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Secretary's Message

September 8, 2015

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter

I hope each of you had a restful and relaxing Labor Day as we head towards autumn and start to say goodbye to summer.  Labor Day is viewed as the unofficial last day of vacation before the start of the new school year, although as many of you know most of Florida’s students have headed back to school these past few weeks.  As always, I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our agency staff, our colleagues, and the youth in our care.

I am always looking for opportunities to showcase the work you do – on and off the clock – to enrich your communities. I know there is even more going on than what I report here, so I would like to encourage each of you to keep the weekly letter in mind and remember to share your good news. It’s easy – email news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon.


Christina K. Daly

Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign

The 2015-2016 Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign (FSECC) is officially underway as of September 1st.  The online pledge system is now open for payroll and one-time pledges and will close on November 6th.  Pledging is easy and open to all state employees.  Please visit https://www.givingnexus.org/_fsecc/ to make your pledge today!

You can also find charity information and much more by visiting the FSECC website at: www.fsecc.com.

FJJF Teams Up With Amazon Smile

The Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation (FJJF) is excited to present a convenient and philanthropic way for you to support FJJF every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop through AmazonSmile at http://smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to FJJF.  Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. 

Simply go to smile.amazon.com anytime you want to make a purchase on Amazon and search “Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation” in the charitable organization search box as your charity. The proceeds from your purchase will come to FJJF and benefit our children who are in need. Add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.  It’s convenient, charitable and the perfect way to shop for the upcoming holidays.  Thank you for supporting an important cause and making a difference in the lives of our youth! 

Prevention Update

Faith Network Coordinator Craig Swain and Statewide Circuit Advisory Board Liaison Yvonne Maffia hosted a Faith Volunteer and Circuit Advisory Board (CAB) training on August 22nd in Jacksonville. The purpose of the training was to educate members of the faith community about opportunities to get involved with the CABs and the Faith Network. The training gave members of the faith community information to assist in preventing youth from entering the juvenile justice system or from going deeper into system.  They also presented information about how the faith community can connect with the circuit advisory boards.

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Lydia Breaux-Davis attended a ‘Unity in the Community’ festival on August 22nd  at Westernmark Park in Pensacola. Lydia collaborated with  Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May and other stakeholders for this event. Also taking part were representatives from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Entertainment included face painting, dancing and portrait paintings. Youth, ages 10 to 15 years old, participated in a 3-point basketball competition. Participants enjoyed pizza, chips, and refreshments. Leroy Williams with Pensacola Community Arts & Recreation Association Production provided the music.

Community Engagement Coordinator Verla Lawson-Grady volunteered at a back to school event on August 22nd  at the Lawrence-Gregory Community Center in Tallahassee. Verla passed out back packs and school supplies to youth and parents and donated boxes of crayons to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Attendees were entertained by a disc jockey, dance teams, and a bounce house. In addition, there was a clothing giveaway, informational booths, free hair braiding and haircuts.  Free food and drinks were provided.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Prevention Marcus Smith was a guest on The Jazmyne Show on September 1st  at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. The Jazmyne Show is a public access television program that is produced and directed on campus. Marcus was one of three guests interviewed by host and executive producer Jazmyne Simmons during her program that focused on mentoring and the power of prevention to provide positive alternatives to male youth. In addition to Marcus, other guests were Shannon Baker from AMI Kids and Willie Williams from Distinguished Young Gentlemen. 

The Jazmyne Show is a trendy, innovative talk show that focuses on key topics in health, lifestyle and social empowerment. The purpose of the show is to engage teens and young adults on every day issues that affect their overall health and well-being. The Jazmyne Show seeks to be a platform for open discussion. There are many forms of negative, yet highly impactful media. It is their hope to change that, one episode at a time.

Probation Update

Probation Staff in Circuit 19 held their 3rd Annual Back to School Bash entitled, “Education is the Roadmap to Success,” on August 14th  in Fort Pierce. Over 200 youth and their parents were in attendance as well as DJJ staff and vendors.  Backpacks and school supplies where given to our probationary youth and their siblings and the event also included a resource fair, lunch, and a DJ who kept the music going. Circuit 19 probation would like to thank the following stakeholders and businesses who made this event a success: Life Builders Inc.; Florida Juvenile Justice Association; Roundtable of SLC, Inc.; Treasure Coast Lexus; Children Services Council of SLC, City of Fort Pierce; BB&T Bank, and Fort Pierce PAL.

CPO Wydee’a Wilson, Fort Pierce PD Chief Diane Hobley-Burney, South Regional Director Terria Flakes and ACPO Dorothy Malik.

I am pleased to announce the promotion of Carol Reisner and Toni Lesher to the position of juvenile probation officer supervisors. 

