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Secretary's Message

May 21, 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

Circuit 2 Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) Zachary Stackhouse and JPO Heather Hawkins were recognized for their hard work in the courtroom by Circuit Judge David Frank. Judge Frank wrote commendation letters to Secretary Marstiller praising both JPOs for their knowledge and professionalism while representing the Department in court. Secretary Marstiller had the letters framed and delivered to Circuit 2 Probation to show her appreciation for their representation of the Department. Both JPO Stackhouse and JPO Hawkins are pictured with their supervisors, Teresa Chambliss and Tiffany McGriff.

: Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Teresa Chambliss and Juvenile Probation Officer Zachary Stackhouse
Pictured above: Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Teresa Chambliss
and Juvenile Probation Officer Zachary Stackhouse
       

Juvenile Probation Officer Heather Hawkins and Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Tiffany McGriff 
Pictured above: Juvenile Probation Officer Heather Hawkins and
Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Tiffany McGriff

 


Administrative Assistant Jessica Lethco was recently named Pasco RJDC Employee of the Month. Congratulations to Administrative Assistant Jessica Lethco who was recently named Pasco RJDC Employee of the Month. Ms. Lethco has contributed immensely to the center through her hard work and dedication. She is always there to lend a hand to help make the detention center run smoothly. She is pictured right with Pasco RJDC Superintendent Jeffrey Williams.

 

 

 

 


 

Bureau of Human Resources Recognizes Lupus Awareness Month

Bureau of Human Resources Recognizes Lupus Awareness Month

DJJ’s Bureau of Human Resources (HR) recognized Lupus Awareness Month on May 10th. Employees from HR, Finance & Accounting, Administration – Director’s Office, Detention Services, Residential Services and General Counsel’s Office walked around the Koger Center dressed in purple to show support and be visible for an invisible disease.

Building awareness is essential to improve early diagnosis and treatment of this unpredictable and misunderstood disease and to ensure those with Lupus are aware of the support and resources available to manage the disease.

 


 

Prevention Team Promotes Reading, Literacy and Learning

Prevention Team Promotes Reading, Literacy and LearningDJJ Prevention staff recently donated teddy bears to students at Pineview Elementary School in Tallahassee to promote reading, literacy and learning among the school children.  

The Teddy Bears for Kids collection recognized and awarded Pineview students who have met their reading goals or have made tremendous progress in reading. Prevention staff members hope that this activity helps to encourage and motivate all children to become life-long readers and recognize their strengths and limitless potential.

DJJ Prevention team members donated more than 60 Teddy Bears that will be awarded to students as they meet their reading goals for the remainder of the school year. The Teddy Bears for Kids was Prevention’s community service project for this year. Last year, Prevention team members conducted their community service project at PACE Center for Girls Leon where they held an ice cream social for the students.

 


 

DJJ Staff participating in the PB&J drive.DJJ staff and members from the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (FCCD) – Chapter II recently participated in a PB&J drive at DJJ Headquarters. 21,000 children in the Big Bend region experience hunger daily, and this initiative provided the opportunity to help kids and families to combat hunger during the summer months.

DJJ, FCCD, and several affiliated agencies donated close to 100 jars of peanut butter and jelly to the cause. Combined with all other local donations, the final tally was just shy of ten tons—19,469 pounds. That’s enough to make more than 163,000 sandwiches! This year's donations surpassed last year's by over 3,000 pounds.

All Leon County schools and approximately 10 other private or charter schools assisted with the collection. Department leaders who participated included: Deputy Secretary Timothy Niermann, Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims, Christopher Goodman, interim director for Program Accountability, and several other headquarters staff.

All donations were delivered to the Second Harvest of the Big Bend by Jackie Helms-Singleton and Jashett Omeally from the Office of Prevention.

 


 

Frontline Pastors Action Council’s “S.O.S. Call: Saving Our Sons” and “New Season of Nonviolence” events at New Image Christian Center in TallahasseePrevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims recently attended the Frontline Pastors Action Council’s “S.O.S. Call: Saving Our Sons” and “New Season of Nonviolence” events at New Image Christian Center in Tallahassee.

The Saving Our Sons session highlighted a panel discussion of men who are impacting their local communities and featured strategies on how they can “Save Our Sons” by empowering them to be responsible men and fathers. The primary objective of the week-long services and forums was to introduce new programs and present new concepts towards the efforts of curving gun violence in Tallahassee.

The services were hosted by several churches within the Frontline Pastors Action Council. Pastor Rudy Ferguson, Circuit 2 Faith Community Network Leader, is the visionary and organizer for the activities and events and operates the Dream Center of Tallahassee.

 


 

Residential Youth Tour Local Manufacturing Facility

 

Brooksville Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, took eleven youth on a field trip to Accuform. Brooksville Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, took eleven youth on a field trip to Accuform. Accuform is a local manufacturing facility that creates and sells facility identification products.

