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April Newsletter

Spring is here! With more warm days and sunshine, staff are in high spirits. As always, we have lots happening around the office and out in the community. Scroll through for an opportunity to support our work, a new staff member spotlight, a Growing Well family story, and more.


Giveback Night at Brambly Park

Join us on Thursday, April 28 for Brambly Park Giveback Night! We will receive 10% of all food and beverage sales. Make a reservation and invite your friends for an evening out. Treat yourself to an extra glass of wine. It's for a good cause, right?

*** Be sure to mention Family Lifeline when dining or making

a reservation to ensure that proceeds go to us! ***


Staff Spotlight

Alex Rooke, Director of Early Childhood Programs

Last month we welcomed our new Director of Early Childhood Programs, Alex Rooke! Alex comes to us from Early Impact Virginia where they worked as the Continuous Quality Improvement Coordinator. During their three years at Early Impact Virginia, Alex worked closely with Family Lifeline and is no stranger to our work.

Alex says that they are looking forward to experiencing home visiting at the local level and working with the Family Lifeline team, a close-knit group with terrific energy. "I'm excited to see the impact our staff is having on families," they say. When they're not in the office, Alex enjoys camping, walking with their dog and partner, and playing video games.


Out in the Community

Visiting Volunteers Coordinator Debbie and Home Care Supervisor Allison participated in the Annual Senior and Caregiver Expo at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center to talk about the Living Well long-term support services (left).

Community Health Worker De'Naja and Parent Educator Miriam tabled at the Heart Health Fair at Peter Paul Development Center to promote our Asthma Case Management program, part of our Growing Well early childhood programming (right).

Our work is diverse and spans the entire life course, so you can be sure to spot us at a wide variety of events. If you see us around, please come say hi!


Growing Well:

Success Through Strengths-Based Support

Ana and her 3-year-old daughter Isabella arrived in the United States after 22 days on foot, traveling from Honduras through Central America and to the U.S. border. The pair eventually settled in Hanover County, Virginia, where they moved into a house with two other families. One family had just welcomed a daughter and the other was expecting. Both families were enrolled in Family Lifeline’s Growing Well early childhood programming, intensive home visitation services that support expecting families and families parenting young children.

Ana enrolled in programming and began working with Family Lifeline Bilingual Parent Educator Elisa, who was now serving three families under the same roof. Elisa helped Ana connect with a pediatrician when Isabella began complaining of chronic pain. The doctor diagnosed Isabella with growing pains and discussed ways to manage symptoms. Elisa also stressed the importance of childhood vaccinations and encouraged Ana to get Isabella vaccinated. Isabella is currently up to date with all her vaccinations and, with the family connected to a medical home, is ready to start preschool.

As a Parent Educator, Elisa’s role in the partnership is to assist and support. While Elisa helps coordinate medical, food, and transportation resources, Ana does all the heavy lifting herself. Ana makes the decisions for her family and is ultimately the one who leverages the resources available to her. Family Lifeline’s strengths-focused and person-centered services increase overall well-being and stability, setting families up for long-term success and independence.

With five children and five adults, Ana’s household is always full of noise and laughter. It can sometimes be difficult to find a quiet space for a home visit because everyone wants to join in on the excitement. Ana and Isabella love the activities they do with Elisa, especially activities that involve music and movement. These developmentally appropriate activities are not only fun and engaging but they provide an opportunity for positive parent-child interaction, which strengthens attachment.

Isabella will graduate from Growing Well programming once she reaches preschool, but with two families in the household still enrolled in programming, Elisa will never be far away. She will be able to watch Isabella grow and thrive and cheer on Ana as she builds the life that she wants for herself and her daughter.


Employee Appreciation Day

For Employee Appreciation Day, we turned our conference room into a fully loaded movie theater with a popcorn machine, candy, and comfy camping chairs. (BYOB: Bring your own blanket). Staff took a break from work to kick back with friends and watch Encanto. We cannot say thank you enough to our fantastic staff for their commitment to the organization and the families and individuals that we serve.


Community Corner

Anne Chamberlain, Board Chair

What is your professional background?

