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Secretary's Message

June 26, 2017

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

Last week ushered in the first day of summer, although it was merely the official start of the season as the hotter temperatures we’ve been experiencing makes it seem like summer has been here a lot longer than last Wednesday. We’ve also been watching the tropics as last week we had not one but two tropical storms, with Tropical Storm Cindy coming close to the Florida Panhandle before making its official landfall in Louisiana. 

With hurricane season now in full swing, it’s still not too late to get a plan to ensure the safety of yourself and loved ones. Please visit FloridaDisaster.org today to get a plan and be prepared.


Christina K. Daly

FJJF Hosts Reception in West Palm Beach 

The Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation (FJJF), the direct-support organization for the Department, hosted a fundraiser reception in West Palm Beach this past week. The fundraiser supports the work of FJJF to change the lives of juvenile justice-involved youth and their families by providing the necessary financial support to further their education or employability.  The reception was a huge success where Secretary Daly, FJJF Board chair Paul Mitchell and members of the DJJ staff were joined by a number of local members of the community including community leaders and advocates.

A huge thank you to FJJF Board chair Paul Mitchell and local community members, Anita Mitchell and Kimberly Mitchell, for their assistance in ensuring a successful event for the Foundation. Another big thank you to the Junior League of the Palm Beaches for their financial support of the initiatives of FJJF and the great volunteer work they do at the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center.  

 If you are interested in giving youth a second chance and helping them achieve their goals, donations to the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation can be made by clicking the “Make a Donation” button found here

Pictured above (from left to right): Caroline Ray, FJJF executive director; Jessica Pinsky, Junior League of the Palm Beaches; Secretary Daly; and, Sophia Stone, Junior League of the Palm Beaches

Pictured right (from left to right): Peggy Laguerre, Sequel Youth Services/Palm Beach Youth Academy, Secretary Daly, Stephanie Riley, Circuit 15 assistant chief probation officer, Greg Starling, Circuit 15 chief probation officer, Marie Boswell, delinquency prevention specialist, Shirlon McCarty, Circuit 15 reform specialist

Detention Facility Welcomes Former NFL Quarterback

Former NFL Quarterback Cleo Lemon stopped by the Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center to visit with the youth at the facility. Lemon, who started a total of seven games for the Miami Dolphins before ending his NFL career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, has lived in the Jacksonville area since 2008, and spends his free time mentoring and speaking with at-risk youth in his local community. 

Detention statewide trainers Dennis McClure and Paul Britten hosted a meeting of the North Region Focus Group at the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center on June 19. The group included representatives from detention centers in the region and the meeting was held to discuss staff retention and provide an opportunity to share best practices.

Pictured right (from left to right): Front Row- Lillian Simmons, Daniel Rivera, Phyllis Ivory, Leo Mitchell, Erica Cucinella

Back row- Paul Britten - Statewide Trainer, Kierstyn Cox, Alex Cochran, Twanna Reese, Jakola Bright, Dr. John Sample, Dennis McClure - Statewide Trainer

The Orange County School Board recently made a major investment in the education program at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center with the purchase of four new smart boards for use in our classrooms. This amazing upgrade in equipment will improve the quality of education that our youth receive while at Orange RJDC. We would like to thank the Orange County School Board for their dedication to our detention youth. 

Superintendent Conrad McCray from the Leon RJDC organized a meeting with pastors from New Way Ministry and The Way Ministry in Tallahassee to discuss ways that the local faith community can help deter at-risk youth from entering secure detention. Leon Assistant Superintendent Rico Cooper and Circuit 2 Circuit Advisory Board (CAB) Chairman Donnie Read also attended the meeting. Chair Read spoke about the CAB’s racial and ethnic disparities (RED) committee. 

Juvenile Justice Officer Academy Graduation Ceremony

Congratulations to the newest juvenile justice detention officers (JDO) who graduated at the Valencia Criminal Justice Institute and Broward College on June 23rd.  Thanks to Captain Latisha Howard of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and Senior Management Analyst II Latesha Thomas with Detention Services South for delivering the graduation address for the JDO graduations. Kudos to Learning Consultants Bernard Smith and Denise Cannon for training the officers in these positions of critical responsibility. The graduates will work in the detention centers listed next to their names.

