SVCC Receives Funding for Campus Within Walls

Laughing Gull Foundation Awards Higher Education in Prison Grant to Support Incarcerated Students

ALBERTA, VIRGINIA, November 20, 2018. The Laughing Gull Foundation recently awarded Southside Virginia Community College a Higher Education in Prison Grant to support the College’s Campus Within Walls Program. College education provides incarcerated students the tools they need to successfully re-enter society and become productive citizens.

Lisa Hudson, Campus Within Walls Coordinator, states, “It is so rewarding to be able to provide educational opportunities to students who never thought college was an option for them. They share their experiences with their families and everyone benefits. Students transform their own lives and it encourages children and grandchildren to continue their own education. This changes generations.”

Hudson explains that almost seven out of every 10 incarcerated nationwide people are rearrested within three years of their release from prison. An Institute for Higher Education Policy report found that the most significant factor in reducing this recidivism is college education, which offers former inmates a better chance of being productive, employed citizens. In fact, the study found that recidivism rates for incarcerated people who participated in prison postsecondary education programs were on average 46 percent lower than those who did not take college classes.

“Those statistics are remarkable,” says Hudson. “We know that 95% of people in prison will eventually be released. If college experiences could cut the recidivism rate in half, we could save the Virginia taxpayers millions of dollars and at the same time have a positive impact on our students’ lives.”

One student who has been incarcerated since the age of eighteen and is nearing release at the age of forty-one says, ““Going through the Associate’s Degree program has given me the confidence to know that there isn’t anything that I am not capable of if I put my mind to it.”

Southside Virginia Community College started Campus Within Walls in 2009 at the Lunenburg Correctional Center in Victoria. The program has allowed incarcerated, college-ready students the opportunity to attain education and training credentials. Currently, students have the opportunity to work toward an Associate’s Degree in General Studies (61 credits), a certificate in General Education (31 credits), or a certificate in Business Software Applications (9 credits).

The Laughing Gull Foundation grant of $87,000 will provide funding for two years to support student tuition and books. Campus Within Walls currently serves Lunenburg Correctional Center and the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland, Virginia. Plans are underway to expand the program in response to inquiries received from several prisons to have classes offered for their inmates.

Joan Tuck, Professor of Information Technology, has taught at the Lunenburg Correctional Center since 2011. Tuck observes, “The students in this program are enthusiastic about enrolling in higher education and they work hard to earn college certificates and degrees while incarcerated.  I truly believe that education changes lives and this program is a perfect example of the mission of Southside Virginia Community College.”

The Laughing Gull Foundation is a progressive family foundation rooted in the U.S. South. Through grant making activities they work proactively toward a mission of transforming broken systems for the benefit of people and the planet. LGF envisions a world in which everyone is supported, included, embraced, and protected, especially those who have been pushed to the margins of the human family.

SVCC, a two-year institution of higher education, is one of 23 community colleges in the Virginia Community College System. Its 4,200 square-mile service region, the largest community college jurisdiction within the Commonwealth of Virginia, spans the city of Emporia and ten rural counties in south-central Virginia. The college offers 23 degrees at the associate level, a host of shorter-term academic and workforce development programs, opportunities for dually enrolled high school students, adult basic education, and other transitional services for non-traditional students. The Campus Within Walls program extends the College’s academic reach to incarcerated students.

If you would like more information about Campus Within Walls and the Laughing Gull Foundation’s Higher Education in Prisons grant, please call Lisa Hudson at 434-736-2063, or email lisa.hudson @southside.edu.

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HEAT Program Holiday Prevention Campaign Hits Silver Screen on Black Friday

Vehicle Stolen Each Hour in Virginia during 2017 Black Friday

RICHMOND, Va. – To help protect Virginians from falling victim to vehicle thefts this holiday season, the Virginia State Police (VSP) Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program is rolling out the red carpet with a prevention video. The HEAT Public Service Announcement (PSA) will make its silver screen debut today, “Black Friday,”  in theatres across Virginia. Friday was chosen as the PSA’s release date due to the fact that 23 vehicles were stolen in Virginia on Black Friday last year. That equates to almost one vehicle every hour stolen from a Virginia parking lot or driveway.

“With so many new films coming out this holiday, we hope to reach thousands of moviegoers with this impactful and essential safety message,” said First Sgt. Thomas Molnar, HEAT Program Coordinator. “This PSA is extremely relevant to the busy holiday season as it reminds drivers and passengers of the consequences of the seemingly innocent action of leaving your car unlocked and idling.”

