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Secretary's Message

April 8, 2019

Department of Juvenile Justice’s Weekly Letter

Welcome to our weekly letter, with the latest on what’s going on and what the team is doing across the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. I hope you will take a moment to read about the ways our DJJ staff, providers, and partners are working to improve the lives of Florida’s youth and families and how we are working to make our communities even better.

Please keep sharing your great work, successes, and accomplishments both on and off the clock in serving the youth, families, and communities touched by DJJ. Your stories inspire us all to do more. So, send your good news to news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon.

Sincerely, 

Secretary Simone Marstiller


2019 PACE Day at The Capitol

Secretary Simone Marstiller speaking at PACE DayLast week, Secretary Simone Marstiller joined PACE Center for Girls staff, board members, and PACE girls from around the state for the annual PACE Center for Girls Day at the Capitol. More than 100 PACE girls came to the Capitol and met with members of the Florida House, Florida Senate, and even First Lady Casey DeSantis, to share the impact PACE has had on their lives and to advocate for improvements on key issues impacting girls across Florida. 

Secretary Marstiller provided remarks during the PACE Center for Girls luncheon and also read Governor Ron DeSantis’ Believing in Girls Month Proclamation. Also in attendance at the event was Assistant Secretary for Prevention Alice Sims.

PACE Day at the CapitolThat same week, Secretary Marstiller had an opportunity to take a tour of the PACE Center for Girls, Leon, in Tallahassee. PACE Center for Girls is a DJJ prevention provider that works with middle and high school girls who are at risk for dropping out of school, human trafficking, or involvement in the juvenile justice system.

PACE Day at the Capitol

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


 

Staff Announcements and Kudos

New Detention Superintendent Daryl BoltonWe are pleased to announced that Daryl Bolton will serve as our new detention superintendent at Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC). Mr. Bolton recently served as the assistant detention superintendent at Escambia RJDC and prior to that, worked as a shift supervisor at the St. Johns Detention Center. Superintendent Bolton is also a youth coach and has served on the Jacksonville Reentry Center Transitional Services Committee. Superintendent Bolton graduated from Bethune Cookman University with a degree in Criminal Justice. After earning his degree, he joined the United States Navy, devoting 6 years of service to our country. Congratulations to Major Bolton on his new role with our Department!

 

 

 

  


 

JPO Stacie Bostick from the Lake County Probation Office, Unit 301 We would like to recognize JPO Stacie Bostick from the Lake County Probation Office, Unit 301 for providing excellent service to one of the youth on her caseload.

Stacie delivered a family engagement survey to the youth’s mother and was highly complimented for her professionalism, compassion, and respect that she brought. The youth’s mother said, in part, “Stacie showed up and was amazing. She seemed more like a trusted family member that my son respected and wanted to exceed for.”

The family was able to get through a trying time with JPO Bostick’s help. JPO Stacie Bostick continues to be a true asset to the families that she serves, her community, and the Circuit 5 DJJ Probation team. Stacie continues to lead by example, showing exemplary skills in working with youth and families in Lake County. Great job, Stacie!

 

 

 

 

 


 

Senior Juvenile Probation Officer (SJPO) Jonathan Gonzalez Congratulations Senior Juvenile Probation Officer (SJPO) Jonathan Gonzalez for being recognized as the Circuit 20 Employee of the 1st Quarter.

SJPO Jonathan Gonzalez has been involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice since 2017. He originally started with the Department as an intern from Florida Gulf Coast University and upon graduating with his bachelor’s degree, became employed with the Office Probation and Community Intervention. SJPO Gonzalez has also served as the court liaison for the Lee Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC).  

SJPO Gonzalez continues to go above and beyond in his professionalism and with every single task. He has taken the initiative to learn all aspects of probation and was even recognized by the judges in open court. His interaction with co-workers, youth, parents, and stakeholders continues to exceed the screening expectations. With his ability to work well with others, his professionalism, and the pride he has for his job and duties, SJPO Gonzalez is well worth the honor of being named employee of the quarter.


