LYNCHBURG, Va. – Virginia Senator Tim Kaine says he’s crafting legislation to promote better outcomes for young people, more education and workforce training.
With that in mind, the Democratic senator made a stop in Lynchburg Wednesday to discuss a grassroots collaboration between the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg, the Jubilee Family Development Center, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“As we’re working on this next bill, I want to make sure that the dollars we’re going to invest get invested in the way most likely to help people,” said Kaine.
Mark Sheehan, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg, says the collaboration serves hundreds of families to help elementary school students transition through high school, then enroll in college or land a job.
“We want to make sure that we’re covering the needs of all youth and families in the community and not just keep our own little silo,” said Sheehan.
Those needs include the absence of childcare, learning loss during the pandemic, addressing mental health, and crime.
The nonprofits invited other agencies, such as Lynchburg City Schools, Centra Health, and the Lynchburg police department to weigh in on the conversation.
Police Chief Ryan Zuidema says he hopes to see more training programs for adults because many kids are growing up without role models.
“We don’t want these young men and women getting caught up in the street, getting caught up with violence or crime. So, the more positive role models we can put in their lives, the better off we’ll all be as a community,” said Zuidema.
Kaine called the collaboration an innovative model between nonprofits, the city and school system; and he will keep areas like Lynchburg in mind while crafting the next bill.
“We have to incentivize the kinds of collaborations that are going on here. That is very powerful,” said Kaine.