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Secretary's Message

April 22, 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

 


 

Staff Announcements and Kudos

SJPO Maritza Hernandez being recognized as the Central Region Probation and Community Intervention Employee of the Quarter.Congratulations to Senior Juvenile Probation Officer (SJPO ) Maritza Hernandez from Unit 110 in Hillsborough County for being recognized as the Central Region Probation and Community Intervention Employee of the Quarter! SJPO Hernandez was recognized recently during a visit from Secretary Marstiller and received a plaque, certificate and gift card in appreciation for her hard work and dedication to serving youth and families.

SJPO Hernandez has been with the Department of Juvenile Justice since 1995. She originally started with the Department as a secretary specialist, and upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree, became employed with the Department as a juvenile probation officer. SJPO Hernandez continues to go above and beyond in her professionalism and with every assigned task. She has taken the opportunity to learn all aspects of probation and inspires the cooperation and confidence of others. Her successful interactions with co-workers, youth, their parents and stakeholders continues to be recognized by administration. SJPO Hernandez’s high degree of honesty, loyalty and integrity is well worth the honor of being named Employee of the Quarter.


 

Maintenance Mechanic Jose Martinez being recognized as the Detention Services Employee of the Month.Congratulations to Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) Maintenance Mechanic Jose Martinez for being recognized as the Detention Services Employee of the Month! Mr. Martinez started at Orange RJDC as a certified juvenile detention officer and continues to maintain his officer certification so that he can respond to requests for assistance from his fellow officers.

Mr. Martinez has done a wonderful job, shows a great work ethic, and is seen daily moving throughout the center making it both work better and look better. Thank you for all your hard work!

 

 

 

 


 

to Administrative Assistant Sandra Flament, recognized for her 30 years of serviceCongratulations to Administrative Assistant Sandra Flament who was recognized for her 30 years of service. The Central Region Office recently celebrated her years of service along with her birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Major Eris Womack from Manatee RJDC, celebrating 25 years of service to the state.Congratulations to Major Eris Womack from Manatee RJDC who is celebrating 25 years of service to the state. Major Eris Womack was presented with her 25 year pin during the superintendent meeting that was held at Pinellas RJDC. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Watch out for Spam. Don’t be a Phish!

Phishing is a serious, persistent and evolving threat

Phishing Scams graphic with fish and hook.Phishing is an attempt to acquire confidential information such as account passwords, identification numbers or credit card details by pretending to be a trusted entity via electronic communications including email, texting and instant messaging.  Phishing is dangerous and can lead to financial risk, identity theft and the compromise of an entire network.   

Spam is a nuisance akin to junk mail sometimes used by legitimate businesses and organizations and is typically not a severe risk for the receiver.

Warning signs of phishing

SENSITIVE INFORMATION:  Phishing asks you for sensitive information such as your SSN, account passwords, DOB, or credit card number.  Legitimate businesses and organizations do not request or provide sensitive information via email.

"CLICK HERE":  Phishing often presents links or attachments and urges you to click to respond, read information or view pictures.  In some cases, just clicking the link or attachment can infect your computer.

FALSE URGENCY:  Phishing makes threats such as termination of services if you don't respond immediately. They want you to respond before you think!

COPY LEGITIMATE SOURCES:  Phishing pretends to be from a trusted source such as your bank or well-known delivery companies and may include recognizable logos, addresses or names.

ODD GRAMMAR:  Phishing may contain odd grammar, misspellings or unusual capitalization. These emails often originate from regions where the writers are not familiar with English.   

What should you do?  If you believe you have received a phishing or spam email:

  • Do not respond or reply to the email in any way; replying shows that your email address is real and can lead to further attacks.
  • Don't click on any link in a suspicious email.  Just clicking a link can open your computer to attack from a virus or other malware.
  • Don't open or print any attachment to the email.  Attachments may contain malicious code which can infect your computer.
  • Delete an unverified suspicious email from your ‘Inbox’ and your 'Deleted' mail folders.
  • Verify a suspicious email by contacting the sender by phone. Use a publicly available number versus any number contained in the email to make the call. You can also contact your local IT staff to validate questionable messages. If there's no way to verify the email, treat it as phishing.

