Digging Deep: Connected Communities Inc.

May was National Mental Health Month, and we were happy to spend some time with Connected Communities Inc., a local organization that specializes in offering therapeutic counseling, mentorship programs, and trauma therapy to youth ages 6-17 and young adults/adults.

Throughout the pandemic, discussions surrounding mental health and self-care have become more mainstream.  Employers, workers, and family members have been challenged to adjust their routines, and methods of communication, and remain safe while following a seemingly ever-changing standard of safety.

One of our clients has been in the trenches providing aid to this exact topic.  Connected Communities was formed by a team of individuals that saw an opportunity to improve the lives of children and families in their neighborhoods.  The organization launched in July of 2017 by a small team with big goals to introduce a different approach to aiding youth and adolescent mental health.

We recently sat down with the founders of Connected Communities to learn more about its mission and about its success.

Mission & Value Proposition

“Over the course of our careers, we witnessed so many children who needed an outlet, a trusted person to confide in who were simply left out.  Counseling can be expensive, and many programs aren’t tailored to be readily available to children in poor environments.”Tavan Mair    

Seeing the need to serve children and families that institutional programs had failed, Connected Communities seeks to connect with these individuals and provide a more customized experience.  They actively support the most difficult cases to fix generational systems that aren’t serving the minority demographic. Institutional programs, while necessary and supportive, can be limited by standardized structures that may not suit the needs of every client.

Connected Communities seeks to meet its communities where they are and to create a tailored approach for each client. While many organizations discharge clients after missing a couple of sessions, Connected Communities subscribes to a different philosophy.  The team understood its client base dealt with overwhelming obstacles and the last thing it wanted to do was take away an outlet from struggling individuals.

“We simply don’t discharge clients very often.  We serve kids and families that are juggling an array of scheduling and transportation obstacles.  We see kids struggling with substance abuse, threatening family lives, and assist parents who simply want a better life for their families.  Instead of discharge, we continue communication with clients who miss appointments and keep building trust.  That’s how change happens.”Megan Slaughter, Human Resources + Finance Director

Connected Communities currently maintains a short waiting list.  Many institutions have a three-six month waiting list which may increase panic in clients desperate for assistance.  The organization maps its hiring strategy to meet demands and prevent a long wait period for any client needing to be onboarded.

 

Counseling During the Pandemic

Connected Communities began assisting its home market, Frederick County, in 2017 but officially opened a location near Old Town Winchester in May of 2019.  Its success after this was due to a unique value proposition just before the onset of the impending pandemic that surged in 2020.

Connected Communities, with the rest of the world, faced the difficulties of the pandemic.  Many organizations transitioned to virtual-only counseling. While virtual sessions were offered, this team understood that many of their clients didn’t have access to reliable internet and technology to maintain a regular treatment plan.  They also felt an opportunity to provide a haven for clients who needed an escape from their home environment. They safely continued in-person counseling throughout the pandemic to accommodate their community’s needs.

The need to maintain a sense of regularity became of utmost importance to the counselors that work with Connected Communities.

“There are families who drastically suffered during the pandemic.  Families who went without income, children who couldn’t keep up with schoolwork that was virtual, and parents who were trying to explain why life was different now due to the spread of COVID.”  -Krystal DeWalt, Clinical Director

Connected Communities also launched a program, Home For Now, to provide a pandemic-safe environment for students in underserved areas, helping them to stay on track with school while still having a safe outlet with their counselors. This program is still active and continues to support students who are readjusting to daily in-person school.

Culture

F&M Bank understands that any successful organization that makes this level of impact does so with the foundation of an incredible team.  Tavan Mair founded the organization after many years of serving in various state and local programs aiming to help troubled youth.  While he modestly attributes the organization’s success to his team, Tavan’s passion for making an impact in his community, and his tenacity to overcome adversity, is what inspired so many of his team to join his initiative.

“We’ve implemented a value-driven hiring policy.  In order for us to reach the lives we are called to; we feel it’s important to hire teammates that share in our values.” –Mair

Krystal DeWalt met Mair while working together at a different organization and built a mutual bond over shared concerns  where their industry was lacking in terms of helping families of various minority and income statuses.  “Tavan really is one-of-a-kind.  We met several years ago and discussed how we can set a better standard in the industry, or at least close more gaps.”

The organization has employees who have relocated to join the team simply because they wholeheartedly believe in its mission.  Connected Communities built its team to represent the communities they serve.  They found it important to have counselors that children could relate to and had shared backgrounds.

