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March 2022

Celebrating veteran care, recovery and advancement

Spirit of Virginia Award #1

National Center for Healthy Veterans

March 21, 2022
Altavista, VA

The National Center for Healthy Veterans is a comprehensive, scalable solution and a unique strategic initiative of national impact. The organization’s mission is to “Return Healthy Veterans to America.”

The National Center for Healthy Veterans addresses five areas of veterans, or patriots, health: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and relational. The organization focuses on longer-term participation in dignified work and learning opportunities, which creates a firm foundation that enables true life change and future success.

At the National Center for Healthy Veterans, patriots are immersed in a healing and wellness culture, grow personally through best-practice and faith-based programs and build relationships through community. Residents participate in a 12-month program of community, dignified work, best-practice trauma recovery, spiritual development, life skills programs, economic opportunity and professional advancement. Patriots each receive a mentor and work through a Personal Development Plan (PDP) in accordance with their own needs and goals. Other PDP course electives include equine therapy, financial literacy, effective communication and art therapy.

The National Center for Healthy Veterans is located at Valor Farm, a natural healing environment providing veterans with a restorative community setting. Valor Farm sits on 339 acres of verdant woodland, agricultural acreage, pastures and equine property, bordered by the Big Otter River and within Virginia’s Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountain ranges. Valor Farm gives veterans a place to not just live, but also thrive and contribute.

National Center for Healthy Veterans website

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Spirit1-Event-photo1 audience and stage
Spirit1-Event-photo1 audience and stage
Spirit1-Event-photo1 audience and stage
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Official Governor Youngkin Photos by Shealah Craighead

Please direct questions and inquiries to julia.norfleet@governor.virginia.gov.

May 2022

Recognizing the gift of respite for the families of intellectually disabled youth

Spirit of Virginia Award #2

Jill's House

May 26, 2022
Vienna, VA

Jill’s House is a Christian Nonprofit organization that provides families raising kids with intellectual disabilities, ages 6–17, with short-term overnight respite care in the DC metro area and around the country. Kids enjoy fun activities tailored to their interests and abilities for 24–48-hour stays, while their parents get a chance to rest and recharge. Jill’s House offers care for the whole family through regularly scheduled sibling nights, parent support groups and family retreats.

Rest is vital for families raising kids with intellectual disabilities, due to the high amount of stress they face every day. Respite care is proven to reduce this stress by 60% within the first night and helps create a healthier environment of balance for the family as a whole.

To date, Jill’s House has served over 1,000 families at its location in Vienna, Virginia and an additional 300+ through their Weekend Adventures camps in four locations across the country: Blue Ridge, VA near Middleburg; Windy City, IL near Chicago; Rocky Top, TN near Nashville; and Puget Sound, WA near Seattle. The organization has provided over one million hours of respite to families of kids with intellectual disabilities.

Activities that Jill’s House offers include pet therapy, arts and crafts, a gym and bounce house, a wheelchair accessible pool, music therapy, sensory rooms, indoor and outdoor play areas, educational show and tells and community meals.

Jill's House website

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Event Photos

Spirit2-Event-photo1 staff and students standing photo
Spirit2-Event-photo1 staff and students standing photo
Spirit2-Event-photo1 staff and students standing photo
Spirit2-Event-photo1 staff and students standing photo
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Official Governor Youngkin Photos by Shealah Craighead

Please direct questions and inquiries to julia.norfleet@governor.virginia.gov.

July 2022

Rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming Virginia’s precious equines

Spirit of Virginia Award #3

Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue

July 21, 2022
Afton, VA

Founded in 2008, Hope’s Legacy works to rescue equines from a variety of situations including, but not limited to, abuse, abandonment, neglect and slaughter. An all-breed rescue, Hope’s Legacy takes in equines regardless of age or disability.

Hope’s Legacy takes in rescues from across Virginia. Founder and Executive Director Maya Proulx announced at the Spirit of Virginia Award event that in July 2022, the organization would take in its 500th equine rescue since its founding.