Report suspected phishing & spam emails to:

If you get a suspicious email, DO NOT assume it is safe. There are many variants of every phish, and new ones are sent each day. When in doubt, consult with your local IT support staff or the DJJ Information Security Manager (ISM) at (850) 717-2316.

 


 

Detention Staff Attend the 2019 CJI Law Enforcement Memorial

 

Detention Staff Attend the 2019 CJI Law Enforcement Memorial Major Adrian Mathena and Captain Reginald Allen from Orange RJDC were proud to represent the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice at the Valencia College’s School of Public Safety Criminal Justice Institute Law Enforcement Memorial 2019.  The event was attended by law enforcement agencies from all over Central Florida and memorialized fallen law enforcement officers who trained at the Valencia College School of Public Safety. At the conclusion of the event, the families of the fallen heroes placed a rose at the memorial.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Youth at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center welcomed a visiting dance instructor, Amber Taylor, who operates a program called “I Loved Myself for the First Time.” That program assists detained women with healing from trauma through dance. The event was a big hit with the girl’s mod at Orange RJDC!

Youth at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center welcomed a visiting dance instructor, Amber Taylor, who operates a program called “I Loved Myself for the First Time.”   Youth at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center welcomed a visiting dance instructor, Amber Taylor, who operates a program called “I Loved Myself for the First Time.”

 

Three volunteers from the University of Central Florida’s Multicultural Psychological Student Association visited Orange RJDC. Also happening at Orange RJDC, three volunteers from the University of Central Florida’s Multicultural Psychological Student Association visited the center. The group donated books and spent time mentoring the youth.

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, Orange RJDC Sergeant Kutina McLeod, Corporal Tawanda Hanks, Corporal Kattrina Walker, and Sergeant Lenon Anderson put together a cookout for all staff to show their appreciation for all of the team’s hard work. Sgt. McLeod, Corporal Hanks, and Corporal Walker got everything together and set up, while Sgt. Anderson grilled the food. Everyone had a great time and the food was appreciated!

Orange RJDC Sergeant Kutina McLeod, Corporal Tawanda Hanks, Corporal Kattrina Walker, and Sergeant Lenon Anderson put together a cookout for all staff to show their appreciation for all of the team’s hard work.   Orange RJDC Sergeant Kutina McLeod, Corporal Tawanda Hanks, Corporal Kattrina Walker, and Sergeant Lenon Anderson put together a cookout for all staff to show their appreciation for all of the team’s hard work.

 


 

Director of NOMADstudio, Inc. Carrie Boucher has been at Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center since September volunteering her time to work with the youth on murals. The youth enjoy the project and are able to work with Ms. Boucher twice a week. “Many have trauma in their past,” said Director Boucher of the youth at the detention center. “Knowing that, we realized they could probably use some creative outlet and we felt having an art therapist with us would be a good idea. We built the idea for the program around art being a healthy and therapeutic activity.”

Boucher applied for a grant to fund the program but wasn’t selected to receive it. “We did not want that to stop the program from happening,” she said. So, NOMADstudio launched the program anyway. An anonymous donor allowed them to get it off the ground, Boucher said, and they now have regular monthly donors.

Murals at Pinellas RJDC  Murals at Pinellas RJDC

 


 

The Pinellas RJDC dining hall had the tables and flooring replaced by our General Service team. Recently, the Pinellas RJDC has undergone some improvements. The center’s dining hall had the tables and flooring replaced by our General Service team. As part of the Department’s efforts towards trauma-informed care, Major Veguilla and staff also extensively researched calming colors to paint the walls in the dining hall.

 

 

  

 


 

Major Finlayson with youth having lunch.St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center has an ongoing effort to improve and increase positive behavior at the center. Major Finlayson utilizes the Behavior Management System (BMS) to reward youth who have earned and maintained positive behavior in the program and in class without incident. Youth with the status of 3.25 and higher earn the opportunity to have lunch of their choice with the superintendent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Lucie RJDC would also like to recognize Volunteer Joan Maddy, who has been a faithful volunteer for over eight years. St. Lucie RJDC would also like to recognize Volunteer Joan Maddy, who has been a faithful volunteer for over eight years. Ms. Maddy has been an inspiration to both staff and youth. Twice a year, Ms. Maddy teaches etiquette classes to our youth. The kids are very receptive and are willing and eager to improve on their table manners.