 

Freddy Morales - March 2019 Employee of the MonthThe Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center wishes to congratulate Freddy Morales as their March 2019 Employee of the Month. Corporal Morales brings a no-nonsense attitude to work every day and focuses on getting the job done. Corporal Morales’ consistency and dependability are truly an asset to Orange!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 


 

Ms. Abigail de Jesus Rivera - March 2019 Provider Employee of the MonthThe Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center wishes to congratulate Ms. Abigail de Jesus Rivera as their March 2019 Provider Employee of the Month. Ms. Abby always has a wonderful smile and a positive attitude. Her contributions and support of Orange RJDC every day make her very deserving of this honor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Prevention Youth Take Part in “Live United” Community Video

The Pace Center for Girls of Pasco County, in collaboration with the United Way, shot a community video to help spread the word about how to “Live United.”  This was a special opportunity for PACE girls to experience how different organizations work together towards the same goal.  The goal of the video was to show that in order to make a community stronger, you have to help one another. Upon hearing the words, “lights, camera, action,” the girls truly felt like they were in Hollywood!

The Pace Center for Girls of Pasco County, in collaboration with the United Way, shot a community video to help spread the word about how to “Live United.”

 


The Office of Prevention and Victim Services recently held a provider training in Pensacola on “What Providers Need to Know When Doing Business with the State of Florida,” as a means of educating providers on best practices, latest trends and service delivery improvements. Director Brent Musgrove delivered the opening remarks and Assistant Secretary Alice Sims highlighted the importance of prevention services and collaborative efforts with community stakeholders. Delinquency Prevention Specialist Carmen Lundy was instrumental in the success of the training. Prevention Chief Marcus Smith and Director Yvonne Woodard also attended.
In a collaborative effort, presenters included DJJ’s Background Screening Director Myra Burks, Bureau of Contract Management Bureau Chief Beth Davis and Interim Director of Program Accountability Christopher Goodman. Each shared the role their program areas play in building a support system for providers and in building relationships with the community partners and stakeholders.

Over 43 community partners and organizations attended the training and reported the information presented was extremely beneficial and educational.

The Office of Prevention and Victim Services recently held a provider training in Pensacola on “What Providers Need to Know When Doing Business with the State of Florida.”


 

Juvenile Probation Officer Travels Travels to Ghana to Help Youth in Need

JPO Donna Easterling from Flagler County traveled to Ghana in West Africa to help youth and families in need. JPO Donna Easterling from Flagler County traveled to Ghana in West Africa to help youth and families in need. Thanks to donations from Donna’s nonprofit organization, Inspiration of Hope Community Resources, Inc., Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, and DJJ staff, over 300 toiletry items, along with pencils, footballs, and candy, were collected to support this outreach effort across the globe.

The group accompanying JPO Easterling also visited several historic sites in Ghana. We are very proud DJJ could be a part of such a wonderful outreach program!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


 

Last week, 20 AMIkids programs from across the state descended on the Capitol for AMIkids Day. Last week, 20 AMIkids programs from across the state descended on the Capitol for AMIkids Day. Youth, staff and board members met with hundreds of legislators, sharing their stories and messages of appreciation for their support of the work we do. The group was also recognized during session on the Senate floor by Senator Aaron Bean and on the House Floor by Representative James Grant.

 

 

 

  


 

The Monroe County Coalition, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and the Circuit 16 State Attorney’s Office conducted a “Know the Law Training” to all 6th and 9th grade students at the Marathon High School.

This training is one of the components noted on Circuit 16’s Racial and Ethnic Disparities(RED)/Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) action plan to reduce arrests and referrals on school grounds. In total, 312 students participated in the training. The DJJ team in Circuit 16 is an active participant with the Monroe County Coalition, which provides many prevention opportunities for DJJ in the circuit.

The Monroe County Coalition, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and the Circuit 16 State Attorney’s Office conducted a “Know the Law Training.”

