Human trafficking shelter to open next month

Bon Secours Virginia Health System Vice President of Mission Peter J. McCourt speaks at an event last week announcing the creation of a human trafficking shelter.
Central Virginia's first shelter for human trafficking victims – the result of a medical-nonprofit partnership – will open in the region next month.

During an event last week (pictured), Bon Secours Richmond Health System and Henrico-based Safe Harbor (a shelter and service organization for victims of abuse) formally announced plans to open the Central Virginia Emergency Shelter for Human Trafficking Victims.

The facility's primary service territory will be Henrico County, though victims from throughout the region may be referred to it. It will be equipped to house as many as 15 victims at a time.

Safe Harbor received a grant of $500,000 to establish the shelter through the Department of Criminal Justice Services VOCA New Initiative Victim Assistance Grant Program. The grant will help hire staff, provide equipment and supplies to the operation of the shelter and define program development, among other items.

Many of the victims of human trafficking have not received basic medical care in years, officials said. Bon Secours Richmond, which helped open Safe Harbor in the late 1990s, will address medical needs of the victims, including the provision of emergency and primary medical care for shelter residents. Forensic nurses from Bon Secours Forensic Nursing Program – who collect evidence from victims of sexual abuse – will help them to get back onto their feet and on the road to recovery.

Currently, many human trafficking victims are sent to shelters in other areas of the state and out of state because no such shelter has been available locally. The new facility could house as many as 25 residents in Fiscal Year 2018, officials said.

The Bon Secours Richmond Human Trafficking Task Force

“The shelter’s ultimate goal is to help victim’s live independent and happy lives," said Cathy Easter, executive director of Safe Harbor. "Since our opening in 2000 as an emergency shelter for domestic violence victims, we have been growing increasingly concerned with the amount of human trafficking that goes on in Central Virginia.
Through the shelter’s unique aspect of providing services in a single location, we will be able to reduce the impact of trauma on these victims.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with the community to advocate for human trafficking victims and help them navigate systems that can be complex and re-traumatizing."

The Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has prosecuted more cases involving human trafficking offenses than any other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Victims of human trafficking who will reside in the shelter will be referred from Henrico and other localities in the region, including Chesterfield, Hanover and Albemarle counties and the city of Richmond.

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the shelter will also house federal crime victims including international victims of human trafficking.

“These women need a place to build a life again,” Easter said. “This shelter provides the entire package of help, in one location.”
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Richmond Montessori School earns VAIS reaccreditation

Richmond Montessori School, an independent Montessori school for children ages 2 to 14, recently earned reaccreditation from the Virginia Association of Independent Schools. The VAIS accreditation program is one of only a few recognized at the national level through the National Association of Independent School's Commission on Accreditation and is also recognized and approved by the Virginia Board of Education through the Virginia Council for Private Education. > Read more.

Business in brief

Neil Burton, the founder of Strangeways Brewing in Henrico, will serve on the 2017-18 Leadership Council of The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild (VCBG). Burton will share the chairmanship of the Marketing & Tourism Committee with Kevin Erskine of Coelacanth Brewing. Other local brewers in leadership positions include Eric McKay of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (VCBG chair), Hunter Smith of Champion Brewing Company (co-chair of the Government Affairs Committee) and Kate Lee of Hardywood (co-chair of the Quality Committee). > Read more.

James River Juvenile Detention Center to graduate its largest class

James River Juvenile Detention Center will celebrate its largest class of high school graduates June 27, as 13 residents receive their high school diploma or GED certificate.

The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the detention center, 3650 Beaumont Road in Powhatan County. The graduates will mark their academic milestone by walking across a stage in a cap and gown before an audience of family members. A reception will follow. > Read more.

Henrico School Board selects redistricting Option E

JUNE 23, 10:30 A.M. – The Henrico County School Board Thursday concluded its latest redistricting process by selecting a plan for middle school redistricting that will impact a number of students in the western and northern parts of the county, as well as a few in Eastern Henrico.

The process sought to reduce overcrowding at Hungary Creek Middle School, create room at Wilder Middle School for a gifted academy and address the poverty level disparity among some middle schools. It will impact about 775 students, according to school system officials. > Read more.

‘Senior Cool Care’ program to help older adults in Metro Richmond

For the 27th year, Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging is helping older adults combat summer heat through a program now called "Senior Cool Care" (formerly the Fan Care program) that provides fan and air conditioning units for eligible senior citizens.

The program is available to low-income older adults age 60 and older who reside in the City of Richmond and the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

June 2017

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The fifth annual Youth Triathlon, presented by Endorphin Fitness, will take place at 8 a.m. at the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls, 8716 West Broad St. The race is open to ages 5-14 and features a short pool swim, loop bike course closed to vehicular traffic, and a run on level playing fields. An optional four-day youth triathlon camp will precede the event, taking place Aug. 14-17 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Participants will be taught essential skills of the sport in a safe, fun environment. Cost of the camp is $95. All proceeds from the event will benefit the children at VHBG. For details, fee information and registration for the VHBG Youth Triathlon and camp, visit For details about sponsoring or volunteering at the triathlon, contact Joan Marble at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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