Working At the SPCA

Lauren Wood

Community Engagement

Dr. Martin

December 2, 2015


Volunteering At The SPCA

For my final research project, Julia and I decided to team up together and get involved in some community engagement! We chose to do our volunteering at the SPCA, which is a non-profit, no-kill humane organization dedicated to the principle that every life is unique and worthy of protection. Julia and I decided on working with the SPCA because of our shared love of animals. While we were there we learned a lot about the SPCA and what goes on around the organization. We also got first hand experience at what the volunteers do everyday.

Being that the SPCA is a non- profit, self-regulatory organization, the government has no say in the decisions they make because there is no government funding. The SPCA is completely independent from the government. With that being said the SPCA has their own say and power. Some things that they have the power to decide are who to hire, whether or not they are a kill shelter, how much emphasis goes into the screening of families who are adopting, and how to decide to run the facility in general.

Julia and I’s work with the SPCA did not directly impact the community but it did help us get a better understanding of how much the SPCA relies on the community and volunteers. Since the shelter is non- profit, the organization relies greatly on the volunteers. The Fredericksburg SPCA has about 15 different volunteers working with them right now. Some tasks that they do on a day -to -day basis are laundry, clean the kennels, do dishes, feed and walk animals, and host events around the community. Another thing that the SPCA relies on is donation. They get donations at least once a day. The range of things that people donate is very large. Donations can vary from small things like food and cleaning supplies to big donations of money.

Another way the SPCA makes up for being a non profit organization is holding many events around the community to help fundraise and also to spread the word. For example, one event that they hold annually is the “Walk For Animals” which is a 5k walk/run to help fundraise for the organization. While these events are happening they bring the animals out and set up a stand so that the cats and dogs could be adopted right then and there. The worker who spoke with Julia and I noted that most of their animals get adopted from events like this. The SPCA also holds educational classes for children to help them become more aware of the organization. This is a great method because the children are our future and it’s important to be aware of what’s going on around their own community.

Working at the Fredericksburg SPCA was a great experienced. I learned that since the SPCA has no government funding they have all the power to do what they want and make their own decisions. This experience had a great impact on my life.

Reaction Paper 3 – Baltimore and Ferguson Riots

Lauren Wood

November 20th 2015

Reaction Paper 3

Dr. Martin


On April 12th, 2015, Freddie Gray, a black male the age of 25 was arrested by the Baltimore Police department for having an illegal switchblade in his possession. Soon after these events Freddie fell into a coma and was taken to a hospital trauma center but due to the injuries to his spinal cord Gray died April 19th, 2015. This event led to many deadly riots all over Baltimore, Maryland. On August 9th, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed teenage black male was shot dead by a white police officer named Darren Wilson. This event was also followed by many violent riots, but this time in Ferguson Missouri. Both riots, Baltimore and Ferguson, had a disgusting aftermath. Each city had many downfalls after these events but how did they compare and contrast?

The death of Freddie Gray sparked violent riots all over the city of Baltimore so in result of this, many things changed around Baltimore, Maryland. Government officials responded to these riots by increasing more security, and promising a deep investigation of the fatal injury that Freddie faced days before his death. Larry Hogan, the governor of Maryland had thousands of police and national guards patrolling the roads throughout each day to make sure there weren’t any more riots breaking out because although, the protests had stopped, the violence and anger that the people of Baltimore had was still in full force. Another outcome that the Baltimore riots created was that the city attractions had a hard time regaining footage to get going again. For example, the attendance to the Maryland Science Center was off by at least 70% after the riots. These riots hurt the whole community in many different aspects.

Michael Brown created some of the same results for Ferguson Missouri. The mayor, James Knowles stated this in one of his speeches a year after the riots, “For whatever reason in the past — either through lack of communication, lack of outreach — there were segments of the community that really felt like they were disaffected and not really part of the community, I think a year later, what you see is a community that’s much more engaged, wholly engaged.” This is the one of the only positive outtakes one could take away from this awful event. On the more negative side of things, businesses around Missouri began to worry because they were down 50% as they began to rebuild what they had before the killing of Michael Brown. The economy would not be able to regain its strength until the violence and protests end completely.

Along, with the death of Freddie Gray, these deaths have impacted the way America sees police today. They aren’t seen as positive anymore. They are seen as enemies to the population. They aren’t seen as people who can protect us anymore. The aftermath of these riots have led some people to despise police officers. People are trying to create “police free zones” in result of these disastrous events that occurred. People have lost all respect for police officers and it’s sad.

The Baltimore riots and the Ferguson riots were triggered by the death of innocent black men. The aftermath of both of these events included some of the same things such as, trouble with the economy, the way America sees police departments today, and the way the government officials dealt with these troubles.

Neighborhood Zoning In My Hometown

Lauren Wood

Community Power

Reaction Paper 2

Dr. Martin

November 6, 2015


Neighborhood Zoning In Williamsburg James City County


After living in Williamsburg James City County for almost all of my life I’ve been aware of neighborhood zoning because I would overhear adults talking about it but I never fully understood what neighborhood zoning actually meant in Williamsburg until taking a deeper look into the zoning plan for the county. After doing some research on the neighborhood-zoning plan in Williamsburg James City County I have a better understanding of how the board decides to zone neighborhoods. The plan has many strengths and weaknesses, for example, the people in charge of this job did not do a good job zoning the neighborhoods so that the public schools had an equal balance of upper-class, middle – class, and lower class population. A strength of this neighborhood zoning plan is that it is very organized and well planned out.