 


 

Canteen Tampa Dining recently hosted youth from AMIkids Tampa, allowing the youth to utilize their ServeSafe vocational training.Canteen Tampa Dining recently hosted youth from AMIkids Tampa, allowing the youth to utilize their ServeSafe vocational training by preparing and serving Monte Cristo sandwiches.

Thanks to AMIkids staff and the lead chef from Canteen, the students sold over 20 sandwiches and raised $117. It was truly an experience the boys will never forget. They learned about customer service and how to handle work-related situations professionally.

 

 

  


 

Circuit 2 Probation staff recently participated in Gadsden High School’s Dress for Success Career Fair & Expo in Havana. Circuit 2 Probation staff recently participated in Gadsden High School’s Dress for Success Career Fair & Expo in Havana. Over 200 high school juniors and seniors were provided the opportunity to interview with potential employers. In attendance from DJJ were Reform Specialist Michael Byrd, JPO Crystal Horrell, JPO Ashontis Pace, Intern Grethel Calero, and SJPO Janyah Glenn. The probation team was on hand to provide an overview of DJJ services and the wonderful career opportunities DJJ has to offer.

 

 

 

 

  


 

Detention Youth Enjoy a Taco Dinner to Encourage Positive Behavior

 

Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center held a behavior management party.Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center held a behavior management party, where the level three youth got to enjoy a variety of tacos and drinks. This event is part of an ongoing effort to promote positive interactions and behavior among the youth and toward others.  

 

 

 

  

 


 

The Community Alliance for Orange Regional Juvenile Detention CenterThe Community Alliance for Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center, serving Osceola and Orange counties, recently met for their second meeting this year. The advisory board worked on a formal structure including a name, vision, and mission statement. 

The Community Alliance also celebrated the following accomplishments by its members over the past month: donations by the Circuit 9 DJJ Probation team of books for the detention center library, the weekly level three behavior management dinners sponsored by the Women’s League of Voters, the ongoing Kula for Karma yoga program, donations of a refrigerator for the staff breakroom, the contributions of Haley Hunt’s Life organization, and food donations for the staff, volunteers, and providers working at the detention center. 

Major Mathena provided an update on progress with events and upgrades to the center over the past month, as the Community Alliance continues its work toward making the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center the best it can be. DJJ, and especially Orange RJDC, thank the members of the Community Alliance for their hard work over the past month, and we look forward to all that can be accomplished  in the future.

 


 

Residential Youth Train Dogs to Prepare Them for Their Forever Home

Havana, an exuberant puppy who worked with a young man from Duval Academy. Also shown is Havana’s new family at her recent adoption. Duval Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Sequel, enthusiastically volunteered to work with the Teaching Animals and Individuals Life Skills (TAILS) dog training program. Dogs from high-kill shelters are rescued and evaluated for their suitability for placement and instruction. Dogs live with their trainers full-time at the program and learn the behaviors that make them ready for adoption.

TAILS has been instrumental in encouraging participants to exhibit the qualities that help these dogs transition from the stressful and often abusive lives they’ve lived to one of good canine citizens. The young men at Duval Academy have really enjoyed participating in the TAILS program. Pictured to the left is Havana, an exuberant puppy who worked with a young man from Duval Academy. Also shown is Havana’s new family at her recent adoption.

 

 

 

 


Students from Brooksville Academy in Adult First Aid/CPR/AED training.Congratulations to several youth from Brooksville Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, for earning certifications in their Home Builders Institute (HBI) program. Many of the students have already earned, or are in the process of earning, the Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) Core through the HBI program.

These certifications will be added to their resumes to give them an edge against others that are applying for jobs in the construction field. HBI is a nationally recognized leader for career training in the building industry.

Additionally, some students also earned the Adult First Aid/CPR/AED certification from the American Red Cross. This training takes five hours to complete and prepares students to react in a cardiovascular, breathing or first aid emergency. Many thanks to their instructor, Travis Whitman, for his outstanding support of his students, and Regional Career Development Coordinator Angela Forward, for training these students in First Aid.


 

Students at Marion Youth Academy participated in mock interviews conducted by Rando Fernandez, owner of the Mojo Grill and Catering Co. and Sheila Gillum, DJJ’s Statewide Food Service Coordinator.  