“One of my favorite moments while working here happened just a few weeks ago.  We were sponsoring an event for troubled youth in a nearby town on a Saturday night.  It was calling for bad weather and many other organizations backed out, but we wanted to show up.  The number of Connected Communities staff that showed up and gave up their rainy Saturday night to make an impact on kids assured me that I’m in the right place.  I work with a team who genuinely cares.”Slaughter

 

More About the Organization

Connected Communities specializes in offering therapeutic counseling, mentorship programs, and trauma therapy to youth ages 6-17 and young adults/adults.  With a footprint spanning from Winchester to Augusta County, the organization is actively growing to meet the needs of each neighborhood it expands into.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues, or are facing a troubling time, you can contact Connected Communities at info@cciwinchester.com or call 540-404-5985. 

 

Best of Virginia 2022

F&M Bank has been grateful to play a part in the growth of Virginia’s economy and remains committed to being a locally owned and publicly traded community bank right here where we all live, work and play.

In May 2022, Virginia Living Magazine announced results for its “Best of Virginia” annual list following a readers’ survey conducted earlier in the year. Our teammates are beyond humbled to be recognized among the top three Best Banking Services in the Shenandoah Valley region.  Thank you, readers, neighbors and friends, for your vote. We appreciate it!

Follow us out on the OTC Market Index: #FMBM. Look for @fmbankva on social media channels for the latest news, events and community updates!

F&M Bank welcomes Erica Deluhery to Commercial Banking Team

F&M Bank’s leadership team welcomes Erica Deluhery to her new role as Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager. Mrs. Deluhery joins F&M Bank most recently from Frontier Community Bank and brings with her 4 years of community banking experience.

Erica commented, “I’m excited to contribute my experience and expertise to a talented banking team. I look forward to making new connections and growing relationships to provide our clients a ‘best-in-class’ community banking experience.”

In this role, Mrs. Deluhery will build client relationships, supporting small and large Virginia-based businesses. F&M Bank’s Senior Vice President and Valley Market Executive, Katherine Preston, commented, “We are thrilled Erica has joined the F&M Bank family as we continue to grow and achieve our strategic business goals. She brings a wealth of experience to this position and will be integral to our team’s progress moving forward.”

Erica earned a Bachelor of Science in History from Liberty University and is currently entering her final year of Virginia Bankers’ School of Bank Management held in Charlottesville, Virginia. She enjoys spending time with her family, running, and reading a good book. Erica is an active member of the Waynesboro Rotary Club. She will support the bank’s market service area and be based at the Myers Corner bank branch in Staunton, VA.

Contact Erica at the “Get in Touch” form directly below!

Meet Our Advisors: Kate Bray

Kate Bray joined our team in the first quarter of 2021 and quickly became a client favorite. She is currently an Investment Relationship Specialist working closely with Matt Robinson.  Her positive energy and eagerness to assist clients helped her obtain all her securities licensing within one year of joining our team.  We recently sat down with Kate to reflect on her first year with F&M and learn more about what makes her shine.

 

What makes Kate, Kate?  

I grew up here in Harrisonburg and graduated from Turner Ashby (04).  I graduated from George Mason (08) and lived outside of DC for a few years after college working as an executive assistant at a large consulting firm.  At 25 I decided to move back to town to purchase and run Cinnamon Bear Bakery & Deli, a small local restaurant and did that for 6 years.   After that, I worked for two years as a paralegal and have now landed in my true destined field of financial services.   I have a husband, Greg, and an energetic, sweet, and wonderful 6-year-old son, Luke.  In my spare time, I love to go to local restaurants & wineries, watch Bravo, go to OrangeTheory, play roller derby, and take my son around to his miscellaneous activities.  I like food, wine, tv, and laughing, and I find it very difficult to take anything in life too seriously.

Where are you from?

Harrisonburg, VA

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?

Positive thinking and adaptability to work with different personalities and understand where people are coming from to accomplish collective goals.

How do you start your day?

Coffee

What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re proud of?

I am proud of accomplishing all my securities licensing within a year of coming to F&M Financial Services.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I love the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo.

Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?

I love to cater parties.

What’s the top destination on your must-visit list?

Fiji

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

Telepathy

Share the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you.

  • Don’t apologize when an apology is not needed or apologize for someone else’s mistake. Take accountability to correct any mistakes you’ve made.
  • Manifest Destiny.

What activities do you participate in over the weekend?