Accuform Vice President of Finance Curt Cornell set up a tour for the youth and the company also catered lunch. The students got to check out the manufacturing process from the initiating of the order through the shipping process. Accuform plans on hosting Brooksville Academy once a quarter to ensure that students who desire to enter the manufacturing business get a feel for the types of jobs that are involved in the process.

 


 

Recently, the Office of Residential Services hosted a statewide training on the Trauma Responsive and Caring Environment (TRACE) Self-Assessment. The training was comprised of two workshops entitled “TRACE Training” and “TRACE Train-the Trainer”. The TRACE training provided an overview of the aspirational assessment. The TRACE TTT session focused on how to train new staff on the TRACE instrument. There was representation from each residential commitment provider and approximately 150 participants were trained. Each provider shared their experiences with the TRACE and enjoyed hearing best practices. Thank you to everyone who attended the 2019 TRACE training. Stay tuned for more upcoming TRACE activities!


 

Center for Success and Independence – Ocala, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, hosted their first basketball tournament against Marion Youth Academy on the Center for Success and Independence – Ocala’s new basketball court! This was an awesome event for both programs to come together to promote teamwork and sportsmanship, all on one court in a family environment.

The players from both teams came dressed in their game attire and were ready to compete. After four quarters of intense play, Center for Success and Independence – Ocala took the title with a score of 32-21. The teams high-fived each other, showing good sportsmanship, and they all enjoyed lunch in the dining area afterwards. A special thanks goes to Marion Youth Academy and Facility Administrator Todd Speight for allowing the youth the opportunity to fellowship with Center for Success and Independence – Ocala. The program looks forward to coordinating more events in the future.

 


 

Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Sequel, hosted their quarterly family day! Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Sequel, hosted their quarterly family day! The event was themed "Family Reunion Style." The day was filled with outdoor games of cornhole, volleyball and also included watercolor painting, bracelet making, music and dancing. The youth, staff and families enjoyed spending time outside. To top things off, everyone feasted on hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, homemade potato salad, pasta salad, and baked beans. No family reunion is complete without dessert; Rita's Italian Ice was refreshing, and chocolatey cakes were eaten in celebration of Mother's Day and recent birthdays. Youth, staff, and families enjoyed their time together participating in family day at Duval Academy!

 


 

Youth on a college tour to Bethune Cookman University.The youth from Hastings Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment Facility and Gulf Academy, non-secure programs for boys operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, who have passed at least two of four areas of the GED test, were given the opportunity to attend college tours. The latest tour included a visit to Bethune Cookman University (BCU). Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McCleoud Bethune, BCU consists of a student body of 3,773 with over 100 clubs and organizations for the students. The youth were able to see traditional and suite style dormitories as well as lecture halls, dining halls, and various colleges within the university. While on the tour, the youth received information on the great history of the prestigious university, which is an historically black university, and the daily student life at BCU.

 


 

Broward Youth Treatment Center, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, received a visit from Jon Powell, CEO of Waste University to inform the youth on how they could be a part of the waste management culture.

Waste University provides training to solid waste professionals on all aspects of sanitary services, including the responsibility of a “spotter.” The spotter is responsible for safely and efficiently directing the vehicle drivers to the proper areas, based on the site fill plan of the actual landfill. They are also responsible for the transfer station, also known as the materials recycling facility, ensuring that publicly-posted safety rules are followed. The position also inspects incoming loads for unacceptable waste, removing such items before disposal at the site. The youth were informed that they could obtain work in waste management if they enroll in the training program, and if successfully completed, they will receive a certificate to become a certified spotter.

 


 

Probation Youth Build Memorial Bench for Beloved Library Director

Youth from AMIkids Southwest Florida recently built a memorial bench honoring Leroy Hommerding  Youth from AMIkids Southwest Florida recently built a memorial bench honoring Leroy Hommerding

Youth from AMIkids Southwest Florida recently built a memorial bench honoring Leroy Hommerding, the former director of the Ft. Myers Beach Public Library. The bench was recently unveiled and sits on the ground floor of the Fort Myers Beach Public Library. Mr. Hommerding had been the beloved director of the Fort Myers Beach Public Library since 2000. In January 2019, he was tragically killed as he opened the doors of the library for a weekend book sale. The students of AMIkids got to know Mr. Hommerding by volunteering at each book sale that the library held over the past two years.

 


 

Circuit 6 Probation and Prevention Staff and the Pinellas County Justice Coordination recently celebrated the graduation of 20 individuals from the 5th Juvenile Justice Citizens Academy class in St. Petersburg.   Circuit 6 Probation and Prevention Staff and the Pinellas County Justice Coordination recently celebrated the graduation of 20 individuals from the 5th Juvenile Justice Citizens Academy class in St. Petersburg.

