DeKalb County Wins NACo Awards for Virtual Programs for Seniors and Youth – On Common Ground News


DeKalb County’s Senior Center Without Walls: Virtual Village and DeKalb Virtual Career Academy “were recognized with 2021 Excellence Awards from the National Counties Association (NACo. The conference, which was held virtually and in person, was brought together county and nation officials in Prince George County, Maryland, July 9-12.

The Excellence Awards honor innovative and effective county government programs that strengthen services to residents.

NACo recognized DeKalb Senior Center Without Walls: Virtual Village as an example of innovation and excellence in the personal services category. Established in March 2020, the DeKalb County Social Services Department has sought to continue providing essential care to the elderly population of DeKalb during times of uncertainty and crisis. The Department of Social Services developed the Virtual Village to streamline access and information on county services and provide up-to-date information on pandemic-related topics in a safe social setting for ongoing community engagement.

NACo also recognized DeKalb Virtual Career Academy as an example of innovation and excellence in the category of services to youth and children. Virtually operating for the first time in 2020, WorkSource DeKalb continued its mission of providing an outlet for students in DeKalb County to cultivate soft skills, technical skills and help bridge the learning gap exacerbated by the pandemic. The Virtual Academy provides supportive academic training and critical work experience in health, business technology, digital technology, programming and information technology for youth and young adults. County of DeKalb and helped students obtain diplomas for their future education and training.

NACo President Larry Johnson, who represents DeKalb County District 3, praised the recognition of the Senior Center Without Walls and the Virtual Career Academy.

“DeKalb shows that even in a pandemic it is possible to deliver quality human development programs that allow residents to thrive,” Johnson said.

“DeKalb is proud to receive national attention for initiatives that support two of our most important populations: the elderly and the youth,” said Michael Thurmond, CEO of DeKalb County. “I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of our DeKalb County employees who made these awards possible.”

Former NACo President Gary Moore said: “Over the past year, county officials and frontline employees have shown bold and inspiring leadership. This year’s Award of Excellence winning programs exemplify the innovative ways counties are creating healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.

Nationally, the awards are presented in 18 different categories that reflect the broad and comprehensive services provided by the counties. Categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement, and many more.

Launched in 1970, NACo’s annual Excellence Awards program is designed to recognize innovations from county governments. Each candidate is judged on their own merits and not against other candidates received.

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