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Press Release Detail


DJJ Back-to-School Extravaganza Benefits Local Juvenile Probationers

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Fort Lauderdale, FL -- The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Judicial Circuit 17/Broward County held its first annual Back-to-School Extravaganza today at the Mizell Center, located in the heart of Ft. Lauderdale. The location was selected because of the volume of juvenile arrests in the area. The purpose of the event was to prepare local juvenile probationers for a successful 2010-2011 school year by providing them with free school supplies and useful information. More than 100 Broward youth attended the Extravaganza.

Among the featured guests were: Rep. Ari Porth, (D, Coral Springs); Rep. Perry Thurston, (D, Ft. Lauderdale); and distinguished representatives from local and state courts, law enforcement and community programs. The following organizations also contributed to the event: United States Army; Mental Health Association of Broward; NAACP- Broward County Chapter; Upper Room Christian Academy; Children Services Council; and the Broward Teen Court.

"The juvenile justice system in Florida provides children a second chance to overcome their obstacles by staying focused on goals, school and surrounding themselves with positive role models," stated Rep. Porth.

"It is an honor to participate in DJJ's Back To School Extravaganza," said Rep. Thurston. "It is crucial to encourage youth through this transition time and help them focus on this period as the beginning of a new chapter in their lives."

"We wanted to take a positive and active stance to support the success of probationary youth as they embark on this school year," said Chief Probation Officer Vanessa Hargray. "One of the best ways youth can stay on the right track is to be positively engaged with school."

Each youth received paper, pens, pencils, notebooks and a book bag. Most of the school supplies were donated by DJJ Circuit 17 Probation employees.

The fast-paced program included guest speakers offering motivational messages, periodic raffles for prizes and informational workshops. Workshops were presented on: teen health, by the Florida Department of Health; vocational/job training, by Resbeat Corporation; teen dating, by Women In Distress; and school readiness, by the School Board of Broward County.

Local sponsors of the event included Publix Supermarkets, Sam's Club, BJ's, Target, Wise Foods, ACE School Supplies, LoKeys Meat and the Wayne Barton Center.

The Broward County school year commences Monday, August 23, 2010.

The mission of the Department of Juvenile Justice is to increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention and treatment services that strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth. For more information, please visit www.djj.state.fl.us.

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