Norfolk, Virginia – Founded downtown in 1856, the Hospital of St. Vincent dePaul, more recently known as DePaul Hospital, was more than “just a hospital.” It was a ministry of hope and mercy to patients and their families; it was a place of joy when new family members were born, and a place of loving care for those living their final moments. Thus, it is not surprising that, when this cherished institution closed in 2021, so many wondered what would happen to the property.
During the last ninety years, The Barry-Robinson Trust, an organization founded by Norfolk businessman Frederick J. Robinson, has been driven by its Catholic heritage and mission to improve the lives of children and their families. Currently, the organization’s programs include The James Barry-Robinson Institute, providing residential treatment to military-connected youth, foster care services for Hampton Roads children and teens, as well as an outpatient program for teens and young adults facing substance abuse challenges. The Trust also established Saint Patrick Catholic School in 2005, with the mission of cultivating future generations of courageous and compassionate student leaders. Barry-Robinson has now launched Next Step to Success (NSTS) as a bold initiative to tackle the high rate of intergenerational poverty in Norfolk.
Currently, NSTS is serving 70 youth next door at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, providing transportation to attend its afterschool and summer “experiential learning” programs that encourage youth between the ages of 13 and 18 to develop the character strengths and higher self-expectations necessary to achieve their full God-given potential. In just its third year, Next Step To Success has outgrown its current location. So, when the opportunity arose to acquire Virginia’s oldest Catholic hospital property, to be repurposed to serve the future generations of this City’s youth, it seemed providential.
The new home for Next Step to Success will be called the St. Vincent de Paul House. It will take approximately two years to build and will incorporate a beautiful campus of “learning houses”, a gymnasium, dining hall, gardens and a regulation-size soccer field, dedicated to serve up to 300 future “Success Stories” from Norfolk’s most underserved communities. Rob McCartney, CEO, states, “The team at The James Barry-Robinson Institute is honored to continue its service to the Norfolk and greater Hampton Roads community with programs that lead with compassion and hope while giving great consideration to the memory of DePaul Hospital and the countless families impacted by their unwavering commitment to care.”
Next Step to Success
Next Step to Success is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers teens a wide range of activities that will inspire and propel them to become more confident and capable versions of themselves. Through highly intentional programming, teens will learn strategies to maximize their chances for success. Life skills and character strengths such as resilience, grit, growth mindset, learned optimism, self-control, teamwork, problem-solving, and responsible decision-making are central to our program. Next Step to Success is an affiliate of The James Barry-Robinson Institute and the Barry-Robinson Trust.