 

 

 


 

Central Region superintendents and managers recently participated in leadership training with Alaa El-Halwagy from Innovative Group. Central Region superintendents and managers recently participated in leadership training with Alaa El-Halwagy from Innovative Group. The workshop consisted of team building exercises and how to reach one’s full potential through awareness.  

 

 

 

 


 

Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently held an all-hands meeting for staff where they provided BBQ. Staff barbequed ribs and chicken and brought in multiple covered dishes and desserts. The meeting was very well attended and the staff enjoyed the fellowship.

Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently held an all-hands meeting for staff where they provided BBQ.   Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently held an all-hands meeting for staff where they provided BBQ.

 


 

Provider Staff Awarded FJJA Service Excellence Awards

Five provider staff members were awarded the FJJA Service Excellence Award. During the Florida Juvenile Justice Association (FJJA) Legislative Reception, five provider staff members were awarded the FJJA Service Excellence Award. The Service Excellence Awards recognize outstanding professionals working directly with children along the juvenile justice continuum. Through their work, these individuals enrich the lives of children and help to improve our juvenile justice system. The recipients of this years’ Service Excellence Awards are as follow:

Sharmen Hill-Smith of Youth Opportunity Investments: Sharmen has been working as a contracted staff person with the Department since January 2013. As a registered nurse, she goes above and beyond her day-to-day operations of running a medical clinic to ensure the youth are getting the best medical treatment possible. During her down time, she tutors youth in math and participates in all graduation ceremonies. Most recently, she started the “No Limit, Bible Club” of which 15 kids faithfully attend.

Da’Nisha Wilkerson of BAYS FL: Da’Nisha has been at BAYS for 4 years as a consulting clinician. She regularly goes the extra mile by assisting with the supervision of college interns and guiding new consulting clinicians. She introduced the Step-Up curriculum to BAYS clients in District 13. Step-Up is a domestic violence intervention that takes place over an eight-week period with parents and children meeting in separate groups or in combined groups. Da’Nisha has also started a clothes closet for District 13 clients and regularly secures donations that numerous children benefit from.

Andrew Starr, Cody Chizmar, and Michelle Glisson of Twin Oaks: Project Connect Transition Specialists Andrew Starr and Cody Chizmar in Bay County and Michelle Glisson in Liberty County all live in the destruction path of Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 Hurricane that devastated North Florida. All three lost the use of their homes but their selfless actions before and after the storm saved lives and provided essential information, comfort and assistance to not only the youth they serve but the community as a whole. Immediately upon returning from evacuation themselves, Transition Specialists Starr, Chizmar and Glisson assessed their own damage and started locating and rendering services to program youth. Without phones, internet or cellular service, Transition Specialists Starr and Chizmar took to the streets in Panama City to locate youth, as it was the only way to provide service. They took food and water to youth and families often providing for neighbors and strangers as well, as everyone was severely affected. Their efforts were nothing short of heroic and enabled transition services to continue, refocused yet unabated, in Circuit 14 despite the utter devastation of the surroundings. Transition Specialists Starr and Chizmar are volunteer baseball coaches for Bay High and Rutherford High, respectively. As such, they have been community leaders in restoring normalcy to youth sports programming and are leading their teams on and off the field this season in overcoming the physical and mental scares that the destructive hurricane left behind.

 


 

DJJ Staff Volunteer at Annual Golf Tournament in Tallahassee

DJJ staff volunteered at the recent Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (FCCD) Annual Golf Tournament at Killearn Golf and Country Club in Tallahassee. DJJ continues to partner with the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency whose mission is to serve as a catalyst for the prevention and reduction of crime and delinquency and to enhance the quality of justice for all Floridians.

April is National Volunteer Awareness Month, and staff contributed by dedicating over 140 volunteer hours. FCCD State President Mike Page, Assistant Secretary Alice Sims, Prevention Chief Marcus Smith and 20 DJJ employees donated time and resources to assist in the delinquency prevention efforts.

A special thanks to Dennis Hollingsworth, Holly Queen, Laura Buen, Jashett Omeally and Matt Sauro for participating on the golf tournament planning committee. The event was very successful and exceeded its goal with 60 golfers participating.

