Common Ground Healing Arts Welcomes New Executive Director
Elliott Brown, Common Ground’s new Executive Director, was immediately captivated by the organization’s mission to provide access to complementary healthcare, regardless of income, because of its intersections with her professional and personal experiences. On the personal level Brown has directly benefited from the presence of yoga, meditation, and massage in her life. “I had some nerve damage and pain and after a year and a half of western medicine, it wouldn’t go away,” Brown said. “After three months of yoga, it was gone and I never felt it since and it’s been two years. The impact of that and massage and meditation on my life, and just my attitude and who I’ve become it’s made me be a bigger, better, stronger person.”
She also understands how powerful access to holistic and complementary medicine can be for people who may not typically have access. Brown has spent the past twenty years working with nonprofits on issues of poverty, homelessness, and affordable housing. “Most recently, I was the Executive Director of an interfaith nonprofit that provides shelter to homeless families with children while helping regain their dignity and independence,” explained Brown. “And the most successful families we helped were families who sought out and had access to holistic healthcare.”
Right now, Brown is focused on furthering Common Ground’s mission through continued outreach to populations that don’t normally seek out or have access to holistic medicine. She explained that their main goal is to educate groups that have misunderstandings about their services. For instance, some people might be concerned about yoga’s roots in eastern religion; however Common Ground does not incorporate the religious aspects into it. For instance, “we [sometimes] have changed the name of yoga to stretch and relax,” said Brown. “Because that’s what it is.”
While Brown has only been in town for about a week, she’s happy to be closer to family in Lexington, after having lived in South Carolina and Austin, Texas. She and her partner have enjoyed the outdoor, art, and music activities that Charlottesville offers. “We’ve listened to music, gone hiking, mountain biking, and we’re planning on going to the James river this weekend to tube,” she said.
African American Heritage Center Hosts Freedom Read-a-thon
On July 18, 10am-8pm, the African American Heritage Center will hold its second Freedom Read-a-thon in honor of Nelson Mandela International Day. The event features ten hours of words for freedom–67 minutes of which will be devoted to words by Nelson Mandela to honor his years as an ardent fighter for human rights. Read your words or the words of others. This event is free and open to the public and will take place in the African American Heritage Center auditorium; please enter through the Commerce street entrance.
Last in Career Workshop Series Offered at the Women’s Initiative
The final installment of The Women’s Initiative’s workshops aimed to help women become the architects of their careers will be held on Saturday, July 26, 9am-12pm. This workshop will focus on professionalism. An ongoing support group is also available to workshop participants and anyone else interested in receiving support in their career search.
The workshop will be held at the MJH Starr Hill Health Center, on the second floor of the Jefferson School City Center. For more information or to register, contact Kirsten at 434-872-0047 x 101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still Time to Register for Literacy Volunteers New Tutor Training
On July 19, Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville / Albemarle will host its next New Tutor Training, 9:30am-4:00pm at the Jefferson School City Center. This training provides new tutors with the foundation they need to help adults in the community improve their speaking, reading, and writing skills in English.
“We may be teaching people basic skills, but those basic skills add up to changing a life,” said Executive Director Ellen Osborne. “Our students leave our program better prepared for good jobs and to take an active role in their children’s lives and their communities.”
Literacy Volunteers requires a year commitment and tutors meet with students for two hours each week. For more information or to register for the July 19 training, call 434-977-3838.
Jefferson School City Center is a voice of the nine nonprofits located at Charlottesville’s intergenerational community center, the restored Jefferson School. We are a legacy preserved . . . a soul reborn . . . in the heart of Cville!