In case you needed another reminder of the work that Gerry Connolly has done for the community in his time in public office, the Childhelp Children's Center of Virginia has awarded him the "Hero of the Children Award" for his efforts to help at-risk youth in Northern Virginia. Congrats go out to Rep. Connolly who I'm confident will view this award as a reminder of one of the reasons he got involved in public service in the first place -- to improve the lives of people living in the community. Here's the announcement:
FAIRFAX – Congressman Gerry Connolly, a long-time champion of efforts to help at-risk youth in Northern Virginia, was honored this week with the ‘Hero of the Children Award’ from the Childhelp Children’s Center of Virginia.
Appearing at the third annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner for the organization dedicated to helping children who are victims of abuse and neglect, Connolly said he was honored to receive the award which thanked him “for keeping the flame of hope alive within the hearts of children in Virginia.”
“I appreciate the award and the recognition, but the real heroes are the volunteers who make these important programs work for the children who have faced crises in their lives and help them prepare for the future,” Connolly said. “The inspiration and guidance Childhelp mentors and tutors are providing for young people in this program is invaluable.”
Throughout his career in public service, Connolly has worked to better the lives of at-risk children. In Congress, he was successful in securing a $200,000 grant through the Department of Justice to support prevention, treatment, and outreach programs for victims of child abuse and neglect and he was a strong supporter of legislation, which is now law, to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to provide health care services to more children in Virginia.
During his tenure as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Connolly launched major anti-gang efforts, expanded after-school programs to all county middle schools, and invested in synthetic turf fields to expand recreational opportunities for children. These efforts reduced the number of children participating in gangs by 50% and decreased the crime rate to a record low.
Last April, the Childhelp Children’s Center of Virginia Volunteer Programs received the 2009 Volunteer Program of the Year Award from Volunteer Fairfax and Fairfax County.