Guidance Counselor Adeniki Leahmon and Transition Specialist Wesley Fray worked alongside the students’ careers teacher to prepare the students for the interviews and to educate them on skills for the workplace. 

The students created resumes and submitted applications during the interviewing process. Mr. Fernandez and Ms. Gillum both conveyed a wealth of knowledge to the students, using their experiences with entrepreneurship and the food service industry.


 

PBYA and HBI donated a set of outdoor furniture built by the students to AVDA.Community Liaison Peggy Laguerre and Physical Plant Manager Sonnie Thompson of Palm Beach Youth Academy (PBYA), a secure program for boys operated by Sequel, along with Carpentry Instructor Fred Hayes of HBI, paid a visit to AVDA - Aide to Victims of Domestic Abuse, to donate a set of outdoor furniture built by the students.

AVDA is a state-certified domestic violence shelter that serves as an emergency safe-haven and provides services to women and children who have escaped violent relationships and home environments.

The youth involved in the HBI program can earn the Building and Construction Technologies (BCT) certificate of apprenticeship that covers a multitude of areas such as carpentry, plumbing, lawn care, and basic electrical work. During their classes, the boys were able create something positive and impactful by bringing color and fun to an otherwise bleak situation. The program is proud to know that the young men built an outdoor picnic table and set of chairs that will be enjoyed by women and children who have escaped domestic violence. The boys of PBYA look forward to building more items to donate to worthy causes throughout the local community.

 


 

The staff at Crestview Youth Academy  joined the youth in a friendly kickball game.  The staff at Crestview Youth Academy, a program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, joined the youth in a friendly kickball game.  Both the non-secure and secure mods each had their turn at trying to beat the staff teams.

The purpose of the game was to continue to promote healthy relationships between staff and youth. During the game, the program’s dietary staff worked hard to prepare a delicious meal, which included ribs, chicken, macaroni & cheese, collard greens and corn bread. The youth went to bed full and happy! What a fun -filled day at Crestview Youth Academy!

 

 

 


 

Okaloosa Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Gulf Coast Treatment Center, prides itself in assisting the young men in engaging in “empathy building activities”.

This weekend, in conjunction with Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, United Way, and other community organizations, some of the young men engaged in a project focused on feeding the needy. This project is entitled “Feed the Need” and aims to provide nearly 100,000 meals to those in need in the local community.

The young men were able to help in packaging meals and in learning about how they can help those in need in their home communities.

Participants in "Feed the Need" project.

 


 

Youth from Union JRF attending Bob Hayes track meet.Youth from Union Juvenile Residential Facility, a non-secure program for boys operated by Sequel, had the opportunity to attend the 55th Annual Bob Hayes Invitational Track and Field Meet held at William M. Raines High School in Jacksonville. This being their first time at a Bob Hayes Track meet, the young men had the opportunity to witness world-class speed from young people their ages.

They were able to meet Junior Olympian Track Star Tyrese Cooper, who currently holds national records in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter races. Cooper has gained the attention of Division 1 colleges throughout the nation, in both football and basketball, and is expected to begin his collegiate career this summer.

When asked if there were any last words of encouragement that he could leave the youth, Cooper stated, “I got tired of being called a bad person, so I decided to run towards a better future.” As a result of this experience, the youth were inspired to run toward a brighter future by making better decisions and exhibiting positive behavior.

 


 

Staff and family celebrating with a youth who passed his GED.Kissimmee Youth Academy, a secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, celebrated one of their youth who completed and passed all sections of his GED test. This provides him with his high school diploma from the Florida Department of Education. Taking part in the celebration was the youth’s family and the program’s education and facility staff.

The youth spoke to the teachers and staff and thanked them for all the effort and time they took with him. The invited guests, including fellow students, cheered him on as the ceremony was concluded. Guest also enjoyed a reception complete with punch and cake.  The youth plans to take time out to decompress and will then be meeting a recruiter to move forward to the next phase of his life.

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