Henrico County’s divisions of Recreation & Parks and Police as well as Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) won a combined four Achievement Awards from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) for innovative programs in 2023.
The Division of Recreation & Parks was recognized for the Parsons Community Center, which is the result of a 2021 redesign and rededication of the orientation center at Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park. The center, named in honor of an enslaved family who lived on the property, now features exhibits that focus on the three cultures that have occupied the area over thousands of years.
The Police Division and HCPS received an Achievement Award for Local Police Department and Students Build Relationships, an initiative that promoted fellowship and understanding among Varina High School students and county police officers. Over a meal prepared by culinary arts students, the youth and officers asked questions of each other, shared their perspectives and enjoyed a free-flowing conservation that allowed for candid, constructive engagement.
HCPS received an Achievement Award for Adult Education at Regency Mall: Shopping for Your Future. The award recognizes the division’s 48,000-square-foot Adult Education Center, which opened in April in a converted retail space at Regency and offers a variety of career and technical education and training opportunities as well as traditional learning programs.
HCPS also was recognized for its Newcomer Event for non-English-speaking families and refugees. The event, first held in fall 2022, highlights resources and employment opportunities for families who have recently resettled in the county. The initiative aims to help newcomers meet their needs and feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to the county and HCPS.
“The VACo Achievement Awards shine a light on the tremendous work that employees of Henrico County and Henrico County Public Schools do for our residents every day,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “Outstanding public service, particularly at the local level, often requires innovation, creativity and a full understanding of the needs and challenges our community faces. I applaud our employees for their compassion, ingenuity and commitment to providing great public service.”
Henrico’s four awards were the second most among Virginia counties, trailing Chesterfield County’s five awards. Overall, the awards competition recognized 33 programs from 135 entries submitted by member counties across the state.