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Secretary's Message

July 2, 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

Congratulations to Circuit 5 SJPO Roberta Ellis who recently received the “Above and Beyond” award for her commitment to our youth, Circuit 5, and the DepartmentCongratulations to Circuit 5 Senior Juvenile Probation Officer (SJPO) Roberta Ellis who recently received the “Above and Beyond” award for her commitment to our youth, Circuit 5, and the Department. SJPO Ellis demonstrated going “above and beyond” for her efforts during a recent high priority, time-sensitive case. She provided the knowledge, insight and information regarding the youth, which was vital to the attorneys and the courts during this emergent situation. She represented DJJ with professionalism during a critical situation. SJPO Ellis exemplifies the upstanding character that is expected in our Department, and she is committed to providing excellent service to all our partners. She embodies the true spirit of our Department’s mission.

 


 

Systems Project Analyst Roosevelt Morris at his retirement luncheonCongratulations and best wishes to Systems Project Analyst Roosevelt Morris with the Bureau of Information Technology who is retiring from the agency. Staff in Circuit 4 recently celebrated his retirement with a luncheon, where Roosevelt and his family were treated to a Caribbean feast.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

SJPO Stephanie Floyd holding a bouquet of rosesCircuit 10 Probation would like to showcase SJPO Stephanie Floyd. SJPO Floyd has been with the Department since 2014 and has made a huge impact within the circuit. SJPO Floyd recently received a bouquet of roses from a youth’s family after the youth was successfully released from probation. SJPO Floyd was a great influence to the family. She was encouraging and supportive to the youth during his time on probation and to his family as well. Her dedication and support to all her youth is phenomenal, and she is truly a great asset to the Circuit 10 team!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Melanie Arias from SWRJDC, the Regional Food Support Worker of the MonthCongratulations to Melanie Arias from the Southwest Regional Detention Center who was chosen as the Regional Food Support Worker of the Month. Melanie comes to work with a positive attitude and is always willing to help her co-workers. Melanie always takes pride in her work, whether it be the way the kitchen looks or the food that she cooks. Melanie was presented with a certificate of appreciation as well as a gift certificate in appreciation for her hard work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

DJJ Recognizes June as National Safety Month

Falls - Don't get tripped up!  Clean up spills immediately.  National Safety Month 2019The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice continues our participation in the National Safety Council’s National Safety Month Campaign. This next issue includes information on preventing same-level slips, trips and falls. Please take time to review and practice the tips mentioned in the link above to prevent painful injuries and lost work time caused by falls.       

 


 

Detention Youth Participate In EGGperience Project

 

Youth at Escambia RJDC participated in an “EGG”perience project, where they took care of “egg babies” (hollowed out eggs) for a full weekYouth at Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) participated in an “EGG”perience project, where they took care of “egg babies” (hollowed out eggs) for a full week. This project helped the youth learn responsibility, develop patience, and was a fun-filled experience that provided creative ways to socialize with their peers. The youth were required to attend a parenting session with the medical department, a self-motivational session with the mental health department, and journal daily about their experiences, challenges and what methods they took to provide for the basic needs of their egg babies. The youth were awarded 200 behavioral management points at the start of the project, and points were deducted for neglect (dropped, cracked, abandoned, not fed, etc.). Babysitting services were also available for the week between 8AM and 5PM, for 10 points per day, but only a few youth utilized this service. Outstanding parenting certificates were awarded to all those who completed the project.

Youth at Escambia RJDC participated in an “EGG”perience project, where they took care of “egg babies” (hollowed out eggs) for a full week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Jose Martinez with portable behavior management gaming systems.The Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center is uniquely split into two buildings separated by two long fenced in sidewalks and a large recreation area. As such, this facility design creates the need for innovation and unique ideas. Maintenance Mechanic (and former Juvenile Detention Officer) Jose Martinez came up with an innovative method of making portable behavior management gaming systems available to both buildings and moveable to different areas of the facility. Using donations from the Community Advisory Board for the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center (a Nintendo Wii, an Xbox 360, and an Xbox One), MM Martinez creatively used moveable carts and built secure boxes for the televisions as well as secure spots for the gaming systems to move between the six mods at Orange RJDC.

 


 

Youth at Escambia RJDC recently received training from CVS pharmacists regarding the dangers of misusing prescription medications. The presentation was entitled “ONE CHOICE” and included statistical data and several small video testimonials from families who have been affected by this national epidemic. The pharmacists, along with the detention center’s medical and mental health department heads, answered the youth’s questions and helped raises awareness of choices and consequences. The message, "one choice changes everything," reinforces that the decisions teens make today about drugs can affect the rest of their life. 

Youth at Escambia RJDC recently received training from CVS pharmacists regarding the dangers of misusing prescription medications.

 


 

Prevention Staff Participates in Health and Wellness Fair

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Johnny Sanders for Circuits 11, 15, 16, and 17 represented DJJ at the Dayspring Missionary Baptist Church’s Health, Wellness and Social Services Fair in Miami-Dade County’s Liberty City neighborhood. Mr. Sanders provided vital prevention information to the community as part of DJJ’s efforts to keep youth from negatively encountering the criminal and juvenile justice systems. He also answered questions from attendees.

