A Special Message from Founder Brent Holsinger
Dear On the Road Community,
I’m writing to you today with some big news to share. But first, I want to thank you for all the ways you’ve been a champion for On the Road. Serving as the leader of this organization and being connected to this amazing community has been the greatest professional experience of my life, and I am grateful for every single opportunity it has brought me.
But it’s time for a new chapter.
It’s with a deep sense of pride and hope for the future that I am formally announcing that I will be stepping down from my role as President this coming summer as my family and I prepare to move to Boston. After an amazing 12 years in the Harrisonburg community, we are venturing into a new season in our lives — one that will allow for my wife to pursue new opportunities in her career and bring us closer to her family.
As I close this important chapter and reflect on almost eight years of On the Road providing educational opportunities and hands-on career experiences to local youth, I’ve been thinking a lot about where it all began.
I can still remember, back in 2014, when myself and a small group of key supporters had to decide what to do when our 21st Century programs, then called Beyond the Bell, ran out of funding. Were we going to pack up and consider our work done, or keep fighting for every youth to have the opportunities they deserve?
Obviously, we chose to continue, and looking back on those early days, it’s both amazing and humbling to see how far we have come together in such a short amount of time.
From starting with a volunteer board and absolutely no money, to raising $50,000+ in start-up funds and hiring Deanna as our founding Program Director so we could launch a small after-school program for 5th and 6th graders at Skyline Middle School.
During the first five years, we grew to serve more than 300 middle and high school youth (grades 6-12) annually across three program sites in Harrisonburg.
In 2021, we graduated our first class, and then in 2022, we successfully expanded beyond Harrisonburg and launched a new program at Kate Collins Middle School this school year in Waynesboro.
We now have eight full-time and 40 part-time staff, hundreds of Community Teachers and volunteers, and countless donors, supporters and partners who make this work possible.
Our story provides a true example of what we can accomplish as a community when we come together around a shared mission and choose to give of our time, talents and treasures to serve as champions for our youth. Together, we are investing in our next generation of leaders and building a better future for us all. And being a part of that has been incredibly rewarding.
While my transition away from the role of President may have been brought about by a family decision, I do believe things happen for a reason. And in processing this impending change both personally and professionally, I have faith that the time is right for new leadership to help usher in a new era of On the Road.
To prepare for the transition, we have thoughtfully put together a plan that will ensure On the Road is set up for success.
First, we know that this organization was built with sustainability in mind, and our mission, vision, and overall program model will remain the same.
I will remain the Chair of the Board of Directors to aid with this transition for the next 2-to-3 years, while our executive and program leadership, as well as our engaged and strategic board, will work collectively to usher in this new era while ensuring we remain committed to serving the needs of our community. I am confident about our leadership as we navigate this change, and believe they will support the organization as they always have while moving us forward in positive ways.
We will be hiring a new executive leader to join the team, and you’ll be the first to know when we post the job opening. So, stay tuned.
I also have no doubt that our community of amazing supporters – donors, partners, and volunteers – will continue to show up so that On the Road can remain committed to building a future where all youth are on the road to realizing their promise.
I couldn’t be more proud of what we have built together, and I remain hopeful for an even brighter future for On the Road.
As I prepare for this next chapter, I want to acknowledge how important each of you has been to the On the Road community and how much you have influenced my leadership and our collective work.
And for that, I am forever grateful.