Hope’s Legacy earned accreditation from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) in November 2020. Hope’s Legacy is one of 81 North American organizations accredited by the TAA and one of four TAA-accredited organizations in Virginia. In addition, Hope’s Legacy is in the process for accreditation with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

Rescues are housed at the organization’s home base, Castle Rock Farm, and foster farms. Hope’s Legacy first moved horses onto the Castle Rock Farm property in December 2017.

Visit Hope’s Legacy’s website

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Event Photos

Spirit3-Event-photo1 First Lady petting horse
Spirit3-Event-photo1 First Lady petting horse
Spirit3-Event-photo1 First Lady petting horse
Spirit3-Event-photo1 First Lady petting horse
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Official Governor Youngkin Photos by Shealah Craighead

Please direct questions and inquiries to julia.norfleet@governor.virginia.gov.

September 2022

Cherishing and supporting all students through innovation and best-in-class education

Spirit of Virginia Award another student at podium

An Achievable Dream

September 7, 2022
Virginia Beach, VA

An Achievable Dream was founded in 1992 as a summer and after-school tennis and tutoring program, but soon grew to a full K-12 program and now operates six schools in partnership with Newport News Public Schools, Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Henrico County Public Schools, serving over 2,000 students.

The organization emphasizes a core approach focusing on children’s social-emotional learning, essential life skills, extended academic time to focus on learning and support for the student’s entire family through a variety of initiatives, including home visits, parent education, a clothes closet, anonymous services and more.

High school graduates from An Achievable Dream’s flagship school in Newport News hold a 100% graduation rate, with 90-95% of students going on to attend college or trade school.

Visit An Achievable Dream’s website

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Event Photos

Spirit4-Event-photo1 student at podium while Governor and First Lady listens
Spirit4-Event-photo1 student at podium while Governor and First Lady listens
Spirit4-Event-photo1 student at podium while Governor and First Lady listens
Spirit4-Event-photo1 student at podium while Governor and First Lady listens
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Official Governor Youngkin Photos by Shealah Craighead

Please direct questions and inquiries to julia.norfleet@governor.virginia.gov.

October 2022

Honoring the service and impact of Virginia’s emergency responders

Spirit of Virginia Award #5

Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company

October 21, 2022
Chincoteague, VA

The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company provides twenty-four-hour fire and emergency medical response to the citizens and visitors of Chincoteague Island. The company also provides fire and emergency medical response to Assateague Island and assists the United States Coast Guard with search and rescue cases. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company owns and manages the world-famous Chincoteague wild ponies and puts on the annual Chincoteague Island Pony Swim.

Visit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company’s website

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Event Photos

Spirit5-Event-photo1 Governor and First Lady with response team
Spirit5-Event-photo1 Governor and First Lady with response team
Spirit5-Event-photo1 Governor and First Lady with response team
Spirit5-Event-photo1 Governor and First Lady with response team
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Official Governor Youngkin Photos by Shealah Craighead

Please direct questions and inquiries to julia.norfleet@governor.virginia.gov.

November 2022

Championing arts and culture education, technical training, rehabilitation and more

Spirit of Virginia Award #6

William King Museum of Art

November 17, 2022
Abingdon, VA

William King Museum of Art’s mission is to provide arts education, exhibit fine art and preserve the Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee region’s cultural heritage. The museum’s Art Lab learning hub includes a Digital Lab, where anyone in Southwest Virginia can access, learn and use digital tools for art, design and life. It is the only nationally accredited art museum west of Roanoke, which underpins its commitment to the community. Fifteen of the museum’s 17 staff are women.

Visit William King Museum of Art’s website

News highlights

Event Photos

Spirit6-Event-photo1 stage with First Lady at podium
Spirit6-Event-photo1 stage with First Lady at podium
Spirit6-Event-photo1 stage with First Lady at podium
Spirit6-Event-photo1 stage with First Lady at podium
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Official Governor Youngkin Photos by Shealah Craighead

Please direct questions and inquiries to julia.norfleet@governor.virginia.gov.