Who We Are

Staff

Community Coordinator
Kristin Blalock

Kristin is experienced in non-profit work and brings internal and external communication skills to the team. Her Circles focus is outward, coordinating support for the Circles model.

Circles Coach
Helen Rai

Helen is a social worker with extensive ties to VCU and the RVA community. She is focused inwardly, supporting and developing our Leaders, Allies and volunteers.

Outreach Coordinator
Quawneisha “Bre” Peoples

Bre has an authentic desire to connect with people and her positive outlook is contagious. As Outreach Coordinator, Bre builds relationships within Richmond communities to develop future Circle Leaders.

Leader Training Facilitator
Patrice Shelton

Patrice Shelton is the founder and Executive Director of Hillside Court Partnership, Certified Community Health Worker Senior for Virginia Department of Health/Richmond City Health Department, Hillside Court Resident/Tenant Council President, and the Vice President for Richmond Tenant Organization (RTO). She has launched more than 14 groups and teams in Hillside. She has help the community members to know their worth and rights one at a time. She graduated from Louisa County High School June 1991. Ms. Shelton worked at Walmart from 1992 to 2008 in Management and Billing. She moved to Hillside Court 2010 where she does her community work today. Ms. Shelton was able to get her community rezoned to the Bellemeade/Oak Grove Elementary School thru City Council meetings. She has partnered with Shalom Farms and Feed More to bring food to the community for free and low cost since 2012. Patrice has supported her youth in the community to start a Community Garden. She is seated on Maggie L. Walker Poverty Board, RVA Thrives, Central VA Legal Aid Society (CVLAS) Board Secretary, and Central VA Legal Aid Society Client Council (CVLASCC) President and a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. She was also a fellow for RMHF 3/2018 to 2/2019.

Ally Training Facilitator
Courtney Calixte, M.S.W.

Movement and Capacity Building Director at the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.  Her focus is on social justice movement work and capacity building through a trauma informed and healing centered framework.  She likes to help agencies brainstorm creative ways to engage communities (especially under served populations) with the outcome of building stronger relationships that create a resilient community for survivors.  She has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She also has a post graduate certificate in Gender Violence Intervention.

Ally Training Facilitator
Paige Tucker

With over 18 years in education, Paige possesses a genuine passion and eagerness to teach others. A true lifelong learner herself, she recognizes the importance of growth alongside the joy of constant improvement.

Board of Directors

Circles RVA operates with a minimal staffing level and has no Executive Director.  The Board functions as a working board with several members performing many of the administrative functions to ensure smooth and efficient operations for Circles RVA.

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Malcolm E. (Dick) Ritsch Jr. (President)

Dick Ritsch is President of Circles RVA, Inc. for 2019 and 2020 and serves as the organization’s lawyer. He has been committed to community outreach for over 20 years through his service as Chair of Outreach at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Four years ago, Dick and other founders concluded that building enduring direct personal relationships across economic, social and racial lines would be a cost- effective way to reduce poverty in the Richmond community. Dick’s experience as a business lawyer for start-up organizations has been put to use with Circles RVA. He has been an Ally for almost two years and will sign up again when his first Ally term is completed later this year.

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Richard Crom (Treasurer)

Upon announcing his retirement from a 25-year career with the federal government in 2019, he was recruited by a work colleague, an active CirclesRVA volunteer, to join the family. She thought it would be an excellent retirement gig for him! Although not previously familiar with the Circles approach to reducing poverty, Rich has been impressed with the enthusiasm of the Leaders and Allies, and the vitality and spirit of the weekly meetings. Rich worked directly with tax-exempt, non-profit organizations during his federal career, so he brings on-point experience to his work as Treasurer.

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Adrian Luxmoore (Secretary)

Adrian retired after a 30 year career in manufacturing where he had experience in planning, project management and data analysis.  He became involved with Circles RVA during the initial evaluation that led to the establishment of the organization.  His business experience has proven to be an asset to the organization.  His experience with the Micah mentoring program at Woodville Elementary led him to want to participate in a way that would support people who wanted to make a change in their lives and move into a new way of life.

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Stephen Batsche

Stephen brings more than twenty years of nonprofit management experience in fundraising, grantmaking and program design. He is presently Executive Director of Program Services for The Salvation Army Central Virginia. Originally from Texas, Stephen and his family have lived in Virginia for 17 years and in Richmond for three years.

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Rev. Remmie Chew, Jr.

Remmie served in the US Marine corps for 16 years and then worked in Richmond Public Library for another 16 years before retiring.  He has a Masters in Business management and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Education at Virginia Union University.  He is a member of sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church where he is Co-chair, Social Justice Mnistry.  Remmie has been an committed participant in Circles RVA since its original formation

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Valena A. Dixon

An award-winning communications and public administration executive who has created and led innovative and unprecedented campaigns and programs for diverse industries and organizations in the areas of education, cable television, affordable housing,  community development and economic and employment opportunities

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Ashley Hall

 

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Wayne King Johnson

Wayne is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. He has been principal broker and owner of Richmond real estate company, Coldwell Banker Avenues for 45 years. He has served on boards and committees in the local real estate industry. His son, Graham works with him and is vice president.  He and his wife Robin have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. They are members of Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church He was originally involved as Circles RVA started and chairs the Jobs and Education Committee and is a member of the Development Committee. He serves on the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Foundation Board.

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Mary Lindert

Mary Lindert works as an economist for the U.S. Treasury Department. Her interest in Circles RVA and breaking the cycle of poverty grew out of her mentorship with the Armstrong Leadership Program. Mary and her mentee are good friends who would have never met except for the Armstrong Leadership Program. Originally, the task was small – to help with college applications. Seven years later, a degree from Old Dominion University and lots of learning about life from each other, Mary and her mentee know the value of having a friend to walk with through the ups and downs of achieving big goals. It has been a two-way street of learning, laughing, crying, and celebrating. Circles RVA, with Circle Leaders and Allies, is a model of the relationship that evolved between Mary and her mentee. Mary served as the Treasurer of Circles RVA and now as the Treasurer Emeritus.

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Dawn S. McNamara

Dawn McNamara has served with Circles RVA since its start.  She has worked with the Hospitality Committee which strives to provide good meals and a inclusive homelike environment and be good stewards to our host meeting place.  Dawn also serves on the Community Development Committee.  Dawn is a social worker spending most of her career in hospitals and nursing homes.  She is currently with Bon Secours working as a Case Manager at Richmond Community Hospital.

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Rev. Bollin M. Millner Jr.

Bollin (Bo) was born in Richmond in 1954 but moved away shortly thereafter.  He returned to Richmond for college at the University of Richmond, and continued his education at Virginia Theological Seminary and at Duke University Divinity School.  He served for nearly forty years as a lay professional and as a clergy person the  Episcopal Church, in North Carolina and in Virginia.  From 2003 until his retirement in 2019 he was the Rector of Grace and Holy Trinity Church in Richmond.   During that time he served on the Citizens Advisory Board of the Maggie Walker Wealth Building Initiative.  Out of that experience, he sought ways to join with others to actually empower change for folks living in poverty.  Circles RVA  is the perfect vehicle for change and he is grateful to be involved with the transformative work that Circles makes possible.

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Joy Thomas

 

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Stephanie Watkins

Friends and Partners

Boulevard United Methodist Church
Clover Hill Church
Grace & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Hill City Church
Metropolitan Health Foundation
Richmond Friends Meeting
Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church
St. John’s Episcopal Church
St. James Episcopal Church
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church