  • Roller Derby
  • Exercise / Kickboxing
  • Get together with friends at fun local places

List three items on your bucket list

  • Visit every continent
  • See a bioluminescent bay
  • Attend Food & Wine classic in Aspen

If you could quickly and easily learn any new skill, what would it be?

Divination

 

 

Kate Bray is a Registered Representative, Infinex Investments, Inc.

Investment and insurance products and services are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinex and the bank are not affiliated. Products and services made available through Infinex are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States and are not deposits or obligations of nor guaranteed or insured by any bank or bank affiliate. These products are subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of value.

NOT FDIC-INSURED. NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY. NOT GUARANTEED BY THE BANK. MAY GO DOWN IN VALUE.

F&M Bank Opens Old Town Winchester Banking Center 

A second branch location will follow in late 2022

TIMBERVILLE, Va. (April 25, 2022) – On Monday, April 18, F&M Bank continued its growth in Winchester with a new banking center located in historic Old Town Winchester. This is F&M Bank’s 13th branch in Virginia. Later in 2022, a second Winchester branch location is slated to open west of Old Town on Amherst Street.

F&M Bank identified Winchester as a strategic growth opportunity due to its thriving local economy, prospering businesses, robust non-profit network, and a community that’s committed to preserving its history while at the same time looking to the future.

“As a bank with more than 100 years of history we look to do business with people and communities that align with our values – and for us, Winchester is a perfect match,” said Mike Wilkerson, Chief Lending Officer and Winchester Market Executive. “The ‘Top of Virginia’ is thriving and our sweet spots of agriculture, non-profit and business banking reflect the needs of our community. In a world of bank consolidation and branch closures, F&M is committed to organic growth and market expansion. When we expand our ability to serve our customers, everybody wins.”

In January 2021, F&M Bank opened a commercial banking and loan production office in the Winchester market with an experienced banking team who has a 20-year history of working together. This northern Shenandoah Valley market has accrued over $36 million in deposits and $21 million in loans. Mr. Wilkerson leads the team which consists of John Sargent, SVP and Jonathan Reimer, SVP who are Commercial Relationship Managers, Gail Pryde and Ronda Gross, Business Relationship Specialists, and Bill Steele, VP, Senior Credit Analyst.

Today, with the announcement of its Old Town location opening, this team is excited to leverage their 150 years of combined banking experience to deliver customized loan, deposit, and cash management solutions to business and personal customers.

Lauren Fravel has been named as Banking Center Specialist for the Old Town Winchester location. Lauren brings over 25 years of experience to the team and is eager to welcome new customers. The banking center will also employ associates for F&M Mortgage and VS Title in the coming months.

The branch is located at 3 South Cameron Street, at the corner of Boscawen and Cameron Streets. Hours are 8:30am am to 5:00 pm with extensive digital offerings available online and on the F&M Bank mobile app.

National Ag Day with F&M Bank

National Ag Day

 

National Ag Day is March 22, 2022!  Virginia’s agricultural production is one of the most diverse in the nation. Many Virginia commodities and products rank in the top 10 among all U.S. states.  Our local farmers, and other agriculture experts, represent a leading group of industry movers and shakers that support our economy and sustain life for our region, and beyond.

 

 

Virginia is home to over 43,000 farms that cover nearly 8 million acres across the Commonwealth.  98% of all farms in the United States are family-owned and operated.  These families sacrifice a lot to feed our communities and sustain life throughout our region.  F&M strives to thank farmers throughout the year and we encourage our community to take a moment next week to thank a local farmer as we celebrate our farming community!

 

Farming is the biggest private industry in Virginia

 

F&M has been supporting local farmers for over 100 years.  We’ve helped farmers navigate several economic cycles from recessions and droughts to boom periods with flourishing production.  These experiences and partnerships have helped us develop tailored products that include equipment financing, land expansion, cattle purchases, waste management funding, and lines of credit.

 

Learn More about our line of Ag products here, or contact one of our Agri-Business specialists at agribusiness@fmbankva.com.

 

 

 

F&M Bank Receives Greater Augusta County Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Award

Augusta Regional Chamber Announces 2022 Business Excellence Awards Winners

Reprinted with permission from the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce

Fishersville, February 16, 2021– As the premier business organization serving Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro, the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce represents over 550 diverse businesses that work together to stimulate the economy for this outstanding community. Through the annual Business Excellence Awards, the Chamber is able to recognize the outstanding success of exemplary businesses and individual leaders. Courtney Thompson, President & CEO of the Chamber said, “We are so excited to announce our Business Excellence award winners. We had numerous excellent businesses, organizations and individuals nominated this year and these winners really represent the best of the best.”

