Envision Richmond is an exciting Capstone experience that immerses our 8th Grade student body in the local community with an intensive leadership and civic engagement curriculum. For one full week every fall, 8th Graders leave the classroom and receive expansive opportunities to foster collaboration, empathy, creativity and problem-solving in ways that will serve them, and the world around them, for years to come. They continue to work in groups throughout the year to design a follow-on project relating to their community issue that is implemented each spring. 

Envision Richmond gives our students the insight and tools to see beyond themselves and engage with our local community in a manner that helps them find purpose. A week spent outside the classroom learning about defining issues, programs and needs impacting the City of Richmond helps our students develop their role as responsible and engaged citizens at an early age.

Follow the hashtag #EnvisionRVA on various social media feeds to stay abreast of each year's initiative, and see the blog below for more indepth insight into each part of the program.

How it Works

Students are divided into groups that participate in site visits to more than a dozen city organizations and programs that serve the homeless, foster children, individuals with special needs, youths experiencing mental illness, veterans of war and those who use public transportation, as well as caring for the environment, city parks, the James River and more.

Our students form groups and assess what they've learned, then use design thinking methods to collaborate on strategic improvements for some of the issues they've encountered. At week's end, they formally present their recommendations to the community leaders whose programs they've visited.

While the 8th Graders' work may seem hypothetical, the business leaders, nonprofit organizations and community organizers who have spent time with them during the week are vested in hearing our students' ideas and sharing their expertise with our students about the importance of collaboration and creativity in developing positive solutions.

Throughout the 8th Grade year, the student teams continue to collaborate in designing a follow-up project to execute on a daylong celebration in April. Students are asked how they might positively impact this issue on this day, and create a project for their group, giving back to the community and organizations that helped them learn so much.
Laurie Shadowen,
Envision Richmond Coordinator
lshadowen@collegiate-va.org
804.334.3221