Yesterday, I took a break from the hectic holiday traffic and fun-filled cookouts to give back to the community.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited The Life Church RVA with my best friend. It’s a relatively young church (only 8 months old) located in the heart of downtown Richmond, Virginia. Praise and worship was great, the Pastor’s word was right on time; the people, amazingly friendly– but, one aspect particularly stood out to me as a first-time visitor: their passion for service.

Every 5th Sunday (4 times a year), volunteers from the congregation participate in community service projects around the Richmond area, in place of regular church service.

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Volunteers excited and eager to get to work!

As a young woman with a heart after God, I am continuously searching for a church I can regularly attend to help strengthen my Christian walk through this journey called life. Thankfully, I have always been taught the importance of giving back. I appreciate the fact that “TLC” understands that church should exceed the walls of the sanctuary, and frequently take time to extend a helping hand to the outside community.

I spent the day cleaning out a garage, scraping rust and building shelves at Back to Basics Group Home in Richmond, for girls ages 13-21. Its mission is to help youth stabilize in the community and set and achieve goals, which will lead them to become productive citizens in society. The group home is primarily the last stop, and last chance these young women have before they could be sent to Juvenile Detention Centers. Learn more about this life-changing organization for young women here.

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Back To Basics Group Home for Girls

While volunteering, I had the opportunity to speak with my fellow volunteers about their backgrounds, interests, and passion for giving back. “I think this is a great cause, and I think it’s great what [Back to Basics] does with the girls, giving them a second chance [at life], and stopping them before they get too deep into whatever the problem is,” said Victoria Taylor, a social work major, May 2016 graduate from Norfolk State University.

Another social work major, and senior at Virginia Commonwealth University, Sharron McDaniel said, “Community service is what I like to do, and I love being able to do it with my church, and truly enjoy building spiritual bonds with my peers.”

Also, for my fellow Hamptonians, the continued Hampton connection after graduation is comparable to none. When I first arrived to the group home, I ran into a Hampton University class of 2015 graduate proudly rocking an HU t-shirt. And because I was proudly rocking one as well, a gentleman standing next to me introduced himself as a 2009 graduate of HU. It felt good to know that we were all brought together outside of school, for a common cause. Building your networks and valuable relationships go beyond the college years. Stay connected and stay involved!

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Jaquise Cofield, member of “TLC”, Hampton University ’15

If you live in the Hampton Roads, Richmond, or DMV (DC, Maryland, [Northern] Virginia) areas, possibly searching for a church home, and have a passion for reaching out to the community, I encourage you to check out The Life Church!

But where ever you are, even if you are not in need of a church home, or don’t even attend church, and live miles away in another state, keep your community in mind. As a recent college graduate, it is so easy for me to focus on getting a job and making money so that I can move out of my parents’ house. But, I’ve realized that maybe I should not place so much focus on myself, and instead, show my appreciation to the communities who made my college diploma possible. Or even use this time between where I am right now, and where I want to be in the future, to show others the way; Others who may not have been fortunate to have positive role models in their lives. I’m reminded that it takes a village to raise a child. I would not be where I am today without the help of not one, not two, but many people who recognized my potential to change the world one day.

Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the lives who have made an impact on yours. Remember to give back and be a part of someone else’s “village”.

Enjoy the holiday and be safe!

xo, mjb



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