Circuit 6 Probation and Prevention Staff and the Pinellas County Justice Coordination recently celebrated the graduation of 20 individuals from the 5th Juvenile Justice Citizens Academy class in St. Petersburg. The Academy is an 8-week program designed to inform community members of the services provided by the Department of Juvenile Justice and its stakeholders. Each week, participants received an education on every aspect of the juvenile justice system including prevention programs, the juvenile assessment center, the juvenile judicial process, the juvenile detention center, residential services and our community-based intervention. In addition, the Academy conducted a tour of the local detention center, juvenile assessment center, and residential program. Many of the participants are looking forward to becoming mentors for youth in the juvenile justice system.

Circuit 6, staff held a Bridging the G.A.A.P. (Gaining Appreciation by Adjusting Perspectives) in Pasco County.  Also in Circuit 6, staff held a Bridging the G.A.A.P. (Gaining Appreciation by Adjusting Perspectives) in Pasco County.  This successful event was a question and answer forum looking for ways to improve communication between youth and law enforcement and was a team approach with the Offices of Prevention and Probation, along with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Dade City Police Department. This event was held at the Lewis Abraham Boys & Girls Club of Lacoochee in Dade City.

The panel discussion consisted of nine youth and nine officers/deputies. There was powerful dialogue and topics of discussion included respect, communication, empathy, appreciation, reputation of officers, building rapport with the community, and effects of attitude on policing.

 


 

Thank YouCircuit 12 JPO Jenelle Beckford delivered “Cards of Hope” in the form of Easter thank you cards for the veterans at the Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans Home in Port Charlotte. Elizabeth Barton, the administrator of the Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans Home recently wrote a letter thanking JPO Beckford for her thoughtfulness in remembering and caring for our veterans.

 


 

AMIkids Southwest Florida had the pleasure of spending the morning volunteering at Special Equestrians, Inc. AMIkids Southwest Florida had the pleasure of spending the morning volunteering at Special Equestrians, Inc. Youth got to meet the horses and learn how to greet them. The youth then helped clean the grooming supplies for all thirteen horses that were on site, as well as pull weeds to clear the paths the horses walk.

 

 

 

 


 

The Circuit 4 Probation Office held its third annual Dear Momma event, to acknowledge the dedicated mothers of the youth we serve. There were nine juveniles in attendance and nine parents.

Each of the youth were given the opportunity to tell their mom what they mean to them. Once each youth spoke, the parents were presented with gifts on behalf of the “Dear Momma” committee. Guest speakers at the event were two former DJJ youth who have avoided recidivism and have become productive, contributing citizens. The overall outcome of the event was a success and the parents were very grateful for being honored in such a meaningful way.

Special thanks to DJJ staff Dorian Stevens, Tyrene Bristol, Chapell Walker, Turquoise Hogan, Tori Boatman, Virginia Mahar, Donna Collins, Minetricia Monbrun, Shernean Mathews, AnneFrench-Herrera, Dominique McCoy, and Wilchelle Hackley. Also, thank you to staff Stephanie Todd, and Tiffany Riely, Ali Bishop and Ashley Graves for their contributions. We would like to also thank Austin’s Soul Food Restaurant, Sophia Events, Whole Foods, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving for their contributions to make this event such a success.

 


 

Youth from AMIkids Orlando recently visited the AdventHealth Apopka Hospital. Youth from AMIkids Orlando recently visited the AdventHealth Apopka Hospital. The youth were given a hands-on tour and were able to go into several of the testing labs and medical procedure rooms.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Brevard County’s Youth Leadership Council Life Skills eventCircuit 18 JPOs Ken Harrell and Jasmine Henshaw along with CPO Denise Devlin participated in Brevard County’s Youth Leadership Council Life Skills event. The Youth Leadership Council established council priorities. One priority is to increase opportunities for youth to develop, implement, and utilize life skills to prepare for independence. The event was open to foster care and dually-served youth, ages 15-18.

JPO Harrell and several of his dually-served youth (youth who are involved in both the dependency and delinquency systems) assisted the night before in the set up and decorating for the event. The next day, JPO Harrell and JPO Henshaw provided transportation for our dually-served youth so they could attend. Following the official welcome and a fun icebreaker, Wells Fargo Bank presented four sessions on establishing credit, focusing on understanding interest rates and options for checking and savings accounts.

 


 

Detention Centers Honor Outstanding Teachers and Nurses

Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center administrative staff provided the education staff with a breakfast of donuts and coffee. In honor of the excellent education program at the Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center, the administrative staff provided the education staff with a breakfast of donuts and coffee.

The teachers all dedicate their expertise and provide our youth with a top notch educational program, whereby many of our students are able to earn credits, obtain their degrees, pass a GED test or just catch up on some school work, all while staying at the detention center.

