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Secretary's Message

January 12, 2015

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

I am sincerely grateful for the hard work and steadfast dedication to this agency from those who work in juvenile justice across the state and I am proud to share every week the great work occurring here at the Department of Juvenile Justice and that of our partners. I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of 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 (submissions after that time will be considered for the next week’s letter).

Sincerely,

Christina K. Daly 


First Responders Appreciation Week

Last week in recognition of  First Responders Appreciation Week Governor Rick Scott, in addition to other recognition events, visited the Orlando Police Department to thank them for their selfless service to Florida’s families, visitors, and businesses.  In his proclamation declaring First Responders Appreciation Week he encouraged all Floridians to take time out of their day to show first responders and their families how much we value their service. First responders do not hesitate to risk their own lives in order to save and protect the lives of others, and their commitment to continued training, skill enhancement, and inter-agency coordination make them vital members of every Florida community.

Thank you to all of our partners in the law enforcement community, and those other first responders, who work tirelessly to keep Florida’s communities safe. 


Prevention Update

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee along with SJPOs Troi Owens and Marcus Wilson, JPOS Yvonne Ortiz, JPOs Cindy Saltzman, Tonya Mathis, Lawanta Stewart, Loretta Harvey and Janet Schnering and Staff Assistant Cecilia Torres all from Circuit 6 adopted a deserving family in Pinellas County for Christmas. The DJJ staff provided gifts and holiday cheer for a 10-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy on Christmas day. In order to ensure that the family had sufficient gifts for their children for the holidays, DJJ staff purchased the items and delivered them to the house for the children on Christmas Day.   










The PACE Center for Girls of Manatee County holds a weekly “Friday Showcase” for their girls at the PACE facility in Sarasota. Rewarding positive behaviors and good decision making skills is an important piece of changing girls’ lives. Every Friday, at PACE Center for Girls of Manatee County, girls receive recognition during the “Friday Showcase.”

Recognition includes the following:

  • Girls who have completed a level of ‘Mathletics’ receive a certificate;
  • Nominations are read for each girl who has been nominated for Shining Star and the winners receive a medal and a certificate;
  • Girls who have completed the work to advance to the next level (behavioral modification program) receive certificates and awards;
  • Any girl who has completed a project (i.e./power point, poster, experiment) will deliver that presentation to the other girls;
Finally, any girl who has been on time to school for the entire week gets her name entered into a drawing and two names are drawn for the opportunity to “Spin to Win.” Each girl spins the wheel and the number corresponds to a prize.


The Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corporation’s (ONIC) PRODIGY program held their annual holiday event on December 17 at the Rozen Plaza hotel in Orlando. ONIC’s event featured over 850 participants including the residents of Boca and Hollow Brook Apartment complexes who were specifically chosen for this opportunity. The event provided an annual celebration including food, fun, gifts, and an opportunity to have a family photo.  Prodigy youth were able to participate in this event, as well as highlight some of the youth creativity this year with the display of created art work.  Prodigy & ONIC staff and volunteers had a great celebration with many families.



Probation Update

I am happy to share with you the following success story from one of our youth in Eckerd’s Project Bridge Program. