In addition to their GIFT program, their COACH program fosters inclusive and enriching environments by placing volunteers, along with one-on-one coaches, with intellectual and developmental disabilities at local nonprofit organizations. Soon, they will touch a wider array of organizations and help them serve their constituents in meaningful ways.
Their future goals include partnering with the Hampton Public School System on a MATCH program which focuses on underdevelopment. This program will pair students with volunteer opportunities in the community that will fulfill their volunteering requirements for their specific academy’s area of study. They will develop community connections and experience that will help them moving forward, as well as help local nonprofits get the extra hands they need to do their amazing work.
“We are also currently exploring innovative solutions to the transportation barrier many of the organizations and people they serve encounter. In addition, we will be working on ALIGN which will serve as a nonprofit incubator in the community and a safe space for civic groups to collaborate.”
Right now though their biggest challenge is getting volunteers, community awareness of the needs on the Virginia Peninsula, and community engagement to help resolve these needs. In order to overcome these barriers they work collaboratively in the community by bringing volunteers, and those who engage in their programs, together. They nurture collaborations between stakeholders leading to amplified impact.
Their advice to others who are interested in starting their own business is to “Make sure that before you jump in that you research. You should check that no one does what you are trying to do already and if they do, you can work with them and meet needs they may have. Also, do not assume that you know how to ‘fix’ the people you are trying to impact. If you don’t get to know the people you want to serve, then you probably don’t know what they need. Finally, nonprofits are a business. The difference is that you do not answer to shareholders, you answer to a board with the objective of fulfilling the mission to the people you serve. Business fundamentals and some business savvy are important. If you don’t have those, then partner with someone who has the skills you don’t or take classes.”
733 Thimble Shoals Blvd, Ste 170, Newport News, VA 23606