The staff at the Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center thanks the teachers for their hard work and ability to continue to have a great relationship with both the youth and detention officers.

 

Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center has also begun a beautification effort to enhance the building’s front entranceMiami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center has also begun a beautification effort to enhance the building’s front entrance, creating a more  friendly, inviting look. Plants and mulch have been placed around the center’s flagpole including colorful plants, red mulch and white stones. Additional mulch has been placed around the trees leading up to the front entrance.

Just these few small additions, has made the entrance colorful, welcoming and much more attractive. Miami RJDC would like to thank their maintenance team for assisting with this effort.

 

 

 

 

 


 

To show appreciation for the wonderful nursing staff that care for the youth daily, Pinellas RJDC presented the staff with a "Nurse Survival Kit". Inside each survival kit contained:  

  • Lifesavers: a reminder of the many times others will need your help;
  • Tootsie Rolls: to help you roll with the punches;
  • Paperclips: to hold it all together;
  • Starburst: to give you that burst of energy at the end of the day;
  • Gum: to help you tackle those sticky situations.

Pinellas RJDC greatly appreciates all the work that the nursing staff does every single day to care for youth, show them compassion, and ensure their health and wellness while they are in Department care.

Cpt. Jason Grice, Nurse Betzaida Maldonado-Figueroa, Evelyn Kikph, Victoria Bromwell and Cpt. Bridget Letthand
Pictured above: Cpt. Jason Grice, Nurse Betzaida Maldonado-Figueroa, Evelyn Kikph, Victoria Bromwell and Cpt. Bridget Letthand

 

Pinellas RJDC brought breakfast and gift bags to the teaching staff.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Pinellas RJDC also showed all of the teaching staff how much they are appreciated by bringing breakfast for everyone and gift bags for the teachers. These teachers at the detention center are dedicated and inspire youth to further their education. They are fantastic with catering their lesson plans around the wide variety of educational backgrounds of the youth and finding creative ways to get them excited about learning!

 

 


 

Tour of the newly renovated mods at Orange RJDCThe Community Alliance for the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently met at the center and took a tour of the newly renovated mods. The advisory board also donated gift cards for staff, planned motivational and educational speakers for the youth, discussed setting up youth events and special activities, and reviewed events and facility upgrades at Orange RJDC over the past month. Kula for Karma added a decoration to the G1 mod and Haley Hunt continued decorating the girl’s mod with input from the youth about motivational sayings and placement of decorations.

Also at Orange RJDC, Major Adrian Mathena presented the teachers and nurses at the detention center with certificates of appreciation for all of their hard work.  The Community Alliance for the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center also presented two teachers and two nurses with donated tickets to see the Orlando Predators arena football team play. The education department has made tremendous strides this past year on improving the quality of education at the center and the nursing department takes excellent care of both the youth and the staff at the detention center.

Major Adrian Mathena presented the teachers and nurses at the detention center with certificates of appreciation  Major Adrian Mathena presented the teachers and nurses at the detention center with certificates of appreciation

Congratulations to Medical Records Clerk Sade Henry for being named Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC)’s Provider Employee of the Month. Congratulations to Medical Records Clerk Sade Henry for being named Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC)’s Provider Employee of the Month. Ms. Henry has done an amazing job archiving several years’ worth of backed up medical files and has also created an extremely neat and organized medical file room. She has done an amazing job in a very short amount of time.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

trainees Frank Goiser, Robert Byrd, Kenny Izma, Facility Training Coordinator Frelicia Davis, Kervin Alindor, Stephanie Lovell, Kristin Gaff, and Catherine Kent. When mother and new trainee Kristin Gaff could not attend the “Muffins for Mothers” event at her children’s school, the kids brought the treats to their mom and the other new trainees at South West Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Pictured left are trainees Frank Goiser, Robert Byrd, Kenny Izma, Facility Training Coordinator Frelicia Davis, Kervin Alindor, Stephanie Lovell, Kristin Gaff, and Catherine Kent. The trainees and staff enjoyed the muffins and the kids still had the opportunity to treat their mom in honor of Mother's Day.  

 


 

Youth from Manatee RJDC made a gift box for their mother.Youth from the Manatee RJDC had the opportunity to say thank you to one of the most special people in their lives… Mom! Each youth made a gift box filled with chocolates and provided a long stem rose, compliments of volunteer Bishop Trice.

The families were provided an assortment of cookies, punch, and a great atmosphere. The mothers who were unable to visit received a special Mother’s Day phone call from their child.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Youth from St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center made their own personalized Mother’s Day cards to send home with their loved ones. Youth from St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center made their own personalized Mother’s Day cards to send home with their loved ones. JDO Pamela Durant assisted the youth in creating and personalizing the cards with inspirational quotes. Youth were able to present the cards to their parents during visitation.

 

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