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Group teams up to make sure Henrico kids have male role models

Posted at 6:13 PM, Dec 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-16 19:06:20-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- There's a new team in Henrico County and their first game involves giving away 200 pounds of gifts to kids in Highland Springs.

"It's gonna be awesome," said Lisa Robinson, a second-grade teacher at Highland Springs Elementary who spearheaded the team.

Team Change started after CBS6 reported, from information in a New York Times report, that Highland Springs has the third highest proportion of black men ages 25-54 missing from the community due to incarceration or early death.

"Honestly, my world stopped, it really did," Robinson said about seeing that story.

Robinson knew she had to do something.

"What am I going to do about the portion of the world that I live in? It awakened me," Robinson said.

So she formed Team Change with three other women.

"It's an eye-opener," said Cynthia Brand-Parker, a family advocate at Highland Springs Elementary and also a member of Team Change.

The group will work to bring male role models to kids in Highland Springs and also support single mothers.

"Bringing in these positive male role models will make a huge difference in their confidence, their self-esteem," said Linette Johnson-Mimms, a HUD neighborhood coordinator at Coventry Gardens and also member of Team Change.

Among those role models are members of the Henrico County Police Department who have already started hanging out with kids at school.

"We have an opportunity to be that male role model,” said Lieutenant Scott Kubrick with Henrico Police. “There's often times I tear up talking about it because there is so much love in the heart of these kids.”

The fourth member of Team Change is Carrie Puryear, who works at Hermitage High School.

The gift giving event is for kids from Highland Springs Elementary and Fair Oaks Elementary.

It starts at 10 a.m. at Coventry Gardens Community Center on December 20 and you have to sign up to attend.

To participate, call Linette Johnson-Minns at 804-737-7391.