2019 FCCD Golf Tournament, DJJ staff volunteers at FCCD Golf Tournament
2019 FCCD Golf Tournament, DJJ staff
volunteers at FCCD Golf Tournament

 


 

Assistant Secretary Sims and Chief Marcus Smith recently met with Gadsden County community leaders at the Ferolito Recreation Center in Quincy. The team met with community leaders to discuss increasing prevention partnerships and prevention services for at-risk youth.

In attendance was Alma Venisee with the Girls Elite Program, which is an Invest in Children provider with the Office of Prevention Services. Also in attendance was Shawanna Moye with the Quincy Parks and Recreation Department. The meeting included discussions on the upcoming C.O.R.E. Resource Fair and provider training on June 30 in Quincy.

Following the meeting, the team toured the AMIkids vocational program with AMIkids Gadsden Executive Director Debra Rackley.

Deputy Manager Marcus Smith, Executive Director Debra Rackley and Assistant Secretary Alice Sims
Deputy Manager Marcus Smith, Executive Director
Debra Rackley
and Assistant Secretary Alice Sims

 


 

Assistant Secretary Alice Sims attended the 2019 United Gadsden “Making a Difference “Awards Ceremony at New Bethel A.M.E. Church in Quincy.

Over 150 faith and community leaders joined together to honor and recognize community leaders and faith partners who individually and collectively make a difference in the Gadsden County community. There were many leaders in attendance such as Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, Judge Kathy Garner, Judge David Frank, Judge Angela Dempsey, Gadsden County Times Editor Cheri Harris, Bishop Tyrone Smith, Gadsden County Schools Superintendent Reginald James and FAMU Coach Willie Simmons.

Arrie M. Battle, founder of the Mother Care Network, received the prestigious Christian Social Action “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Judge David Clark, Judge Kathy Garner and Alice Sims
Judge David Clark, Judge Kathy Garner
and Alice Sims

 


 

Assistant Secretary Alice Sims attended the 25 Women You Need To Know and the 5 Young Women to Watch event at the University Center Club at Florida State University. Assistant Secretary Sims attended the event, along with 10 other Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency members, in support of Director of Administration for the Florida Commission on Offender Review Gina Giacomo, who was one of the honorees.

The event’s keynote speaker was Cissy Proctor, former executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Ms. Proctor devoted her speech to “the champions who cheer us on.”

More than 400 people attended the event. The event honored outstanding women leaders and champions in the community.

Honoree Gina Giacomo and Assistant Secretary Alice Sims
Honoree Gina Giacomo and
Assistant Secretary Alice Sims

 


 

Probation Staff Attend Statewide Council on Human Trafficking

Circuit 6 Chief Probation Officer Melissa Fuller, SJPO Jamie Bellet and Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell attended the Criminal Justice Committee meeting of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking.Circuit 6 Chief Probation Officer Melissa Fuller, SJPO Jamie Bellet and Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell attended the Criminal Justice Committee meeting of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, hosted by Pasco County Sheriff's Office.  Sheriff Nocco of Pasco County Sheriff's Office was appointed by Attorney General Moody as the Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee and this was the committee’s first meeting of 2019. The committee discussed the importance of partnerships, human trafficking task forces, and upcoming super bowls and major events. They also explored methods of enhancing law enforcement tools, resources and training involved with human trafficking and there was a group discussion in regard to a statewide human trafficking database. Sheriff Nocco gave special thanks to Secretary Marstiller for attending the committee meeting.  

 


 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and DJJ staff were in attendance to show their support. The Polk County Board of Commissioners proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and DJJ staff were in attendance to show their support. This year in attendance from DJJ was Circuit 10 ACPO Amy Stiles, Reform Specialist Natalie Montgomery and Supervisors Deirdre Holmes and Tricia Elliot. Community partner agencies also attended the meeting to show their support.

 

 

 


 

The Eckerd Connects Project Bridge team hosted a community service activity at the DJJ St. Petersburg Probation Office. In the spirit of collaboration, the team and youth spent the Saturday landscaping, learning how to operate gardening tools, and reviewing the basics of lawn care and maintenance. The youth and staff worked hard and kept a smile on their face the entire time! The youth also earned 4 hours community service and life skills.

