Henrico County agencies and Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) won a combined four Achievement Awards from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) for innovative programs in 2022.
The Department of Human Resources was recognized for its program Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Employee Conversations and Experiences. Inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest and social movement of 2020, the department held virtual focus groups, workshops and panel discussions to create a safe space for employees to discuss current events and issues from the perspective of diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition, the Voices of the Heart video series, produced with the county’s Public Relations department, highlights the experiences and diverse identities of employees as they navigate complex social situations and the work environment.
Henrico County Public Library earned an Achievement Award for the Parent-Child Computer Work and Play Stations at Fairfield Area Library. The innovative workstations allow parents and other caregivers to access the reading room computers while their toddlers and infants are contained in an attached play area.
HCPS won awards for Kids of Promise and the Safety Around the Water: Learn2Swim Program. Kids of Promise is an after-school program at Laburnum Elementary School that strives to identify gifted students that have been historically underrepresented, including those from low-income and culturally diverse families. Learn2Swim, supported through a partnership with the YMCA of Greater Richmond and NOVA of Virginia Aquatics, aims to prevent drownings by helping all HCPS second graders to learn water safety skills.
“The programs and initiatives honored in this year’s VACo’s awards competition underscore what a great team we have here in Henrico,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “These awards recognize the many ways that Henrico’s general government and Henrico County Public Schools work – often in partnership – to support our residents and community, whether we’re designing a new library, equipping our youth to succeed or strengthening our workplace culture to ensure that all are welcome and valued.”
Henrico’s four awards were the second most among Virginia counties, trailing only Chesterfield County’s five awards. Overall, the awards competition recognized 29 programs from 100 entries submitted by member counties across the state.