6 Builders Of A Healthier, Safer, And Kinder Virginia

Virginia is both geographically and demographically diverse. Abundant with forests, rivers, lakes, and coastline, the state is also home to more than eight million people with varying needs and degrees of privilege. Listed in no particular order, here are several groups that work hard to make Old Dominion a better place for residents and visitors.

At #1 on the list, Postpartum Support Virginia's mission is to help new and expectant mothers and their families overcome anxiety, depression, and other perinatal mood disorders. This group's vision is that all childbearing women in the region will receive information to end the stigma associated with these complications, and will have access to help.

The organization provides both group and one-on-one support via telephone, email, and social media, as well as free, peer-led circles. The organizers know how important it is to connect with others who have experienced similar challenges, which is why an ongoing calendar of events is constantly being updated with programs, activities, and gatherings that facilitate community and connection.

Wild Virginia, which takes the #2 spot, is a non-profit organization that works to protect and promote Virginia's wild lands and waters. The group educates citizens, landowners, and other stakeholders about threats to the region's forests and waters through hikes, outings, and events. The staff and board members also aim to influence legal action and decisions on policies by mobilizing the public via awareness and inspired action.

From hikes to kayak trips, and festivals to book clubs, Wild Virginia hosts a wide variety of programs for locals and visitors to experience. Every year, the group holds a film festival designed to inspire individuals to partake in the activism needed to protect Virginia's natural habitats.

Up next, Northern Virginia Family Service is #3. This group provides the essential building blocks for financial, emotional, and physical well-being, serving as leaders and innovators for Northern Virginia communities. Its mission is to empower individuals and families to improve their quality of life, and to promote community cooperation and support.

NVFS serves a diverse group of clients, most of whom experience poverty. Every year, more than 40,000 individuals are empowered to achieve self-sufficiency using the essential resources that this organization provides. The services offered cover a wide range of areas, including early childhood development, foster care, adoption, well-being, homelessness, immigration, legal aid, workforce development, and more.

On to #4, HousingForward Virginia is a resource for affordable housing data and actionable insights. Advocates, planners, developers, and mission-aligned groups rely on this organization to better identify needs, influence decision makers, and ultimately increase access to affordable housing for all. Among other actions, the organization convenes key stakeholders and assists with the development of equitable policies.

This group's efforts place priority on racial equity, working to ensure that affordable housing in Virginia is planned, developed, and built with purpose to end the cycles of poverty, racism, and community violence. The members of HousingForward believe that these efforts spark change and create a better quality of life for all Virginians.

Moving on, the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton comes in at #5. It was formed in 2002 with the aim of addressing low-educational attainment and poverty in Richmond's East End community. NRC exists to build relationships, advocate for positive change, share resources, and develop skills to enhance residents' lives. The group works in four core areas: education, nutrition, finance, and community organizing.

NRC offers an assortment of educational and creative out-of-school programs designed to help youth achieve academic success, express themselves artistically, and develop self-confidence. The group also creates opportunities for individuals and families to learn healthy lifestyle skills and eating habits through cooking, exercise, and sustainable gardening classes.

Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty ends our review at #6. This is a citizen-run organization that seeks to end the death penalty through education, community organizing, and advocacy. Underlying its mission is the belief that corporal punishment is ineffective, discriminatory, immoral, and economically costly.

Since its inception in 1991, VADP has been fighting the racism and brutality of the criminal justice system, and promoting alternatives to the death penalty. The organization holds various regional meetings throughout the year to discuss methods to increase awareness and encourage the community to take action. It also maintains resources such as reports and studies, a death penalty fact sheet, and a list of recommended films and books.