I always look forward to reading Gwinnett Magazine’s annual Best of Gwinnett issue. It’s a good reminder of all the wonderful amenities, businesses, and organizations that make Gwinnett County the best place to live, work, play, and raise a family.
Personally, I think the nearly one-million people, you and all of your neighbors, who call our little corner of the world home are the best of Gwinnett.
And while you are still likely to meet someone like me who was born and raised here, you are also just as likely to meet someone who was born in another country. Gwinnett is the most diverse county in the Southeast. Our community is made up of people who come from different backgrounds, people who moved here from different places, people who speak different languages, and people who have different points of view. And I believe we are richer for it.
With so many backgrounds and perspectives, we have an extra responsibility to find ways to come together as a community to discover what we have in common and to learn to appreciate our differences. That’s why there are so many efforts to reach out and encourage people to get involved, especially in local government.
Twice a year we offer Gwinnett 101, a 12-week citizens academy designed to give participants a behind-the-scenes look at county government services and the people who deliver them. Monthly Dinner & Dialogue events allow elected officials the opportunity to meet small groups of residents for dinner and conversation at local restaurants. And
Building Bridges brings larger groups of constituents together with county government officials at open house-style events to connect residents with resources and information.
This year look for us to expand our outreach efforts to youth as well.
Public safety departments run a number of outreach efforts, too. There are police and fire academies for residents, plus Explorer scout programs for teens. And you can bring your family to two annual events: the Gwinnett Multicultural Festival hosted by Gwinnett Police, which will grow in scope this year with displays from all county government departments, at Gwinnett Place Mall in April and the Public Safety Fall Festival at Coolray Field in October.
Details about these programs and more can be found at www.gwinnettcommunityoutreach.com. So whether you are a lifelong Gwinnettian or a recent transplant, I hope you will find ways to be engaged with your local government, involved in your community, and friends with your neighbors, for we all represent the best of Gwinnett.