Loudoun County is seeking volunteers to help guide and implement a massive plan to revamp Loudoun human services and nonprofits over the next five years.
And within 10 minutes of a press release announcing that applications were open, said Assistant County Administrator Valmarie Turner, applications started coming in.
The Loudoun County Human Services Strategic Plan, unveiled in June, is a list of 103 projects around five goals over five years.
Those five goals include closing service gaps for vulnerable or underserved people; addressing social determinants of health in Loudoun, the conditions under which people live and the affect those conditions have on them; integrating Loudoun’s human services to optimize access; developing and coordinating resources and funding to meet the county’s growing needs; and strengthening the community and network among human services providers in Loudoun.
It was developed with work from more than 120 experts from 67 organizations, along with eight community workshops and responses from more than 400 people in an online survey.
But before launching into that work, the county is looking for members of the new Loudoun County Human Services Strategic Plan Advisory Committee to guide that work.
Some members of the committee—or at least the organizations they will represent—are already decided. It will include senior government staff from county departments like Family Services and the Health Department alongside nonprofit leaders, the schools, the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from among the people served by Loudoun’s human services organizations.
But the county is looking for applications from faith-based organizations, funders or grantmakers, people and families who have gotten human services from the county government, and underrepresented populations such as young people, older adults, people with disabilities, low-income people, or foreign-born people. Turner said she expects to recruit one member from each category.
“One of the main things we’re looking for is those that are invested in furthering human services,” Turner said. “Either they participated, they’ve been a benefactor of it, or their life’s work has been one of ensuring that Loudoun is a place for everyone.”
The other thing they’re looking for, she said, is commitment. Members will be appointed to two-year terms, with a limit of three terms each. They committee is expected to have a least six two-hour meetings a year, beginning at the end of October.
“This is going to be a working committee, and we have a lot to do,” Turner said. “We already have a strategic plan, so how can we work together and to ensure that we create the first implementation plan?”
With more than 103 goals on the list, the committee will have its work cut out for it. Turner said some of the people on the new committee already were also involved in the steering committee that created the strategic plan.
“We have kind of looked at some of the actual issues from the beginning that we knew that kind of bubbled up to the top,” Turners said. The committee will also have some professionals and practitioners in human services work, but she said the committee will not work in isolation. That will mean community input and involvement, subcommittees and working groups with more opportunities to volunteer, and could even mean working with universities.
“There are a lot of initiatives that require more research, more data,” Turner said. “[We can] perhaps partners with a university with either some fellows or some interns that are looking for something to partner with us on a project like this.”
But the first step with a strategic plan this big: Break it up into more manageable pieces.
“So, the first thing that this committee will do is develop a one-year implementation plan,” Turner said. “When you look at the strategic plan as a whole, it’s a five-to-seven-year plan, so over the next 12 months, what we do we realistically think we can accomplish? …What do we want to prioritize?”
Applications are open through Sept. 30 at loudoun.gov/HumanServicesPlan. To apply, prepare a résumé and short statement of interest.