NextUp RVAIt was Thursday morning when the call came into CrossOver from Kia Johnson, manager of development and community engagement at NextUp RVA, a nonprofit organization that coordinates after school enrichment activities for Richmond Public Schools middle schoolers. Kia explained that NextUp partners with VCU’s Mary and Frances Youth Center to provide tennis as an after school program option, and the students in the tennis program needed sports physicals in order to participate in a competition—that was only three days away. Health Brigade, another area safety net clinic, had suggested that Kia call CrossOver since we have a pediatrics program.

CrossOver staff wanted to help, but they knew it would take quick work and a lot of assistance. Katie St. Germain, CrossOver’s family nurse practitioner, got on the phone and began calling volunteers to see if they could come the very next day, on Friday afternoon, when the clinic is usually closed for administrative time. Dr. Robert Head, one of our volunteer pediatricians, said he would be there. Linda Rose, volunteer pediatric nurse practitioner, was in the process of boarding a plane when Katie reached her, but she said no problem; send her the details and she’d gladly come in. Meanwhile, Barbara Fitzgerald, a volunteer nurse, was in the clinic when the call came in from NextUp RVA. She said she’d come back the next day to help with the physicals too.

On Friday, Katie St. Germain and the three volunteers, with help from staff members Elizabeth Mcnutt, CMA, and Gina Medina, completed sports physicals and paperwork for all eleven middle schoolers. Richmond Public Schools, which provides transportation for NextUp RVA programs, went the extra mile to provide transportation to and from our Richmond Clinic. Within 30 hours of the initial phone call, the kids were ready for their tennis competition.

We are delighted by all the partnerships and cooperation in this story—between community partners like NextUp RVA, Health Brigade, VCU’s Mary Frances Youth Center, and Richmond Public Schools, as well as between CrossOver staff and our dedicated volunteers who go out of their way to serve. NextUp’s Kia Johnson said, “It was a prime example of how, when a community comes together, we can knock down barriers for all that we serve.”

If you’d like to get more involved in the kind of work that knocks down barriers, you can donate or learn more about volunteering. Thank you for all you do to make these kinds of stories possible.