From Challenges to Triumphs: The Life-Changing Influence of Elk Hill

Every year, RCM&D chooses well-deserving local nonprofit organizations to be the recipients of our year-round fundraising and volunteer initiatives. The result of these endeavors is commemorated during our annual Regatta event, a delightful waterfront festivity hosted at the picturesque Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Mark your calendars for this year’s occasion on Friday, September 15. As we approach this year’s celebration, we will shine a spotlight on our chosen beneficiaries, showcasing the incredible impact they make within our communities on a daily basis.

About Elk Hill

Elk Hill provides mental health and academic services to at-risk youth and their families, helping them overcome challenges and achieve success. For over 52 years, the organization has served children throughout Central Virginia and beyond, with four regional service hubs in Richmond, Goochland, Charlottesville and Staunton. Closing gaps and advocating for children and families have always been the backbone of Elk Hill’s mission. The organization’s holistic and proactive approach creates a ripple effect of positive outcomes that extend well beyond its immediate beneficiaries.

Their core program is a community and school based mental health initiative, recognizing that emotional and behavioral problems caused by trauma can hinder academic and social development. Despite high rates of mental illness in children, 4 out of 5 children ages 6 to 17 who have mental health problems do not receive any help. For many of the communities that Elk Hill serves, especially in rural areas, there is little to no access to mental health services. With Elk Hill’s presence in the community, children and families have increased access to these services. 

Hear from Those Touched by Elk Hill’s Impact

One of Elk Hill’s day schools, The Harambee School, is compiled of students with serious emotional and/or behavioral challenges. Austin, an autistic student, struggled with frequent tantrums and difficulty communicating effectively. Austin’s teachers practiced patience and understanding, and began showing him techniques to help deal with his emotions and behavioral outbursts. Through hard work and perseverance, Austin began improving year after year.

“Real progress came in tenth grade”, says Austin’s father, Cecil. “The boy who had been so easily discouraged now set his own goals and was determined to meet them. The boy who had made himself sick to avoid school now wanted to go every day. The boy who had been bullied now stood up for himself.” In 2022 Austin won the Jimmie Massie Award, which recognizes a student’s work ethic and dedication to Elk Hill values. Then, in May 2023, Austin graduated and moved onto the next chapter of his life! To read Austin’s full story, click here.

Welcome Home!

Elk Hill’s Welcome Home Campaign focuses on the kids’ living and learning spaces. Youth arrive at Elk Hill from a variety of environments including foster care or the juvenile justice system, and many are the victims of trauma. First impressions are key to opening minds and hearts to what lies ahead. Elk Hill ensures that their new home feels welcoming from the moment of arrival. Thanks to the overwhelming support from an amazing group of individuals, foundations, and corporate partners, Elk Hill raised 70% of their $1.2 million goal for the current Welcome Home Campaign!

Additionally, the upcoming Welcome Home Open House is around the corner! This event is open to all supporters, alumni and their families, and all other friends of Elk Hill. Join in on the fun on October 18, 2023 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and check out all the improvements made to their Goochland campus. To make a donation or learn more about the Welcome Home Campaign, click here.

How the RCM&D Regatta will Help

Funding from the RCM&D Regatta will benefit Elk Hill’s youth mental health programs, providing counseling, group therapy, in-home services and therapeutic equine therapy to underprivileged children. This program benefits children without Medicaid or private insurance or those who have exhausted their funding resources. Mental health professionals provide direct care services and support for families and teachers.

Learn More

To learn more about Elk Hill, visit their website or check out a quick video to see the organization at a glance. For additional information about the Regatta, click here.