Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


December 2, 2013

Supporters gather to raise funds for VORP

CROSSVILLE — The theme was “Music, Munchies and Mayhem” for the fundraiser and awareness for VORP last week in Pleasant Hill. Musicians Ruth and Wayne Lucas sang and led karaoke and dancing. A silent auction caused much deliberation, delicious refreshments were enjoyed by all. The president of VORP, Joe Gittings, master of ceremonies, introduced the Executive Director Rita Young, board members and former President Len Stark who gave a history of Cumberland County’s Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (better known as VORP).

The biggest surprise was experienced by Gittings, when the assembled supporters presented him with a banjo shaped birthday cake (he plays one), which turned the party into a celebration honoring his leadership. His sister, Mary Lou McDowell, visiting from Pennsylvania shared some early memories, and his wife, Joan, led a humorous “Do you know Joe?” quiz game with prizes. Rest assured the fund-raising part was well honored as people gave generously to support VORP.

VORP is a restorative justice approach that brings offenders face-to-face with the victims of their crimes with the assistance of a trained mediator. Victims, who are generally overwhelmed by the criminal justice system, have the opportunity to speak their minds expressing feelings that help contribute to the healing process. In addition, a legal contract is developed between the victim and offender that must be approved by the court. Offenders take responsibility for their actions in restitution agreements with the victims to restore monetary or symbolic losses. This may consist of a payment plan, work for the victim, community service, etc. More than 95 percent of the mediated cases result in a written restitution agreement; 90 percent of these agreements are completed within one year. In a recent development, VORP mediators may help an offender without a high school diploma attain a GED instead of performing community service. This could lead to more financial opportunity for that person.

VORP organizations have been mediating meaningful justice between crime victims and offenders for many years. The VORP Mediation Center in Cumberland County was established in 1989 — the second such agency in the state of Tennessee. There are currently 10 other VORPS in Tennessee including agencies in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga. In addition, nearly 300 VORP organizations are serving the United States of America and more than 1,000 are in other countries in the world.

Joe and Joan Gittings retired to Pleasant Hill, where Joe met founder and then VORP President Leonard Stark, who introduced him to the mediation process. Joe became a member of the VORP board of directors in 2011 and was elected to take Stark’s place as president when he retired in 2012. Joe’s enthusiasm for social justice and belief in VORP’s “restorative justice” mission helps alleviate the challenges this agency faces.

Maintaining an office and staff is an ongoing financial responsibility. Donations are always welcome and can be sent to VORP at P.O. Box 522, Pleasant Hill, TN 38578. Recently, the organization began operating VORP’s Vintage Resale and Thrift Store, 2625 North Main St., Ste. 400 in the back of the mini mall between Crossville Memorial Funeral Home and the Nazarene Church on N. Main St. Items for sale include art, vintage gems, collectables, tools, books, housewares and tons of thrift. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Item donations will be received Monday, Thursday and Saturday during regular business hours when someone will be on duty to help with lifting.

VORP has provided free, neutral and accessible volunteer mediation service for more than 9,000 cases in Cumberland County. In addition, nearly $400,000 has been returned to victims through restitution.

Young has been the executive director of Cumberland County VORP for more than 10 years. Other VORP board members are Vice President Ken Steadman, Treasurer Karen Cole, Secretary Leroy Hammond, Bert Adams, Jon Goodwin and Andrea Van Rekom. Please call 484-0972 or email to learn more about becoming a volunteer mediator or for any additional information.


This week in Pleasant Hill:

• Dec. 7 at 3 p.m., in Room 4 at Pleasant Hill Community Church — the PC and MAC Joint Computer Club will meet.

• Dec. 9, at 3 p.m., at Adshead Hall — Uplands Assembly will celebrate Uplands' staff.

• Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. at Adshead Hall — Uplands residents' First Aid/CPR Class will be held.

Text Only
  • Melling, Sounds of the Country at Hebbertsburg Community Center

    Jack Melling and Sounds of the Country will entertain at the Hebbertsburg Community Center on Saturday, May 3, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

    April 22, 2014

  • Marriage licenses (Published April 23, 2014)

    April 22, 2014

  • Pleasant Hill Ramblings CSA.jpg Pleasant Hill Ramblings: CSAs are a win-win situation

    Every Wednesday after 1 p.m. from May through October, there is a steady stream of people converging on the kitchen of Heritage Hall on Church St. in Pleasant Hill with baskets and bags. Inside the kitchen there is excited chatter as they discuss the array of vegetables, some varieties never tried before. Farmer Dave Myers and his helpers provide this largesse of vitamins to the members of the CSA.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • plateau gardening.jpg How to collect and submit soil sample

    Garry, a new resident in Crossville, emailed to ask how to gather a soil sample and where to take it to have testing done. Your local University of Tennessee Extension office is the place to go. Those in the Crossville area should call UT Extension Cumberland County at 484-6743. A staff person at the office can explain how to collect soil samples. (Those new in town who may not know where the Extension office is located may also call for driving directions.)

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 5-2 white cane days.jpg Lions Club White Cane Days returns May 2 & 3

    The Fairfield Glade and Crossville Lions Club members will hold their annual White Cane Days fundraiser Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3, at several locations. This is a major fundraiser throughout the state of Tennessee and many parts of the world to help assist blind, sight impaired and deaf individuals. This is an event that only happens once a year.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140412_110402.jpg Kids get creative at Youth Expo

    Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression (CACE) held its annual Youth Expo Saturday, providing young people an opportunity to try their hand at a variety of artistic endeavors, from music and writing to painting and traditional crafts of weaving and spinning.

    April 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • AROUND THE TOWN: The Easter egg hunt that never was

    The Easter Bunny should be able to deliver his baskets in pretty nice weather this weekend. The Good Friday and Easter holiday weekend should feature much warmer temperatures than we had earlier this week when snow showers fell on Cumberland County. Cumberland County students were released Tuesday for spring break, but their last day of school for the week found snow and ice falling from the sky and temperatures in the 20s. Students will return to class on Monday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 127 Seniors.jpg Jay Fox performs for seniors after receiving new prosthesis

    On Friday, April 11, the members of the 127 Senior Center had another good time playing bingo and dominos. Bingo was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the bingo gifts were provided by Bob Folger of State Farm Insurance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses

    Publised April 16, 2014.

    April 15, 2014

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Pancake breakfast held for cancer research

    During the year various groups connected with the Pleasant Hill Elementary School provide a Saturday morning pancake breakfast to support the Relay for Life campaign.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo