March 13, 2024

Forward Focus: Inaugural H.O.P.E. Community Connections Networking Event Opened Doors of Possibility 

Mayor Bobby Dyer hosted the first H.O.P.E. networking event, an initiative in the FY24-25 Focused Action Plan to strengthen community unity and well-being.

Presenter and Audience at HOPE Community Connections Networking Event

At the State of the City address on March 13, Mayor Bobby Dyer and City Manager Patrick Duhaney presented the vision and goals for Virginia Beach as highlighted in the FY24-25 Focused Action Plan. Within the Focused Action Plan, priorities identified by City Council members in their retreat on Aug. 22, 2023, and influenced by resident feedback were translated by the Office of Performance and Accountability into actionable strategies to guide the City’s focus, work and resource alignment. The FY24 Mid-Year Performance Report was unveiled at the event, providing insight into the progress made toward the initiatives outlined in the plan. Throughout the rest of March, a series of blog posts will spotlight the progress.

H.O.P.E. Community Connections Networking Event 

One of the key focus areas of the Focused Action Plan is "Invigorate," underlining the desire to embrace comprehensive well-being by fostering a clean, inspiring and vibrant environment where people feel safe and have access to amenities and services that support a high quality of life. One initiative identified to help accomplish this goal is to "Strengthen community unity and well-being through the H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People Excel) initiative.”  

On Feb. 29, residents came out in numbers to learn about a wide range of community services at the City’s first H.O.P.E. Community Connections Networking event.

Hosted by Mayor Dyer, the event connected individuals, businesses and organizations to create a strong network of support. When people who share a passion for strengthening the community are brought together under one roof, amazing things happen.  

Thirteen individuals were allotted three minutes each to pitch, ultimately highlighting 16 local organizations. The speakers promoted their respective mission and offerings, which covered various industries: health, wellness, housing assistance, financial literacy, job training, ministry, mentoring, arts and culture and more. Their programs focused on providing support for people of all ages and backgrounds including youth, seniors, families and previously incarcerated persons.  

After presentations concluded, attendees were given the opportunity to network with each other. Staff from City departments including Budget & Management Services, Human Services, Parks & Recreation and Economic Development engaged directly with participants at booths. Residents could seek help from City agencies or local groups that specialize in their area of need or interest. Organizations were able to discover how they can evolve beyond siloed efforts to embrace a more holistic approach to serving the community. 

Mayor Dyer, who established the H.O.P.E. initiative in 2023 to foster community well-being, expressed his excitement over the turnout and for the possibilities ahead.  Vice Mayor Rosemary Wilson and City Councilmembers Michael Berlucchi, Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond and Jennifer Rouse also attended and shared similar sentiments regarding the event’s success.   

The H.O.P.E. Community Connections Networking event helped residents connect with relevant resources and exemplified Mayor Dyer’s vision for enhancing quality of life, especially as it relates to mental health, mentoring and workforce development.  

Get Connected Today  

Residents, organizations and businesses interested in learning more about the H.O.P.E. initiative and how to participate in future events can sign up at    

About the Office of Performance and Accountability  
The Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA) leads the City’s comprehensive performance management program, including management of Virginia Beach’s Focused Action Plan. Grounded in national best practices, this program aims to improve processes, optimize service delivery, increase accountability supported by data, and provide greater transparency about goals and corresponding efforts — a trackable and reportable journey, coordinated across the City’s departments. As a trusted resource driving progress and results, OPA helps the City efficiently manage operations, evaluate performance, and identify areas for improvement. 

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