Citizen Information and Resources
March 4, 2022
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — In partnership with the Asian and Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia (ALSACV), the county is accepting applications through Friday, March 25 for My Chesterfield Academy, a special program designed to empower residents, especially those from multicultural communities, to understand and navigate Chesterfield government as well as other community resources.
Classes will be held monthly from April through December (with a break for July and August) with a January 2023 graduation and will consist of 15-20 participants. In order to take part, individuals only need to live, play or work in Chesterfield County but do not need to be U.S. citizens.
My Chesterfield Academy will meet at locations across the county, introducing participants to a variety of sites and opportunities.
Thus far the academy, which began in 2019 and is the first of its kind in Virginia, has featured graduates from 22 different countries of origin including Mexico, Egypt, China, Senegal, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba and Korea.
During the academy, participants will tour county facilities and meet with government and school leaders in sessions designed to answer the types of unique questions they may have. They will explore how their local government works, learn how to resolve issues and learn how to obtain information and resources.
The academy consists of seven sessions, held on Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., beginning on April 26 and continuing May 24, June 28, Sept. 27, Oct. 25, Nov. 29 and Dec. 20. Upon completion of the academy, graduation will include recognition at a Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors meeting.
Victor Chacon, a 2019 graduate of the academy, highly recommends the program. “It was very important to me to participate in the academy,” said Chacon. “I learned about all the different programs and services Chesterfield County offers to its residents. There are many families, not just in Chesterfield County but nationwide, and not just Latinos, but people from many countries, cultures and backgrounds. They are great workers and want to succeed, but they need opportunities such as My Chesterfield Academy.”
After completing the program, graduates will have the knowledge and skills needed to help their communities better understand and access government services and will also have the opportunity to interact with residents from other multicultural communities through the My Chesterfield Academy alumni network.
“I am Latino, and I have been married for 20 years and have three children,” Chacon continued. “My oldest daughter has Down Syndrome and, thanks to the academy, I was able to gain knowledge about county and school programs and services to better assist my daughter and my family.”
Preferred applicants for the program are those who are involved in their communities, who have exhibited leadership abilities and who are willing to disseminate the information they learn during the academy throughout their communities.
While participation is free, participants are required to deposit a refundable $50 fee to cover meals and other expenses. This fee will be returned upon graduation. The costs include dinner for each session, notebooks, other supplies and recognition materials.
My Chesterfield Academy is hosted by the Chesterfield County Department of Citizen Information and Resources (CIR). It is funded entirely through corporate sponsorships and donations to ALSACV, a 501(c)3 organization.
For more information about the academy or how to apply, visit www.chesterfield.gov/MyChesterfieldAcademy, email MCA@chesterfield.gov or call Dalila Medrano, CIR multicultural community engagement coordinator, at 804-796-7085.