RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Since 1846 more than 20,000 children have found a safe place at the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls. The campus provides an alternative learning environment for at-risk youth.
Today the 19th century founded organization used a little 21st century fun and games to help boys and girls overcome tremendous odds.
When young people face big obstacles, sometimes the smallest gesture provides the brightest ray of hope. At the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls teachers and volunteers reach out with a helping hand and a little fancy footwork.
On this day the school paused from the “three R’s” for a Wii video dance off with about a dozen volunteers from Genworth Financial.
Claiborne Mason, President of the VABG, says the Wii “is a great way to incorporate our connection with the community.”
“A focus on health and wellness and an activity our students will really enjoy.”
The Wii and hoops are certainly a departure from the three R’s, but a welcome distraction and learning experience for boys like Michael Rhodes.
“What I learned was how to work with other people and interact with my peers,” says the 19-year-old Rhoades. “I don’t know if kids really know what that feels like to have people come in and help them and have fun with them.”
Student Marshall Brooks says, “I thought it was going to be boring, but after I played it I had fun.”
“It does make us feel like we are part of the solution,” says Dorothy Wright with Genworth Financial. “We have a vision.”
The sixty at risk youth here face a laundry list of challenges. From social, mental and behavioral issues to depression and eating disorders, but on this day their troubles remain far away.
“A lot of them they need positive role models. And for me to be that it really motivates me,” says VHBG’s Physical Education teacher Travis Amos. “A lot of the teachers are just as competitive as the students. So when they get a chance to compete with one another they love it.”
The group home and school on the Henrico campus provides a safe alternative learning environment where boys and girls can thrive.
The non-profit’s mission is to ensure each child achieves their greatest potential. Their road may be filled with potholes, but they’ll get there with a little help and fun from others.
“I know my mom and dad care but there are other times I question if people care but this shows that there are people who do care,” said Rhoades.