Virginia Beach Fellows: Living, Working, and Growing Together

The Virginia Beach Fellows is a fun and fulfilling program for recent college graduates. Read on to learn all about it.

A Different Kind of Community

What happens after college? You’ve just spent 4 years (or more) of your life in a bubble of people your own age, and most likely with friends you’ve made who share similar interests. While you may have gained a lot of knowledge…the reality of building a career and finding community when you leave college is scary.

Enter “The Virginia Beach Fellows” program. The year after graduation is a defining season. What do you want to do? What’s it going take to become the person you want to be? The Virginia Beach Fellows helps young men and women discern and apply their gifts, desires, and callings as they live and work alongside other people of their faith in Hampton Roads. By partnering with sponsors, mentors, and employers in the community, the VB Fellows aims to set up college graduates for success.

The first class of Virginia Beach Fellows was launched by Jay McCabe and Ross Byrd in Fall 2019 to Spring 2020, with 11 people total. I was one of them. 7 girls and 4 boys, from different colleges and different states, and for the most part, total strangers before we met on move-in day.

That’s right. 11 of us living on the same oceanfront property. A house for the girls and a house for the boys. I was one year older than most, after spending a year as a preschool teacher. “Is this just me trying to re-live my college days?” I wondered. No. This was me growing roots in the city I grew up in and call home. This was me figuring out what I really wanted, and developing a broad range of tools, skills, and relationships to achieve my goals. This was community.

virginia beach fellows

Why FamilyApp Works for Us

As a group of early-twenty-somethings, we have a lot to say to each other. What’s cooking for dinner tonight? (We ate dinner all together once a week) Who wants to play beach volleyball? Who wants to watch The Bachelor tonight? How can we be supporting you if you’re having a rough day? That’s why FamilyApp was perfect for keeping those conversations all in one place. We had a group for the girls, a group for the guys, and one collective group for everyone. I could keep the VB Fellows group chat pinned at the top, so I never had to scroll and look for it.

As the summer approached, it was time for us to go our separate ways…or so we thought. Out of 11 Fellows, 10 stayed in the Hampton Roads area, and 9 stayed in Virginia Beach. I realized that for me, figuring out what I wanted in a career was a wonderful added bonus. What really mattered was finding a group of people who inspire me to be unashamedly myself, to embrace vulnerability, and to grow. While we may not all still live together anymore, FamilyApp keeps us connected so we can make sure we maintain those meaningful relationships, no matter where we go.

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