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Press Release Detail

DJJ Honors 2018 Youth Ambassadors During Youth Success Day



January 23, 2018






DJJ Communications Office




(850) 921-5900




DJJ Honors 2018 Youth Ambassadors During Youth Success Day


Tallahassee, Fla. - Today, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Secretary Christina K. Daly, the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation, members of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association, legislators, and community partners honored the 2018 DJJ Youth Ambassadors during Youth Success Day at a reception at Florida’s Historic Capitol.


DJJ Youth Ambassadors are youth in the state of Florida who have turned their lives around for the better after contact with the juvenile justice system. These ambassadors serve as mentors and role models for other at-risk kids throughout the state.


“The incredible stories of our Youth Ambassadors and how they’ve overcome their challenges serves as a reminder that we must never allow our past to define our future” said DJJ Secretary Christina Daly. “These young people have demonstrated that success isn’t just about what you accomplish in life, but how much you inspire those around you.” 


DJJ solicits nominations for the Youth Ambassador Award from providers, community stakeholders and the public at large. Youth Ambassadors received a certificate and Youth Investment Award from the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation, which is the direct support organization for DJJ. Youth receiving awards today were:


Carlos Leyva: Carlos first became involved with the juvenile justice system at the age of 14 and was later committed to a residential program. In 2016, Carlos completed his program and took the initiative to complete aftercare services with Eckerd Connects Project Bridge to reach his goals. Carlos immediately began career services workshops to gain the skills needed to secure employment. His training proved successful as he was hired at a local restaurant, receiving several promotions along the way. Although Carlos has successfully graduated from Eckerd Connects Project Bridge, he regularly keeps in contact with the team and works with them to further advance his goals. Carlos looks forward to a bright future, which includes securing his own apartment and continuing his education to become a registered nurse.


Jazzman Lezama: Jazzman first became involved in the juvenile justice system when she was 15 years old. She was later direct filed and committed to a residential program at the age of 16. Early in life, Jazzman was involved with the foster care system, and then the juvenile justice system. Jazzman has used her past choices and decisions to motivate her to make better ones. Jazzman realized that she had the capacity to give back to the community in more positive ways. This includes being an advocate with a group called Florida Youth SHINE, which works to advocate on behalf of foster youth and child welfare issues at the state and local level. In addition, she is involved with the Palm Beach County Youth Services Department as a member of a youth empowerment group called Future Leaders United for Change. Youth Success Day is a DJJ sponsored event held each year at the Florida Capitol. This is the eighth year that DJJ has recognized Youth Ambassadors during its Youth Success Day.