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Secretary's Message

May 29, 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 Jebreal Jones receiving Employee of the Quarter award from JPO Supervisor Robert Harder.Congratulations to Senior Juvenile Probation Officer (SJPO) Jebreal Jones who was recently recognized as Circuit 16 Probation Employee of the Quarter. To present her with her certificate was Circuit 16's newest team member, Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Robert Harder. Thank you SJPO Jones for your hard work and dedication!

 

 

 

 


 

Staff Assistant Shanice Albury from Palm Beach RJDC receiving Employee of the Month award.Congratulations to Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center Staff Assistant Shanice Albury who was awarded Employee of the Month. Ms. Albury has worked tirelessly to maintain a low vacancy rate as well as going above and beyond to assist the facility with retention files and duties within other areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Residential Youth Attend Minor League Baseball Game

The youth at Okaloosa Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Gulf Coast Treatment Center, attended a minor league baseball game to watch the Pensacola Blue Wahoos play. The purpose of the trip was to not only have fun but to also expose the youth to different opportunities and different venues that could be in their own communities. For all the youth, this was their first time at a baseball game. On multiple instances throughout the trip, the youth expressed their appreciation on being able to attend the game and that they hoped this trip would allow them to participate in other opportunities that might come their way in the future.

Pensacola Blue Wahoos minor league baseball game

 


 

Career Day participants at Crestview Youth Academy.Crestview Youth Academy, a secure and non-secure facility for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, partnered with their teachers to put on the program’s first Career Day! Career Day ran during the regular school hours but with special courses that would benefit the youth in the future. The youth were all provided dress shirts to wear which were donated by staff and other people from the community. With fresh haircuts from Youth Care Workers Marcus Smith and Capri Jones, the youth were confident once they were dressed. With big smiles on their faces, they slapped high fives with each other and posed for pictures. The Crestview Youth Academy staff also dressed in their best business attire for the occasion.

Led by the student council members, the youth were split into three groups and started their sessions with their teachers and case managers. From resume building to guest speakers, the youth were engaged in all Career Day activities taking in as much information as they could. The Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobile unit even made an appearance, which allowed the youth to obtain Florida IDs. It was a great day for the young men of Crestview Youth Academy and the program would like to thank every staff person, guest speaker, and community member who made it possible to have the first Career Day!


 

Palm Beach YA graduates.This month, Palm Beach Youth Academy, a secure program for boys operated by Sequel, was proud to have six youth receive their high school diplomas for the 2018-2019 school year, four of which participated in the graduation ceremony where their families were invited to celebrate! Palm Beach Youth Academy honored the young men’s accomplishment with a commencement ceremony! The graduates were dressed in full regalia and gave speeches during the ceremony. They had several distinguished guests participate, including members of the Palm Beach County School District, the CEO & Founder of Inner City Innovators Ricky Aiken, and Juvenile Chief Megan Eaton from the Office of the Public Defender. Through their partnership with the Palm Beach County School District, the program continues to offer a full range of educational services for the youth, including GED testing and opportunities to earn their high school diplomas. In addition, the students participate in after-school tutoring sessions with their teachers and can complete credit recovery through online programming.


 

Youth from MCPG at Brevard Zoo looking at a kangaroo.Brevard Zoo Executive Director Keith Winston invited the youth from Melbourne Center for Personal Growth (MCPG), a non-secure program for boys operated by AMIKids, to the zoo and met them personally at the zoo entrance. Mr. Winston invited 15 of the youth to the zoo to experience wild animals in a natural, safe, healthy and happy environment as continuing education for their science class.

The goal of the zoo visit was two-fold: education and work evaluation. The youth are studying animals in class and they were given the assignment to study all the employees and volunteers at the zoo and their customer service skills as they interact with zoo visitors. The youth will be employed in jobs soon and are learning about good work ethic and customer service skills.

