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Secretary's Message

March 12, 2018

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

This past Sunday, the Florida Legislature adjourned sine die (ended legislative session). A BIG thanks to the hard work and dedication of our legislative and budget team! As we wrap up, more information will be forthcoming on the Department’s legislative and budget successes. 

As a reminder, don’t forget that I am always looking for opportunities to showcase the work you all do – on and off the clock – to enrich our 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. 

Sincerely, 

Christina K. Daly


In Memoriam

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Circuit 18 Juvenile Probation Officer Corey Henley. JPO Henley began working with our agency in August of last year and worked mostly with youth in foster care. Although his tenure with the Department was short, JPO Henley quickly earned the admiration of his co-workers due to his willingness to learn and his friendly, supportive nature. He said that he joined the Department to mentor and help kids in need. JPO Henley was a proud veteran of the US Army and held both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education. His family stated that he loved his new job with DJJ and was very proud to be a juvenile probation officer. My thoughts and prayers are with the Henley family and all of his co-workers who knew him best. 












Staff Announcements and Kudos

Congratulations to Juvenile Detention Officer Supervisor Reginald Lovely (shown below left with Superintendent Mark Refour) and Juvenile Detention Officer II Tyre Stevenson (seen below right) from the Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center who were named Employee of the Month for the months of November 2017 and December 2017 respectively. Each officer was presented with a certificate and a gift card.

        











Congratulations to Sergeant Darius William and Juvenile Detention Officer Steve Graham from the St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center who were both named employees of the month at the facility. Both were recognized by Captain John Johnson for their support and willingness to assist the facility, and both men received a certificate and a gift card. 


Pictured above: Officer Steve Graham, Captain John Johnson and Sergeant Darius William


Congratulations to Support Staff member Jo Ann Snyder from the Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Juvenile Detention Officer Supervisor (JPOS) Sherman Rackley from the Manatee Regional Juvenile Detention Center and Juvenile Detention Officer (JDO) Thelma Neil from the Hillsborough Regional Juvenile Detention Center who were all recognized as Central Region Employees of the Month for the month of January.



Congratulations to Government Operations Consultant Marie Riou from the Bureau of Finance and Accounting who was recognized as and Alumnae of Keiser University during the school’s 40th anniversary celebration. The anniversary celebration honored community leaders like Ms. Rious, who has dedicated 29 years of her life in service to the state of Florida, including the last 13 years where she has served at our Department. 

Congratulations to Government Operations Consultant Marie Riou from the Bureau of Finance and Accounting who was recognized as and Alumnae of Keiser University during the school’s 40th anniversary celebration. The anniversary celebration honored community leaders like Ms. Rious, who has dedicated 29 years of her life in service to the state of Florida, including the last 13 years where she has served at our Department. 


Congratulations to Support Staff member Jo Ann Snyder from the Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Juvenile Detention Officer Supervisor (JPOS) Sherman Rackley from the Manatee Regional Juvenile Detention Center and Juvenile Detention Officer (JDO) Thelma Neil from the Hillsborough Regional Juvenile Detention Center who were all recognized as Central Region Employees of the Month for the month of January.



Congratulations to Circuit 20 Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) Nathan Blanco who received a certificate of appreciation from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for his service to the Juvenile Arrest and Monitor (JAM) unit. JPO Blanco, whose case load consists of committed youth as well as youth in the community, has done an excellent job of establishing good communication between our Department and local law enforcement. 



The Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently honored Officers Keyon Alderman and Gregory Bruton with their Department issued badges for becoming certified juvenile detention officers.

      
















Detention Facilities Welcome NFL Stars to Help Mentor Youth

The Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently welcomed Ha'Sean Treshon "Ha Ha" Clinton-Dix from the NFL’s Green Bay Packers to the facility to speak to our youth. Mr. Clinton-Dix, an alum of Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, spoke with the youth about fulfilling their life dreams and encouraged them not to re-offend. Mr. Clinton-Dix visited the program as a guest of Ms. Lois Billy (shown left) with the Orange County Public Schools Alternative Education Program. 


