On this issue of Let's Talk Portsmouth, we interview Janice Douglass-Ellis, from the Portsmouth Department of Social Services. Ellis works on a project called the Portsmouth Reentry Council with the goal of easing the transition of formerly incarcerated individuals back into the community. The Reentry Council is voluntarily implemented and does not have an actual office, employees, or funding. The Portsmouth Reentry Council is an excellent resource for returning citizens to access community resources and learn more about community capabilities. The Council addresses the following: workforce development, education, finance obligations, housing, mental health, substance abuse, community integration, and much more. The needs of the communities will likely dictate the services. The Reentry Council integrates human services, public safety, and community partners. Volunteers and mentors are needed. If you're interested, reach out to Janice Douglass-Ellis at 757-408-1800, EXT. 8725.
The Wesley Community Service Center was established in 1937 when a group of Methodist women in Portsmouth joined forces to form a city mission board to get involved in community needs and social issues. In 2022, the Wesley Community Service Center is still operating with the same goal – to assist people and improve the community. On this issue of Let’s Talk Portsmouth, we spoke with Renyatta Banks, executive director of the Wesley Community Service Center, about the center’s work and a major fundraising event coming in May 2022. Check out At Your Service with Dana Woodson on PCTV Channel 48 (COX) and Channel 39 (FiOS) for more info about the Wesley Center's W.E. Worship Concert fundraiser.
In this episode of Let's Talk Portsmouth, we spoke with Bryan K. Stephens, President and CEO for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. There are approximately 7,000 chambers of commerce in the country. The Hampton Roads Chamber, via the creation of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, has been around since 1801. Stephens talks about the upcoming State of the City series, the Chamber’s role in helping businesses succeed, the importance of embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion in business, and a host of other programming designed to connect individuals with businesses and each other.
Portsmouth kicked off its Black History Month 2022 series in January with a discussion featuring Sam Allen, a former baseball player in the Negro Baseball League. Allen played with the Kansas City Monarchs, the Raleigh Tigers, and the Memphis Red Sox before going into the military. Let's Talk Portsmouth caught up with the 85-year-old for an interview. Joining Allen on this episode were family members of another Negro Baseball League baseball player, Arthur McKinley Harding Sr. Baseball in the 50s was quite different than today's sport . . . especially for Black baseball players. Take a trip down memory lane in this episode . . . Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Visit the Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum to see the exhibit Rooting for the Home Team: Portsmouth's Black Baseball Players, Promoters, and Parks. Curated by the city of Portsmouth Museums staff, the exhibit will be on display through 2023.
Dr. Alexander Benitez joined the City of Portsmouth effective January 20, 2022, as the new Director of Museums and Tourism. Benitez joins the city after more than 30 years of experience working for various state and university museums, and the Smithsonian Institution. Benitez earned degrees in anthropology from the University of Arizona (B.A.) and the University of Texas at Austin (M.A., Ph.D.). In this episode of Let's Talk Portsmouth, Benitez talks about his prior research projects, moving to Portsmouth, and what intrigues him most about humans, societies, and cultures.
Black History Month is observed annually from February 1 thru February 28. In Portsmouth, we kick off the celebration in January and joining us on the podcast today is Stephen Grunnet, museum gallery supervisor with Portsmouth Museums & Tourism. Portsmouth’s Black History Month program is designed for children and adults – with something for everyone. Grunnet explains how programming is created for the annual observance, who is involved and the details on pulling the month-long celebration together. One thing we learned in talking with the museum gallery supervisor, the “Rooting for the Home Team: Portsmouth Black Baseball Players, Promoters and Parks” exhibit was curated by the Portsmouth museum staff. Incredible! Grunnet explains how the exhibit was created and the staff and community members contributed. For a complete list of Black History Month events and happenings, visit portsVAevents.com or call the Portsmouth Museums at 757-393-8983.
Through the Portsmouth Public Schools division’s extensive Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, high school students can get an early start on their dream careers by getting access to the skills and the learning needed to excel in those career pathways. We interviewed superintendent, Dr. Elie Bracy, about the CTE program, and the February observance of Career and Technical Education Month. CTE pathways help ensure students are successful after graduation, and can either directly enter the workforce or they can seek the appropriate educational opportunities after graduation to help further their career goals. We also checked in with the superintendent about how schools are faring after the impact of COVID-19.
On this episode of Let's Talk Portsmouth, we interview Dr. Carol Pretlow, a professor of political science, and Dr. Khadijah Miller, professor of interdisciplinary studies both from Norfolk State University. They discuss the origins of Black History Month, which started out as Negro History Week, and how the observance has changed over the decades since its founding in 1926. We talk about why the month of February was chosen for the celebration and why Black History Month is still very much relevant in the 21st century. Also in this episode, you'll understand what critical race theory is and more importantly where it's actually being taught. And, we touch on the connection between Black history and American history. You might be surprised and you may learn something new.
Are you looking to improve your overall health and gain knowledge about staying healthy for the rest of your lives? We’ve got just the ticket. Check out this episode of Let's Talk Portsmouth as we talk with J.R. Locke, vice president for Community Development for the Healthier757 initiative. The City of Portsmouth, the Healthy Portsmouth Coalition (Portsmouth Health Department), and a host of other agencies have joined Healthier757's Rewards for Healthy Living project. It’s easy to use and readily accessible to anyone with internet access. Health topics addressed include coronavirus, mental health, opioid addiction, chronic health conditions, cancer, caregiving and senior health, medication use, health insurance, telemedicine, and navigating the healthcare system, amongst hundreds of others. Local residents may sign up for the free at https://www.rewardsforhealthyliving.com/. Improve your health today and get up-to-date information on various health topics.
Keeping physically and mentally fit anytime can be challenging, but adding a global pandemic to the mix, and maintaining a workout schedule and downtime can be challenging. In this episode of Let's Talk Portsmouth, we interview Crystal Barber registered dietician and extension agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Program. The Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Barber conducts several programs throughout the year to keep Portsmouth residents healthy and fit. She provides tips to maintain exercise routines over the holidays, offers pointers to prevent over-indulging, and talks about vitamin supplements. Additionally, we discuss Type-2 diabetes, ways to prevent and/or delay the onset of Type-2, and how to decipher food labels. For more information about programs offered at the Portsmouth Cooperative Extension Office, call 757-393-8839. Visit the website at https://portsmouth.ext.vt.edu/. If you’re struggling with maintaining balance in your life over the holiday season or anytime, you’ll want to listen and download this episode of Let’s Talk Portsmouth!