A Message from Our Executive Director
The Answer to a Pandemic: Change is hard, but change can be good. The pandemic caused us to stop and listen. To hear the true need of families and not what we thought we should be doing. The process allowed us to stop and evaluate who we are and what we do. And why. In the coming weeks, you may notice a few things look different about Better2gether. You will see the result of a thorough internal evaluation of our mission and values. As we begin to unveil our new brand, we do so with unmitigated excitement for our future growth and expansion as we provide a deeper value to families.
This new chapter exists because you have continued to believe in the mission of Better2gether and have seen the important role you have in our success. Stay tuned because 2021 has big things in store Better2gether RVA and the families we support- thanks to YOU!
Your financial support has allowed Better2gether RVA to offer much-needed assistance to our families experiencing food insecurity. B2G serves 51 families with 60 children who have medically complex and rare diseases.
On a recent survey, nearly 1/2 or 48.7% of our families reported that providing meals what “somewhat difficult to very difficult” for them.
- 14.3% of B2G families receive SNAP-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- 6% of our families receive Food Stamps
“… here is a huge THANK YOU (for the grocery gift cards). It makes a difference. We have relied heavily on those and sometimes that’s the only way we got groceries last year. Thank you so much.”
– Better2gether Mom
The term “Together Apart” may be one of the most fitting ways to describe the experience of trying to create connections during a pandemic year. Throughout the last year (…and counting) of social distancing, quarantines and virtual school, feeling a sense of connection to others has been difficult, to say the least. It has been especially challenging for families with medically complex kids, many of whom have taken extra precautions to avoid the risk of COVID transmission that can come from person-to-person contact.
That’s where Together Apart comes in.
Launched this year by local high school student, Mary Grace Walsh, Together Apart (in partnership with Better2gether) is a mentoring program that pairs local teens with medically complex children – and their siblings, as well – to create connections during a time when interpersonal interactions outside the home have been scarce.
Lily, a Together Apart mentor and Richmond-area high school freshman, said she immediately knew she wanted to become a mentor for this program because she had a chronic illness as a young child. “I wish that I had someone to talk to as a kid who understood the ins and outs of how complicated it made things,” she shares. “I would have benefited so much from a program like this, so I felt compelled to get involved.”
Local teens, siblings Ashton and Tyler, know all about the ins and outs of living with complex medical challenges. Tyler, age 14, has had multiple medical appointments throughout his life. Although his brother, Ashton age 12 has not experienced the medical complexity journey first-hand, siblings are frequently impacted when a family member requires additional medical care and attention.
Butterflies 4 Smiles
Butterflies 4 Smiles has donated over 15,000 butterflies and countless smiles to those living in the Richmond area as well as other states. This dedicated group of elementary students began their mission of bringing smiles to others around this time last year when they learned that visitors were prohibited at assisted living/nursing homes because of health and safety risks due to COVID-19. Since then, they have provided their colorful creations to local hospitals, food pantries, and various nonprofits including Better2gether RVA.
- Shop in-store on April 30th from 12-2pm – Mention Better2gether RVA promotion at checkout
- Shop online April 30th – May 1st – Using code “GIVEBACK-1DJC” in your cart at checkout at kendrascott.com
Better2gether RVA Golf Classic
presented by Call Federal Credit Union
Date: May 13, 2021
Location: The Golf Club at The Highlands
We are excited to have Call Federal as the title sponsor and are so grateful for their support of this inaugural event. Together we are bringing you an exciting day of golf, networking and fun for a cause.
This is an important funding opportunity for Better2gether, and a great way to gather our community in-person to network, play on a beautiful course in a safe way while celebrating and supporting children battling rare or chronic illness in RVA.
We are grateful for our sponsors that are making this an impactful event as we strive to meet big goals in 2021.
Thank you to the following Sponsors:
- Call Federal Credit Union
- Commonwealth Law Group
- Kinloch Capital
- Meadows, Urquhart, Acree and Cook, LLP
- AHG Construction and Remodeling
- NorthBank Partners
- RBI Services
- Edward Jones – Joshua Pucci
- Farmers Insurance – Josh Griffith Agency
- RVA Insurance
- Dominion Payroll
- Frame Packaging Solutions
We Still Need Your Help
Please consider helping make this event a success by being a sponsor.
For more information visit the Golf Tournament website for more information.
Together Apart Art Gallery
Together Apart will be hosting an art gallery in the Sky Lobby of the Children’s Hospital Pavilion!
While this will not be open to those not attending appointments at the Children’s Hospital, we will be livestreaming the set up and sending out a recorded video tour! To learn more about the livestream, please follow us on Instagram @togetherapartproj or on Facebook under the same name!
To support this project, please also consider attending our upcoming fundraisers:
Chipotle on Midlothian Turnpike
April 19th from 4-8 pm
Gelati Celesti in Bon Air
April 28th from 4-9 pm
If you attend, please mention you are supporting Together Apart! All funds raised will go to making the gallery and art workshops happen.
Volunteer Spotlight: Meet April Tillar
When you click open your monthly Better2gether email, you have the opportunity to read about the many meaningful programs and services that Better2gether provides families of medically complex children in our community.
What you haven’t had the opportunity to do, yet, is meet the valued Better2gether volunteer who makes this newsletter come to life.
For the past 2 years, Short Pump mom and community volunteer, April Tillar, has been working behind the scenes to help edit, create graphics, design and layout, fix formatting problems, provide list management support, and contribute to the overall planning and execution of each Better2gether newsletter. Her professional background in marketing, communications and graphic design made her an ideal fit for this volunteer role.
April first learned about Better2gether when Executive Director, Stephanie Becker, reached out to April’s husband, Addison, asking him to serve on the board. “He had experience serving on the board of several non-profits previously, such as ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation and Henrico Education Foundation, and Stephanie thought his experience would be beneficial to helping get Better2gether off the ground,” April explains. “After hearing Stephanie’s proposal, we thought it would be a good fit for him. We thought the mission of helping provide support to families of children with rare and complex illnesses in Richmond was an area that was underserved in our community.
An easy way to support Better2gether is to shop through Amazon Smile and select Better2gether as your charity. AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. Sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser. Go to Your Account and select the Charity. Better2gether will be listed as an option. As a result of you shopping through Amazon Smile, Amazon will donate a to Better2gether for every purchase you make!
There are thousands of families in RVA caring for a child with a medically complex illness who have no non-medical support. Please consider donating today so Better2gether can meet the needs of these deserving families and children.
About Better2gether RVA
While support services abound in Richmond for families of children fighting well-known illnesses like cancer and juvenile diabetes, currently nothing exists for families of children battling more rare and complex illnesses. Better2gether RVA, is dedicated to the belief that all families of children battling illness — regardless of their diagnosis — deserve access to resources and support services. Since 2017, the organization has provided mentorship, counsel and recreational programming for families of children diagnosed with complex medical illnesses, plus valuable resources for treatment and its associated costs. Learn more at www.better2getherrva.org.