My Henrico Academy to help immigrant residents access county services

Applications for free program accepted through April 12

Henrico County, in partnership with the Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia (ALSACV), is offering a free new program designed to help residents — particularly those from immigrant backgrounds — learn about their local government and how they can access and navigate its services and resources.

My Henrico Academy will launch Wednesday, June 5 and will be held the first Wednesday monthly through Jan. 8. Sessions will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at various county facilities and will be led by county officials and staff. Topics will include federal, state and local governance; Henrico County Public Schools; healthy living; doing business in Henrico; roads and utilities; Police and Fire operations; and opportunities available through Henrico’s recreation centers, parks and libraries.

The academy will also offer tours of county facilities and the opportunity for participants to interact with county officials and other community leaders. Course materials and lunch will be provided.

There is no cost to participate in My Henrico Academy, though individuals must apply and be admitted to the program. The academy is designed for members of Henrico’s Asian, Latino and immigrant communities; applicants should be 21 or older and be active, engaged members of their community. Preferred applicants are those who are already involved in their communities, have shown leadership abilities, and who are willing to disseminate the information they learn throughout their communities. Upon graduation, My Henrico Academy participants will be able to help their communities to better understand and access government services. Graduates also will have the opportunity to interact with residents from other communities through the My Henrico Academy alumni network.

Applications are available online at My Henrico Academy and at Applications will be accepted through Friday, April 12. Selected participants will be notified in early May.

My Henrico Academy has been developed in response to the growing Asian, Latino and immigrant communities in Henrico. The county’s immigrant heritage population was 15.6 percent in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with expectations for continued growth in the next decade.

“By helping new immigrants develop the skills and contacts necessary to navigate the governmental and social service systems independently, effectively, and efficiently, they become active participants in improving the overall well-being of our communities,” said May Nivar, ALSACV’s founding chair, who also chairs the Governor’s Virginia Asian Advisory Board. “We’re excited to be partnering with Henrico County and look forward to bringing this program to other localities in the region and state.”

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas added, “Henrico welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia to present My Henrico Academy. This innovative program will play a critical role in introducing new residents to their local government and, in turn, will provide a spark for civic engagement that will only make our community stronger.”

Funding for My Henrico Academy will be provided through corporate sponsorships, grants and donations to ALSACV, a nonprofit 501(c)3.

For more information, call (804) 501-4933, email [email protected] or contact [email protected].

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