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Secretary's Message

July 9, 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

DJJ staff recently attended the 2019 FCCD Distinguished Service Award Banquet hosted by Chapter 2 of the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (FCCD) at the Southwood Golf Club in Tallahassee. The event recognized outstanding professionals in the corrections, juvenile justice, judicial and law enforcement professions. Five individuals were honored for their continued commitment to outstanding work within their communities.  

The honorees included DJJ’s Deputy Secretary Timothy Niermann, who has assiduously served the children and families of the state of Florida for more than 41 years. The other honorees were: Gina Giacomo, Tonja Bryant- Smith, Judge Barbara Hobbs, and Dean Aufderheide.  The FCCD members also recognized Assistant Secretary Sims for her term as Chapter 2 President.

DJJ staff in attendance included: Secretary Simone Marstiller, Assistant Secretary Alice Sims, Chief of Staff Heather DiGiacomo, Prevention Policy Chief Marcus Smith, General Counsel Brian Berkowitz, Chief Information Officer Dennis Hollingsworth, Interim Director of Program Accountability Christopher Goodman, Director of Education Services Julie Orange, Incident Operations Center Director Holly Queen, and Assistant General Counsel Debora Fridie.

Special thanks to the planning committee including DJJ staff Assistant Secretary Dixie Fosler, Jackie Helms-Singleton, Matt Sauro and Jashett Omeally who dedicated their time and resources to the planning and execution of the event.

2019 FCCD Distinguished Service Award Banquet

 


 

Lt. Don Edwards from Southwest Regional Juvenile Detention CenterCongratulations to Lt. Don Edwards from Southwest Regional Juvenile Detention Center for earning an outstanding service award after 25 years dedicated to the mission of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Lt. Edwards has seen a lot of changes within the Department in the last two and a half decades; he is a pillar of strength to the Southwest Detention Facility.  Those that have worked with Lt. Edwards respect and look up to him. Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

JPO Terrance Watkins Congratulations to JPO Terrance Watkins who has been selected as the Circuit Eight Juvenile Probation Officer of the Quarter - Summer 2019.  JPO Watkins is a kind, professional, role-model to everyone he meets, and always goes above and beyond what is required of him. Terrance presents his cases weekly in court and has earned the respect of the judicial partners and stakeholders, as well as his colleagues. He cares deeply for the youth and families he serves and is constantly working to turn around the lives of troubled youth. Terrance exemplifies team work and his dedication and compassion is seen throughout all he accomplishes.  He has been the “King of Intake” for several years and will soon be taking a step in another direction into youth supervision.

 


 

Detention Services Central Region Employee of the Month – Sherry BarksdaleCongratulations to Detention Services Central Region Employee of the Month – Sherry Barksdale!

Administrative Assistant II Sherry Barksdale has done amazing work over the past few months at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center. She has had to step up on short notice and take over the human resources duties at Orange including hiring and processing the interview paperwork.  In ten weeks she has processed and hired twenty new staff at Orange and has also helped identify ways to speed up the process. 

Ms. Barksdale has also been training a new fiscal assistant and working as the administrative assistant for Major Mathena

 


 

DJJ Supports Put It Down: Focus on Driving Campaign

Put it Down - Focus on DrivingThe Wireless Communications While Driving Law went into effect July 1, 2019, allowing law enforcement to stop a vehicle and cite a driver for texting and driving. When you put your phone down and focus on driving, you are helping to improve roadway safety for everyone, prevent crashes related to distracted driving, and reduce injuries and deaths due to motor vehicle crashes by being aware of your surroundings.

The first offense for the Wireless Communications While Driving Law is a non-moving traffic violation, with a base $30 fine, not including court costs or other fees, and no points. The second and subsequent offenses within five years are moving traffic violations, with a base $60 fine, not including court costs or other fees, and 3 points assessed against the driver license.

Starting October 1, 2019, wireless communications devices can only be used in a hands-free manner when driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area. Drivers will be issued warnings through December 31, 2019. Starting January 1, 2019, drivers will be cited for using any wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in a work zone or school zone.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), with the Florida Department of Transportation and other law enforcement partners, is implementing the statewide Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign to raise awareness of and encourage compliance with the new law. The FLHSMV and its partners will work with counties, local law enforcement agencies, safety councils, public schools and other entities statewide to conduct the campaign.