In addition, the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center held their Black History Month celebration at the end of last month, in conjunction with the Orange County Schools Alternative Education Program. The event included lunch, guest speakers, and a poetry and song presentation from youth.




The Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently welcomed former defensive end Jamal Anderson from the Atlanta Falcons to the facility. Mr. Anderson spoke to the youth about planting the seeds of redemption through prayer and perseverance. Mr. Anderson was in the area promoting his new book, “The Best Bet,” and the youth were taken aback by his journey and his honesty. Mr. Anderson plans to return to the facility to bring copies of the book. In addition, the interest in Mr. Anderson’s book sparked a plan to start a book club at the Pinellas facility. 

The Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center also welcomed local percussionist Steve “The Drum Man” to the facility on February 28 to mentor our youth on the importance of listening, feeling, accepting adversities and each other all while beating a drum. Steve spoke about the history of drums and the original materials used and all of the youth had a fantastic time. At the end of the session, the youth were smiling, giving praise and being positive about this fantastic experience.




The Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently hosted their Black History Month program where youth were encouraged to give a speech about a past or present black leader in society. The event was spearheaded by Duval educator Mr. McNair. The winning student can be seen right with Mr. McNair.


Last month, the Manatee Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) held their advisory board meeting at the facility. The board discussed its new vision to address the current needs of youth and staff members as well as their future needs. In addition, the board also elected new officers. Participating in the meeting were: Barbara Waiters- Manatee RJDC Chaplin, Dawn Perkins - FTC, Rena Hunkeler-ACPO, LeAnn Hunneke-Youth for Christ (Elected to Secretary), Sharon Huntley-Believe, Robert Lyons-Manatee County Schools, Dwayne Parker- SOZO Ministry, Jose Lozada- Replay, Pedro Rodriguez- Harvest House (Elected to Vice Chair), Bishop Raymond Trice (Elected to Chair), Brandy Witt- Youth for Christ.


Probationary Youth Meet With Career Counselor and Staff Participate in Beach Clean-up Project

DJJ youth with AMIkids Gadsden have been getting career ready with the help of a career counselor who makes a visit to the facility each week. The counselor works with youth on everything from resume writing, interview skills and social skills training to helping students prepare better for what employers are looking for.

Last week, the youth practiced interviewing with one employer and worked on basic interview questions and handshakes  with a panel of employers. The activity provided job prep and gave our students a better understanding of the roles of various staff members at the program.



Circuit 16 Probation mentors and Faith Network partners Elaine McHale and Michael Rogers participated in a radio interview with WIIS 106.9FM regarding opiate use in the Florida Keys. These mentors collaborated with the Monroe County Coalition to bring this valuable information to the local community.







DJJ youth with the Eckerd Connects Project Bridge Program in Circuit 10 and their staff members got in touch with their wild side at Polk City’s II Ventures. The day started off on a horseback ride through the woods, followed up with basketball, a cookout in the park, and finished off with some ice cream! While at the farm, the youth learned basic riding skills, including how to get on and off the horse, how to get the horse to go, speed up, slow down, and stop. They also learned how body language and general presence affects the horse and its reactions.



Senior Juvenile Probation Officer Yvette Carethers and Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell in Circuit 6 teamed up with youth from the Pinellas County Girls Court to participate in a community service project to clean up beach trash on Honeymoon Island. Prior to the clean-up, the girls had a meaningful conversation about how trash left on the beach can have a harmful effect on marine life.







Last week, Circuit 6 Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell hosted a resource table during the Anona United Methodist Church’s Mission. Adrienne passed out family engagement brochures and provided an overview of the Department to those interested. In addition, numerous people signed up for the upcoming Salon Talk to bring awareness to human trafficking and the upcoming Juvenile Justice Citizens Academy.



The Circuit 15 probation staff from Unit 106 recently held their annual Black History Month luncheon with the Riviera Beach Civil Drug Court staff. The team enjoyed a healthy meal which included grilled chicken, a robust salad, garlic bread, fruit smoothies and strawberry whipped cream shells for dessert. The meal served as inspiration for the Circuit’s upcoming weight loss challenge that starts this week.



















