Since 2018, the Live Red Foundation has used fitness to empower and equip youth to create a successful future for themselves and their communities. In 2020, over 350 children participated in our programs at youth centers throughout the greater Richmond area. Families depend on Live Red and our nonprofit partners to provide safe opportunities for active play after-school. In fact, most of the children we serve lack safe green space to play in their neighborhoods, and many of their schools have limited resources for physical education. While kids have fun during Live Red’s program and are exhausted afterwards, what distinguishes Live Red is our curriculum, which helps youth develop important life skills like setting goals, believing in yourself, practicing accountability, and persevering.
Year in Review
This has been a year unlike any other, which demanded that we all persevere despite adversity. For families in the most vulnerable communities we serve, the burdens of the pandemic have been considerable. When local schools closed in March, Live Red worked quickly to adapt our program as a 30-minute online class twice a week, open free of charge to the entire community. We worked with our community partners to immediately secure computers and internet access for children who otherwise would not be able to participate. With new safety protocols, in June we were able to gradually resume in-person programs. During this school year, we have worked with partners who provide virtual learning support to ensure children have access to physical education and character development curriculum.
We are very thankful that we were able to expand our staff this year. April Harper joined our mission in June as our Program Director with years of nonprofit experience implementing educational programs. In just six months, she has diligently worked to standardize our curriculum, create new instructor training, secure new program partners, and develop more rigorous program evaluation. April recruited and trained additional program coaches, which have allowed us to serve more youth centers in the coming year. In addition, we welcomed Kayla Phillips to our team in November as our new Development Director. We now feel that our organization has the capacity to cultivate new partnerships, implement our curriculum at more sites, and expand our impact.
In 2020, Live Red hosted 41 programs which served over 350 children at Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, Dominion Youth Services, STEP Richmond, Youth Life Foundation of Richmond, Elijah House Academy, United Methodist Family Services, and Circles of Ashland. We have built a strong foundation with these partners, many of whom are looking forward to multi-year engagements with our programs that will include mentorship opportunities for middle and high school students.
This summer, Live Red held a focus group of our community partners to evaluate ourselves as a partner, as well as the quality of our program. Our partners enthusiastically described Live Red as an excellent partner, calling Live Red one of the “best-run children’s extracurricular programs,” with coaches who are “genuinely committed” professionals that “want to make a connection with the kids and staff.” Our partners stated that the children are adapting the life skills taught and feel empowered to “take healthy risks, practice accountability for their actions, and demonstrate leadership among their peers.” Partners appreciate that Live Red takes full ownership of implementing our program, and our partners say they trust us to provide a great experience for the children.
With the goal of expanding our program’s reach in 2021, we have identified priority neighborhoods that we do not currently serve. The Child Opportunity Index (COI) – available through diversitydatakids.org – shows that of the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S., Richmond is currently among the top 20 with the highest “opportunity gap” – or greatest inequity – between neighborhoods. We are currently serving six neighborhoods that suffer the greatest disinvestment in education, health, environment, social, and economic opportunity; but there are as many as 15 additional neighborhoods with a similar profile.
As a result of Live Red’s work over the past year and due to the generous support of our community, we now have the capacity and infrastructure in place to expand our program reach with intention. Our goal is to fund 30 new programs within six new neighborhoods. We envision this will provide 350-450 additional participants in Richmond City neighborhoods that rank lowest on the COI by the end of 2021.
We cannot meet this goal without your support. Please carefully consider supporting our 2021 vision financially. If you would like to contribute through a donation or sponsorship, you can do so at https://livered.org/donate/ or by contacting Kayla Phillips at [email protected].
Thank you for your continued support of our mission.