Rappahannock Goodwill, Inc., and Verdun Adventure Bound, Inc., are pleased to announce the grant funding for the joint project, “The Groundwork Project.” The Ohrstrom Foundation of New York, New York, awarded Verdun the $100,000 grant on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. This generous grant from the Ohrstrom Foundation will give at-risk youth the opportunity to benefit from the combined expertise of RGI and Verdum as the youth build the life and job skills they need to achieve personal growth, leading to sustainable employment and a stronger community for us all.
The Groundwork Project will encourage youth to develop leadership skills, build teamwork, and establish careers through adventure-bound learning and experiential education. RGI’s fifty-year history of putting people to work has shown that these skills are a crucial component of being successful at work. Community organizations, local business, and academic research have provided considerable evidence that today’s youth are increasingly unprepared to enter the workplace due to lack of soft skills. A Culpeper Chamber of Commerce informal survey revealed local businesses are searching to enter the workplace due to lack of soft skills. A Culpeper Chamber of Commerce informal survey revealed local businesses are searching for employees with strong “Personal Qualities and People Skills,” specifically positive work ethic, integrity, teamwork, diversity awareness, creativity and resourcefulness. The Groundwork Project will prepare its youth to develop these skills and succeed in today’s workforce.
The Groundwork Project will be a year-long program which will serve up to 90 Fauquier, Culpeper and Rappahannock “at-risk” youth 16 to 24 years of age. All participants will be recommended by an invested adult such as a teacher, mentor or counselor. The youth must commit to a full day session occurring once a week for eight weeks at Verdun, with transportation provided. Youth will participate in a supportive community with up to fifteen peers and three adults. Once the youth completes the program, the participants will commit to finding employment with staff assistance provided.
The RGI/Verdun team appreciates the Ohrstrom Foundation’s generous support in funding this project. “We are absolutely thrilled to be a grant recipient for this wonderful program,” exclaimed Honore Hastings, Executive Director of Verdun. “We have an exceptional handpicked team of Sara Drebes and Marty Bywaters-Baldwin of RGI and WIll Fairhurst, Verdun’s Challenge Course Manager, Lead Facilitator and Certified Mental Health Counselor. “All of us are looking forward to this journey together and the positive impact on our Fauquier, Culpeper, and Fauquier Communities.