Henrico County’s general government departments and Henrico County Public Schools earned a combined 3 Achievement Awards from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) which recognizes excellence in local government programs for 2020.
Henrico’s award-winning programs are listed below:
Henrico County Public Library created the LGBTQIA+ Book Discussion Group to improve service to the LGBTQIA community. Through a combination of outreach, thoughtful planning, intentional materials selection, and flexible program design, the book discussion has established a healthy following. The book discussion group improves community engagement with the library through conversations about books with LGBTQIA authors, themes, and characters. The group’s success indicates that the library is establishing itself as a welcoming community space for members of the LGBTQIA community.
The Trailblazers Wall at the Fairfield Area Library in Henrico, Virginia is an inclusive, dynamic digital history wall that showcases biographies of individuals whose lives and work had major impacts on the county, the state, and the nation. Inspired by the Supervisor of the Fairfield District, content for the wall was selected by a committee of community members knowledgeable about local history, with the goal of inspiring paths in life for young people of the Fairfield District.
The resulting wall highlights many people of color and women whose historical narratives have been submerged, and demonstrates how community engagement can lead to more inclusive and valuable services in public libraries. Public response and usage patterns show that the inclusive historical display has deeply resonated with the community, and that local history has a natural home in public libraries.
Queens UNITED” is a program designed to foster a positive and loving environment for teen girls. UNITED is an acronym for Unity, Nobility, Integrity, Trustworthiness, Education and Destiny. We began in February 2017 at Huguenot High School with a small group of girls who have since grown in numbers and spirit. The program is now run primarily from the campus of Henrico County Public Schools’ Academy at Virginia Randolph, but still includes students we work with at Huguenot High School. Queens UNITED seeks to educate, strengthen and empower girls by cultivating self-awareness and accountability, positive relationships, educational and personal goal-setting, leadership and community service opportunities, and sisterhood. Our overarching goal is to ensure that students are successful and have the necessary tools to excel. To that end, we work closely with the girls’ parents, guardians and communities, because we understand that it takes a village to create an atmosphere that nurtures success.
This program has proven to be impactful and encourages girls to be successful. Queens UNITED has gone from one group of 11 students to three different groups, each comprised of more than 20 students. The students have expressed how much the program has helped them with communication, organization and planning. Most of the students who have been mentored through the program have gone on to either a community college or a four-year university.
We are currently working on expanding our program to other Henrico County schools and schools in the City of Richmond. We aim to continue to support the young ladies we build relationships with, as well as their parents, guardians, and communities.