In October of 2021, we made an exciting announcement that we were ready to expand our impact and serve more youth by launching our middle school program in another community within the Shenandoah Valley.
With that plan in mind, our first step was to find an interested school district that would partner with us to continue our mission in a way that was true to our organization.
After months of discussions and getting to meet with a variety of potential school districts, we are so excited to finally announce that we have found our new partner!
In fall 2022, On the Road will be expanding into Waynesboro City Schools and begin operating our middle-school program at Kate Collins Middle School.
“We are so excited to expand our impact into the Waynesboro community,” Brent Holsinger, our Founder and President, said. “We had a series of meetings with them and based on those conversations and their needs as a community, we felt like it’d be a really great fit while allowing us to stay in line with our mission to create equal access educational opportunities for their middle school kids.”
The plans for this expansion began as an internal discussion, with a strong desire among our board and staff to begin exploring how we could serve more youth.
Since our start in 2015, On the Road has grown to serve all middle- and high-schools in Harrisonburg City, working with more than 300 youth annually, across grades 6-12. The experiences we’ve gained through the years supported the effectiveness of our program model and the impact these opportunities have on local youth.
As we thought about next steps for our organization, we knew that in order to serve more youth and live into our vision, it was time to transport our program model to another community.
“We started On the Road with a very clear mission,” Brent said, “At the time it was just me, Deanna, and a founding board, but we knew how we wanted to do it and since then, we’ve really grown it one step at a time over the last seven years.”
“When I reflect on that, one thing that sticks out for me is the amount of community support that has grown alongside us each year–and how that has allowed us to take those next steps,” Brent continued. “Whether those are community teachers or donors or community partners, it really has been this entire community working together to get us to a place where we’re serving all of Harrisonburg middle and high schools.
We knew that expanding outside of Harrisonburg was the right next step and that we had the leadership, the experience, and the support to make it happen–bringing us one step closer to building a world where all youth are on the road to realizing their promise.
“It’s really exciting to see that come to fruition and we are thrilled to be able to serve youth now in the Waynesboro area,” Brent said.
Deanna Reed, our Director of Community and School Partnerships and one of the founding members of our organization, agrees.
“Seven years ago, I was the first actual salaried employee, and now, to be expanding into a different locality–that’s been our dream,” Deanna said. “That’s the vision that we had when we started this, and for it to actually become true, it’s a very humbling experience right now,”
“This partnership is a great fit that’s in line with who we are, as an organization and with our diversity.” Deanna added. “So we welcome Waynesboro to our family.”
Kendra Jones Carter, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Waynesboro Public Schools, said that this new partnership with On the Road is something that will greatly serve their community and they’re excited to bring our program to their middle school in the fall of this year.
“On the Road is a good fit for our school and community because it fills a need for our middle school population,” Kendra said. “The Career Enrichment opportunities for middle schoolers, with people within the Waynesboro community, is something that will not only strengthen Kate Collins Middle School but the entire Waynesboro community.”
Kendra said the process of exploring this potential partnership was “smooth and quite enjoyable” and that they see a bright future as we begin working together.
“Deanna Reed, Brent Holsinger, and the On the Road Team provided insightful meetings and their passion for this program is evident,” Kendra said “We were even fortunate enough to visit On the Road in action at a middle school, [and] the students we met during our visit are clearly learning and enjoying their time at On the Road.”
Kendra said she’s excited about what this means for middle schoolers in her community.
“I hope our students will now have more trusted adults in their lives that they can connect with and build strong relationships with–especially our students who may need extra support beyond the normal school day,” Kendra said. “I truly believe that On the Road will provide Waynesboro middle school students with a space where they feel they belong and can be successful.”
We are beyond excited to officially kick off programs in Waynesboro this fall and hope you’ll join us in welcoming Waynesboro into our family!
Today and everyday, we are incredibly thankful for the amazing community we have behind us and for your continued support. This expansion is only possible because of you.