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Secretary's Message

September 5, 2014

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter

I am sincerely grateful for the hard work and steadfast dedication to this agency from those who work in juvenile justice across the state and I am proud to share every week the great work occurring here at the Department of Juvenile Justice and that of our partners. I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our colleagues and the youth in our care. I am always looking for opportunities to showcase the work you do – on and off the clock – to enrich your communities. I know there is even more going on than what I report here, so I would like to encourage each of you to keep the weekly letter in mind and remember to share your good news. It’s easy – email news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon (submissions after that time will be considered for the next week’s letter).


Christina K. Daly

Goodwill Prosperity Center Tour

Last Friday I was excited to accompany Assistant Secretary for Probation Tim Niermann and other DJJ staff members on a tour of the newly opened Goodwill Prosperity Center in Tallahassee. The Prosperity Center, operated by Goodwill Industries of the Big Bend, is a one-of-a-kind community resource designed to help Tallahassee residents lead healthy, financially sound and productive lives. The Center, which held its grand opening back in June, focuses on personal wellness, music education, and financial and family strengthening services. Members may participate in music classes, youth mentoring, one on one financial counseling and budgeting classes, and fitness and wellness programs. DJJ and the Prosperity Center plan to collaborate in the future on ways to serve the at risk youth in the area. 

From left to right: Stacy Larkin, Vice President of Human Services, Goodwill Industries of Big Bend, Inc.; me, Fred Shelfer, Jr  Goodwill CEO; Minnora Bishop,  CPO C2; Elizabeth Phillips,  Reform Specialist  C2; Lakisha Bush, JPO Supervisor  C2;  and AS Niermann. 

PREA Orientation Video

I would like to thank Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham, Leon RJDC Superintendent Cody Wood and JDO Sherell Dancy for their assistance in creating an orientation video for the Prison Rape Elimination Act or PREA yesterday. This video, produced locally by WFSU in Tallahassee, will introduce our youth in both detention facilities and residential programs to their rights under PREA and how to protect themselves against sexual abuse and sexual harassment. 

Research and Planning Publications

Back in April, Dr. Michael Baglivio from the Office of Research and Planning saw his research on ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) published in the OJJDP’s Journal of Justice Spring issue which you can see here. 

Based on Michael’s research, the website ACE Connections which is a community of practice uses trauma-informed, resilience-building practices to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences & further trauma published an article stating that our research shows that ACE rates are higher than that of the CDC. As Michael explains, “These rates show that youth in the juvenile justice system were indeed victims of child abuse, neglect, and dysfunctional homes prior to, or at least current with being ‘offenders.’ ” If you would like to see the full article, you can do so by clicking here

Residential Update

Kissimmee Juvenile Correctional Facility (JCF), a high-risk program for males, ages 14 to 18, operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, is holding a clothing drive for the Victim Services Center of Central Florida.  All clothing will be donated to the center for victims of crime. 

The Victim Service Center of Central Florida is operated through donations for victims in the community.  The Center is represented on the Kissimmee JCF Community Advisory Board and the organization will conduct quarterly Victim Services Groups with the residents, their parents, and program staff members about the rights of victims.

The boys in Kissimmee JCF are collecting and organizing the donated clothing, which is received through program staff members and their friends.  The residents’ participation in this community activity helps them recognize the impact of crime and its effects on the victims.

Kissimmee JCF promotes the motto “Victim, Family and Freedom” to help the residents always govern themselves accordingly.

The teachers from the Orange County School District and G4S hosted a “Last Day of Summer School” for the young men who attended summer school in the Orlando Intensive Youth Academy and in the Orange Youth Academy.  The boys were excited to show what they learned in school over the summer.  

It was a festive day!  The students shared what makes a well-rounded meal and discussed the benefits of having the old “food pyramid” replaced with Mrs. Obama’s “choose my plate.”

Shown Right:  Isometric exercises were demonstrated in front of all the students, by the students from the physical education class, as a means to strengthen different parts of one’s body.

The technology class created a magazine that included articles about the latest clothing, music, healthy living, puzzles, and even fine cuisine.  Other students also wrote poems and read them to the audience.  The following is one poem written by a student:

My Life

By K.H.

Roses are red violets are blue.

One day my mom told me

My life is going to be through.

As I keep living and doing the right thing

My life will be longer as I would think.

But as I get older I get wiser

And as I get wiser

I get nicer

And my life gets better

As I live by good knowledge. 

The science class researched energy conservation during summer school.  Their end-of-the-summer project—with the help of their teacher—was constructing a wind turbine (shown left, in the technology lab).

Another highlight of the “Last Day of Summer School” event was when the students discussed the research they had done on the history of hip-hop music. 

The entire audience was mesmerized!

Shown right:  Several students read brief biographies of their favorite rappers and the audience heard a snippet of each artist’s most popular music.  

Lake Academy, a nonsecure residential program for females, ages 12 to 19, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, uses every experience as a teaching moment for the young ladies in the program.  Facility Administrator Demetria Refoure and Transitional Services Manager Janielle McCullough have been teaching the young ladies proper etiquette when in public and at restaurants—such as the Chinese buffet restaurant shown here.

