Our organization is committed to transforming the lives of low-income citizens and families in Southside Virginia. We believe in the power of educational equity to alleviate barriers to self-sufficiency. We are dedicated to working with local organizations and agencies to improve health outcomes for public housing residents and low-income citizens throughout the Crater region. Our youth development and systems change work continues within the city of Hopewell and we are very excited to expand programs and services throughout the region as our capacity increases.
STORY was established on April 29, 2015 as a stand alone nonprofit created under the auspices of the Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Authority using grant funds from the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA). Co-founders Steven Benham, CEO of Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA) and Kathryn Thompson, STORY executive director, sought to create a sustainable solution for the region in opposition to funding cuts from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for public housing programs and services. STORY is proud to celebrate its fifth-year milestone and continues to maintain a strong partnership with HRHA.
The Formation Years
STORY acquired the pilot ML2 afterschool program from HRHA as its signature youth program. The program began during the 2014-2015 school year with grant funding from the Cameron Foundation. Through an Americorps VISTA partnership with Virginia Mentor, mentoring was added and the program was renamed to the ML2 Youth Development program. In 2018, the John Randolph Foundation awarded special funding to renovate the Thomas Rolfe Court community center. Our primary funding for the ML2 program comes from the Cameron Foundation, John Randolph Foundation and HRHA. This enables us to ensure that the program is offered at no cost to low-income participants. STEM, healthy relationship and cultural arts programming are also offered to participants through community partnerships and micro grants from NCWIT. Meals and snacks are provided through the Kids Cafe program. In 2018, STORY was one of two nonprofits awarded grant funds from the Cameron Foundation to begin systems work in the region. The Partnership for Healthy Public Housing Communities was created and its work is focused on improving social determinants of health for low-income citizens and families through trauma informed schools and communities.