Valencia JDO Class

Back Row (Left to right):  Chiqauitta Bell (Volusia), Florence Torbert (Brevard), Venica Ray (Orange), Jasmoan Davis (Orange), Minerva Gonzalez (Orange), Stai Shia Summerlin (Volusia), Ebone Sturrup (Volusia), Shantoria Bradley (Orange), Julia Stewart (Orange)

Top Row: Reginald Allen (Orange), Natalie Swain (Orange), Scott Wright (Orange), Derick Greaves (Orange), Kyle Madison (Brevard), Joynell Collins (Orange)

Broward JDO Class

Back Row (Left to right):  Chiqauitta Bell (Volusia), Florence Torbert (Brevard), Venica Ray (Orange), Jasmoan Davis (Orange), Minerva Gonzalez (Orange), Stai Shia Summerlin (Volusia), Ebone Sturrup (Volusia), Shantoria Bradley (Orange), Julia Stewart (Orange)

Top Row: Reginald Allen (Orange), Natalie Swain (Orange), Scott Wright (Orange), Derick Greaves (Orange), Kyle Madison (Brevard), Joynell Collins (Orange)

Broward JDO Class

Back Row (Left to right):  Hedwidge Deus (Dade), Demeatria Williams (Palm Beach), Tamia Florence (Broward), Shaybre Davis (Palm Beach), Sasha Burke (Broward), Catrina Matthews-Green (Broward), Jennifer Jean-Baptiste (Broward), Jeffrey Brownlee (Dade), Brandi Louis (Palm Beach)

Middle Row:  Jeff Blake (Dade), Jamell Rainey-Wilson (Palm Beach), Fritner Catilus (Dade), Franley Destin (Dade), Kenneth Kelson (Dade), Dominick Lopez (Broward), Johnathon Broner (Palm Beach), Kirk Myers (Palm Beach), Denise Cannon, Learning Consultant

Front Row: (sitting) Densil Hislop (Dade), Lora Boyd (Dade), Sabrina Alarcon (Dade), Lashara Cope (Dade), Alexandria Hunsucker (Broward), Curtis Williams (Broward), Ricardo Estimable (Broward), Ranisha Jones (Palm Beach)

Former DJJ Probation Youth Earns Scholarship with Florida State University

Recently, volunteer board member Dr. Richard Bruhn from the AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute met with Dean Randy Hanna of Florida State University’s Panama City campus. The pair were discussing the types of students the school was looking for when Dr. Bruhn mentioned the success of former PCMI student who is currently enrolled at Gulf Coast State College and working on her associates degree in engineering. She graduated from PCMI with her GED and currently holds a 3.88 GPA at Gulf Coast while working two jobs and going to school full time.

She has been receiving the GullKiss Foundation scholarship at Gulf Coast reserved for PCMI students that was set up years ago by PCMI Board Chairman Norm Gulkis, but would be needing another scholarship to continue her studies beyond Gulf Coast. Upon hearing her story, Dean Hanna said, “This is just the kind of student we want at FSU. Consider her accepted and we will find her a scholarship.” Due to her hard work, this youth will have the opportunity to continue her studies at FSU’s new engineering program! Congratulations to this incredible young woman and we look forward to seeing her accomplishments in the future! 

DJJ youth from the Eckerd Kids Project Bridge program in Circuits 6, 12 and 13 came together for the third annual Kickball Kick-Off and BBQ in St. Petersburg. The kids had the opportunity to interact with the community and probation staff as well as receive life skills regarding team sportsmanship. The event also provided the opportunity for the youth to be recognized for accomplishments made while enrolled with Project Bridge.  

DJJ youth from AMIkids Miami-Dade North facility made a visit to the Miami Rescue Mission to help serve meals to the homeless. The visit is a part of the facilities monthly community volunteer efforts and helps the youth earn their community service hours. The Miami Rescue Mission has been helping the homeless and needy of Miami and Broward Counties since 1922. 

DJJ students from the Panama City Marine Institute have teamed up with the Kiwanis Club of Panama City to provide books to children enrolled at a local Head Start Center. The Kiwanis Club collects the books while our students go through the stacks and select books designed for young readers.  Students visit each class during the summer session, read a book to the class and give each student a book of their own to keep. The students enjoy participating and the kids at the center look forward to hearing new stories and enjoying new books. 