I was fortunate to find my professional passion early in life while a student intern at UVA’s Division of Organizational Development & Training. Since that time, I have enjoyed a wide array of work as a consultant, coach and facilitator both with small boutique consultancies as well as on my own as an independent consultant. I am also a certified Mindfulness Instructor and have incorporated that training into my consulting practice both indirectly and directly through my work with leaders and groups.

How did you become involved with Family Lifeline?

When I moved to Richmond 20 years ago, I developed friendships with a few clinical social workers who were employed by Family Lifeline at the time. I became familiar with the organization through numerous conversations with them. Later I attended the fabulous CHOCO gala, which was my first introduction to others in the organization, and my interest was piqued further. My attendance at the Spring Give luncheon, however, is really what hooked me. Hearing about the individuals and families who were directly impacted by the skilled and compassionate Family Lifeline staff moved me. I had been seeking a way to give back to the community in a volunteer capacity and was offered that opportunity by the CEO of Family Lifeline at the time, Amy Strite, who invited me to consider joining the Board of Directors. I have served as a board member ever since.

Family Lifeline’s annual fundraising luncheon, Spring Give, is right around the corner. Can you tell us a little about the event and what it will look like this year?

Every year prior to Covid, Family Lifeline has hosted a luncheon in the spring that provides an opportunity for us to share the mission of our organization with individuals in our community. Given that services provided by Family Lifeline occur inside the homes of the families and individuals with whom we partner, it can be difficult to fully express the impact that our staff has on our clients. Spring Give has provided an opportunity to do just that by sharing those stories and bringing to life the mission of Family Lifeline.

This year, not only are we able to be back in person again for the traditional luncheon on May 5 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, but we have expanded Spring Give to include two after hours events as well - one in Petersburg on May 11 at Trapezium Brewery and one in Richmond on May 19 at River City Roll. The additional events will provide a more casual way for folks to learn about the impact Family Lifeline is having on our community while gathering with board members and staff over craft beers and while bowling (for free!). We’re super excited to have expanded Spring Give in this way! Please join us for the after hours events on May 11 and May 19! If interested, email Jenny Chelmow at for more details.

What energizes you?

People. People energize me. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. Meeting new people and getting to know them through their stories, as well as spending time with close friends and family. I’m energized by learning something new… exploring a new topic, a new place, a city or country I’ve never been to before. I also get energy by expending energy in the forms of outdoor sports - cycling, running, hiking, skiing, paddling. All that said, I have come to realize that quiet energizes me, too, in a way that I didn’t appreciate when I was younger. Stillness and time to myself which can take many forms… a walk in the woods with my dog, meditating, reading, yoga, or gardening.

What’s your "why"?

When I think about the support and resources that have been available to us as parents of young children as well as to our parents as they have aged, I am aware of how very fortunate we have been. We have benefited from raising our kids in a close-knit, supportive “village” in Richmond’s Northside. Not every family enjoys that, nor do they have access to or understanding of the resources available to them as parents and as care givers whether it’s developmental, medical or simply advice. Family Lifeline becomes that “village” in many important ways for families with young kids in our community.

As my husband’s and my parents have aged, they have had access to care both in their homes and in assisted living homes, with us as adult children helping them navigate it all. Through that experience, I’ve been acutely aware of the desire and need for support around helping older adults live and age gracefully in place and have the support and resources they need to remain safely and independently in their own homes. There is comfort and power in that, and it can be so difficult to find. Family Lifeline does such an outstanding job of partnering with folks so that not only can they remain at home safely, but without the isolation that often comes along with that which we have witnessed with both of our parents.

Family Lifeline provides the support, the access, resources and companionship to families and older adults in our communities - in our own backyards. That is extremely meaningful to me and why I am involved with the organization.


Looking Ahead

Spring Give 2022: Gather & Grow Events

Let's get to know each other! Join us at one of our after work events for food, drinks, and a friendly introduction to Family Lifeline.

Wednesday, May 11: Happy Hour at Trapezium Brewing Co.

5:30 - 7:30 pm | 423 3rd Street, Petersburg, VA 23803

Thursday, May 19: Bowling at River City Roll

5:30 - 7:30 pm | 939 Myers Street, Richmond, VA 23230

Space is limited. Contact for more information.


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