Rayne MacPhee, an art teacher at the Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center in Charlottesville, recently began teaching beekeeping to residents in Blue Ridge's Community Placement Program (CPP). Though an art instructor professionally, Ms. MacPhee has been a beekeeper as a hobby for about 10 years. "I've wanted to start a beekeeping program here at Blue Ridge for as long as I can remember, and this year my dream became a reality," she says. Each week, she teaches student volunteers fully equipped in professional beekeeping equipment every aspect of beekeeping, from hive inspections, to honeybees' critical role in biodiversity, to bottling and marketing the honey they harvest.
"This program has been one of the most exciting and rewarding programs I have been involved with at Blue Ridge," says MacPhee. "Students who go out to the hive for the first time start off nervous, but in no time they are holding whole frames of honey with hundreds of bees flying around them. Not only has this been a unique experience for our students, it has also been extremely therapeutic for them to practice mindfulness, meditation and empathy."
DJJ's Community Placement Program is a highly structured residential program based on evidence-informed interventions that address specific criminogenic needs and risk factors and include community reentry planning. DJJ's nine CPPs are located regionally throughout the state so that residents will be closer to their home communities.