Our April Programs Chairman is Virginia “Ginger” Peagler who has been recuperating a few months recently from surgery and illness. Ginger brings our rst program in April with Terry Anderson of Satilla Advocacy Services. SAS is an affiliate of our Exchange Club of Waycross dealing with services to help heal child abuse scars.
Next week Thursday’s luncheon speaker and program will be Joe Eichfeld, Coach of Ware County High School Wrestling Team bringing demonstration of their skills. Bring a friend or associate to experience our members friendship, athletic program and great food!
WARE STATE PRISON WARDEN JAMES DEAL
Mary Barnes, March Program Chairman brought Ware State Prison Warden James Deal and Edwina Johnson, Deputy Warden to speak on the impact of the prison upon Waycross-Ware County residents. The inmates annually provide budget money for City of Willacoochee of $175,000 and City of Pear- son of $400,000 last year through the services the prisoners provide under guidance of staff and services they provide under the many programs in the prison. Warden Deal emphasized the prison is nor all bad as they have lifesaving programs that the 1,384 inmates take and operate such as: Fire Stations, Tier Segregation Unit, Canine Unit, Tactical Squad, Cert. Team, 2 mobile details, 7 contract details, Recycling, Laundry and Warehouse. Challenges they have are dealing with contra- band (drugs, etc), Gang Activity, and Aging Infrastructure.
Edwina Johnson reviewed programs for remedial literacy, GED, and General Education. Also the prison provides Counseling; Vocational/OJT leading to certicates in many skills; and Life Works Programs (electronic, upholstery, diesel, welding, wood work and vehicle maintenance. Budget is $23,486, 574 with $1.7 million operating budget. Security personnel is 321, and non-security, 82. Their mission is “Building Pride in Ourselves and Our Agency.” GDC protects the public while reducing recidivism in through programming, education, and healthcare. This is an asset to our lives and living culture. Thanks for the program, Mary.
BLOOD DONATIONS LOOKING FORWARD TO APRIL
Al Jacobson reported blood donations and volunteers were down in March due to sickness resulting in a reduction of blood given. The Exchange/Red Cross Blood drive is now looking to April for turn around. Donors have extra month of rest to recuperate. Return and bring a friend in April!
HERITAGE CENTER VISITS & MEMBERSHIP UP
Mary Barnes March Program Chairman introduced Elizabeth Welch, Executive Director of the Okefenokee Heritage Center at our last program in March. Ms. Welch has been focusing on community outreach, education and engagement. The Center is a regional art and history museum located on twenty acres of pine woodlands serving Atkinson, Clinch, Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Coffee, Pierce and Ware counties.
Membership under Ms. Welch’s leadership has grown from 3,500 last year to 4,000 this year. Visitors walking the site increased to 14,700 walkers or a 300% growth. Recent events held there were God’s Trombones on February 15, 2018, Shakespeare Comes to Waycross on January 8, 2018, Third Annual Color Run on January 6, 2018, Art and Music for Christmas on December 12, 2017. Romeo and Juliet will premiere May 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th at the Center. BYOB “Bring your own blanket”!
They recently arranged for 200 students for art and history events at the center. The Georgia Council of the Arts is helping with assistance. Children grow in art under the program of STEAM where art is included in high school curriculum.
On Saturday, April 14th a special day is set aside for Autism Awareness to show works of art by students. Thirty- five (35) percent of programs go to students with special needs such as wheelchairs, can’t talk and mental illness.
Examples of these success stories included Cheyanne a drunk recovering illness person who was strengthened with mentoring. She progressed to lead an art and history camp including enrollment of inmates doing art education.
Grace Lee (85) entered the Writers Guild and wrote a poem of her life winning a first place award for the writing. The Prison’s bus picked her up from Baptist Village to go to and from the daily Writer’s Guild sessions. She now has a memorial of her life and legacy of accomplishments forever for her family.
Nancy works intensely with art by paying forward with artists development by her sharing. She helped get a satellite site built on the hospital (Memorial) where patients can be uplifted. It is growing steadily.
What a wonderful report on the Heritage Center’s progress and gifts to the eight counties’ communities and populations.