The Chamber is very proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Business Excellence Awards:

● New Business of the Year: RX Coffee & More
● Small Business of the Year: Staunton Innovation Hub
● Large Business of the Year: F & M Bank
● Woman Owned Business of the Year: SweetNanaCakes
● Nonprofit of the Year: Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
● Young Professional of the Year: Debbie Irwin, Shenandoah Community Capital Fund
● Citizen of the Year: Dan Layman, Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge

The Chamber will honor each of these winners and deliver its year in review at the Business Excellence Awards on March 10 at Hotel 24 South. For more information about the winners or the event, contact Courtney Thompson at (540) 324-1133 or courtney@augustava.com.

F&M Bank’s 2022 Community Shred Day Events

One in 14 will become a victim of identity theft. Protect your identity by safely disposing of personal documents at our Community Shred Days at a location near you.

Please note: This event may end early if the Shred-It truck reaches full capacity. Limit of five “banker boxes”/bags per customer.

Crossroads (Harrisonburg)
Friday, April 8th, 2:00-5:00pm

Bridgewater
Friday, April 29th, 2:00-5:00pm

Woodstock
Saturday, May 7th, 9:00-12:00pm

Waynesboro
Friday, May 13th, 2:00-5:00pm

Broadway
Friday, May 20th, 2:00-5:00pm

Winchester (Blue Ridge Hospice)
Saturday, August 13th, 9:00-12:00pm

Crossroads (Harrisonburg)
Friday, September 9th, 2:00-5:00pm

Staunton (N. Augusta St.)
Friday, September 23rd, 2:00-5:00pm

Woodstock
Saturday, October 1st, 9:00-12:00pm

Broadway
Friday, October 14th, 2:00-5:00pm

 

A special ‘thank you’ to Blue Ridge Hospice for providing E-Recycling Services at our Woodstock Shred Day events.

Learn more about F&M Bank’s Identity Theft Protection Service, provided free with Cash Back and Cash Rewards Checking.

F&M Bank to Participate in the 2022 VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program

VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program

The third Tuesday in March was declared Bank Day by the Virginia General Assembly in 1991 and F&M Bank has been proud to host students for this important program.  Each year this scholarship program awards local Virginia high school rising seniors the opportunity to spend time learning about the banking industry. F&M Bank members will educate these students on their job roles and the various bank departments; including the loan process, the importance of good credit, the profile of a qualified borrower, and how F&M Bank is involved in the community.

From their experience, participating students will write an essay for the chance to win a scholarship. Six regional scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded, and from those six winners an overall statewide winner will be chosen. The statewide winner will receive an additional $5,000 scholarship – $7,500 in total. There will also be six honorable mention scholarships of $1,000 each. In all, twelve students will receive scholarships totaling $26,000.

If interested in signing up for the program, click here.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Nicole Davis, Marketing Specialist, at ndavis@fmbankva.com or 540-437-3471.

F&M Bank Welcomes Director of Digital Banking, Charles Driest, to its Growing Team

F&M Bank’s leadership team welcomes Charles Driest as Senior Vice President & Director of Digital Banking. Mr. Driest joins F&M Bank most recently from Essex Bank and brings with him over 13 years of digital banking experience.

Mr. Driest commented, “I’m excited to contribute my experience and expertise to a talented banking team; we will deliver robust digital capabilities that provide our customers with a rich customer experience however they choose to engage with F&M Bank.”

In this role, Charles will support the company’s strategic growth initiatives, technology infrastructure, and digital banking services. F&M Bank’s President and CEO, Mark Hanna commented, “We are thrilled Charles has joined the F&M Bank family as we continue to grow and develop our digital banking offerings and technology infrastructures. He brings a wealth of experience to this position and will be integral to our growth moving forward.”
Charles earned a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from St. John’s University, Peter J Tobin College of Business. Charles is currently entering his final year of Virginia Bankers’ School of Bank Management held in Charlottesville, VA.

About F&M Bank

F&M Bank (FMBM) proudly remains the only publicly traded organization based in Rockingham County, VA, and serves the Shenandoah Valley with 13 full-service branches and a wide variety of financial services including home loans through F&M Mortgage and real estate settlement services and title insurance through VSTitle. F&M Bank has grown to $1.2 billion in assets and employs over 200 employees across the organization. Its conservative approach to finances and sound investments, along with excellent customer service, has made F&M Bank profitable and continues to pave the way for a bright future.

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