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  • Writer's pictureSpark

Community Solutions

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Through the Years

Part of our purpose in life is to build a legacy - a consistent pattern of building into the lives of others. (Tony Dungy)

We thought it would never happen. Yet, here we are. It’s time. Founding Leader, Larry Grossman, is officially leaving the building. After over fifty years in service to the Hampton Roads community and beyond, Larry is retiring. As he paves the way to new adventures, kayaking trips, and hopefully some good, old-fashioned R&R, we want to take a moment to reflect on the legacy Larry has built since founding Community Solutions in 2000. As of October 2022, Larry has officially passed the football to his fantastic team to carry Hampton Roads’ foster youth into victory for years to come.

Track with us to the end of this throwback post and we’ll drop some exciting news and a special invite for YOU!

365 New Beginnings

Larry’s mission is simple. Cultivate hope. Never give up. Start fresh every day. Repeat.

His passionate pursuit of helping others move forward in life has seeped into every aspect of his work. His fierce commitment to deploying tangible community-based resources is contagious, attracting more than 500 team members over the years who have contributed as life skill coaches, mentors, visitation workers, vocational staff, parent advocates, counselors, and more.

The Community Solutions Dream Sparks into Flame

Community Solutions was born in 2000 at the Old Norfolk Community Hospital Building on Corprew Avenue in Norfolk, Virginia.

Key partnerships at the time included the Juvenile Detention Alternatives to Incarceration (JDAI) initiative that led to fewer youth incarcerated and more children accessing critical resources and help within their home communities.

Essential services forged new trails to equip and empower youth to move beyond their present circumstances into productive, sustainable, hope-filled futures.

  • Intensive In-home Counseling

  • Foster Care Placement

  • Therapeutic Foster Care Case Management

  • Independent Living

  • Supervised/Guided Visitations

Community Solutions later moved into their current building on Princess Anne Road in 2003.

Innovation, Advocacy, and Collaboration Fuel a #BetterTogether Regional Call-to-Action

Community Solutions was the first to integrate the Ansell Casey Life Skills Assessment as a tool to guide services and learning plans for independent living youth. Pounding the pavement to cultivate collaboration across multiple channels for a 360-degree whole-self approach to supporting foster care youth, Community Solutions led the charge challenging local agencies, schools, and organizations to work together to achieve more.

Key partnerships included (serving youth and families in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Suffolk):

  • Farm Fresh

  • Norfolk Health Department

  • United Way

  • Junior Achievement

  • U.S. Joint Forces Command - NOB

  • Youth Services Corporation

  • Norfolk State University

  • Regent University

  • Paramount Youth Services

  • Portsmouth Parent Resources Center

  • Portsmouth Special Education Advisory Committee

Practical programs like “Banking on My Future” with TowneBank provided access to bank accounts allowing foster youth to deposit and save money to give a future head start outside the social welfare system. Some program participants were able to build nest eggs of over $5,000 to set their foundation for long-term stability.

Community Solutions Purchases Little Creek Apartment Building

Community Solutions provided residential support to up to ten youth (ages 17-21 years) at a time with the purchase of this new building in 2006. Delivering round-the-clock, 24/7 assistance with appointments, school enrollments, transportation, cooking, home care, grocery shopping, life skills, budgeting, and healthy relationships education, this location provided the accountability and consistent support that drove long-term change and sustainable transformation for foster care youth.

Now called Taheima Place, this apartment building continues to provide critical support services via residential rehab and recovery programming. The Taheima substance abuse treatment continuum also includes:

  • Assessment Services

  • Individual and Family Sessions

  • Intensive Outpatient Adult Programming

  • Intensive Outpatient Adolescent Programming

  • Aftercare and Relapse Services

Vocational Services Program Fans the Future Career Flame

Community Solutions deployed a vocational services program called Community Greens to provide tangible solutions that lay the groundwork for long-term stability. The first landscaping business of its kind, Community Greens offered foster youth the opportunity to learn soft and hard skills with on-the-job training.

Continued development of vocational services cracked open access to various vocational tracks, leading to partnerships with:

  • Chesapeake Division of Social Services

  • Xtreme Detailing (providing apprentice-style experiences)

  • Tidewater Builders Association

  • Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • Opportunity, Inc.

  • Eggleston Services

  • National Job Corps Program

Sparking Hope with New Programs, New Partnerships, New Perspectives

Community Solutions continued to expand community-based services beyond its four walls, planting seeds of hope across Hampton Roads through innovative programming driven by partners committed to shifting regional perspectives to address root issues, systemic bias, and service breakdowns.

  • P.E.R.T. (Parents Efforts to Reduce Truancy): Partnered with the Norfolk Court Services Unit in 2007 to come alongside families of students identified as truant to guide them back to on-time daily school attendance.

  • Graduate and Undergraduate Internships: Welcomed over 100 interns in both graduate and undergraduate programs to contribute new ideas to and active participation in the larger conversation surrounding foster care youth. Students joined Community Solutions from respected institutions including:

  • Tidewater Community College

  • Old Dominion University

  • Christopher Newport University

  • Norfolk State University

  • Grand Canyon University

  • Virginia Wesleyan

  • Liberty University

  • Indiana University

  • Indiana Wesleyan

  • South University

  • Radford University

  • HYPE: Built a Norfolk-based case management and IDL service program providing temporary housing for pregnant teens and teen mothers in the foster care system in 2008.

SASH (Safe and Stable Housing): Provided housing across Norfolk, Little Creek and Hampton for foster youth over 18 years of age still attending college and/or vocational schools, staffed by Community Solutions team members on nights and weekends.

Hope Spreads Like Wildfire

Community Solutions began providing mental health skill building in 2011, and partnered with Indian Creek Correctional Center to build re-entry programming for incarcerated adults.

Receiving their licensure as a substance abuse residential program in 2019, and their license to provide intensive outpatient programming shortly thereafter, Community Solutions continues to chart new territory in substance abuse recovery. Contracted with AMIkids Virginia, Community Solutions remains committed to participating in the larger conversations driving intervention and transformation for court-involved youth.

Their newest recovery residence, Lindenwood House, aids individuals with the transition from residential treatment back into everyday community living. Recently awarded a grant to train a cohort team of four therapists in Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT), Community Solutions looks forward to providing this new modality to individuals and families in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach very soon.

Right Here, Right Now: Community Solutions Reveals a New Brand

You made it! And now some exclusive news just for you. Right here. Right now.

Change is good.

With Larry’s departure, the timing is right to turn over a new leaf as the next generation continues to carry the torch. Larry’s legacy lives on, and we’ve got a new look to kickstart this new season. You’re invited to be the first to see the new face of Community Solutions. We’re hosting an open house on October 28th from 1-5 PM at our main building in Virginia Beach. RSVP today and let us know you’ll be there to mark this new milestone with us!

Join the call to cultivate hope and spark change by following and sharing @sparkingculture on Instagram and Facebook.

Larry, we thank you. Your legacy speaks for itself. We’ve simply highlighted the big moments, but the many lives changed because of your boundless commitment to hope and change are even more precious. Words will never do it justice, and we’re likely skimming the tip of the iceberg of your impact on the lives of many. Retire well, having given your all and then some, knowing our community and countless lives believe hope is alive and well because of you.

May you never forget how far you have come and the miles it took just to get to this place. (Morgan Harper Nichols)

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