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Richmond Nonprofit Continues to Support Low-Income Students During COVID-19

Screenshot of Facebook post by Communities in Schools
A recent Facebook post by Communities in Schools of Richmond thanked its volunteers, who are transitioning to providing digital support to students throughout the region. (Photo: Communities in Schools of Richmond)

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported first name of Harold Fitrer as Howard. It has been corrected.

A local nonprofit is adjusting how it works with more than 20,000 students in Richmond and Eastern Henrico. Communities In Schools of Richmond is changing its approach during the pandemic — to ensure that students are achieving academically and have enough support at home.

The organization has site managers at 39 schools in the region to help students with their grades, attendance and disciplinary records while addressing issues like food insecurity and housing instability. 

But with schools being closed, and social-distancing measures in place, the organization has changed its approach. Its president, Harold Fitrer, says site managers are reaching youth virtually, over the phone and through video games. 

“If they have any basic needs, we want to make sure that we get that to the families and connect them with the resources. And we want to make sure that their mental health is good,” Fitrer said. 

The organization is also providing low-income families with necessities not covered under food stamps like diapers, feminine hygiene and cleaning products — and distributing grocery store gift cards to families in need.