Among those in attendance were the Reverend Mike Roan, senior pastor of Dayspring Missionary Baptist Church, staff from the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, church members and residents of Miami-Dade County.

Johnny Sanders and Reverend Mike Roan, senior pastor of Dayspring Missionary Baptist Church
In photo above (from left to right): Johnny Sanders and Reverend Mike Roan, senior pastor of Dayspring Missionary Baptist Church

 


 

Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann, Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims, Executive Assistant Debbie Touchton, and other DJJ staff members recently volunteered to assist with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Regional Youth Track and Field Championship in Tallahassee.

More than 800 youth from Florida, Georgia and Alabama competed in a host of track and field challenges to qualify for the chance to compete against their peers on an even greater stage this summer at the AAU Junior Olympics.

The athletes competed in running events, field events (shot put, high jump, discuss), and multi-events (triathlon, decathlon, and pentathlon).

Volunteers encouraged the youth as they competed for the chance to advance to the AAU Junior Olympics which will be held July 24 – August 3 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann, Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims, Executive Assistant Debbie Touchton  DJJ staff assisting at the Amateur Athletic Union Regional Youth Track and Field Championship in Tallahassee.

 


 

Statewide Community Engagement & Outreach Coordinator Verla Lawson-Grady recently attended the “ALLin LEON” Press Conference at Tallahassee City Hall.

“ALLin LEON” is a comprehensive plan to unify people, agencies, and organizations to work collaboratively to reduce crime in Leon County. It is a partnership which allows all stakeholders to work towards a common goal. “ALLin LEON” is comprised of four components: prevention, re-entry, enforcement, and community involvement. Each component seeks to use reliable data to implement proven strategies. DJJ is currently working with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on the ALLin LEON initiative.

In attendance were concerned citizens, law enforcement, city and county commissioners, clergy members, and other agencies within Leon County.

Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil and Verla Lawson-Grady
Pictured above (from left to right): Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil and Verla Lawson-Grady

 


 

Residential Youth Visit Teaching Zoo

Youth from the Center for Success and Independence-Ocala visiting the Santa Fe College Teaching zoo. The Center for Success and Independence- Ocala, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, recently took a trip to the zoo. The program’s community liaison, recreational therapist, and vocational instructor accompanied the youth to the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo and to the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium located in Alachua County. During their visit, the youth learned about Florida’s wild life and earth science. They were provided a guided tour by the zoo keeper and learned the history of animals that live in the wild, such as the bald eagle. Following the tour, the youth observed a planetarium show led by the host James Albury. This trip also provided the opportunity for the youth to learn about using technology, listening, and respect, which are a part of the soft skills training they receive at the program.  

 

 

 


 

Youth and families at CYA family day.Crestview Youth Academy (CYA), a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, recently hosted their family day! CYA staff, youth and their families all gathered to join together for a day of water-filled fun! From balloon fights to their own homemade slip-n-slide, no one stood a chance at staying dry. With over 100 people in attendance this was one of the program’s biggest turn outs yet! The day ended with some family photos and a great meal prepared by the CYA kitchen staff. It was truly heartwarming to see the boys reunited with their families, some of them for the first time since arriving at Crestview Youth Academy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

AMIkids Hosts Annual Summer Challenge Event

Youth at the Summer Challenge Event.AMIkids recently hosted their annual Summer Challenge Event at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC. These annual events bring AMIkids programs together from across the nine states they operate in to develop comradery and teamwork among the youth they serve. The four-day event includes a variety of challenges for the youth, such as creative writing, science fair projects, track events, first aid practicums, academic quiz bowl, tug-o-war, spelling bee, volleyball competition, speech contest, and even nautical knot tying known as Marlinspike (a nod to AMIkids’ historical beginnings as a marine-based rehabilitation program). During this year’s event, AMIkids had a very special guest: University of South Carolina Heisman Trophy Winner, George Rogers. The youth were also treated to an intimate performance of “Revolutionized”, a Red Light Arts production that tells the story of three young adults and the problems they face in their lives.

This year’s Summer Challenge Event featured 14 AMIkids programs, including several from Florida: Melbourne Center for Personal Growth, AMIkids Space Coast, AMIkids Y.E.S., AMIkids Orlando, AMIkids Manatee, AMIkids Clay County, AMIkids Southwest Florida, AMIkids Greater Ft. Lauderdale

 


 

It really does take a village to propel youth toward success and that is why Eckerd Connects Project Bridge takes a full wrap-around approach in serving youth throughout Central and South Florida. Mentors with the program work diligently with youth to teach them life skills to assist them in the process of growing up, provide listening ears when they just need to talk, and sometimes just spend quality time with them having good old-fashioned fun! Youth connect with Project Bridget mentors to gain hands-on skills, learn how to interact with community members, and how to complete their short-term goals and graduate Project Bridge successfully.

Youth with Eckerd Connects Project Bridge  Youth with Eckerd Connects Project Bridge

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