Henrico County VA
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Mentoring lasts a lifetime

Dear Henrico Citizens,

Public schools across the country are charged by businesses, parents, and communities at large to produce well rounded graduates that possess the skills required to face the challenges of the future. It is a tall order but one that must be taken seriously to ensure that the citizens of tomorrow have the self-confidence and life skills necessary to succeed in their personal and professional lives. In an effort to provide as many positive experiences as we can
Pat Russo
during the adolescent years, Henrico County Public Schools is committed to partnering with adults across the greater Richmond Metropolitan area to provide role models for students in and out of the classroom setting.

In January 2009, the Henrico County School Board challenged a committee comprised of school system professionals from a variety of areas to review current mentoring programs within the school division. The committee was asked to make recommendations on how to improve and enhance those efforts. A survey was initiated by the Superintendent to all elementary, middle and high school principals in the school system and from this data a matrix of “mentoring” practices was developed and presented to the committee. Upon assessment of all survey results, it became evident that there were various models of mentoring practices implemented in Henrico County Public Schools, ranging from peer mentoring to tutoring to community-based mentoring.

In an effort to support existing programs as well as to develop new initiatives, the mentoring committee made six recommendations:
• Provide $100,000 to develop and improve mentoring programs in our schools,
• Target the 7th, 8th & 9th grade student population,
• Assign a district-wide coordinator who would administer all mentor programs in Henrico County Public Schools,
• Identify a school-based mentoring coordinator or committee who would be responsible for monitoring these services at their school,
• Provide professional development for schools, and
• Identify, solicit, investigate, and tap into the talent of baby boomers, retirees, businesses and foundation partnerships, faith based organizations, universities, public servants and school division personnel to mentor as part of their responsibilities.

Based upon recommendations from the mentoring committees, the Director of Nontraditional Programs was asked to develop a plan to implement the Henrico HEROES (Helpers Engaged In Reaching Our Excelling Schools) program. This effort targets the development or enhancement of school based mentoring programs that include teacher mentoring, student mentoring and community based mentoring potentially supporting more than 11,000 Henrico County Public School students.

Seventeen secondary schools have been awarded funding to establish mentoring programs that would provide role models who are committed to developing supportive relationships with our students. There is substantial research to support that students who have supportive mentors make considerable improvements in overall academic performance. The key to this success is that a trusting relationship is established, nurtured, and continued on a long-term basis.

Henrico County schools has answered the call and created diverse programs that provide opportunities for volunteers from all walks of life. The charge is now up to you as members of our Henrico community to seriously consider this opportunity to volunteer and commit to mentor one of our youth. It is a volunteer opportunity that will change your life and expand horizons for a young person.

Dr. Pat Russo,
Superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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The Easter Bunny arrives today in the JCPenney Court at Virginia Center Commons. The Easter Bunny will be available for photos daily through April 19. Photo packages start at $24.99.… Full text

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