The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards
2008 Recipient for Government
Fourth Circuit Solicitor Jay Hodge is heralded as a "champion for children and the arts." From creating youth arts programs and summer camps to supporting local arts organizations and artists, Hodge has significantly impacted both the youth and the arts in communities throughout Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon and Marlboro Counties.
Camp Turn Around, Camp Turning Point, and a pilot youth arts program at Palmetto Learning Center in Chesterfield County are three youth arts programs Hodge has established—without state funding— to provide students alternatives to risky behavior. The Palmetto Learning Center program, now in its second year, positively affects students, who attend workshops in theatre arts and get hands-on experience in acting, film and video. Now running for 10 years, Camp Turning Point and Camp Turn Around summer camps have an 87 percent success rate. This means 87 percent of youth who attend do not return to the justice system.
Recognizing the importance of art to community growth and well-being, Hodge actively works with the 1888 Courthouse Restoration Committee to raise funds to restore the Chesterfield County Courthouse and turn it into a performing arts center, museum and gallery. Hodge responds to calls for assistance from both local arts groups and artists. He also sponsors, or finds partners to fund, arts events and competitions, and rotates the work of local artists through his offices.