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July 18, 2019 – It began with the planting of the seeds of curiosity.

As part of DJJ's ongoing effort to teach its residents about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, DJJ Therapist Sasha Baier adapted the federal health program "Bodyworks" to talk with residents of Bon Air's Unit 54 about why fresh fruits and vegetables are so beneficial to a healthy diet, as well as the importance of nutrition, exercise, and mental/spiritual well-being. Soon thereafter, one of the residents found a watermelon seed. Thinking back on what he had learned, the resident wondered what would happen if he planted it. The unit decided to do so in a small garden patch just outside the unit. The resident also planted a number of herbs and regularly maintained the garden. The residents were intrigued to see the watermelon and herbs growing.

A year later in the Spring of 2019, Baier and Counselor Ricky Weeks suggested that the unit start a garden club, an idea met with great enthusiasm. The staff prepared a scheduled list of responsibilities and chores to club members to ensure the garden was tended to properly. They started by planting seeds in small cups in their "greenhouse" -- the laundry room. Club leaders regularly monitored the growth of the seeds. With the help of Bon Air's landscaping crew which helped till the garden patch, in April the residents planted their cultivated seeds in the garden. DJJ provided the club with plastic garden tools, watering cans, seeds, and dirt.

Unit 54's garden has flourished. Residents have been enjoying the harvest which has included tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, yellow squash, cilantro, mint, arugula, and mustard greens. They also are growing sunflowers, zinnias, watermelons, and cantaloupe. "Not only has this turned out to be a really fun project, but it has taught our residents so many valuable things," Baier says. "Residents who may never have gardened in their lives have seen for themselves the growing process from start to finish; they have learned to take responsibility for seeing a project through to its completion; they have discovered a way to provide for themselves and their families; and they are enjoying the fruits -- and vegetables -- of their own labors."

Watering cans
Group with veggies
Residents planting
Displaying melons
Resident with flower

Overflow Crowd Celebrates With 68 Graduates

July 18, 2019 – Sixty-eight Yvonne B. Miller High School students celebrated with their families, friends and teachers when they received their diplomas or GED certificates at YBMHS’s annual commencement ceremony in front of a packed gymnasium.

In opening remarks, DJJ Director Valerie Boykin shared pride in their accomplishments and encouragement for the future, and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran provided congratulatory remarks on behalf of himself and Assistant Secretary Jae K. Davenport, who also attended. Program Administrator Dr. Mark Hudson introduced seven students who shared reflections, essays, and original poetry on their educational experiences.

The keynote speaker was Howard M. Stevens, a former NFL football player. Stevens shared a message of inspiration, coming from behind, and working hard to achieve dreams.

Guest speaker
Moran speaking
Valerie speaking to crowd
Hat toss

On Board

July 19, 2019 – Equity Workgroup’s Goal: Fairness

DJJ Forum

June 21, 2019 – All Aboard The Transformation Train

January 2, 2019 – Veterans Appreciation Issue

CSUnity

May 2019 – EBP Fidelity Increases With Transformation

June 2018 – 2018 CSU Leadership Summit

Residential Circle-Up

August 6, 2019 – It Started With A Seed Of Curiosity

October 24, 2018 – Soccer Program Kicks Into High Gear

EduTopics

January 31, 2019 – She’ll Learn From The Masters

May 4, 2018 – PBIS Results Impressive After Just Eight Weeks

Media Contacts

Greg Davy
Public Information Officer
(804) 588-3910
greg.davy@djj.virginia.gov

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