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What volunteers did at 3 Richmond schools to ’empower and encourage’ connection

RICHMOND, Va. -- More than 100 people volunteered their time Saturday completing projects at several schools in Richmond's Forest Hill neighborhood.

United Church, led by Pastor Adam Martino, hosted their third annual Forest Hill Serve Day Saturday to help improve city schools.

“We are a church for the whole city of Richmond, but our missional strategic focus is the Forest Hill Corridor,” said Martino.

Martino said the church’s biggest outreach of the year will impact nearly 1700 Richmond students.

Participants completed beautification projects at Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary School, Lucille M. Brown Middle School, Miles Jones Elementary School as well as cleanup along Jahnke Road. Some of those projects  included painting, yard work, grounds maintenance and carpentry work.

This year the event is a part of the RPS Shines initiative which aims to ensure that all RPS students feel valued, loved and cared for by creating safe and clean environments.

Martino says Serve Day has gotten bigger each year, attracting nearly double the number of volunteers from the first year to the second. He says he expects an even bigger turnout in year three.

“We want to empower and encourage the community to be more involved in our local schools,” said Martino.

United Church partnered with RPS, Hands-on Greater Richmond, RVA Clean Sweep and local businesses like The Treat Shop and Chick-Fil-A Stratford Hills for the projects along the Forest Hill Corridor. The church also partnered with 4th District Councilwoman Kristen Larsen and 4th District School Board member Jonathan Young, who was on hand for Serve Day.

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