Eckerd Connects Project Bridge team and youth doing community service activity at the DJJ St. Petersburg Probation Office.  Eckerd Connects Project Bridge team and youth doing community service activity at the DJJ St. Petersburg Probation Office.

 


 

AMIkids Miami-Dade North recently hosted Miami Gardens Mayor Gilbert at the program. AMIkids Miami-Dade North recently hosted Miami Gardens Mayor Gilbert at the program. Mayor Gilbert provided the youth with some very encouraging words of support and reminded them that they should always be the best version of themselves.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Awards Brunch for mentors and community partners in Arcadia.During National Volunteer Week, Project Bridge made sure to thank those that volunteer to help serve youth and families! The mentors and community partners had the opportunity to take part in an awards brunch, which was hosted by youth leaders in Arcadia, as well as enjoy a delicious Italian dinner in Tampa.  

 

 

 


 

Residential Youth Host Former NFL Player As Guest Speaker

Conelius Ingram, with boys from Center for Success and Independence - Ocala.Last week, Center for Success and Independence – Ocala, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, invited a special guest to speak to their youth. Cornelius Ingram, a former National Football League tight end, played college football and college basketball for the University of Florida. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft and spent three seasons with the team. He even spent time on the Detroit Lion’s practice squad in 2011.

Mr. Ingram provided two sessions of motivational speaking to the youth about choices and encouraged each youth to be respectful to one another and to the staff. He also told them to never give up on their dreams, no matter what they may face in life, and to find that someone or something that inspires them to be great. After speaking with the boys, he took several pictures and signed autographs. Mr. Ingram is now the head coach of the boys and girls basketball teams, football team, and the track team at Hawthorne High School. He serves faithfully in and around his community by giving back through special events, games, and motivational speaking all over the country. Thank you for stopping by Center for Success and Independence – Ocala!

 


 

Ms. Gennis Lescallie, a district math coach, spends two evenings a week at the Kissimmee Youth Academy.Ms. Gennis Lescallie, a district math coach, spends two evenings a week at the Kissimmee Youth Academy, a secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments. Ms. Lescallie works with six to eight young men for two hours on GED math prep. Students are assigned an hour for class, but most students have asked to come both hours. You can imagine the principal’s surprise to have students ask for more math, especially on their own time! During the day, these same young men are working during one class period on GED prep. They have direct instruction from a district GED preparation teacher on working towards receiving a high school diploma through the GED test. Two students passed the test in the last few weeks and with all the help and effort from both the teaching and facility staff, along with the hard work these young men are putting in, there is no doubt they will reach their goals!

 


 

Youth from Crestview Youth Academy participating in the Waves Competition.Staff at Broward Youth Treatment Center, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, work diligently to prepare the young men for any obstacle that might come their way. Noticing the diverse set of interests among the youth, Broward Youth Treatment Center coordinated a culinary program in which eligible youth can receive their “ServSafe Certification” which allows them to handle food in professional settings. While working on their ServSafe Certification, the youth wear real chef attire as they work with and prepare the food. This will be very useful soon as they venture out into the real world to find work and other opportunities for growth and development as young men. A very special shout-out to Ms. Young for all her hard work at attempting to get the youth in tip-top shape for their culinary certification.

 


 

Youth from Daytona JRF being rewarded with pizza and soda floats.During the month of March, the youth and staff at Daytona Juvenile Residential Facility, a secure program for boys operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, enhanced the Behavior Motivation System during March Madness. Activities such as posting flyers, discussing incentives during community meetings, and displaying a large bracket in the community area were used to remind the youth of the importance of positive behavior. Behavior expectations were consistently reiterated by staff through the use of the BIG 3: Do What Is Right, Do Your Best, and Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated. At the end of the month, several youth were rewarded with the opportunity to watch the NCAA Championship Game. The youth enjoyed a pizza party and soda floats during the game. Two youths were tied with the winning bracket for the tournament. March Madness demonstrated unity among the youth as they utilized and displayed  appropriate pro-social skills. Facility Administrator Ryan Montgomery reminded the staff that “thinking outside of the box, being creative with incentives, then getting the youth to buy into our BMS is a slam dunk/win win for everyone!”

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