAR Kids, ReadyKids strives to build an equitable community for the youth of Central Virginia by amplifying the voices and needs of marginalized communities. In 2022, it touched the lives of nearly 7,000 children, families and educators.
Virginia Home for Boys and Girls
Since 1846, Virginia Home for Boys and Girls has been committed to fostering a healing and enriching space for youth in crisis through transitional living services, specialized education and therapeutic resources. Perched on 30 acres, VHBG’s campus is comprised of 12 living facilities designed to support emotional and behavioral health for adolescents.