Stafford’s Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities (PRCF) wanted to create a program to make its staff more inclusive and picked up an award for its efforts. The program, Stafford Connects, was designed to provide mentorship and job exploration for young adults with disabilities throughout Stafford County. PRCF facilitated the program which recently won a Best New Program award from the Virginia Recreation and Parks Society Awards Program.
“Our goal is to be inclusive in our parks and programs. We want everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy our facilities,” said Michael Morris, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. “We wanted to transfer that mission and opportunity to our work force for young people with disabilities and we are very proud of this recognition.”
Stafford Connects won the award in the category of population from 100,001 – 200,000. The Virginia Recreation and Parks Society Awards program honors individuals, departments and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence in recreation and parks the previous year.
Two individuals have completed the program. These young adults worked with PRCF as well other departments in the County, including Public Works, Planning and Zoning, Geographic Information Systems, Community Engagement and the Sheriff’s Office. Goals of the program include: allowing participants to explore different areas of the workforce to determine their interests; foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for individuals with differing abilities; connect our community in building lasting relationships; and to create opportunities for Stafford County to diversity its workforces via volunteer opportunities, internships, part-time and full-time employment.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the program is on hold for right now but will resume when public health conditions improve. For more information, contact the Community Recreation office at (540) 658-5116.