The NRC started a Montessori Preschool in 2006 with a generous grant from the Robins Foundation. The goal is to provide a quality preschool experience for Fulton area children that parents can afford. Tuition is on a sliding scale. The mission of the NRC Montessori preschool is to provide a safe supportive learning environment that inspires children to develop self-esteem, independence, and respect for all individuals, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
The preschool is a full day program, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday thru Friday offering free breakfast, lunch and two snacks every day. There are currently spots for 16 children, and the school is licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services. The preschool is currently enrolling new students. Call 804-864-5797 for more information.
The NRC offers a variety of educational and creative arts after-school programs for youth ages 6 to 18. Our programs are designed to help youth achieve academic success, provide creative outlets to express themselves and develop self-confidence. The youth programs give the children inspiration and hope for life outside of what is in your neighborhood.
“By giving the children access to these programs, it shows them that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.” comments Blue Clements.
These programs include:
Young Writers Recording Studio: Youth write and record their own songs, stories and poems. Working with a writing coach, youth compose songs based on their own life experiences. Compositions are checked for spelling, grammar and content. Writers make final adjustments, practice reading or singing their stories aloud and then earn a pass into the NRC’s recording studio. For more information visit: http://nrcstudios.bandcamp.com
Art: Participants are exposed to different types of art and mediums. Older students commit to a six-week progressive art curriculum where skills each week build on prior classes. The younger artists participate for one week or more but complete a project during each class.
Gardening: Children manage the center’s organic raised-bed learning garden along with volunteers and staff. In the garden, our children learn about the life cycles of plants, focusing on heirloom varieties of food crops. Our youth are able to participate in the food cycle from planting seeds, to tending and watering crops, to harvesting and eating.
Farm Stand: In partnership with Shalom Farms, our youth sell produce at an affordable Farm Stand on Thursdays in front of the Center.
Cooking: Students use fresh produce from the NRC garden to cook meals. The NRC’s chef teaches a variety of cooking methods and food safety. Children learn the nutritional value of the foods they cook and take recipes home to try with their families. They enjoy trying new foods such as quinoa and lentils and often cook the next day’s meal for the children in the center.
Life Skills: This program targets teens and pre-teens through safe, adult-mediated, discussion-style “classes” that explore youth-identified issues. Topics include: conflict resolution, applying for a job, dating safety and how to apply for college.
Drama: Drama class empowers children through self-expression and the joy of learning acting techniques while preparing for a semester-end performance.
Greater Fulton Youth Association: Youth learn how government works by managing their own NRC youth meeting, which organizes field trips and carries out fundraising initiatives.
Dance: Dancers integrate classical and modern moves into performance routines they help choreograph. This year, for the first time, we anticipate a recital to showcase their work.
Free Summer Lunch: During the school year, many young people rely on school lunch as a primary nutrition source. In the Chimborazo school district, where the NRC is located, 89% of youth qualify for free or reduced school meals. Unfortunately, during the summer many youth do not have access to food programs. The NRC participates in the Summer Food Service Program, providing healthy, home-made meals to youth, Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. So far this summer, we have seen as many as 40 children in an afternoon for summer lunch.
Summer Tutoring: School is out during the summer, but learning never stops at the NRC. During the summer, youth are able to sharpen their math, reading, and writing skills in the summer tutoring program. This is an opportunity for kids to prepare for the upcoming school year, and catch up where they may have been behind.
After-school Supper: During the school year, youth can enjoy a hot meal at the NRC before buckling down for homework time. The after-school supper is often prepared by our after-school youth in their cooking class.
Homework Help: During the school year, volunteers are always available for after-school homework assistance. Elementary and middle-school youth can come to the center anytime during after-school hours to get help with homework and projects, and high school youth can make appointments with individual tutors.
In 2011, 330 children participated in NRC youth programs, 187 of whom participated in our after-school tutoring program, and over the course of the year, we offered 415 classes for children following their tutoring sessions.
Kayla, one of the NRC youth says, “What I like about (the NRC) is that it’s fun here, I like the cool programs. I get a chance to finish all of my homework. I like how you can’t do anything till you do your homework, so when I go home I can relax and have fun too.” The children like the structure that the NRC offers and they like the feeling of arriving at school proud to turn in their well-done and complete work.
Adult and Family Programs and Services
While childrens’ programs are at the forefront of our work, of equal importance stand four program areas that address needs of individuals, families and community:
Community Education – GED & computer literacy in addition to Montessori Preschool and after-school tutoring.
Community Health – free breakfast and lunch for NRC pre-schoolers, after-school meal for school-aged children, organic learning garden, healthy cooking, yoga and dance, adult fitness and martial arts classes.
Community Employment – job support services and summer apprenticeship opportunities in the center’s kitchen.
Community Organizing — meeting space, galvanizing neighbors for community action and training for community groups, junior board, and voter registration.
The NRC provides a comprehensive approach to helping members of the neighborhood with obtaining job security. Toward this goal, the NRC provides the most affordable evening GED classes in the City of Richmond and provides free tutoring and free childcare year-round. We partner with the Middle College program at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and the College Place for continuing education. Daytime services in the Job Support Lab include one-on-one counseling that includes basic computer training, resume writing assistance, job search and job application coaching as well as interview coaching. Our coaches also help to identify gaps in services and to identify available resources.
“At the NRC you can start as a volunteer in our garden and end up getting your GED. Or you can come as a child and end up working here as a part of our kitchen staff. “ says Dosier.
Job Support Services
The Job Support Lab at the NRC seats nine people at computers and offers workspace. Most days it is full to capacity with people waiting their turn. In addition to using the computers, the lab has a printer. NRC also aids the job search process with use of telephone, copy machine, fax and a notary on staff. We keep a job book that is updated daily with print copies of job openings in the area. The NRC staff and interns frequently have the added responsibility of assisting community members who have a felony on their record. Two members of the NRC staff are trained in restoration of civil rights. NRC is equipped with current lists of companies that will hire felons and is able to counsel these individuals to find success in securing and keeping these positions. We are also able to provide bus fare for job interviews.
In 2011, 585 individuals used the services of the Job Support Lab. Of that group, 161 participated in multiple one-on-one help sessions, some had as many as 8-10 one-hour meetings. The results of the past year saw double the number of job placements for our members. In 2011, 55 NRC members acquired jobs through the Job Support Lab as compared to 26 in 2010.
Fitness and Wellness Classes
For strength of mind and body, the NRC offers evening wellness classes for adults. The Neighborhood Resource Center currently offers:
Dance: Hip-hop, African Dance and Zumba are just the beginning with this Dance Class! Allow yourself the chance to move in the open space of the NRC.
Tae Kwon Do: Taught by a black belt, individuals ages 8 to 58 are learning to kick, punch and block, while having a great time. Tae Kwon Do is a martial art which helps develop basic self-defense skills, discipline, coordination and confidence. Learn at your own pace, in a cooperative, non-competitive learning environment. New students are always welcome!