Staff of the Month: LaVonda Vaughn

LaVonda grew up in Richmond, and is passionate about helping people heal from trauma and learn to navigate systems that are designed to work against them. Learn more about RYSE Restorative Pathways Project (R2P2) and Community Health program here, and learn more about LaVonda below!


Name and Title:

LaVonda Vaughn, Trauma Response Specialist

How long have you worked at RYSE?

I have had the pleasure to work for RYSE for 10 months now.

As the Trauma Response Specialist, what do you do?

I support and empower RYSE youth and victims of trauma by providing bedside visits, community referrals, support services and assist with navigating systems that are designed to work against them.  I also support center-wide crisis intervention and response efforts.

What do you love most about your job?

I love being that helping, caring, supportive person when families need it the most, when I can support them during a critical time of need. I love helping the youth of Richmond build trusting relationships with adults that only what to see them grow and succeed. To witness the youth of my community use the platform provided by RYSE to make a difference is something that I am grateful to be a part of.

How did you first hear about RYSE and why did you choose to get involved?

I have lived in Richmond since I was a child, and if there had been a RYSE Center while I was growing up, my life may have been different. I have worked in this field for the past 11 years and when this position opened up at RYSE I knew that it was meant for me! It was an opportunity to do what I love, for a community that I love. It was a WIN-WIN for me!

If you had to describe RYSE in three words, what would they be and why?

Loving, Nurturing, and Equality. These are  the things that RYSE strives to be and provide for our young people and our community.

Can you share something funny or touching that happened at RYSE that resonated with you this month? 

One of the youth started referring to me as “Mama Odie," which is the old voodoo lady from Princess in the Frog. When I asked her why she calls me this, she responded “because I was wise beyond my years”.

To find out how you can support RYSE, click here.