The young ladies in the Aspire Group enjoyed a night out at a Tampa Bay Rays game with Facility Administrator Demetria Refoure and Assistant Facility Administrator McKinley Franklin.  These young ladies earned their way to the game by displaying appropriate behaviors in school, group sessions and while on the unit.

Lake Academy also held a graduation ceremony for the very first youth to receive her High School Diploma while in the program.  Along with the graduation ceremony, the Lake Academy Choir sang a few selections in honor of her success. 

Prevention Update

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee coordinated a Bridging the G.A.A.P. Conversation on Wednesday at the PACE Center for Girls facility at Immokalee-Collier. The G.A.A.P. conversation provided an effective, non-threatening, relationship-building forum where youth gained a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of law enforcement and where law enforcement officers gained a wider perspective of the youths’ world views. The panel discussed various topics relating to the youths’ perspective of the roles of law enforcement, youth /peer relationships and influences, the benefits of positive adult role models, benefits and learned experiences while at PACE, law enforcement roles as School Resource Officers, and how important appearances are in terms of dress as it relates to image, and the pressures outside of PACE with peers and family.

The Immokalee G.A.A.P. conversation included six officers and six young ladies.  Prevention and Probation staff and law enforcement officers provided encouraging words in efforts to prevent youth from entering or going deeper into the juvenile justice system while working to reduce the disproportionate minority contact.

This was the second G.A.A.P. conversation held in Circuit 20. The organizers of this Prevention initiative were Pat McGhee, Delinquency Prevention Specialist; Margaret LaMarca, Chief Probation Officer; Lut Clarcq, Reform Specialist; Dr. Sandra Pavelka, facilitator for the G.A.A.P. and Circuit 20 Advisory Board Chair; Captain Beth Jones, Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Marianne Kearns, Director of the PACE Center in Immokalee.

Federal Grants Coordinator Juliet Westmoreland conducted contract management and provider monitoring for the Office of Program Accountability on Wednesday at the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy. Juliet presented an overview of Federal Funding and how it impacts Shared Services.  Approximately 30 people attended the training.

This week, Community Engagement Coordinator Verla Lawson-Grady and Prevention Specialists Marie Boswell and Onazina Washington III attended the Department of Children and Families Child Protection Summit at the Marriot World Center in Orlando. The Summit is the largest child welfare event in Florida and it involved over 2,000 child welfare professionals and related partners: attorneys, case managers, child advocates, child protective investigators and supervisors, Child Protection Team staff, child welfare trainers, court staff, DCF staff, foster and adoptive parents, guardians ad litem, judges, law enforcement and juvenile justice professionals, service providers, and youth. Participants focused on engagement, partnerships, gathering information, planning for child safety, family change, and adapting case plans. 

From left to right: Patience Joshua, Senior JPO, Circuit 11; Verla Lawson-Grady, Community Engagement Coordinator; Warren Garrison, Operation Review Specialist, QI; Patience Joshua, Senior JPO, Circuit 11; Marie Boswell, Delinquency Prevention Specialist in Circuits 11, 15, 16 and 17; and Onazina Washington, III, Delinquency Prevention Specialist in Circuits 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8.

The Tampa I Prodigy Program hosted Turn it Up II: Second Annual Dance Battle on July 26 at the University Area Community Development Corporation in Tampa. Prodigy youth from several programming locations joined the Tampa I site for the event. Carrie Harmon, a Prodigy Dance Instructor, hosted the Dance Battle with music provided by DJ Handz. Youth from ages 7 to 17 participated in the Dance Battle, which included free style cyphers, one-versus-one face offs, and choreographed challenges. There were three judges present who used their own individual styles to crown a cypher King and Queen.

Although Prodigy youth were the only eligible youth to compete, family and friends were on hand to join in on the fun and have a good time. The Turn Up II Dance Battle was a huge success, with over 200 attendees. Prodigy youth are very excited to prepare for next year’s event.

Girls Inc. held their grand opening festivities at their new facility in Bartow last Thursday. As a partner with the Prodigy Cultural arts program, the grand opening of the Girls Inc. in Bartow was held with great excitement and celebration. The Executive Director of Girls Inc., Kay Fields, welcomed family, friends, partners and community members to see what the new location had to offer. There were bounce houses, board games and activities for the youth. Prodigy youth performed and had works of art displayed. You could feel the enthusiasm and excitement that staff members and youth portrayed in anticipation of this event.

The Bartow location will include the Prodigy Cultural Arts Program and will have everything from dance and music classes to art and drawing classes for the youth. Acquiring this location for Girls Inc. has been of high importance since it was something they knew they would need in order to reach a greater number of youth throughout the community.

Circuit Advisory Board Spotlight

This month I am pleased to highlight Chairman Kenneth M. Myers from Circuit 1 as the Circuit Advisory Board highlight for September. Kenneth M. Myers (Ken) is the DJJ Transition Coordinator for the Escambia County School District and presently serves as the Escambia County DJJ Council Chairman, Circuit 1 DJJ Advisory Board Chairman, Board of Director for Gulf Coast Crime Stoppers, and a member of the Northwest Florida Gang Task Force.