Ms. Carol Reisner is now the supervisor of Unit 301 which is located at the Lee County Juvenile Assessment Center.   JPOS Reisner graduated from Concordia College in Irvine, California.   JPOS Reisner has 7 years of distinguished work experience with the Department of Juvenile in such capacities as a social services counselor, juvenile probation officer / detention screener, and senior juvenile probation officer.  

Ms. Toni Lesher is now the supervisor of Units 304 (South Fort Myers) & 305 (La Belle).   JPOS Lesher graduated from Southwest International College in Fort Myers, Florida.  JPOS Lesher began employment with the Department in September of 2004.  JPOS Lesher has 11 years of distinguished work experience with the Department of Juvenile Justice in roles such as a juvenile probation officer and senior juvenile probation officer.

Both JPOS Lesher and JPOS Reisner are highly qualified new additions to the Circuit 20 Management and on behalf of our agency I would like to congratulate them on their well-deserved promotions!

Bay Area Youth Services (BAYS) Florida has partnered with the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Foundation to support a back-to-school drive and GED Scholarship Program. The baseball team has already donated 103 backpacks to BAYS so far this year as well as fourteen $100 Walmart gift cards to be used for school supplies. In addition, the Rays have donated funds to sponsor twenty probationary youth in Circuit 6 to take their GED exams. BAYS is very grateful for this unique sponsorship with the Tampa Bay Rays and thanks them for supporting the children and families they serve!

Circuit 18 probation and detention staff recently participated in a two-day seminar on advancing healthy development and negating trauma. The seminar welcomed over 60 community stakeholders and was hosted by Brevard Family Partnership. The project is part of the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)’s YOUTH THRIVE initiative and examines how youth can be supported in ways that advance healthy development and well-being and reduce the impact of negative life experiences.  New research suggests that trauma effects brain development and may play more of a role than previously understood on negative outcomes for our youth. In addition to developing interagency connections, staff gained knowledge regarding the Youth Thrive history and became familiar with a set of guiding premises that support the practice of applying the protective and promotive framework and the research behind  its five components. The intent of implementation of this framework is that young people with supports and opportunities maximize those opportunities for productive lives.

Detention Update

Regional HR Liaison Lisa Arent and JJDO Ruben Diodonet from the Hillsborough RJDC participated at a career fair on August 27th at Southern Technical College in Tampa. Lisa and Ruben spoke with students on campus and provided valuable information regarding careers within the Department.

Juvenile Justice Officer Academy Graduation Ceremonies

Congratulations to the newest DJJ detention officers (JDOs), who graduated on Friday, September 4 in separate ceremonies at Broward College/Central Campus in Davie and Valencia College in Orlando.  JDOs supervise youth in state-operated detention centers as they await an appearance before the court or placement in a juvenile residential treatment facility. Thanks to Mamine Saintil, acting Superintendent for Palm Beach RJDC and Frank Gargett, Central Region Director for detention services, for addressing the graduating classes. Kudos to learning consultant Manager Andrea Minnis and learning consultant Tanesha Blackmon for training the officers for this position of critical responsibility. Each graduate successfully completed 240 hours of training to become a certified officer. The graduates will work at the Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) listed next to their names.

Broward College Graduates

Front row(Left to right):  Victor Forero – Collier RJDC, Chanika Fordham – Collier RJDC, Tricia Murray – Palm Beach RJDC, Merline Latortue – Broward RJDC, Simone Rhoden – Broward RJDC, Cenilia Previlma – Broward RJDC, Corinthian Smith – Palm Beach RJDC 

Second row (L-R):  Andrea Minnis – Learning Consultant Manager,  Michael Sanabria – Miami Dade RJDC, Corey Davis – Palm Beach RJDC, Alejandro Ramirez – Palm Beach RJDC,  Emmanuel Charlot – Palm Beach RJDC, Gerald Victorin – Broward RJDC, Altermont Walker – Broward RJDC, Ken Jeanty – Miami Dade RJDC, Clarence Hinkins – Palm Beach RJDC

Third row (L-R):  Josue Lambert – Miami Dade RJDC, Raul Garrao – Miami Dade RJDC, Raymond Manaigo – Miami Dade RJDC, Arthur Glanville – Miami Dade RJDC, Manuel Trujillo – Collier RJDC, Fitzroy Salmon – Broward RJDC

Valencia College Graduates

Left Column (Top to Bottom): Marcelino Lopez, Jr. – Orange RJDC, Irving Wilson – Orange RJDC, Shelita Jones – Brevard Detention, Veronica James – Orange RJDC, Melissa Burgos – Brevard RJDC, Herla Arteche – Orange RRJDC, Tarsha Bowman – Brevard RRJDC

Center Column (Top to Bottom): Brandin Hawthorne – Orange RJDC, Enrique Brito – Orange RJDC, Gavin Valentine – Orange RJDC, Edward Flores-Medina – Orange RJDC, Raquel Vazquez – SCSO Juvenile Detention Center