James City County has nineteen different zoning designations in the ordinance but only fifteen have been applied currently. Each district contains a set of by- right uses and most of the districts have a set of specially permitted uses. To figure out whether a parcel is zoned appropriately for a given use one can locate the address on the zoning map or use the Property Information System found on the planning and zoning homepage for Williamsburg James City County. You can find the list of by- right and specially permitted uses in the Zoning Ordinance.

The Zoning Administrator (the person in charge) is empowered to administer and enforce the requirements of the zoning ordinance. If one has complaints such as excessive trash, uncut grass/ uncared for yards, and excessive trash, they report it to the zoning Office where they take care of violations like these.

The neighborhood-zoning plan in Williamsburg James City County plan has many strengths, as it changes very often some positive things stay the same like how organized the plan is. There are several chapters in the zoning ordinance plan that keeps everything organized and in place. The plan lists all rules and regulations that apply to the neighborhood-zoning plan.

A weakness of this zoning plan in James City County is that schools are very unbalanced. The balance between upper class, middle class, and lower class is not well spread out between the school systems. All of the upper class and middle class population children are zoned to go to one school while the rest of the population (the lower class) is zoned. Another weakness is that the upper class neighborhoods are zoned to the newer and nicer schools while the lower class population is stuck with the older, not as nice schools in Williamsburg. This is a very known problem and something needs to be done about it.

Williamsburg James City County neighborhood zoning plan is well written and very organized. Although it has some weaknesses, it has many strengths that out way the negatives. Williamsburg James city county’s neighborhood zoning system continues to better itself and make improvements.

Reaction Paper 1 Williamsburg James City County School Sytsem

Lauren Wood

Reaction Paper 1

October 14, 2015

Community Plan Analysis


Living in Williamsburg for almost all of my childhood I was able to see first hand some of the strengths and weaknesses that the Williamsburg James City County school board had to offer for my communities education. Growing up around this situation I could always hear parents complaining about things along the lines of school districting and some of the stuff that teachers taught us in the classroom, for example, sex ed. After doing some more research on the Williamsburg James City County (WJCC) school system I was able to point out some strengths and weaknesses on my own.

The strategic plan for WJCC schools includes core values like collaboration, individuality, and accountability. WJCC’s mission is to insure that each and every student is provided with knowledge, skills to be a lifelong learner, communicate, think critically, work productively, and contribute positively to the lives of others. WJCC is committed to providing many different programs to fit the different range of student’s interests and needs as they grow academically, emotionally and socially. WJCC also has listed five school wide priorities, which are High Student Achievement for 21st century, safe, secure, and welcoming environment for students, rewarding experience for professionals, trust and authentic partnerships with families and the broader community, and accountable and trusted leadership.

WJCC’s strategic plan for the children of Williamsburg has multiple strengths such as making sure all students get the same amount of attention from the teachers. WJCC has a motto that is “No Child Is Left Behind” and with first hand experience I can say that this is very true for the school system. Another strength that this strategic plan has to offer is that teachers develop flexible programs to make sure they fit the needs of the wide range of different learners throughout the classroom. Another strength that Williamsburg James City County Plan shows is the goal of getting involved with student’s parents and even more importantly, the rest of the community. I have a strong belief in getting involved with the community because children are able to learn life long skills that they will be able to take with them for the rest of their lives. The school board does a good job with creating reachable goals for the rest of the school system.

Along with strengths always come a few weaknesses. One of the weaknesses I have identified in the Williamsburg James City County school plan is the way they district the schools. This has been a big concern for the past few years for a couple of different reasons. The first problem being that many of the schools around the district are pretty new, so of course parents get frustrated when their own child is stuck at one of the older schools with older technology and other equipment. Another reason this is a weakness is because the wealthier neighborhoods around the area are usually districted to the same school, which means the less fortunate kids are put into a different school. WJCC needs to do a better job at districting the schools so that there is a more balanced population of children. Another weakness I found in this plan is the lack of bus drivers for transportation. In the recent news, there have been complaints on the subject of not enough bus drivers to get the children to school. How are these students supposed to get to school if their parents have to go to work early in the morning and aren’t able to drop them off? Something needs to be done about this issue because this could start really affecting a child’s attendance to school.

Williamsburg James City County strategic plan is well written one. Although it has some weaknesses, it has many strengths that out way the negatives. WJCC has a good mission and many achievable goals for the future.



Lauren Wood: Community Engagement: Student Athletes Getting Involved Around The Community

Being a member of the University of Mary Washington varsity swim team, I have the opportunity to participate in numerous and varied community service events around Fredericksburg. Some of these service events included free swim clinics for local children who cannot afford lessons, shoe drives, and the Adopt A Child Program. These programs help out the less fortunate in Fredericksburg. It is hard to believe the staggering amount of poverty that is in the local area of Fredericksburg. Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be involved in a free swim clinic with the Stafford Junction organization. This particular event helped me to realize the necessity of community service in our own community. After participating in the free swim clinic community service event I then decided to take a closer look into student athletics and how they participate in community engagement. I have acquired many new experiences with these community service projects, and with each new service experience, my patience and compassion for others has grown exponentially. Experiences such as this are both life changing and character building in many ways.  Here is the rest of my paper. Research Paper 1