Circuit 20 probation staff participated in events surrounding the Southwest Florida Marine Institute’s Spirit Week. These events gave our officers a great opportunity to share a meal with the youth and allow them to see some of their great successes. The youth placed in this program enjoyed their chance to show that they are making progress toward their educational goals and that they can do well in the community. Participating in Spirit Week was a reminder to all the JPOs that good things are possible for our youth.


Circuit 20 Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) Shana Feren has been a dedicated officer serving both Hendry and Glades counties for a number of years. JPO Feren has always gone to great lengths to provide our youth with help and guidance while they complete their court-ordered sanctions. Recently, JPO Feren received two notes of appreciation from different families. The first was hand-written note from a parent, while the other was a text from a youth. I am pleased to share them with you below:

Our JPO was often making calls and having meetings well outside of normal business hours.  She always had a smile on her face and put my family before everything else.  She had my child’s best interest at heart all the time.  I just thought it was a lot for one person.  But, Mrs. Shana handled it beautifully.  I couldn’t have asked for a more genuine or more kind person.  My family will forever be grateful for Mrs. Shana.

hey am texting you to let u know that am very thankful for you i mean if it wasn’t for you i wouldn’t change the way i am every time i see you, you always given me some type of advice to change my ways to be and it work and am very thankful now i give more respect to my family and even in school i try everything for my grades something i never did i feel like if i would have never met you my life wouldn’t be has great as it is now your a wonderful women that god blessed this world and i bet your daughter must be a lucky little girl because her mother is a wonderful person and i don’t regret meeting you cause your the person who changed my life and i will never stop thanking god for putting you in my path in life thank you shana you taught me a lot and a lot of advice you have changed my life i feel a good future in my life because of you i love you💓☺️


Juvenile Justice Circuit Advisory Boards Honor Partners and Teens

The Circuit 15 Circuit Advisory Board (CAB) recently held their annual awards ceremony in West Palm Beach. The CAB awarded deserving recipients with their Unsung Hero Award and With Heart Recognition Award in honor of their selfless service and support for youth in Palm Beach. This year, the honorees for the Unsung Hero Awards were Lynn Trimble- Director, Choice to Change and Lynn Powell-Asst. State Attorney. Father Leo Fisher was recognized for his unselfish devotion and long term contribution to DJJ.

Rev. John Agudo, Nueva Vida New Life, Inc. and the Belle Glade Ministerial Association were also recognized for outstanding support and lasting contributions to Palm Beach youth and support to the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center’s holiday festivities. In addition, the Circuit 15 CAB members presented an award to Dr. Barbara Gerlock, Chair of the Circuit 15 Juvenile Justice Circuit Advisory Board, for her unwavering service to the Palm Beach Community.


The Circuit Advisory Board (CAB) in Circuit 8 celebrated the accomplishments of three Baker County youth involved with the Teen Court program during their meeting last month. Teen Court Director Ryan Brannan presented awards to Avery Bryan, Alexis Ledford, and Kyrie Holman, all graduating seniors at Baker County High School and Teen Court volunteers. Circuit 8 CAB members were not only impressed with these students’ dedication to the Teen Court program, but by their numerous other academic and community accomplishments.

Teen Court is a "peer court" for first time misdemeanor and traffic offenders and can include offenses such as petit theft, affray, battery, criminal mischief, trespassing, and traffic infractions such as careless driving. The program is conducted by volunteer teens who are trained in courtroom protocol, judicial process and the responsibilities of the various court personnel. The teen volunteers, along with a judge and adult volunteer coaches, conduct court hearings for various misdemeanor criminal cases each week. Defendants receive a sentence from a jury of their peers, that must be completed within a certain time period. Those who successfully complete the program have their cases dismissed.

Pictured above: Teen Court Director Ryan Brannan presents awards to Avery Bryan, Alexis Ledford, and Kyrie Holman, all graduating seniors at Baker County High School and Teen Court Volunteers.


The PACE Center for Girls of Jacksonville hosted their Black History Month event last month. The girls prepared presentations on individuals who they selected for having an integral part in black history. They shared information on civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Biologist Ernest Everett Just, and Historian Carter G. Woodson, who founded Negro History Week.

