At the Villa, we’re committed to serving the whole child, and are here to do whatever it takes to help our students succeed. Exercise and physical activity play an important role in the lives of our children, and studies show a direct correlation between activity and improved mental and behavioral health.
Today, our children are experiencing new challenges related to their mental and behavioral health in the wake of the pandemic, and according to a recent CDC study of students, 44% reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless over the last year, and a staggering 15.4% of high school students and 21.4% of middle school students reported seriously considering suicide.
In the heart of campus, the Villa’s gymnasium has promoted healthy choices and recreation for nearly a century, and remains a hub of campus activity. Each year our gymnasium welcomes more than 250 students through its doors, along with community partners who host after-school, evening, and weekend programming.
When the gymnasium opened in 1931 with its beautiful maple basketball court, a Wurlitzer jukebox presided over weekly dance lessons and roller-skating parties. On many occasions, music was replaced by the raucous crowd at Villa basketball games, where the Villa girls, perennial favorites, won numerous state and local tournaments.
Even with meticulous maintenance and cleaning, the gym floor required sanding and refinishing every 7-10 years, and while hardwoods have a long lifespan, replacement is often due after decades of refinishing and preservation. Today, the grooves in the planks and nails have begun to show on the thinning floors, and cause concerns beyond cosmetics that could be dangerous for our students.
So, after 91 years of wonderful memories, events, games, and numerous resurfacings, the gym’s original hardwood floors are beginning to splinter and show signs of extreme wear. To keep our students safe, we are in urgent need of a new hardwood court in order to continue our current programming, and to invest in our facilities for the future of the Villa.
To do this, we’re working to raise $100,000 this year to replace the floors, and create a safe playing environment for our students and community members.
In addition to the mental and behavioral health benefits the Villa’s Recreation services provide for our students, the new floors will equip the space with high-performance athletic flooring designed for safety, resilience, and long-term durability; and add features like a volleyball net system which would not only provide the chance to involve students in new activities, but would increase community group rental opportunities.
Shout out to our amazing partners, helping to promote physical activity and wellness at the Villa for generations to come!
Megan Walker: WNBA, UConn – Chesterfield, VA
Keldon Johnson: San Antonio Spurs, University of Kentucky – Chesterfield, VA
Odicci Alexander: Team USA Softball, James Madison University – South Hill, VA
Christian Darrisaw: Minnesota Vikings, Virginia Tech – Petersburg, VA
Thank you for being a team player!
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