This week, I discuss preparing for back-to-school and other highlights. Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and for staying informed.
The start of the new school year is just around the corner, and we are excited to support our teachers, students, and families as we all prepare for a new academic year. Chesterfield, Powhatan, and Richmond City Public Schools will welcome students back to classrooms within the next two weeks. Below are some helpful reminders on immunizations, ways to contribute to school supply drives, and additional resources for families.
The Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Health has launched its “Healthy Back to School” campaign, with resources for parents navigating standard childhood immunizations, COVID-19, and more. The Code of Virginia requires children entering daycare, public, and private schools to give proof of vaccination before enrolling in school. Available on the Virginia Department of Health online resources are the Virginia Childhood Vaccination Schedule, information about nearby local vaccine clinic, and other information. Vaccines are safe, effective, and help to ensure that children have a healthy start this school year.
Backpack & Supplies Drives
School supplies drives provide students with the resources and materials they need to succeed in the classroom. We have some local opportunities to support students and families:
This Saturday, August 20, Chesterfield County Public Schools is hosting its annual Stuff the Bus School Supplies Drive at the Midlothian Walmart (900 Walmart Way) from 9:00am until 1:00pm. All donations go to CCPS teachers and students.
The YMCA of Greater Richmond continues to collect donations for its Bright Beginnings Program that provides school supplies and hygiene products. The YMCA of Greater Richmond serves all localities in this Senate District: Powhatan, Chesterfield, and the City of Richmond.
Donations are accepted in Richmond Public Schools year-round. RPS provides this easy to use Google form to facilitate donations.
The back-to-school season can be stressful on families, financially and emotionally. The following resources may be helpful to families, now and in the future:
211 Virginia connects families to local resources, including income support, access to food and clothing, and other services. This service is available by calling 2-1-1, or here.
Mental health support is available by calling 9-8-8 or visiting the 988 Crisis Line. Additional resources include the Chesterfield Crisis Intervention at 804-748-6356, the Goochland Powhatan Community Services at 804-556-3716 or 804-598-2697, or the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) at 804-819-4100.
Food assistance is available through the Feed More agency locator.
Enroll Virginia provides free assistance regarding medical coverage. Their network of Local Navigators can answer questions, assist individuals with paying for coverage, and help apply and enroll in Marketplace or Medicaid coverage. To schedule an appointment, visit enrollva.org/get-help or call 1-888-392-5132.
Thank you, Lily!
This week my office said goodbye to our intern, Lily. Since January, Lily has been assisting my office with drafting our weekly newsletter, responding to constituent correspondence, and conducting legislative research. She has been an invaluable member of our team, and she will be dearly missed. Lily is a senior at the University of Richmond and is studying Political Science and Latin American, Latino and Iberian Studies. After she graduates this Spring, she hopes to work in the public policy space at a nonprofit organization or at a think tank. We wish her much success!
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
This week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that beginning mid-October, Americans will be able to purchase hearing aids over the counter. Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, and nearly 1 in 5 do not have hearing aids. Cost is frequently cited as being a driving factor. Federal officials estimate that this new policy will save people nearly $3,000 on the costs of a pair of hearing aids. More information is available here.
Senate Page Program: Applications are Open
The Senate Page Program is a remarkable educational experience for young Virginians who are interested in being a part of the annual General Assembly, learning about policy making, and engaging directly in state government processes. It is a tradition that has been in place for over 150 years.
Selected pages perform administrative duties, participate in team building, and help with day-to-day operations of the General Assembly. Pages are an integral part of the Capitol during the convening of the General Assembly. Pages live in Richmond throughout the duration of the General Assembly, visiting home on the weekends. The well-structured program provides time for Pages to keep up with schoolwork while also engaging in the direct experiences of government and policy making. More information about the program is available at the Senate Page Program.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Senate Page Program, and the application process remains open until 5:00 pm, October 17. Applicants must be residents of the Commonwealth and either 13 or 14 years old on January 11, the first day of the 2023 session. The application is available here.
On Saturday, I joined community leaders and other elected officials to honor the life of Jameel Abed. Jameel established and owned the popular RVA business, The Mediterranean Bakery & Deli, was a founding member of the Islamic Center of Virginia, and advocated tirelessly on behalf of justice and peace. I was honored to join Senator Tim Kaine, former Secretary of Education Ann Holton, and a large gathering of family and friends as we presented the 2022 Senate Resolution that commemorates Jameel’s impactful life.
On Saturday evening, I spoke at the annual Equality Virginia Gala. Despite facing unprecedented challenges, Equality Virginia is continuing to represent, educate, and advocate on behalf of LGBTQ+ Virginians. I especially appreciate the work of so many to protect LGBTQ+ youth from discrimination in school.
This week, President Biden signed the historic Inflation Reduction Act into law. The IRA is the single largest piece of climate legislation in United States history. Alongside members of the League of Conservation, Congressman Donald McEachin, Richmond City Councilwoman Katherine Jordan, representatives for IBEW 666, Rise for Youth, Sierra Club, CCAN, and so many others, we celebrated this historic milestone of allocating nearly $370 billion to address the climate crisis. Congressman McEachin has been a fierce champion for this legislation that will especially help those communities disproportionately impacted by environmental justice. Our Virginian Senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, have also been at the forefront of leading the negotiations for this historic legislation.
Later on Tuesday morning, I had the opportunity to meet with the staff of Premium Distributors of Virginia. Together, we toured their facility and discussed the positive economic impacts of their industry on the Richmond area. I was impressed by the remarkable efficiency and organizational processes of this large distribution operation.
Connecting With My Office
My staff continue to hold meetings with constituents via Zoom or by phone. You can sign up for a meeting with either of my staff members with our easy scheduling app: