First Stop: Richmond & Byrd Elementary School

Everyone’s first question when we tell them about our trip is “Where’s the first stop?”  Much to their surprise, the answer is Richmond Virginia.  Just two hours away from our current home, Richmond is not exactly an exotic locale or National Park with majestic vistas.  But Richmond has something better: my childhood best friend, Zoe Parrish.  Zoe and I were inseparable from when I was 4 years old until I was 10 years old when her family moved to Richmond.

zoe and sharon

My favorite picture from our childhood -- Zoe as race car driver and me as the pit crew

Zoe and Stan

Zoe and Stan

Now Zoe is married to a wonderful guy named Stan and they live with their dog Poppers in a home just outside Richmond.  Zoe works as a Special Needs Elementary School teacher at the school that Stan attended as a kid, Byrd Elementary School in Goochland County.  Zoe is a fantastic teacher, she earned Teacher of the Year in 2009 for her school and is now working on a Masters Degree in Instructional Technology.  We will be staying with them for a few days next week to kick off our trip.

The Byrd Elementary School students have already proven to be successful do-gooders.  This year through meeting reading goals and getting sponsorship from community members, they have raised over $17,000 through the Read to Feed program.  The money will be split three ways, for the local food bank, for Heifer International, and for the school’s Media Center (library).  Check out this nice post on the school’s website that explains the program and includes quotes from both Zoe and her mom, Kathy Albert, who is the guidance counselor at Byrd.


Zoe's students, a picture from her class blog

Zoe's students, a picture from her class blog

During our stay, Jay and I will work at the school on a few projects that the teachers have suggested.  Jay will be using his building skills to create some stands for the Outdoor Learning Lab.  I will be working with the school’s Librarian to help with organizing and research.  Since the library / media center is going to be a beneficiary of the fund raising the librarian has the enormous task of figuring out the best way to utilize the money.

So… question time…

Have you been to Richmond?  What do you recommend there?

Do you have experience with youth library services?  Any suggestions for me as I embark on this project?

What book was most influential for you when you were in Elementary School that you think the kids at Byrd just have to have?


2 responses to “First Stop: Richmond & Byrd Elementary School

  1. Hello Sharon,
    We have not yet met, but we have known Jay since day one. Morgan and I went to High School together and Morgan was Best Man at my wedding. I currently sit on the Board of the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA). We are currently developing our schedule of trail building days and would be honored to have the two of you join us for one or two work days. Check out the web site: (or is it .com?). Jay has been riding these trails since he was 14 years old and knows his way around Fruita and Grand Junction.
    Good luck on your adventure. Please keep me posted of your adventure.
    Pat Kennedy (PK)

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