Youth from MCPG touring the American Muscle Car Museum.Also in MCPG, 15 youth had the privilege of touring the American Muscle Car Museum. The museum houses a collection of over 300 specialty and Indy race cars in the collection. The museum is a 123,000 square foot complex which houses the personal car collection of Mark Pieloch. Mr. Pieloch has been a car enthusiast for over 40 years and has amassed a collection that includes classic cars from the 1950s, American muscle cars from the 1970s, and modern vehicles. The museum is not open to the public but is open to host numerous non-profit fundraisers, car activities, and educational tours for school-age kids. The museum is also home to vintage balloon tire bicycles, auto-related neon signs, antique gas pumps, jukeboxes, pedal cars, vintage soda coolers, and motorcycles.

 


 

The Administration department at the Center for Success and Independence - Ocala, treated the mothers employed at the program to a beautiful refreshment table.In celebration of Mother’s Day, the administration department at the Center for Success and Independence – Ocala, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, treated the mothers employed at the program to a beautiful refreshment table. Facility Administrator Joseph Shuler and Assistant Facility Administrator Kenneth Owens presented yellow and pink roses to each of the mothers and served them cake and juice.

 

 

 

 


 

Probation Youth Visit Residents at Assisted Living Facility

Youth from AMIkids Greater Ft Lauderdale visiting residents at the Williamsburg Landing Assisted Living Facility. Youth from AMIkids Greater Ft Lauderdale recently visited residents at the Williamsburg Landing Assisted Living Facility. Youth spent the afternoon painting and listening to music with the residents, and it was a very special and fun experience.

Special thanks to the Arts4All mentor for helping the youth and residents put all of their feelings and ideas on canvas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Circuit 5 Juvenile Probation Officer Karen Kresberg, recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for Parsons Circle Community Outreach in Bushnell. Parsons Circle Community Outreach has several local community providers who help youth and families. They assist families with needs such as obtaining a state-issued ID, applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits, and providing counseling services and career resources. Circuit 5 strives for good collaboration and communication with their community providers to help Florida’s youth and families in need. JPO Kresberg did a great job representing the Department by providing information to Parsons Circle on how DJJ also assists these youth and families to get back on track. The community connection with DJJ in Sumter County has proven to be very beneficial in supporting the success of our youth and families in this very tight-knit county.

Circuit 5 Juvenile Probation Officer Karen Kresberg participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony for Parsons Circle Community Outreach in Bushnell.
Pictured above: JPO Karen Kresberg

 


 

Circuit 5 DJJ staff would like to thank the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and Filter Youth Development Founder George Schmalstig for hosting and facilitating their fourth Circuit 5 GAAP discussion with their program youth. This discussion focused on key topics youth are facing today such as bullying, substance abuse, and creating positive community relationships.

Filter Youth Development, a nonprofit organization in Citrus County, offers an intensive mentoring strategy program and spends over five hours a week building strong and healthy relationships with the children and families they serve.

CCSO Deputy James Wilson, C5 Reform Specialist Ryan Dorenbush, CCSO Deputy Andy Lahera, Filter Founder and CEO George Schmalstig, CCSO Deputy Jon Holtzhouse
Pictured above: (left to right) CCSO Deputy James Wilson, C5 Reform Specialist Ryan Dorenbush, CCSO Deputy Andy Lahera, Filter Founder and CEO George Schmalstig, CCSO Deputy Jon Holtzhouse

 


 

Chief Probation Officer Wydee’a Wilson and Special Projects Liaison Karl Dorelien attended a community event at Percy Peek Gym in Fort Pierce. The Family Fun Day event was hosted by the Lincoln Park Advisory Committee, which is a subcommittee of the Roundtable of St. Lucie County. The Family Fun Day was designed to encourage community mobilization through the dissemination of information and resources directly to Lincoln Park residents, while promoting safe summer fun. There were over 40 different agencies and community partners in attendance. The children got to interact with DJJ representatives by playing Jenga and Uno as well as build puzzles.

