Newsroom Update

United Way Launches EveryDay Strong Program

The new initiative empowers caring adults to support youth mental health.

RICHMOND, Va. (Mar. 13, 2023) –A newly launched training program is aiming to help adults support the emotional health and wellness of youth.  

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg has launched its EveryDay Strong program that provides parents and other caring adults with tools they can use to build resiliency in a child or teen. Free EveryDay Strong trainings and educational materials are available to the public, and United Way is partnering with local organizations to incorporate lessons of EveryDay Strong into their work.

In partnership with Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now), Petersburg Police Department and Petersburg Public Schools, the EveryDay Strong program promotes a simple, research-based framework that any caring adult can use to help build a sense of safety, connection and confidence in children and teens ages 8-18.

Data shows that mental health in Virginia is getting worse. In 2019, the Virginia Youth Risk Behavior Survey shared that 32% of high school youth across Virginia reported feeling sad or hopeless for two weeks or more. And in 2021, Voices for Virginia’s Children shared that 30% of parents reported a decline in their children’s mental health.

“We know that even before the pandemic, Virginia youth were struggling with mental health,” said Emily Watkins, United Way’s Director of Community Impact. “The good news is, a caring adult doesn’t need a degree or specialized training to play a significant role in supporting a child’s emotional and mental health, they just need a few simple skills to help a child thrive.”

The framework is taught in a one-hour training session during which instructors take participants through the ways in which they can help children feel safe, connected and confident. The sessions include practical learning through real-life examples of children who are demonstrating apathy, depression, aggression or anxiety, or are engaging in destructive behaviors.

Individuals can register below for one of the free, one-hour training sessions.

“I believe this program will help parents, caregivers and educators identify strategies to open the lines of communication with young people by focusing on safety, connection and confidence through a strengths-based approach to resilience,” said Amanda Lynch, Trauma-Informed Care Specialist for the Crater Health District. “Many young people in our community are struggling with mental health, grief and loss, and the devastating impact of community violence. I believe this program will serve as a bridge for children and families as they navigate the road to resilience.”

Other scenarios around building safety, connection and confidence are available in the EveryDay Strong Resilience Handbook that parents can download from the EveryDay Strong website.

United Way is also looking for ambassadors to provide the EveryDay Strong resilience training. Ambassadors can be city government departments, schools, religious organizations, local businesses, employers, youth-serving organizations and individuals. 

Individuals and organizations interested in becoming an ambassador can visit EveryDay Strong’s ambassador page.

To learn more about the program, visit United Way’s EveryDay Strong website.