Citizen Information & Resources
Date: March 12, 2019
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA – Chesterfield County, in partnership with the Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia (ALSACV), is launching a new academy that empowers residents, particularly those from multicultural communities, to understand and navigate Chesterfield County's government, as well as connect with other community resources. The first My Chesterfield Academy will launch in June with monthly sessions held through December. This program is the first of its kind in Virginia.
My Chesterfield Academy will meet for seven sessions, once a month 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Thursdays, June-December. During the sessions, My Chesterfield Academy participants will be introduced to leaders from county and school departments and tour county facilities. They will explore how their local government works, learn how to resolve issues, and obtain information and resources. There also will be an optional field trip to regional historic attractions and other points of interest in the fall. Participants will graduate in January 2020 in a ceremony at a Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors meeting.
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 Chesterfield Academy participants will be able to help their communities to better understand and access government services. Graduates will also have the opportunity to interact with residents from other communities through the My Chesterfield Academy alumni network.
“An academy like this is so incredibly important because in the county, more than 50 countries are represented, and more than 90 languages are spoken, and it is vital to welcome and engage these new Virginians,” said Eric Lin, an ALSACV’s Community Engagement Director member and co-founder of the program. Lin is a Chesterfield County resident and was appointed to the governor’s Virginia Asian Advisory Board.
“For those who are not familiar with how our government is structured, and how our public services are delivered, everyday life can be a challenge,” Lin added. “This is something that we’ve been working to initiate for more than two years. We’re so excited to be partnering with Chesterfield County, and we anticipate this model being implemented in other localities in the region and state.”
County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey is equally enthusiastic about the academy.
“This is something that is very much needed in our county, and we are pleased to be able to launch it this year,” Casey said. “We’ve worked closely with Eric and other ALSACV members to plan the right curriculum and venues. We’re looking forward to academy participants becoming even stronger leaders in the community, sharing the information they’ve learned, and helping their friends and families be better engaged with their local government and fellow citizens. And, we’re looking forward to learning from them, as well.”
Participants must provide a $50 registration fee, which will be returned upon graduation from the academy. In addition to meeting with local government leaders, participants will be encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback. Sessions are scheduled in county and school facilities, among other sites across the county. Hosted by the Chesterfield County Department of Citizen Information and Resources, My Chesterfield Academy will be funded entirely through corporate sponsorships and donations to ALSACV, which is a nonprofit 501(c)3. The costs include refreshments and lunches for each session, notebooks and other supplies, recognition materials and transportation for the field trip.
For more information, visit chesterfield.gov/MCA, email MCA@chesterfield.gov, or call 804-796-7085. Applications will be accepted March 12-April 26, 2019. Applicants will be notified in early May.