The County’s “Do Your Part Berks – Stop the Spread” initiative has been recognized with a 2021 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties. The NACo achievement awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.
The Do Your Part Berks initiative earned recognition within the health category. When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached Berks County in March 2020, County officials quickly recognized the need for focused, localized messaging to cut through the noise and confusion.
The County launched the Do Your Part – Stop the Spread initiative in April 2020 as a call for Berks County businesses, institutions and residents to focus on the steps each could take to make a meaningful impact during the early days of the pandemic.
“Do Your Part Berks is designed to continuously adjust to serve the ever-changing needs of our residents while keeping a clear and consistent voice during this incredibly difficult time,” Public Relations Officer Stephanie Weaver said.
“We’re grateful to receive this national recognition and hope to continue to use this platform to encourage our residents and businesses to each do their part to help our community.”
Initially, Do Your Part focused on precautions like wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands and encouraged the community to support businesses that were also following proper health and safety standards.
The County supported an advertising campaign to share crucial public health messages with residents and created posters and social media graphics that could be customized for other organizations to utilize.
As cases climbed and local restaurants prepared for another round of shutdowns in late 2020, the Do Your Part Berks website became the County’s main communication line for COVID-related news, updates and grant relief programs.
In 2021, the initiative transformed into the leading COVID-19 vaccine resource in Berks, providing residents with factual information about the vaccine, compiling a database of local vaccine opportunities and serving as the home for the Berks Cares Vaccine Center’s online portal.
“Over the past year, county officials and frontline employees have demonstrated bold, inspirational leadership,” NACo President Gary Moore said. “This year’s Achievement Award winning programs illustrate the innovative ways counties built healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.”
Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and more.
Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.