COMMUNITY NAVIGATOR PROGRAM WINS NATIONAL ASSOCIATON OF COUNTIES ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
ASHEBORO, N.C., May 23, 2023– The Randolph County Public Libraries Community Navigator program has received a 2023 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NaCO).
The award recognizes innovative county government programs and services around the country.
The Community Navigator program makes two full-time social workers available through library branches countywide to address residents’ human services needs that can be resolved by referral to sources of support in the community. The goal is to prevent individuals and families from sliding into deeper levels of dependency or intervention, such as by Social Services or law enforcement.
The program’s tagline is “Need help finding help?”
The navigators – veteran social workers Angi Polito and Dana Nance – receive clients who walk into libraries, are referred by library staff, are referred by other agencies and organizations, or who otherwise learn about the program. They assess client needs, match clients with resources in the community and the region, and provide direct assistance when appropriate.
They also act as caseworkers, following through to ensure that clients connect with resources and receive help, and mediating with other agencies when necessary. They receive an average of two new clients each working day and collaborate with some 120 community agencies, organizations, professionals, and individuals to receive and refer clients.
“The navigators have become integral to the human services safety net in Randolph County,” says Library Director Ross Holt.
Since the inception of the program in February 2022, the navigators have helped 680 clients find help for issues including homelessness and housing, rent and utilities, medical needs, benefits enrollment, transportation, and employment. Other requests have included food, clothing, grief counseling, school supplies, and home repair among many others.
“The Community Navigator program has had a greater impact on Randolph County than I could ever have imagined. The program has received over 680 referrals and helped 515 adults and 197 children connect with some type of resource or service in Randolph County. I am amazed every day at the willingness of our community to help those in need,” said Angi Polito, Community Navigator.
The program is a partnership among the library, the Randolph Partnership for Children, the Randolph County Department of Social Services, and Randolph County Public Health. It was funded by the Randolph County Board of Commissioners through the county’s Strategic Planning Reserve, a fund set aside to support projects that address goals set out in the county’s 2016 20-year strategic plan.
“This a perfect way to extend services into our communities, as our libraries are already havens of knowledge and compassion and service,” said Commissioner Hope Haywood.
If you or someone you know can benefit from talking with a community navigator, call 336-318-6825 or visit your local library branch.
Begun in 1970, NaCO’s annual Achievement Award recognizes innovative county government programs. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.
Awards are given in categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services that counties provide. Categories include historic preservation, public information, community and economic development, criminal justice, county administration, financial management, environmental protection, information technology, health, libraries, civic engagement, and more.
Randolph County Public Libraries Media Contact: Ross Holt, Director
Randolph County Public Libraries
Randolph County Government Media Contact: Chelsey Butler, Public Information Officer
Randolph County Government
Photo: Community Navigators Angi Polito and Dana Nance