County jail inmates in the New Start Program get books courtesy of the VC Testing Center

L to R: Daniel Gonzalez, Carol Walters, Sharon Vaclavik, Darlene Mayberry

Inmates at the county jail in Victoria just got an early Christmas present from the Victoria College Testing Center. This week, three large boxes filled with paperback books were presented to the New Start Program as leisure reading material for inmates who are taking classes to help them prepare to take the GED.

For the past two years, the VC Testing Center has collected and donated books to the program so that inmates have access to reading material outside of class.

“We’ve donated books for ‘Christmas in July’ in the past, but recently we’ve had a little trouble getting books,” said Carol Walters, testing coordinator for VC’s Testing Center. “I saw a post on Facebook from a friend who said she was clearing out some books from her library and she agreed to donate them. Then she posted that she’d given me the books and another friend of hers offered books as well.”

Darlene Mayberry, who has been the education coordinator for the New Start Program at the jail for the past nine years, said inmates get excited about new books. Until recently, there were only a few books available and they were all quite old.

VC’s Adult Education program conducts classes at the jail for the New Start Program. Adult Basic Education Coordinator Daniel Gonzalez teaches everything from writing to math to social studies.

“Classes usually consist of up to 20 inmates, 10 male and 10 female,” said Gonzalez. “Each group will meet two days per week for about three hours each time. The classes are multi-level and usually progress for however long it takes to get everyone ready for the GED.”

“The distance option we offer inmates really helps as well,” added Gonzalez. “They can check out a book and complete assignments back in their cells. That way they’re ready to move on when they get back to class.”

After inmates have completed the curriculum necessary to prepare for the GED, personnel from the VC Testing Center visit the jail twice per month to administer the exam.

“We usually get anywhere from six to eight inmates testing at a time,” said Walters.

Those providing books for this latest donation include Carol Walters, Missy Klimitchek and Katy Long from VC, and Aprill Brandon from the Victoria Advocate.

Those wishing to donate books to the New Start Program may contact Carol Walters at 361-582-2403 or via e-mail to carol.walters@victoriacollege.edu.

Published: Thursday, 09 December 2010
 

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