Hi! I’m Rachel Brock and my husband, Hogan, and I moved to Richmond and joined the Tabernacle fold at the beginning of August. So far, we have been genuinely blown away by the hospitality and life that Tabernacle exudes. I am especially grateful for all those who helped as I searched for a job last month. I have started in my new position as the Volunteer Coordinator for Higher Achievement and am already so fulfilled by the work that I’m doing.

Hogan and I moved here after spending a year in Chicago doing a program called Mission Year. We lived in an under-resourced neighborhood and were intentional about how we lived in community. We gained a lot of perspective during this season of our lives, a part of which involves a reality called the opportunity gap. You may have heard this phrase before – it refers to the idea that there are certain members of our society who lack opportunity, even though they do not lack in talent or potential. To give an example: A recent U.S. Board of Education study found that minority students comprise 42% of public school students, but only 28% of enrichment program participants. Of course, minority students are not lacking in giftedness. They are simply lacking opportunity. Perhaps they don’t have anyone in their life who recognizes and encourages their God-given gifts and potential.

I’d like to offer an opportunity for Tabernacle to be engaged in the Richmond community in a way that aims to close this opportunity gap, so that all youth can realize their full potential, no matter their race or socioeconomic status.  Higher Achievement aims to close the opportunity gap by providing rigorous afterschool and summer programming during the critical middle school years. We refer to our 5-8 grade participants as “scholars”, because they are committing to be held to a standard of excellence. We are currently seeking mentors to volunteer on Tuesday or Thursday nights from 6-7pm, from October-May at one of our four centers. We hold programming at Binford, Boushall, Henderson, and Wilder Middle Schools. As a mentor, you would use a provided curriculum to teach either Math or English through a social justice lens to a group of 3-4 scholars. We provide this detailed curriculum, along with training and on-site support, so that you can focus on the relationships.

I believe this could be a meaningful partnership, as Tabernacle seeks to “work collectively for the fulfillment of God’s purpose for humanity”. We are in need of about 60 more mentors and would be thrilled if you signed up and encouraged your spouse, small group, friends, and Sunday School class to do the same! You can apply at www.higherachievement.org/volunteer or e-mail me at rbrock@higherachievement.org if you have any questions!

Grace and Peace,



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