They also highlighted Maggie Lena Walker, the first female bank president of any race to charter a bank in the United States; American poet Maya Angelou, Inventor and Engineer Elijah McCoy, Singer and Activist Nina Simone, and Shirley Chisholm the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

The girls also created a visual representation of their influential leader that is being displayed at the Center.  A highlight of the assembly was a performance of authentic African dance from their Middle School Extended Day Program.  


Delinquency Prevention Specialist Andria George coordinated and moderated a private screening of the new Black Panther movie, which was followed by a panel discussion. The screening was held at Sun Ray Cinema in Jacksonville and more than 90 students participated from the West Side High School Honor Society and the Circuit 4 Juvenile Probation Office.

The panelists included Lt. Travis Cox; Officer Earnest Wilford, a former Jacksonville Jaguar turned JSO officer; former Lieutenant (Lt.) Governor Jennifer Carroll; Lobbyist Rontel Batie; Assistant Special Agent from the FBI Carlton Peeples, and Chief Engineer of Communications and Signals at CSX Carl Walker. Former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll was the first black Lt. Governor and first female elected to the position in Florida and Carl Walker is the first African-American in his position at CSX.

A special thanks to Twyla Ivey from Us & Our Children who helped make this event possible.  Thank you to the Circuit 4 Probation team and to Chief Probation Officer Donna Webb for their efforts in organizing and supervising this event. Thank you also to Officer Strickland and Officer Videll Williams for interacting with the youth before, during, and after the event.


Office of Staff Development and Training Hosts Manager Training Course

The DJJ Staff Development and Training’s L.E.A.D. Institute hosted its three-day manager training session at Valencia College in Orlando.

The training session hosted 25 DJJ team members in the areas of detention, probation, prevention, background screening and staff development and training. The training focused on performance management, creative problem solving and strategic planning and our staff members were given many tools to strengthen their leadership skills.





Residential Program Hosts Awards Ceremony for Deserving Youth

Last month, Crestview Youth Academy, which is operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, hosted an awards ceremony to acknowledge and give praise to the youth who have been excelling above and beyond in the program. The awards are voted by the staff for best dressed, Mr. CYA, best in sportsmanship, and there were also awards given by the clinical team for most improved in group and best participant in group. These awards are accompanied by a pair of Nike socks as an award for their achievements.

The awards are given out in a ceremony with refreshments and attendance from all clinical team members and school staff. The youth were given certificates for their achievements, Valentine’s day cookies, and drinks. The next award ceremony will be held in 2 weeks.

A few days later, Crestview Youth Academy hosted a haircut bash for the youth in the Alpha and Bravo mod. Three barbers from the community came in and gave the young men fresh haircuts and are establishing positive pro-social relationships with them.

Each youth was able to leave the haircut session feeling good about themselves and the way they looked. It really had a positive effect on their self-esteem! The barbers will return monthly to give the youth haircuts.



Rite of Passage programs provide the Student-Athletes with opportunities to experience community activities that promote life lessons and encourage the students to pursue activities that allow lifelong personal growth. Particularly, organized sports provide Student-Athletes with physical, mental and verbal skill sets, while promoting teamwork and self-actualization.

Recently, the Compliance Manager, Cliff Covington at Walton Academy for Growth and Change (WAGC) a secure program for boys, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by Rite of Passage, partnered with the Northwest Florida College basketball team and trainers for a mini-camp experience at First Baptist Church, in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. The Walton RAMs teamed up with staff to play several rounds of competitive basketball.

Community members and area scouts watched the intense play as Walton Student-Athletes were exposed to next-level assessing. One talent scout asked Mr. Covington for one Student-Athlete’s contact information for possible scouting purposes upon his successful completion of the program.

WAGC's Student-Athletes were impressive on the court and off, and they were grateful to have played for collegiate talent scouts. The participating Student-Athletes exemplified all RAMS standards for going above and beyond what was expected of them. Opportunities like this allow the students to practice pro-social skills they will need to have to succeed as independent young adults.


