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About Us

Geese on the Potomac River, Westmoreland County


Our Values


We are community-builders here; we listen to one another, learn from one another, and help where we can.


We advocate fiercely for everyone to benefit from transformative opportunities: to be healthy, to be happy, to reach their potential.


At the JDP Institute, we’re interested in reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling. Westmoreland County is the perfect place to do this work, because of its abundant natural resources, ecological resilience, and conservation-minded community members.

Our Approach

Through adult Literacy and ESOL classes, sustainable arts workshops, classes, retreats, and outreach services, we celebrate the assets present in Westmoreland County, while connecting to the wider world. Whether you are from the next house over, Richmond, Fredericksburg, or Japan, we will welcome you with enthusiasm and curiosity.

The Institute webpage, materials, and programs are in English and Spanish because we want to serve all the residents of Westmoreland County, including the over 1,000 community members who speak a language other than English. We also seek to build community across linguistic lines, by offering conversation partner meetings, where residents whose target language is English can practice speaking with residents whose target language is Spanish.

Our Founder: Lara Coggin

Dr. Lara dos Passos Coggin is a teacher, researcher, and writer who splits her time between Richmond and Kinsale, Virginia. She has lived in Maryland, Connecticut, New Mexico, Arizona, Brazil, and France, but her favorite place so far is between two marshes in Westmoreland County. Lara has over 20 years of experience in education and community outreach, including a successful graduation program in Richmond Public Schools, called Credits, College, and Careers. Her passions are gardening, hiking, and exploring new places. More information is available on her LinkedIn.