CPO Melissa Fuller, Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell and Intern Shanika Green from Circuit 6 attended a forum entitled Speakers Who Inspire: Discrimination, Racial Justice and Community Health presented by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete. The forum was facilitated by Dr. David Williams, Professor of African American studies at Harvard University. Dr. Williams provided facts and statistics of the complex ways in which socioeconomic status, race, stress, racism, health behavior, and religious involvement can affect health.  

Circuit 13 JPO Deborah Weston-Raimer and members of her Zeta Phi Beta sorority chapter were the recipients of the Hillsborough County School District’s Champion for Education Volunteer Award. This award recognizes Zeta Phi Beta for adopting the D. W. Waters Career Center on the basis of length of service, demonstration of unusual commitment, and having a positive impact on the students through the sorority’s support and mentoring.  Zeta Phi Beta works with the teen parenting program at D. W. Waters Career Center and provides the school with school supplies year round.

Probation staff from Circuit 10 volunteered during the Polk County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Alliance Teen Summit at Polk State College. The summit, titled They Don’t Know I’m a Boss, provided teens with information regarding employee ability skills, human trafficking, health and wellness and college and career readiness. Over two hundred local youth and their family members were in attendance.

Pictured above (from left to right): Front Row: Sandra Lloyd, Tonya Jackson, Stephanie Floyd, Tricia Elliott

Middle Row: Susannah Schiebel, Ilia Ortiz-Bergada, Deirdre Holmes, Tiana Martinez, Natalie Montgomery

Back Row: Cynthia Streeter, Maria Constanzo, Marie Giglio, Aaron Lloyd, Gina Lozano, Danielle McCarthy, Amanda Torrence

The Circuit 16 probation office in Key West held their quarterly cookout and basketball outing. JPOs and office staff were in attendance as well as DJJ school liaison Geoff Peattie. The event was initially designed to engage with families in the local community but has turned into a great team building event as well. 

Prevention Staff Revisit History at Local Festival  

Community Engagement Coordinator Verla Lawson-Grady attended the fifth annual commemoration of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation at Speed Spencer Stephens Park in Tallahassee. The 2nd Infantry Regiment U.S. Colored Troops reenactment unit hosted the 5th Annual Season of Emancipation: “Walk through Living History Festival Parade and Day in the Park.”

This family-oriented event was in celebration of the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation that took place in Tallahassee in 1865, ending slavery in the state of Florida. The day began with a parade. Descendants of Black Seminoles and re-enactors in period dress representing the U.S. 2nd Infantry Regiment Colored Troops, Buffalo Soldiers and others were featured in a living history demonstration. There were activities and performers for all to enjoy. This was an opportunity to showcase the diversity of the Southside and the Tallahassee community at-large.

Verla, along with Prevention Specialist Onazina Washington, III and Federal Grants Coordinator Cheryl Howard volunteered during the parade and festivities. Other attendees included: U.S. Congressman Al Lawson, Jr. Co-Grand Marshals of the parade were Leon County Commissioner Curtis Richardson and his wife Judge Nina Ashenafi-Richardson, 2nd Judicial Circuit.

Pictured above: Cheryl Howard (left) poses with John Anderson (AKA) Frederick Douglas

Young ladies from the PACE Center for Girls of Palm Beach County created a summer camp at their facility. A small group of PACE girls came together as the "Summer Planning Committee" and created a special surprise for their PACE sisters. The committee decided to make some changes to the summer program at PACE. They wanted to create an “unforgettable” summer of fun and memories so they designed a “summer camp.”

Camp PACE-a-lot is an eight-week program, complete with academies, special groups and activities, a sleep over at the Center, and field trips. As a bonus, there were fun incentives for those girls who demonstrated positive behaviors and good attendance. The five summer academies include reading, music appreciation, culinary, fitness, and art. The art academy is a special eight-week program sponsored by the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. This summer, the group will focus on architecture and will result in an exhibit at the museum.

The girls will present a talent show in August to end the summer camp. Parents, relatives, and community partners will be invited to show. The staff are proud of the 13 girls who exhibited leadership skills to create something unique for the other PACE girls. Many of them gave up a weekend and 2-day summer break to create the magical transformation!

