Big Hearts. Big Motivation. Big Results.
August 16, 2018
Parents. Advocates. Teachers. Mentors. Thinkers. Doers. Unwavering. Champions.
For much of Rai and Marie Beasley’s 35 years of marriage, the couple has been advocating for high-risk children. Rai learned through his own experiences with childhood homelessness “that when you give a child the opportunity to be a child, you open up the world to them.”
So opportunity is exactly what he and his wife provide. From Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh, and now in Henrico County, the Beasleys have provided more than 30 foster children with a safe and loving home. At one point, Rai and Marie purchased a second home so they could keep the foster boys and foster girls separated. “For a while we lived together by living apart,” Rai said.
It’s not only foster children Marie and Rai have provided with a family unit. They also have two adopted children, both of whom have developmental challenges. James is 17. His 14-year-old sister, Sophia, is a student at UMFS Charterhouse School. Charterhouse School’s campus-style setting, small classrooms, and caring, specialized staff have helped Sophia’s development, Marie said. “She has done nothing but soar.”
Charterhouse School also helped Sophia connect with SPARC, an organization that inspires children to reach their full potential through art. She recently participated in SPARC’s annual LIVE: ART event and was onstage in front of a sold-out crowd at Richmond’s historic Altria Theater with such musical superstars as Josh Groban, Jason Mraz and Michael McDonald. “Charterhouse School has done so much for her,” Marie said. And for Charterhouse School, the Beasleys have done much in return.
“They’ve demonstrated through their outstanding work and unwavering commitment to our school that it does take a village to make a school successful,” said Kay Currie, Charterhouse School Principal. “Their message is clear: The whole community has an essential role to play in the growth and development of our young people.”
When UMFS Charterhouse School students needed cheerleading uniforms and sports jersey, for example, Rai made it happen. He partnered with Gail and Lew Held, owners of longtime sporting goods retailer, Disco Sports. Upon learning of the work being done at UMFS, Gail and Lew happily donated the attire. “I’m just a conduit,” Rai said. “Nothing has been done by me, only through me.”
Rai has tapped his far-reaching community connections to bring guest speakers and resources to Charterhouse School. He’s reached out to local businesses to procure materials for various student events, and he donates his own time and money to support school functions. “Rai has also been instrumental in spearheading Charterhouse School’s first Family Association,” Kay said. The mission of the Family Association is for parents to partner with the school to learn how they can best support faculty and staff.
Earlier this year, the Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities (VAISEF) recognized all of Rai’s efforts by presenting him with the Parent of the Year Award. But through it all, and despite his hard work, Rai refuses to take credit.
“The truth is, I’m just the arms flailing,” he said. “The real spine is my wife. People always ask, ‘where do you get the time to do this?’ I get the time because my wife holds it down in every aspect of our life. I get the time because she believes that what’s being done needs to be done.”
And what needs to be done most certainly is getting done, thanks to the Beasleys.
You, too, can support Charterhouse School in Richmond and Edinburg by donating school supplies. Click here to learn more.