 


 

Prevention Staff Attend Summer Shake-Up

Audrey “Pat” McGhee, Delinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 6, 10, 13 recently attended the Community Youth Program Expo: Summer Shake-Up at Childs Park Recreational Center in St. Petersburg.

The 2nd Annual Community Youth Program Expo: Summer Shake-Up was sponsored by Congressman Charlie Crist to bring unity to the community with fun activities for youth and families.

The Summer Shake-Up event featured an afternoon of fun activities and information sharing with students and families seeking youth activities and programs, with focus on families and organizations based in South St. Petersburg. 

In addition to the Summer Shake-up, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer football player, Louis Murphy Jr. was holding his annual “1st Down 4 Life Cheerleading Camp” inside the gymnasium (and football camp on the field).

A total of 25 vendors and 300 families attended the event.

Pat McGhee, Delinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 6, 10, and 13 and Florida Congressman Charlie Crist
Pictured above (from left to right): Pat McGhee, Delinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 6, 10, and 13 and Florida Congressman Charlie Crist

 


 

Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims and Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young.Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims recently attended the 7th Annual Rural County Summit at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Gadsden County. AS Sims joined hundreds of school, community and law enforcement leaders at the annual summit to learn new techniques to protect Florida children and their families.

Among those addressing the attendees were Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who stressed the importance of all Floridians working together to promote safer communities.

Also, on the agenda were: Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who spoke on school safety, and Brooks Rumenik, deputy director of Florida Department of Education – Office of State Schools, who addressed resources to combat bullying.

Other presenters discussed internet crimes, violent crimes against children and more.

Among those in attendance were Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young and other law enforcement officials.


 

PACE Center for Girls youth from Hernando and PascoThe Dillinger Foundation extended a tremendous courtesy recently to 8 PACE Center for Girls youth from Hernando and Pasco, providing them with an opportunity to feel like “princesses” at the Value Me Luncheon at the Hilton Carillon in St. Petersburg.

This experience made the girls smile all day long, as they got to experience what a runway walk is like, while enjoying a special moment of being in the spotlight.

Being part of an event that truly celebrated what being a young lady is all about made the girls feel like they were on top of the world.

From the motivational guest speakers to the highly entertaining fashion show and seeing their peers celebrating life up on the stage, the girls had a phenomenal day that they will always treasure.

The Beth Dillinger Foundation is a not-for-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to providing food, clothing and education to youth in need. Those PACE girls who have demonstrated good behavior while also maintaining good grades were selected to attend and fitted with a prom gown and new shoes donated by members of the Pinellas County community and the Beth Dillinger Foundation.

 


 

Probation Youth Creates Cake Art

A young lady with Project Bridge in Orlando had the opportunity to learn about culinary arts during an outing to Sugar Diva’s BakeryWhen work readiness sessions and mentoring meet, the results are sure to be sweet! A young lady with Project Bridge in Orlando had the opportunity to learn about culinary arts during an outing to Sugar Diva’s Bakery where she learned about the art of baking as well as the art of cake decorating. Is it possible we have a future culinary artist in our midst? This unique experience was made possible because the youth’s mentor made a community partnership with the bakery, setting the stage to bake up some amazing things in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

AMIkids recently had onsite presentations by Florida International University, Florida Technical College and ASA Community College. AMIkids Greater Fort Lauderdale is making a huge effort to explore the different possibilities for youth once they finish high school. AMIkids recently had onsite presentations by Florida International University, Florida Technical College and ASA Community College.

AMIkids knows that not every youth is destined to participate in a classroom setting once they complete high school, so they strive to expose youth to all pathways. They also recently had presentations by vocational schools Sheridan Technical College, McFatter Technical College and the Maritime Professional Training school, which specializes in hands-on education and certification in areas of seamanship and maritime career paths.

 


 

AMIkids Greater Fort Lauderdale recently had a graduation with 6 high school students. AMIkids Greater Fort Lauderdale recently had a graduation with 6 high school students. One graduate will be attending Florida Memorial University in the Fall semester thanks to the AMIkids College Scholarship. Another youth finished with a 3.69 GPA and will have enough community service to meet the Bright Futures requirement. The graduation was attended by David Watkins, director of the Department of Equity & Diversity for Broward County Public Schools, and had guest speakers, Dr. Gregory A. Salters who currently serves as the Major with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and Antonio Burgess of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.