Residential Facilities Honor Recent Graduates 

Last week, Marion Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 19, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, held a graduation ceremony in partnership with Marion Technical College (MTC).  Two residents, one past student and one current student, walked with this year's MTC graduating class and were honored for earning their GEDs.  The program staff were excited for these two young men and for their accomplishments.  They enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate with the boys and their families.

Challenge Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by Eckerd Kids, hosted a presentation by Mary Ann DeSimone from Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.  Transitional Case Manager Angela Bailey arranged the visit as the education department’s culminating activity to celebrate their recent “Wild America” educational theme.  Ms. DeSimone brought with her a few native Florida critters: an opossum, a red rat snake, and a gopher tortoise.  She taught the students about the animals’ habitats and what each of us can all do to help ensure their survival.  The students loved watching and listening to the opossum as she ate her favorite treat—grapes.  For an opossum, grapes are like chocolate for us! 

The Challenge Youth Academy plans to take a group of students to the park to follow up with Ms. DeSimone, in addition to hosting another lecture from her again this fall.  She promised to bring out an owl and an alligator for that visit!

Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, hosted a Volunteer Banquet.  The advisory board held a meeting that was followed by lunch and awards for all of those who volunteer regularly with the Duval Academy Advisory Board.  It was a wonderful banquet with music, food, laughter, and news about upcoming events.

During the month of May, Jon's Fine Jewelry in Cocoa Village, designated funds from all watch battery replacements for donation to AMIkids, Inc., and the Melbourne Center for Personal Growth (MCPG), a non-secure program for boys, ages 13 to 18, as part of the company’s "Time for Charity" program.  Shown right, Mr. Jon presented a check to MCPG Executive Director Cedric Cliatt who was joined by Don Herndon, a long time AMIkids board member.

On June 16, the Morale Committee of Kissimmee Youth Academy (KYA), a secure program for boys, ages 14 to 21, which is operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, LLC, hosted a real treat for the fathers working at the facility.  Massage by DJ transformed the KYA conference room into a place of serenity.  The massage therapists gave the fathers an opportunity to lie down on the job, literally, to experience a massage; some of the men had never had that experience before.  They enjoyed a few minutes to relax and be stress free.

Additionally, the fathers were treated to a seafood feast of crabs, shrimp, and sushi.  Special thanks go to Dawn Buchanan and Consuelo Garvin for organizing this beautiful event for the KYA fathers.

The young men of Broward Youth Treatment Center (BYTC), a non-secure program for boys, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, had a beautiful celebration for their 2017 graduating class of four students.  The youths’ families and peers were joined by school board officials at the ceremony.  The youths recognized those who encouraged them throughout their BYTC educational journeys.  They shared their goals and encouraged their peers to achieve high school graduation.  All of the young men are either college bound or are pending acceptance letters.  The ceremony included encouraging words from guest speaker and former NFL Player Jeff Owens.

After the ceremony, the graduates were treated by the education department to a very special lunch at the Golden Corral to honor their achievements.  This now brings the total of youths receiving a high school diploma while at BYTC to eight for 2017.  Special thanks go to Dr. Smith and Broward County Schools, as well as Program Director Latoya Jackson-Singletary for the emphasis they place on education.

Five students from the Hastings Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment Program and the Gulf Academy, non-secure programs for boys, which are operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, earned their high school diplomas through the GED® program.  The young men worked hard and remained diligent to achieve this milestone.  Youth JC stated, “I can’t wait for my mom to be able to hold my diploma; she is so proud of me.”  The staffs of Hastings and Gulf are very proud of these young men for their accomplishments.

Call for Nominations for the See the Girl Awards

The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, is issuing a call for nominations for its inaugural See the Girl Awards. Six individuals who have championed the rights of girls and young women impacted by the justice system will be recognized at a luncheon on September 13. The six awards will cover the areas of research, advocacy, direct service, leadership, legislator of the year and the lifetime achievement award.

Interested individuals can download a nomination form at www.seethegirl.org/awards. The deadline for nominations is July 15th and award recipients will be notified on August 1st. For questions or assistance, please contact the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center at 904-598-0901 or email mdegnan@seethegirl.org