Chief Probation Officer Wydee’a Wilson and Special Projects Liaison Karl Dorelien attending Family Fun Day event at Percy Peek Gym in Fort Pierce.

 

 


 

Center for Prevention & Early Intervention Policy - The Florida State University Institute of Science and Public Affairs.Circuit 11 Chief Probation Officer Frank Manning, Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Lana Wilcox and other DJJ staff were sent a letter of appreciation from the Young Parent Project for their thoughtfulness in making Mother’s Day a special event for several teen moms.

The Young Parents Project is an intensive, gender-specific home visiting program within Florida State University’s Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy that addresses the needs of court-involved pregnant/parenting teens and their young children. The Circuit 11 Probation staff sent Mother’s Day baskets filled with items for the teens and their babies. The Circuit 11 team, led by Supervisor Lana Wilcox, have sent baskets to the moms for the last five years.


 

Detention Centers Take Part in Tie-Dye Fun

Tie-dyed T-shirts at Leon RJDC.Tie-dye is a fashion trend from the past that is making a comeback this summer, and our detention youth are taking part in creating these colorful articles of clothing. Major Daryl Bolton and the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) staff worked with youth to show them how to tie dye shirts and create their own patterns. The youth hung their finished shirts in the recreational area to dry and display their proud work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Youth and staff at Manatee RJDC showing tie-dyed t-shirts.While jamming to the disco sounds of Donna Summer, the Bee Gees , and Saturday Night Fever, the Mighty Manatees at Manatee RJDC had a chance to converse and create tie-dye  T-shirts.  The activity was great way to spend a Saturday and the youth, staff and volunteers had a groovy time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manatee RJDC staff celebrating staff members who had a birthday in the month of MayThe Manatee RJDC staff also celebrated staff members who had a birthday in the month of May. Corporal Cameron Cabarris, Joanne Thomas who works in medical records, and Wadson Almonor, who works in the kitchen, were all celebrated with a cake and get together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manatee RJDC celebrating their nurses.The Manatee RJDC also celebrated their nurses and how much they are appreciated. Nurses Betzaida Maldonado, Victoria Hawkins, and Joanne Thomas were each given a small gift from the staff as a thank you for all they do for the youth at the detention center.

 

 

 

 


 

Volunteer with youth from Escambia RJDC getting facials.Volunteers from Pensacola Christian College, along with Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center medical staff, sponsored a “Mary Slay Day” at the center. The event educated the youth on the many different facials that can sooth and de-stress skin. The youth learned about the many benefits facials have on skin and the different steps that improve the overall look and feel of a complexion. The kids enjoyed this project and boasted about their smooth skin for days after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sergeant Bradley Taylor organized and conducted a training luncheon with staff at Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center. The training luncheon consisted of reviewing material for PREA, red dot areas in the facility, youth phone calls, officer safety and positioning, and behavior management. It was not only a great training review but also motivational and a great team building exercise.

PREA training at Pinellas RJDC
Pictured above: Officer Sumrall, Sergeant Taylor, Officer Previte, FTC Isom, Officer Meadows, Officer Ramirez, Officer Caruso, Officer Vazquez, Officer Howell, and our two new additions to the team: Officer McClora and Officer Schoole

Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center also recently began a “Rockin’ Room Contest” at the detention center. The youth with the cleanest room and best made beds from each module were awarded with a certificate, snacks, and the praise of having the neatest room on the module. This was a great way to motivate our youth into maintaining a clean living space and keeping their beds made up nicely. The youth also enjoyed a little friendly competition amongst each other!