Moviegoers at theatres in Hampton, Norfolk, Lynchburg and the metro-Richmond region will be treated to the 30-second PSA during movie previews. “An idle car is stolen features a driver becoming a victim of auto theft when he commits the most common mistake this time of year – leaving his idling car unattended at a convenience store. Starting Thanksgiving weekend through the end of December, the PSA will be playing in the following theatres: Regal River Ridge (Lynchburg), Valley View Grande (Lynchburg), Cinemark 18 (Norfolk), Hampton 24 (Hampton), Commonwealth Stadium 20 (Midlothian), Shortpump Stadium 14 (Henrico) and Westchester Common 16 (Midlothian).

The HEAT program is also hosting special holiday giveaways on its Facebook (@VSPHEAT) page, along with key auto theft prevention tips, to further encourage Virginians to safeguard their vehicles.

“Drivers are more likely this time of year to leave their cars unattended with the engine running, especially on chilly mornings, or leave valuables and holiday gifts in plain sight inside their vehicles,” explained Molnar. “You run a much greater risk of having your vehicle stolen when you leave your keys in a parked or idling vehicle. Such actions make your vehicle an easy target for thieves.”

Statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) state that nearly 1 in 4 vehicles stolen in Virginia have the keys inside, which is why the HEAT program recommends the following safety tips for this holiday season:

· Take your keys and lock your doors every time you leave your vehicle.

· Never leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle. Place them in the trunk or somewhere out of sight.

· Be aware of your surroundings when out and about.

· Park in well-lit areas.

· Invest in an audible or visible deterrent. Install GPS or other tracking devices.

Learn more about the HEAT program at HEATreward.com or view the 2017 Virginia Motor Vehicle Theft Statistics


The Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program was established in 1992 to educate citizens and law enforcement about the theft of vehicles and vehicle parts. For more information, visit HEATreward.com. Visit Virginia State Police online at www.vsp.virginia.gov.

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Holtkamp Home Featured on 2018 Riparian Home Tour

The Riparian Woman’s Club of Emporia is pleased to have the home of John and Jenny Holtkamp, located at 202 Shore Drive, Emporia, on the 16th Christmas Home Tour. The Holtkamps are from Iowa. Our community welcomes those who move into our community and become leaders. Jenny has taken on the role of Riparian Woman’s Club President for the next two years for which we are grateful.

The Holtkamp home, formally known as the Harrell home, is a beautiful gambrel roofed house built in 1972 and boasts a spacious floor plan with 4316 sq ft, five bedrooms and 3 ½ baths. The flowing floorplan depicts hardwood floors throughout, beautiful moldings and craftsman construction revealing spacious rooms. The sunroom was designed to bring the beauty of the backyard into the home with a 180 degree view of the sloping wooded lot surrounding the back of the house.

Upon entering the front door is the foyer with oak steps where the banister is trimmed in garland. To the right, the formal dining room table is set with black depression glass dinnerware. A Christmas tree is nestled in the corner and decorated in red and gold ornaments. To the right of the foyer, the formal living room has a simple old fashion Christmas theme with the tree decorated in pinecones.

Moving straight through the foyer is a small hall leading to the back of the home. Passing through the family room is the sunroom which is the family Christmas room. There is a nine foot live Christmas tree decorated with the children’s ornaments received by the grandmother over the years. Small vine wreaths adorn the windows.

The bedrooms on the second floor all have their own Christmas trees decorated with the different themes of each room, from nautical to old fashion bikes to beach cottage themes.

The beautiful condition of this home is proof that this house has always been more than just a house, it is a HOME!

The Holtkamps and the Riparians wish each of you a very Merry Christmas as you tour their home.

Others whose homes on tour are Fortsville, owners David and Jessica Yoder, Kenny Newcomb and Steve Smith, Mary Anne Renner and Mark and Wendi Simmons.

The tour will take place on Friday, December 7 and Saturday December 8. Tickets are $13.00 and may be purchased at the E-G Chamber of Commerce, Peanut Patch in Courtland, any Riparian member or by calling 434-594-4369.

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VCU Health CMH Auxiliary Tree of Love Ceremony set for December 4th

South Hill—The VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary will celebrate the Christmas season with their annual “Tree of Love” program and reception on December 4, 2018 at 10:00 AM in the VCU Health CMH first floor main lobby.

The “Tree of Love” is an annual fundraising event that raises money for the Elizabeth T. Moseley Scholarship Fund.  This year special music will be presented by First Christian School Students. During the ceremony recipients of the scholarship fund will be recognized.

Come out and enjoy the fellowship with your friends, neighbors and healthcare providers.

To make a donation to the “Tree of Love” Elizabeth T. Moseley Scholarship Fund, make your check payable to CMH Auxiliary and mail to “Tree of Love” VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, P.O. Box 90, South Hill, VA 23970 or make your gift online at www.vcu-cmh.org and click “Support VCU CMH” at the top right of the page.

Names of the ones you gave to in memory or honor will be listed beside the “Tree of Love” Christmas tree, which will be on display in the VCU Health CMH Main Lobby. If you wish to remain anonymous, your request will be honored.


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