Hillside rises from shootings with cheer squads, football teams - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Hillside rises from shootings with cheer squads, football teams


When blood spilled on the sidewalks and violence spilled in from nearby neighborhoods, people from South Richmond's Hillside Court knew it was time to band together.

"We cannot thrive as a community by living separate lives," said Patrice Shelton, a founding member of the Hillside Court Partnership. "We need to be here for one another, and give our young people a sense of belonging, responsibility and friendship."

Richmond gun violence spiked at the end of 2012 – in Hillside, at least two fatal shootings unfolded in three months. Then in December, Shelton helped to develop the Hillside Court Partnership, a community service group founded to empower young people.

"We have our residents become members of teams," said Shelton in an interview Thursday. "We have a family support team, a meet-and-greet team… Teens deliver hot meals to our older community members. It's all of us helping each other out."

The community service teams are joined by a cheer squad, known as the "Southside Starz" and a football team, "the Hillside Soldiers."

Hillside's cheer coach, Lindsay Gullatte, said she's seen a drastic difference in the personalities of the girls she mentors.

"They start out a little sassy" Gullatte said. "I try to teach them a little discipline, and teach them positive habits. So less sass is helping the neighborhood"

Faith-based charity Embrace Richmond founded the Hillside Court Partnership, and now HCP runs community activities.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly