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"Our Children, Our Future" Faith and Community Symposium Trains Volunteers to Help DJJ Youth

More than 250 gather in Orlando, Florida

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Orlando, FL -- More than 250 volunteers from faith and community-based organizations throughout Florida joined in Orlando for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) "Our Children, Our Future" Faith and Community Symposium, which ended today. The two-day event focused on sharing training and collaborating on fresh perspectives in how to support delinquent and at-risk youth as they work to turn their lives around.

The event attracted an impressive array of participants. Opening speaker Rep. Darryl Rouson, of St. Petersburg, spoke of his life experiences as an at-risk youth. Keynote speaker, Dr. Brenda L. Caldwell, founder of the ASPIRE leadership program, discussed ways to empower youth to make positive, life-changing decisions.

Individuals from diverse faiths and community organizations contributed a wealth of knowledge and a positive spirit of activism to the event. The symposium provided formal training for DJJ's Faith and Community Network Partners and Volunteer Chaplains on how to help youth transitioning out of the juvenile justice system to lead successful lives, and youth in the system by offering moral and spiritual support. Additionally, the event connected resources available to youth, highlighted best practices and raised awareness of issues impacting at-risk and delinquent youth and their families.

The Faith and Community Network consists entirely of faith-based and community organizations that volunteer as partners with DJJ to offer programs that help at-risk and troubled children. Volunteer Chaplains from a variety of different faiths offer pastoral counseling and care to youth and families in crisis.

"DJJ's Faith Partners and Volunteer Chaplains support the success of troubled children in their communities," said DJJ Secretary Frank Peterman, Jr. "Florida stands forward among states in enlisting such widespread, comprehensive and organized support on a purely volunteer basis."

"The organizations that volunteer to join DJJ's Faith and Community Network serve important functions in their communities, especially in connecting families with faith-based services and resources," commented Andy Hindman, DJJ Director of Faith and Community Partnerships. "We are grateful for the help they offer."

For information on joining the DJJ Faith and Community Network or on serving as a DJJ Volunteer Chaplain, please contact Andy Hindman at (866) 888-4355 or Andy.Hindman@djj.state.fl.us.

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