“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

1 Thes 5:11

“It is really exciting for us to walk with people and encourage them to find their purpose and to reach their potential that God created them for.  When we find our “sweet spot” everything changes – our work, our families, and our community.” -Steve Barrs

Equipping people with the tools they need to strengthen their lives, families and community. That’s what Little England Mercantile has set out to do with EquipVA, a scholarship fund for college students working toward a professional certification at nearby Rappahannock Community College or Thomas Nelson Community College.

EquipVA speaks to exactly what we are all coming together to do – equip others with the skills they need to move on and up in their life and career. We want to give people who may not have thought they had a future in higher education another option to help earn family-sustaining wages.

Specifically, EquipVA supports students working on certifications in health care, IT, logistics, transportation, skilled trades, welding, manufacturing, architecture and construction.

The fund launched with pledged support from multiple businesses on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and Peninsula regions, including Yorktown Materials, C.A. Barrs Contractor, Oyster Cove Boatworks & Yacht Brokerage, Off Leash K9 Training Hampton Roads and Consociate Media. Little England Mercantile will continue its support with proceeds from sales at its Gloucester Point store, living up to its promise to provide provisions with purpose.

While state-funded support can help students pay for up to two-thirds of the tuition for workforce credentialing programs, most programs cost on average $4,500 per student, not including books and other materials needed for completion. EquipVA scholarships will fund the student’s portion of tuition not already covered, including third-party certification fees, books and required materials/equipment.

Pledges to the EquipVA fund can be made online here. Pledges can also be made by contacting Karen Barrs here.

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