Winner of the "Rockin' Room Contest" at Pinellas RJDC


 

Nurse and Teacher Appreciation get together at Brevard RJDC.Brevard Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently celebrated both Nurse Appreciation Week and Teacher Appreciation Day by having a cake and get together. The detention center appreciates both the nurses and staff that dedicate themselves to serving the youth in our care.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center Major Dedilia Finlayson and Government Operations Consultant II Nissia Moore with the detention center’s volunteers during the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center Major Dedilia Finlayson and Government Operations Consultant II Nissia Moore broke bread with the detention center’s volunteers during the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. The St. Lucie RJDC team is very grateful for the volunteers that devote their time and talents to the youth at the center.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Youth from Palm Beach RJDC eating meal from Burger King.Two youth at Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center got the opportunity to enjoy a meal from Burger King as part of the detention center’s behavior management program. The youth consistently demonstrated great behavior, and in recognition for their hard work, they were rewarded with this delicious meal. 

 

 

 

 

Faith-based volunteers from the CIDRA Church in West Palm Beach recently visited the youth at the Palm Beach RJDC.Faith-based volunteers from the CIDRA Church in West Palm Beach recently visited the youth at the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center. The volunteers visit the detention center and spend time with the youth on a regular basis.

 

 

 

 


 

Prevention Youth Participate in Fitness and Nutrition Program

Students at PACE Center for Girls Clay County participate in a fun fitness and nutrition program twice a month. Students at PACE Center for Girls Clay County participate in a fun fitness and nutrition program twice a month. The program focuses on healthy choices, exercise through various forms of dance, and yoga. The program is provided at no expense to the PACE center by Momentum Health, a part of St. Vincent’s Health System in Jacksonville.

The program’s instructor Chloe is a cheerleader for the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football team. As a role model for the PACE girls in the program, she advocates for healthy lifestyle choices and physical activity as a part of building the girls’ confidence and positive approach to all aspects of their futures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Keynote speaker Taran Black at the Youth Success Week recognition ceremony.The Escambia Juvenile Justice Council (EJJC) recently held a Youth Success Week recognition ceremony at Wright Place, First United Methodist Church in Pensacola. During the ceremony, the EJJC recognized at-risk youth. Representatives from the City of Pensacola, Escambia County Board of Commissioners and the Escambia School Board offered proclamations designating the week as “Youth Success Week.”

The keynote speaker was Taran Black. Taran had a unique and challenging upbringing that included involvement with both DJJ and the Department of Children and Families. He was placed in 35 foster homes and four different group homes. Taran’s juvenile record spanned a decade and included three residential commitments. Taran has overcome challenges with grace and poise and has dedicated himself to helping others who are experiencing  difficulties. Taran has obtained his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Counseling and Psychology and is employed as a community action team case manager with Lakeview Center, Inc.

Following dinner, twenty-six youth were recognized for their accomplishments. First Judicial Circuit Judge Michael Allen and Chief Probation Officer Paul Wallis presented certificates of achievement to the youth.

Others who supported the event were: Dr. Rick Branch, chairperson of the EJJC, Jesse Ruiz, master of ceremony, Edna Williams chair of the Circuit One Advisory Board, Mary Zaledonis, social services director for the PACE Center for Girls, Tarrah Holden, transition coordinator for Project Connect, Tammy Byers, program director for Camp Fire, Regina Berry, superintendent for Escambia Regional Detention Center, and Carmen Lundy, prevention specialist for DJJ.


 

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Johnny Sanders recently attended the grand re-opening ceremony of the Joseph Caleb Center in Miami.  Delinquency Prevention Specialist Johnny Sanders recently attended the grand re-opening ceremony of the Joseph Caleb Center in Miami.  The center, which originally opened in 1977 with the goal of bringing government services directly to the Liberty City community, underwent a multimillion dollar improvement renovation.

The center is named after the late Joseph Caleb, a local community hero who was instrumental in creating a scholarship program for children, summer programs, and other community programs to empower youth in inner city communities. The center offers a variety of civil and social services to the community and houses several community service providers, a library, childcare center, and a 974-seat community auditorium.

Prevention Specialist Sanders attended to celebrate the reopening of this essential community center and, most importantly, to network with various government, community and faith-based leaders and stakeholders to discuss prevention initiatives and collaboration opportunities.

 

 

 

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