CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Six different winners received awards on Wednesday in recognition of their respective volunteer service and contributions to the community of Chesterfield.

The Chesterfield Community Champion awards were distributed by the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors during its meeting on Wednesday, April 27.

The program, managed by the Department of Citizen Information and Resources, was created in 2020 to honor residents who volunteer their time and resources to effect positive change in their communities. Due to the pandemic, this was the first year the Board was able to celebrate the Community Champions in person.

Here are the six categories and the corresponding winners:

Youth: Tanner Ridley-Smith volunteers as a junior historical interpreter at Henricus Historical Park. The park serves as a “living-history museum” with colonial buildings and costumed actors. Thousands of annual visitors and students benefit from the programming offered by Henricus and Tanner plays a valuable role there at just twelve years old.

Teen: Andrea Farag does regular volunteer work as a member of the Virginia 4-H organization. Her work has focused on the empowerment of teens to create safe spaces to carry out dialogue on several key social justice issues. Farag volunteers at least 20 hours a month to work with numerous local and state committees in addition to an average of 500 hours a year at events such as Virginia 4-H State Cabinet, 4-H State Congress, and Virginia 4-H Teen Summit.

Adult: Candy Cecil has worked with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in aiding Yeshua’s House residents since 2016. Yeshua’s House residents are women and children who are recovering from abuse and in financial transition. Cecil also supports The Doorways, a nonprofit that provides a home-like room and food at no cost to family members who need to stay close to a loved one in a Richmond hospital, and started one of the first monthly lunch/meal programs there utilizing volunteers from her church. Lastly, Cecil serves on the Board of Richmond Friends of the Homeless as the secretary.

From left to right: Representatives from CARITAS Clothing Closet Crew, representatives from New Life United Methodist Church, Tanner Ridley-Smith, Norman Robinson, Candy Cecil and Andrea Farag (Courtesy of Chesterfield County)

Senior: Norman Robinson volunteers as a Chesterfield Master Gardener. His efforts empowered people to undertake projects that connected Master Gardeners to volunteer opportunities and each other Robinson’s work has beautified the county and created an educational space where residents can all live, work and play.

Group: CARITAS Clothing Closet Crew; Stephanie Krupa, Nancy Malatesta and Mary Beth Modena spend their volunteer hours assisting the participants in the CARITAS Works program. They help prepare the men to enter the workforce with the proper attire which helps the participants exude confidence. These three volunteers have selflessly devoted more than 10 years and more than 1,050 hours each preparing donated professional clothing -sizing, steaming and arranging–for the men in the CARITAS Workforce Development Program.

Organization: New Life United Methodist Church has actively supported and completed 14 senior home service projects from 2019 through 2021, providing labor, material and support for disadvantaged Chesterfield senior citizens. They actively search and provide assistance to senior citizens who are in need.