History Center Announces 2011 History Makers Honorees

RICHMOND-The 7th Annual Richmond History Makers Program pays tribute to everyday citizens and outstanding organizations that make significant contributions to the greater Richmond region. The History Center and its partners celebrate their success at a gala reception and award ceremony on October 18th.  This year, we honor the good work of Dr. Margaret Dabney, Joe Doetzer (project:HOMES), the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, the Regional Hospital Accompaniment Response Team, and ART 180.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

$40 per person

Make your reservation online or call (804) 649-0711 ext. 325. Deadline is October 14th at 5:00 p.m. 

The 7th Annual Richmond History Makers have been selected in five categories of distinction.

Creating Quality Educational OpportunitiesDr. Margaret Dabney

Dr. Margaret Dabney is dean emeritus of the School of Education at Virginia State University. She has been creating quality educational opportunities in the Richmond region for over 50 years, most notably through her leadership in establishing two accomplished, innovative local schools. Established in the 1970s, Richmond Community High School (RCHS) has provided advanced learning opportunities for gifted students from low-income families for almost four decades, using a curriculum still largely based on Dr. Dabney’s original model. RCHS has been recognized as one of the top schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report, among other awards. Her second project in this regard occurred after her retirement from Virginia State in the 1990s, when she set to work proposing the establishment of the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for Arts and Technology (ARGS). Located in downtown Petersburg, ARGS is a full academic-year program that offers students from 16 localities the opportunity to focus their studies around artistic and technologic disciplines. Her proposal for ARGS was the first of its kind to be approved by the Virginia Department of Education in its original form. Dr. Dabney’s influence on the development of the broadest range of talents in young people is unmatched, and the accomplishments of the students have contributed to the betterment of their communities.

Demonstrating Innovative Solutions – Joe Doetzer (project:HOMES, formerly ElderHomes)

Joe Doetzer has been improving the lives of disabled people in greater Richmond for more than 18 years by designing and installing accessibility-related home modifications. With ElderHomes, a nonprofit that makes home repairs for low-income homeowners in Central Virginia, Mr. Doetzer has developed an affordable and environmentally-friendly modular ramp design that cut construction time in half. Each ramp is customized to fit the home, made of pressure treated lumber and can be reused once the family no longer has a need. Disabled himself, Mr. Doetzer designs every ramp installation, provides the schematics and materials list for the volunteers and procures building permits for each project. He has supervised 9,000 volunteers in the construction of 800 ramps, resulting in a total social cost savings of $19 million while allowing ramp recipients to remain living in their own homes with a substantially improved quality of life.

Encouraging Regional Collaboration – Regional Hospital Accompaniment Response Team

The Regional Hospital Accompaniment Response Team (RHART) is a medical companion services program for people who have experienced domestic and sexual violence in the Greater Richmond area. Many people who experience domestic and sexual violence do not know that help is available for them in their communities. RHART changes this. Now, assault victims have an advocate by their side throughout the hospital process, which typically lasts two to six hours, with follow up services available. RHART’s services cross city and county lines. Trained hospital accompaniment volunteers are available at the request of hospital staff 24 hours a day for service at Bon Secours Richmond hospitals and the VCU Medical Center in downtown Richmond. Formed by members of Hanover Safe Place, Safe Harbor and the YWCA of Richmond, RHART has provided services to more than 600 patients since its start in November 2009. This equates to almost 1,600 hours of direct support to survivors within the hospitals. By connecting service providers, RHART provides domestic and sexual violence survivors with seamless services and comprehensive support that offers lasting hope and healing.

Improving Social Justice – Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) promotes understanding and respect on issues of diversity for all age groups across the state of Virginia. Each year, the VCIC leads educational programs for thousands of youth, educators, parents, clergy, organizations and business leaders. These events and experiences teach participants not simply to notice differences but also to respect variety in race, religion and culture. The VCIC’s experienced human relations staff works to stimulate discussion and action related to prejudice and discrimination and has made remarkable strides. Two local school districts, for instance, have VCIC trained groups of teachers working to promote understanding and awareness in a way that fits the needs of each particular school. For adult groups, the VCIC provides regular workshops and retreats to organizations across the region. In all, the VCIC conducts more than 140 programs annually, reaching approximately 7,500 individuals of all ages and backgrounds and making an outstanding impact on social justice in Richmond and throughout the Commonwealth.

Promoting Stronger Communities – ART 180

ART 180 is a Richmond-based nonprofit that creates and provides art-related programs for young people living in challenging circumstances. In doing so, the program encourages personal and community change through self-expression. Formed in 1998, ART 180 partners with a number of Richmond organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs, Communities in Schools and ROSMY, to connect artists of all disciplines to young people across the community. Murals across the city serve as lasting legacies of this work and of the lives transformed as a result. Through hands-on art instruction, young people develop critical-thinking, problem-solving, leadership and communication skills as they learn to express their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations while developing artistic ability. Each program offers instruction in a single art form, such as painting or music, and challenges students to answer questions regarding their aspirations for themselves and others. In this year alone, ART 180 has made its cultural discourse richer and more complete through the empowerment of over 350 young people annually.

The 2011 Richmond History Makers program is presented by Dominion.

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 The Valentine Richmond History Center collects, preserves and interprets Richmond’s 400-year history. Located in the heart of historic downtown Richmond, the History Center provides a lively, compelling venue for Richmond residents and tourists to discover the diverse stories that come together to tell the intriguing history of Richmond.

 (804) 649-0711        www.richmondhistorycenter.com   @ValentineRHC