Right Column (Top to Bottom): Matthew Calabro – Brevard RJDC, Dakota Barnhart – Orange RJDC, Joseph Morse – Orange RJDC, Juan Perez – SCSO Juvenile Detention Center, Raymond Berry-Brown – Orange RJDC, Christina Ison – SCSO Juvenile Detention Center 

Not Pictured: German Perez – Orange RJDC 

Residential Update

On Aug. 11th, seven residents of Charles Britt Academy, a non-secure program for males, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Youth Services International, Inc., enjoyed the opportunity of a lifetime—being able to go on field, pre-game for a Major League Baseball (MLB) game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Atlanta Braves at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.  A gift from the Tampa Bay Rays management made it possible for seven boys to go onto the field and watch both teams during batting practice and warm-ups.

Of the boys chosen to participate in the experience, none had ever been to a professional sporting event.  The players and coaches for both teams also talked with the young men and signed autographs, which made the experience even more memorable.  The boys kept exclaiming, “This is unbelievable!”  


Many thanks go to Ray’s players Chris Archer, Tim Beckham, and James Loney, and to Atlanta Braves Coach Bo Porter for taking time out of their schedules to talk about their careers, their lives, and what they believe are the keys to success. 

Thank you to Pinellas County Schools Teacher Michelle Pool for coordinating this event for the youth.  Charles Britt Academy residents perform at a very high level both in the program and in the community.  

Making this experience even sweeter, the Rays beat the Braves—9 to 6.  Go Rays!

On Aug. 7, eight of the students from the Orange Youth Academy and the Orlando Intensive Youth Academy (OYA/OIYA)—non-secure commitment programs for males, ages 12 to 18, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC—took a tour of the private, historically black college, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU), located in Daytona Beach.  The young men were met by three B-CU graduates at the admissions office and were given the “ultimate Wildcat experience.”

The youth participated in a 10-minute lecture about attending B-CU and college life.  Upon leaving the admissions office, the OYA/OIYA students visited the statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), founder of B-CU, as well as her gravesite’s memorial marker.
There were given a brief history of the school’s beginnings in 1904 and how it became the accredited university that it is today.  

The next stop on the youth tour was the football practice field, the band practice field, one of the B-CU coed dormitories, and the School of Business (shown left).  The next stop was the first hospital for blacks in Daytona, which now serves as the freshman orientation facility.  

The tour also included a visit of Dr. Bethune’s two-story frame home (shown right) that remains on the campus as a museum with many of the original artifacts, furniture, and pictures of former dignitaries.

On Aug. 15, the OYA/OIYA students assisted the Hal P. Marston Community Center, in partnership with the Chris “CJ” Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Community Center, in the 7th Annual Book Bag Give Away & Health and Education Resource Fair.  At this event, students from Orange County, ages of 5 to 15, were given free backpacks and school supplies, received free haircuts, were examined by local physicians, and given educational information.  OYA/OIYA students helped set up and breakdown the event setting.  

National Football League (NFL) player and Orlando resident Christopher Duan “Chris” Johnson gave away additional gifts and autographed t-shirts to all participants.  The OYA/OYIA students also received school supplies and autographed t-shirts from the NFL Arizona Cardinals running back. 

Born in Orlando and a graduate of Olympia High School, Chris Johnson was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft when he played college football at East Carolina University.  His NFL career history includes the Tennessee Titans (2008-2013), the New York Jets (2014), and the Arizona Cardinals (2015-present).  He has been to three Pro Bowls and was the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2009.  He established the Chris “CJ” Johnson Foundation in 2013 with the primary goal of increasing awareness about Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC), which is a rare malignancy sickle cell trait from which his son, CJ, died on Sept. 20, 2012.

2016 Prudential Productivity Awards

DJJ employees are among the most innovative and creative people in all of state government as they continue to seek more productive ways to perform their jobs more efficiently. I am excited to announce that the 2016 Prudential Productivity Awards, presented by Florida TaxWatch, provides an excellent opportunity to recognize the innovative ideas and resulting cost savings accomplished by enterprising DJJ employees. 

Nominations are now open and forms for the 2016 Productivity Awards can be accessed at http://ppa.floridataxwatch.org/. Please take a few moments today to review the application and instructions and nominate a deserving DJJ employee or team of employees. 

Last year, our agency received a total of five Prudential Productivity Awards across several different program areas. Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes, so don’t hesitate to look over the award criteria and decide what you or your team has done to make our agency run more efficiently.  

Nominations can be downloaded and completed off-line prior to submitting an on-line nomination. The site is now open and will close on October 7, 2015. To ensure that all nominations are accurate and properly reviewed, DJJ will not approve nominations submitted after September 30, 2015 at 5:00 PM.  No new nominations will be accepted after that time.

Nomination packets and questions regarding nominations should be directed to Patrick Fargason at Patrick.fargason@djj.state.fl.us or 850-717-2712.