By Cindy Adams


There are so many great mission-minded organizations in our communities, and it is our privilege to partner with some of them. Our Minnick students enjoy meeting new people, learning new skills and supporting important initiatives. Through authentic community engagement, they experience a slice of life that is critical in fostering generosity, developing interpersonal skills, and energizing a strong work ethic. These experiences provide opportunities for them to discover the joy of contributing and the gift of accomplishment. We appreciate those who have included us in their vision. Together, we make the world a better place!

A snapshot from some of our community partnerships

Kirk Family YMCA

Four teenagers post together in front of a cinder block wall holding cleaning supplies

Our Minnick School Vocational students know their way around the Kirk Family YMCA in downtown Roanoke! They stroll right in and get straight to their projects as if they have worked there for years. Actually, they have, and it shows.

"Ben and Matt have sort of become my advisors on things here at the Y," explained Matt Wagner, Property Coordinator. Matt has only been with the Y for nine months, but he already has a solid relationship with our students.

"These guys have become my buddies," he said. "They’ve been here longer than me and they know what they are doing. They are super helpful and friendly. Our members love seeing them here."

A teenage boy in a red shirt with glasses cleans a window overlooking bare trees

Like most, Matt has been challenged with staffing during the COVID crisis and had been cleaning the entire (very large) gym himself. When the enCircle crew arrived, they dust mopped the gym floor for him.

"This really helped me a lot," Matt said. "It released me to take care of my other duties. They are hard workers and I appreciate how they coach each other and pour into one another. I often hear them telling each other ‘good job’ and that’s really cool."

The students also directly pour into the community when they support the vision of the YMCA – which happens to closely mirror enCircle’s.

"We are thankful for the opportunity to work with enCircle’s students," Matt said. "It’s a great partnership and we hope it continues to grow."

YMCA VISION: The Y is committed to partnering with young people to create stronger communities and a more equitable society for all of us. We envision a future in which all people – no matter who they are or where they come from – get the support they need, when they need it, to reach their full potential.

Franklin County Humane Society

 Four teenagers and a woman walk a dog down an asphalt path

It doesn’t get much better than walking pups and that is clear as our Minnick vocational students climb out of the van at Franklin County Humane Society. With smiling faces and wagging tails, it’s a win-win as our people greet their pets.

The mission of the Franklin County Humane Society is to create a community where all dogs and cats get a chance for a healthy and happy life in a loving home. Minnick students play a role in supporting this mission.

Cera Wadsworth, the Humane Society’s trainer, said she appreciates the consistency of the student visits because it gives the pets a regular chance to walk. "It’s nice for our pets to learn to walk in groups," she added. "This exposes them to a variety of heights and gaits."

A teenage boy wearing glasses leans over and pets a dog on the head while a woman holds the leash.

The Minnick students divide into small groups when they go for their walks. They listen to the trainer’s guidance on each dog’s temperament and personality and then handle their pup accordingly. It’s important work and meaningful interaction – both for the pets and the students.

 "Today, I saw the students walking Chalo," said Anita Scott, the Humane Society’s director. "He seemed so happy, and content and they seemed to be, too. That’s always a sweet moment." 

Habitat for Humanity ReStore 

A group of teenagers stands together, smiling, with their arms around each other

Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Their ReStore, a home improvement discount outlet, helps financially support this mission. It is run mainly by volunteers (60-70%) and our Minnick vocational students are among this dedicated group.

"Part of Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to provide volunteer opportunities," explained Joe Tucciarone, ReStore Director, "Minnick’s students help us with pricing, cleaning, hanging rugs, stocking products. I think they feel a sense of accomplishment and we appreciate the help."

Teenage boys load carpets onto a dolly

The students need little guidance as they go about their tasks with gusto. No doubt they know what to do and how to do it, but they also take on new projects with enthusiasm and ownership. They are here to contribute in a big way!

"They know our staff and we’ll often see shared fist-bumps when they are proud of one of their completed projects," Joe said. "Our customers love having them here."

The ReStore has also donated cleaning supplies, paint, and brushes to the Minnick School. It is a partnership of sharing strengths, expertise, resources, hugs, and smiles. The absolute best part of community!

If your community organization or church is interested in supporting an enCircle program, please email