Garry Davis, Senior Probation Officer with CSU 24 Lynchburg who has been a DJJ employee for 35 years, received the Virginia Correctional Association’s 2013 Lifetime Career Achievement Award Oct. 4 at the association’s annual training institute luncheon in Richmond. A Lynchburg native, Davis attended Lynchburg College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Mr. Davis joined the Department of Corrections’ Division of Youth Services in 1974, just four months after the agency was created. Colleague Marguerite DeGregory says, “In the years I have worked with him, Garry has never said no to helping anyone, whether it be a member of the public or a fellow staff member. In my 37-year career, I’ve never met a co-worker who gives so much of his heart and soul to juveniles and their families, both inside and outside the work environment.” Mr. Davis also has served for 30 years as associate minister at the First Church of Jesus in Lynchburg.
Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center (JCC) quilting instructor Roy Mitchell and Superintendent Kathryn Dickerson recently donated a stack of colorful quilts made by Culpeper JCC residents to the Culpeper Regional Hospital’s medical outpatient unit. Nurse Sharon Ference and Office Manager Pattie Dempsey gratefully accepted the quilts. The quilting program at the Center is believed to be the only one of its kind in the country at a male juvenile correctional facility. Mitchell, a career educator who became impassioned with quiltmaking during the 1990s, saw the value of teaching the art to young men as a way to pass along valuable social and vocational skills. Residents learn measuring, geometric shapes, terms used in artistry, history, and how to work together. “I tell my students, ‘In my class, you are SOMEBODY,’ “ Mitchell says. “To quilt properly, you need teamwork, self-control and self-esteem.”
DJJ’s Re-Entry Unit recently hosted a Career Fairs and Apprenticeship Expos at Bon Air, Beaumont and Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Centers, attended by 10-plus vendors and more than 250 residents. The events exposed residents to educational, apprenticeship and career opportunities, as well as various community resources to assist with their successful re-entry upon release. Resource vendors in attendance included Goodwill Industries, Department of Social Services–Child Support Enforcement/Fatherhood, and the Resource Workforce Center. Educational vendors included ITT Technical Institute, Bryant & Stratton College, and Centura College. Employment vendors included Firestone Complete Auto Care and Imagine This Printing. The Re-Entry Unit also distributed information about their services including Youth Industries and the Mentoring Program. “It was very impressive to see our residents engaged with the vendors,” said Re-Entry Program Manager Ashaki McNeil. “I had a chance to speak to some of the vendors, and they were pleased with the behavior, appearance and attitude of the residents. Overall, each event was well-organized and informative.”