“Because I opened the door for a stranger”

In 2011, parents in the Richmond, VA community of Hillside Court locked their children inside to protect them from rampant gun violence.

Today the neighborhood is bustling with activities for citizens of all ages because a group of concerned citizens choose to take back their streets.

Hear Hillside Court neighbor Lindsey Gullatte-Lee, AKA The Feisty Poet, speaks about her experience with Embrace Richmond, and Asset-Based Community Development (an approach for nurturing local resilience by starting with the gifts, talents and leadership of local residents and their associations).


Below is Lindsey’s poem about her experience as a Hillside leader:


Richmond, Va is where I chose to reside

When I Ieft my former life behind

I just needed a change of scenery

And Hillside Court was where that happened to be

It was a time when I was at my lowest

And left everything and everyone I needed the most

It was a journey I was forced to take

A decision that was hard to make

Single Again with three girls to raise

Searching day after day for a good job that paid

Each passing day grew more depressing

All lifetime experiences serve as a lesson

But in the midst of a storm

Out came many Blessings

A knock at the door would change everything

But at the time I didn’t know what these new changes would bring

Enter in this bubbly woman full of hope, excitement and opportunities up her sleeves

Who opened up so many doors for my family and me

If it weren’t for her ABCD program who knows where we would be

She was an angel in disguise by the name of Wendy

Because of her I tapped into my gifts, what I could offer the world

With her help we got

Youth programs started for boys and girls

I began to like who I looked in the mirror to see

It was at this time I was able to find ME

I encourage more to get involved in this program

It’s a life changer

And It All started

Because I opened the door for a stranger


You can read the full article, entitled “Hillside Court Richmond, Virginia” on page 45 of the International Association of Community Development (IACD) “Practice Insights” magazine (Issue 18), by Wendy McCaig and Lindsay Gullatte-Lee.


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