Mr. Myers brings a record of exceptional leadership and strategic vision while working with troubled youth.  He was instrumental in obtaining and implementing a Targeted Community Action Plan grant that helps youth living in a local housing development. It was through this project the idea of building a community center was established by the City of Pensacola. The community center was built in 2013.

Mr. Myers’ prior positions include serving as a principal of an alternative high school, dean of a middle school and a teacher in charge of the school in a juvenile detention center.  Mr. Myers started his career in education as a special education teacher at a middle school. During that time, he served on the steering committee for the Special Olympics, as well as, a Special Olympics basketball coach where his team won a statewide bronze medal (3rd place).

Mr. Myers was born and raised in Pensacola. He attended Pensacola Catholic High School, Pensacola Junior College and the University of West Florida. He holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. He enjoys playing tennis and coaching basketball at the local recreation center.

Detention Update

This Labor Day while many spent time with friends and family around a barbeque, Kimberly Ward from the General Counsel’s office spent her day painting a mural in the lobby of the Leon RJDC.

Kim has so graciously donated her spare time and talents and has provided the youth at the facility a much more calming environment. 

This week the TAPS Program at the Brevard RJDC received a new litter of puppies that they will be caring for until the puppies are adopted.

These sweet little pups were left on the side of a dirt road to fend for themselves and now they will be cared and nurtured for by our youth for the next eight weeks until adoption. 

The staff at the Volusia RJDC met with the educational staff prior to the first day of school in order to plan and develop an improved behavior management program for our youth enrolled in school. The result was a positive behavior report that allows our youth to earn credit in class for participation, following directions and prosocial behavior. Youth who receive 80% of their credits by Friday receive a certificate for “student of the week” and participate in the student of the week activity.

Probation Update

Last Thursday, Circuit 4 JPO Darrell Cope spoke at the Northeast Florida Foster Parent Association (NEFPA) about the juvenile justice process and what parents might expect. Darrell, who was a previous Vice President for the NEFPA, told stories of how he was a foster parent for 10 years and helped parent 62 teenagers during that time frame. The current president, Cheryl Olson, was very appreciative of Darrell’s presentation and she sent him a message stating,

“Thank you for speaking. I know the people in the association found your information very useful and pertinent to the work we do in foster care and I would also like to say thank you for being funny while presenting. Not all of our speakers are as polished and or prepared.”

From left to right, Dee Wilson, Past President of the NEFFPA, Darrell Cope and Cheryl Olson, Current President of NEFPA.

JPOs Jimmy Close and Teyaqua Gunn from Circuit 13 participated in a Back to School Cleanup at the Boys and Girls Club in Plant City. Both Jimmy and Teyaqua accompanied probationary youth during this project who earned valuable community service hours for their efforts. The Plant City Boys and Girls Club Program Director, Mary Pearson, was pleased with the efforts of the youth and praised the joint efforts of the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Bay Area Boys and Girls Clubs.   

Last Friday, Circuit 6 JPO Lawanta Stewart attended the Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-Entry Coalition Meeting in St. Petersburg. Economist & Publisher, Gypsy Gallardo was the guest speaker, relaying information on the St. Petersburg 2020 Initiative.  The St. Petersburg 2020 Initiative has been established to reduce poverty in South St. Petersburg by the year 2020 utilizing federal funding and collaborative partnerships.

JPOS Rubin Smith and SJPO Wanda Smith from Circuit 17 participated in a community event entitled “Keeping the Legacy Alive.” This event was hosted by the Broward County Association of Deputy Sheriff’s and Auxiliary. Rubin and Wanda provided a presentation on our Roadmap to System Excellence to parents, faith partners, and community providers.

SD&T Real Colors Lunch & Learn Promotes Stronger Teams

SD&T recently presented a lunch and learn on Real Colors® to the headquarters staff of the Bureau of Personnel (BOP). Real Colors is an easy method for understanding human behavior. The lunch and learn, titled Getting to Know You!, incorporated team-building activities, including a hot-dog lunch buffet, dancing, word-plays, and—of course—“colorizing” the staff members. Thanks to BOP Chief Margo Rogers for making the experience available to her staff, and to Katrina Dickey, Otis Ray, Dodie Garye, and Vivian Chambliss for their kind words of appreciation for the event. Kudos to Jacqui Clark-Hagan, SD&T professional development coordinator, for delivering this fun-filled, 3-hour experience. For more information, or to request a Real Colors event for your team, contact her at Jacqui.Hagan@djj.state.fl.us

The 2014-2015 Florida State Employees Charitable Campaign was officially underway starting this week on September 2nd! The campaign has gotten off to a great start and we would like to keep the momentum going! 

It’s even easier to pledge your donation to the campaign this year through the online pledging system. You can donate to your favorite charitable campaign by going to https://www.givingnexus.org/_fsecc/ or by visiting www.fsecc.com  The online pledging system is simple and easy and saves time and money.  Giving to the FSECC is an opportunity open to all Florida state employees. Thank you and here’s to a successful campaign!