Personality: Mollie S. Reinhart | Richmond Free Press
With COVID-19 still a clear and present danger, establishing and maintaining a human connection can be difficult. It’s a need that Mollie S. Reinhart and the organization she founded, Befriend, seek to meet.
“Befriend connects people to meet and forge new relationships by uniting in compassion,” says Ms. Reinhart. “Our goal is to create friendships rather than divisions so that each person can embrace empathy, foster understanding and unite our world.”
From the individual to the government level, compassion should be central, says Reinhart.
“We believe that compassion should be at the heart of our community’s actions: how we live, how we legislate, and how we connect and prosper.
The Maryland native founded Befriend in December 2017 after the kind of chance encounter and growth the group seeks to ensure for others. Ms Reinhart says the bond she made with someone whose experience was very different from Ms Reinhart’s comfortable life was transformative and led to even more bonds and friendships.
Seeking to bring this experience and opportunity to as many people as possible, Ms. Reinhart sees Befriend as a vehicle for personal growth for those involved, regardless of their background.
Befriend offers various possibilities for people to connect through Befriend Gatherings at events and places such as cafes, gyms and community cleanings. Two such events are coming up: Wednesday, October 6 at Jefferson Park on Princess Anne Avenue in Church Hill, where people will share inspirational quotes and conversations, and on Tuesday, October 12, a clean-up along the hallway of 25th Street in Church Hill.
“I had amazing conversations with new friends at a community cleanup event,” Ms. Reinhart says.
Ms Reinhart’s work with Befriend is not only focused on the individual, but on the institutional one. In May 2020, Befriend led the proclamation of the City of Richmond as a City of Compassion, joining the global movement of the International Charter for Compassion, a movement guided by the Golden Rule: Treat Others As You Want. others treat you.
In March 2020, she was invited to join the then nascent Richmond social service expert firm, representing Befriend and Community Connections / Compassion. She uses this role to “continually seek and promote new ways for our city to lead through a lens of compassion”.
Befriend’s work at Richmond is just the beginning of Ms Reinhart’s vision for the group. Already, she says, Befriend is growing across the country and around the world. “We hope to continue to spread compassion around the world. “
Meet this week’s compassion and connection advocate and personality, Mollie S. Reinhart:
1st volunteer position: Founder, Befriend.
Date and place of birth: July 19 in St. Michaels, Maryland (July 19 is the same date as on the official seal of the city of Richmond. I always thought it was interesting!)
Where I live now: Richmond.
Education: Bachelor of Psychology and Management from Hood College; Master of Education in Human Development Psychology, Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and a current student in the Applied Compassion Training Certification Program at Stanford University.
Occupation: Founder, Befriend, a movement of connection through compassion.
Family: Married 32 years to Jim, my high school sweetheart, and three wonderful children, Porter, 27, Hunter, 24, and Caroline, 21.
To befriend is: Connection through compassion.
When and why Befriend was founded: Befriend started in December 2017 by chance when I met a woman who lived 5 miles from my house but who lived a completely different life. I live in a comfortable and safe house; she is in social housing and hears gunshots every night. We became friends and I was changed forever. It opened me up to other friendships. People became curious about these relationships, which ultimately led to Befriend’s very organic start.
Story behind the name: As my first friendship continued and more followed, I shared my experiences, discoveries, and personal growth with my friends, Reggie Gordon and Patty Parks. The three of us would often talk about how we felt “about something revolutionary”. But could just being a friend change a life? For me it was. As our conversations continued and evolved, the core principle of friendship or befriending climbed to the top. Befriend was born.
A friend is: An equal, trustworthy, respectful, honest, kind and fun!
Racial Equity and Befriend: Befriend creates opportunities for people from different walks of life to share their stories and foster understanding and respect for every human being. Arousing this connection of recognition of our common humanity encourages racial healing.
Most memorable moment yet thanks to Befriend: Every time I “see” a light bulb go out at one of our Befriend Gatherings and someone is changed forever. I also have to mention the moment one of my first friends I met via Befriend, Ed, unexpectedly texted me: “Happy Mothers Day! ”
Befriend’s # 1 hope for Richmond: Healing and transformation.
How Befriend is funded: Through individual donations.
How friendship works: Befriend gives people with different backgrounds the chance to connect and share the stories of others. We are continually spreading the message of doing random acts of compassion as a way to start connecting. For example, consider giving someone a cup of coffee.
Make friends with: Anyone wishing to collaborate with us! There are many ways to communicate with different people and we are always open to discovering new opportunities. For example, we partner with YMCA of Greater Richmond, 804 Coaches for Change, Richmond Office of Community Wealth Building, RVA Light, RVA Fitness Warriors, Richmond Police Department, Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, Communities in Schools of Richmond, Richmond Animal League, and many more.
Ways readers can get involved and make new friends: Follow us on [email protected] (this is where we do most of our updates), join our mailing list at www.befriendmovement.org, or email [email protected] .
Events to come: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 6 at Jefferson Park, 1941-1999 Princess Anne Ave. Join us to discuss and share inspirational quotes. Also from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 12, cleaning the 25th Street corridor with the Richmond Police Department and Real Life. Meet at 1111 N. 25th St. Email mollie @ befriend. movement.org to register for any of these events.
How I start the day: Be thankful for a new day to spread compassion and kindness and to serve our community.
A perfect day for me is: Walk in nature then enjoy the Chesapeake Bay with my family.
What I am learning about myself during the pandemic: When I learned to feel comfortable with uncertainty, endless possibilities opened up. The fear was no longer present. I embraced the circumstances, adjusted where necessary and learned to be flexible, creative and innovative to develop new ways of bonding.
Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: Given this time of year, I love to eat a whole bag of corn candy!
Quotes I am inspired by: “When you know better you do better.” – Maya Angelou
“I wonder how many people I have looked at all my life and have never seen.” – John Steinbeck, “The Winter of Our Discontent”.
Friends describe me as: Kind, inspiring, compassionate, trustworthy and energetic.
At the top of my “to-do” list: Spread acts of compassion and kindness every day. Acts of compassion, big or small, count!
Best late night snack: Peanut M & Ms. (I eat them now.)
The best thing my parents ever taught me: Go for my dreams (and they were my safety net if I fell).
Person who influenced me the most: As far as Befriend is concerned, hearing Bryan Stevenson, author of “Just Mercy,” speak at Virginia Commonwealth University a few years ago was a transformation for me. Many of Befriend’s concepts flow from his work. And Ciji Redd was the Creighton Court woman I met in December 2017 who changed my life forever.
Next goal: While Befriend’s roots are in Richmond, we are expanding all over the United States and around the world – most recently in Africa! We hope to continue to spread compassion around the world. A documentary is in preparation to reach even more people! Let us unite the world and create a better future for all.