 


 

Circuit 6 staff from Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center in Clearwater brought Independence Day to the office by dressing in the spirit of the Fourth of July.

JPO
Pictured above (from left to right): JPO Kim Money, JPO Emily Rodgers, Secretary Specialist Irene Jacusis

 


 

Detention Program Hosts Kickball Game

Recently, the staff at Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center hosted a kickball game for the youth at the detention center.Recently, the staff at Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center hosted a kickball game for the youth at the detention center.

Staff assisted with the game by providing instruction, implementimg the rules, teaching basic skills, instilling cooperation and teamwork and ensuring that all youth enjoyed the afternonon. A fun time was had by all.

A host of various games and events are planned throughout the summer.  

 

 


 

Pinellas Proud youth who qualified were rewarded with face masks. The kickoff to a new behavior management system at Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently started. Youth that consistently display positive behavior beyond a 3.14 are rewarded for their efforts. Pinellas Proud youth who qualified were rewarded with face masks. The youth said they felt rejuvenated and that they had fun with a little self-care face mask fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinellas Proud and the Justice Studio work hard to keep youth learning and expressing themselves through painting and music.Pinellas Proud and the Justice Studio work hard to keep youth learning and expressing themselves through painting and music. Using art and music allows each youth to express themselves in a way that makes them comfortable and where they feel heard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Residential Youth Help Feed Community

Youth from Daytona JRF attend Spring 2019 Impact of Crime (IOC) classDaytona Juvenile Residential Facility, a secure program for boys operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, attended the Spring 2019 Impact of Crime (IOC) class. During the class the youth were able to complete their community service project by making meal bags that will be distributed to community members who are less fortunate.  During IOC the youth added to their “treatment tool kit” with the understanding that the crimes they committed not only affected their victims but impacted their families and their communities also.  Facility Administrator Ryan Montgomery stated it is the program’s #1 priority to instill in the youth skills they can transfer into their communities so that they can be productive members of society. By doing so we teach them to live by the Golden Rules: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” & “It is better to give than to receive.”

 

 

 

 


 

Youth from Orange Youth Academy/Orlando Intensive Youth Academywent on a community outing to the moviesYouth from Orange Youth Academy/Orlando Intensive Youth Academy, both non-secure programs for boys operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, went on a community outing to the movies. They were accompanied by Recreation Therapist Mr. Roberson and Transitional Service Manager Ms. J. Smith. The selected youth demonstrated exceptional positive behaviors earning them an outing to the movie theaters. These young men displayed encouraging leadership skills among their peers and received outstanding awards from the program such as “Most Improved Youth”, “Keep it Up” and the “Leadership Award”.  They enjoyed the movie while eating some popcorn!

 

 

 

 

 


 

Mercy Seat Ministries graciously hosted a group of young men from Okaloosa Youth Academy, in their 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Mercy Seat Ministries graciously hosted a group of young men from Okaloosa Youth Academy, a non-secure program operated by Gulf Coast Youth Services, in their 3-on-3 basketball tournament. The team won first place, and their prize included a trophy and t-shirts. The boys enjoyed interacting with members of the church. These valuable interactions assist the youth in building their social skills and also moments of mentorship with members of the church.

 


 

Youth from TrueCore Behavioral Solutions Orange Youth Academy/Orlando Intensive Academy completed their three-month Impact of Crime classes. Youth from TrueCore Behavioral Solutions Orange Youth Academy/Orlando Intensive Academy completed their three-month Impact of Crime classes. The curriculum is designed so that youth will accept responsibility for their actions, including past criminal actions; understand the impact of crimes on victims; develop reasonable strategies to address the harm they caused; learn how to resolve conflict peacefully; and contribute to their communities in a way that will deter future victimization.
According to DJJ, the Impact of Crime curriculum bridges communities with the understanding that, “Together, the victim, offender, and community arrive at a viable solution to repair the harm caused, and the offender, once the harm is repaired, is subsequently reintegrated back into the community.” Impact of Crime is identified as a form of restorative justice for juvenile offenders.
To commemorate their accomplishment, Transition Service Manager Latoya May surprised the group by hosting a celebration event.

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