Preschoolers give pillows to families in need

(Photos by Ashley Luck for the Henrico Citizen)
A group of preschoolers from Chesterbrook Academy Preschool donated 56 pillows to local families in need at the Housing Families First shelter. The shelter is always in need of pillows and linens as, since families take the donated ones with them to their new homes.

Housing Families First provides shelter and support for homeless families and assist them in finding a permanent housing solution. The shelter serves people year-round, said Terri Iguina, operations and volunteer manager at Housing Families First.

“The homeless situation is that at any given time there are families sleeping out in the street,” Iguina said. “Families register through Catholic charities and homeless point of entry and we give them our availability. They can’t register unless they are completely homeless with no couch to sleep on, no motel, nothing. They must be in a place that is not meant for human habitation.”

The shelter has a capacity for 10 families, but with turnover and lease signing, it is steady at about eight or nine at any given point. Families stay for an average of 30 days, said Iguina.

“All of our rooms are different sizes,” Iguina said. “We have one of the only rooms for wheelchair-accessible head of household, and that room serves five people. We have smaller rooms that serve two people. We get real creative to get families in here and to keep them all in the same room.”

The shelter has a staff of 13 and will serve close to 300 people this year and with the help of volunteers and donations, said Iguina.

“Eighty-nine cents on the direct dollar goes to housing people, and it’s because we aren’t buying pillows, people donate them,” Iguina said. “All the pillows, toiletries and linens will go with the families when they leave. The forward focus is always there, that this is not your last stop. These are the things that will go in your new place.”

When Iguina asked the preschoolers how it felt to donate pillows to kids and families in need, the kids all replied in loud unison “good.”

Iguina told the kids that when they got home and their parents asked them what they did that day, they should say “I brought pillows to kids who needed them.”

“Kids see this place without any barriers or boundaries,” Iguina said. “They see a need and a fill. They are very fast to understand that the kids are just like them, and it’s best.”
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Henrico Schools to host College and Career Night Nov. 1


Students of all ages are invited to investigate options for life after high school at Henrico County Public Schools’ 2017 College and Career Night. The annual countywide event offers a chance to talk with representatives of more than 100 universities, colleges and professional programs, as well as about 50 representatives of career options such as businesses and branches of the military.

College and Career Night will take place Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Henrico High School, 302 Azalea Ave. > Read more.

Business in brief


Henrico-based nonprofit Commonwealth Autism recently received the Standards for Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence for successfully completing its accreditation program. Commonwealth Autism voluntarily opened itself to analysis by a peer review team during the last 18 months that examined the organization’s compliance with the “Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector.” These standards cover areas such as: mission, strategy and evaluation; leadership – board, staff and volunteers; legal compliance and ethics; finance and operations; resource development; and public awareness, engagement and advocacy. Commonwealth Autism was one of six organizations in the Richmond region to be recognized and the first in the region to achieve full accreditation. In addition to this accreditation, Commonwealth Autism is recognized as an Accredited Charity with the Richmond Better Business Bureau and holds accreditation from the Code of Ethics for Behavioral Organizations (COEBO). > Read more.

Purify Infrared Sauna opens at GreenGate


Purify Infrared Sauna recently opened its second Henrico location at GreenGate Shopping Center in Short Pump.

Owner Mary Woodbridge opened her first Purify location on Patterson Avenue in July 2015. The new store is located at 301 Maltby Boulevard, Suite C, west of Short Pump Town Center. > Read more.

Henrico Master Gardener training program accepting applications through Oct. 27


The Henrico County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for its next volunteer Master Gardener training program, which provides instruction in all aspects of horticulture.

Applications for the 2018 training program will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 27. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through March 22. > Read more.

Henrico Schools to host Oct. 30 job fair


Henrico Schools will host a job fair Oct. 30.

The event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fairfield branch library, is designed to attract potential full-time and substitute registered nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and school nutrition workers. > Read more.

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The Autism Society of Central Virginia will present “Community Engagement and Community Coaching – Supports for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities” from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at River Road United Methodist Church, 8800 River Rd. The Medicaid Waiver programs for people with developmental disabilities (DD) in Virginia were redesigned in 2016. Two of the new services that were added to the DD Waivers are Community Engagement and Community Coaching. These services/supports are intended to help people with disabilities gain full access and inclusion into the community. To register, visit https://commengageandcoach.eventbrite.com. Full text

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