Last month, six youth from Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Sequel, went to Evangel Temple Church to attend a mother and son dinner. The church set up a beautiful dining room and had the youth read their mothers a letter. There weren’t many dry eyes when the boys read the letters. The church then had the boys give their moms chocolate and a rose. It was a wonderful night and the boys had a fantastic time and the families and staff did as well.




Discovery Science Center of Ocala made its monthly visit to Marion Youth Academy, a nonsecure program for boys, ages 14 to 19, which is operated by Sequel. “Meet the Animals” was the theme for the month. This was a chance for the students to get an up close, personal experience with the critters and discover what it means to be a reptile, amphibian, or bug.

Some of the animals that made the road trip to MYA were: Mr. Daisy, a blue-eyed dragon; South American Flying Cockroach, Kafka; Emperor Scorpion and Noodles, an Albino, African, Balled Python. It was a great experience for all!

     
















The youth at Jacksonville Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, participated in a special Valentine’s Day Dinner hosted by Evangel Temple Church. The youth celebrated this special day of love with a catered candlelit dinner with their mothers. Youth then presented in song, poem or letter, how much they love and appreciate their mothers. Special thanks to volunteer Mike Self and Evangel Temple for hosting the event!

The youth of Jacksonville Youth Academy also went out into the community to give back! Jacksonville Youth Academy teamed up with Duval County Health Department for their Annual Community Block Party. While there, the youth assisted with boxing and bagging groceries, line dancing with senior citizens and participated in relay races with younger children. Special thanks to Mrs. Jocelyn Turner from the Health Department and DJJ Commitment Chief Mr. Virgil Wright for the invitation.


Kissimmee Youth Academy (KYA), a secure program for boys, ages 14 to 21, which is operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, facilitated the quarterly KYA Community Advisory Board Meeting. They had the pleasure of having one of their most celebrated alumni, Antonio Dupuch, return to Kissimmee Youth Academy to speak about his experiences as a client during the board meeting. Antonio, accompanied by his mother spoke highly of the program and stated that the services provided were very beneficial. Antonio’s mother highlighted that staff correspondence was very consistent throughout the duration of the time Antonio was in the program. She also stated that Antonio progressed immensely academically, behaviorally, and socially during his time at Kissimmee Youth Academy. As a program they are committed to working in partnership with families in preparing youth for reintegrating back into their respective communities. This is a great ending to a compelling story about a young man that set a goal to graduate and could secure a degree while in the program.

Antonio is an inspiration to Kissimmee residents and they were elated to have him and his mother return to the program to speak to staff and students! Lastly, Antonio and his mother are dedicated to being permanent fixtures on the KYA Community Advisory Board.


The youth at Bartow Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, celebrated Valentine’s Day. It started with an afternoon of fun kicked off with a Play Therapy group in which Bartow Youth Academy’s new Rec Therapist, Tori Palma coordinated a Balloon Frenzy tournament. The boys were coached by their therapist and Clinical Director to keep their team’s own colored balloons in the air while swatting the opposing team balloons to the ground. The youth practiced team work and healthy competition. The new TSM, Derrell King, got involved and built up positive youth rapport while filling in for a team that was down one man. The youth were also surprised with Icee treats on the warm spring day and given personalized Valentine goodie bags with their own Power Ranger Valentine cards.




Miami Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, also celebrated Valentine’s Day. It was too hot in south Florida to play outside; eleven families participated, forty-six visitors and a room full of fun: music, appetizers, drinks, and delicious desserts prepared by our culinary arts youth. Recreation therapist Ms. A. Deverson continued to share her creative talents while guiding the interns. They worked with numerous youth to present love is in the air, painting with a twist Family Fun Day. Joining the festivities, community partners from My Life My Power CEO Mr. D. Puder and Youth at Risk Coordinator Mr. J Molina. The Kissing Booth was a fun game while everyone took a turn to guess how many Hershey kisses were in the jar. With such creative thought, the top five paintings were selected and each winner received a gift bag of goodies and the painting. Special thanks to Ms. Deverson, our interns from Florida International University, and Mr. Wynne and Ms. Sanchez of Miami Dade County Schools for their amazing commitment.





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