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Portsia Smith covers Louisa County crime and news.

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Louisa County wins achievement award

For the second year in a row, Louisa County recently received the 2011 Virginia Association of Counties (VaCo) Achievement Award.

VACo’s Achievement Awards Program recognizes innovative, model county government programs across the State.

Louisa won the award for its VIEW Partnership Program,  a partnership between the Louisa County Department of Social Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation that has been in place since late 2008.

The Virginia’s Initiative for Employment Not Welfare (VIEW) program creates work activities for the program participants.  One goal of the VIEW program is to encourage partnerships between public, non-profit, and faith-based organizations to end individual’s dependence on public assistance by moving participants from a structured job search to paid employment.

The Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for the management and maintenance of several park sites and playgrounds, athletic fields at the elementary schools and Middle School, and all County-owned property, excluding some school grounds.  VIEW participants assist with the management and maintenance of these properties by performing various grounds keeping and landscaping duties.

By working with the department, VIEW participants learned the importance of basic work principles such as attendance and punctuality, gained a sense of self-worth by working daily and were able to take pride in beautifying their community.

Through that partnership, the Department of Social Services saw a reduction of participants in certain benefit programs and the Parks and Recreation Department received more than 700 hours in free labor provided by the VIEW participants, for a cost savings to the taxpayer of just over $7,000.

Due to the experience gained, VIEW participants have all been motivated to find and obtain paid employment with local businesses, with an average starting salary of $10.54 an hour.

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