New Valley Mission Executive Director Talks Future Plans
The only year-round homeless shelter serving Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County has new leadership and new ideas for the future. The Valley Mission is working to keep up with growing demand for space, and better serve its clients.
The Valley Mission's new executive director is Susan Richardson, who came to the nonprofit with experience in the Head Start Preschool Program, and DePaul Family Services. She takes the reins of a Staunton homeless shelter that was already on the move.
The Valley Mission is growing within. What used to be basement storage and a thrift store has been gradually divided into classroom space for job and life skills training, and a six-station computer lab is on its way.
"That'll be for people to do job searches," Richardson said. "Maybe some part of the after-school program will involve that. We really want to have our folks have easy access to technology.
The after-school programs and a new outdoor playground have quickly become necessary for the Valley Mission, as it serves more and more young families. In fact, it's planning to convert part of its male dorm space to meet the demand.
"We currently have more beds for men than we're utilizing," said Richardson. "We've seen a trend over the past few years, and we just want to have more space for those single women and children and families."
Richardson, still settling in to her job as executive director, says the nonprofit is doing all it can to meet the needs of a rising homeless population. Someday, it may outgrow its 65-year-old headquarters on West Beverley Street.
"If someone donated a large property, that would be wonderful for the mission. I would love to see us expand. But you know, we're just going to have to work with the space that we have," Richardson said.
The Valley Mission is funded by donations, grants, and sales at its two thrift stores. Richardson says those retail stores - especially the one in Waynesboro - are low on inventory, and are in great need of donations.
New Valley Mission Executive Director Talks Future PlansMore>>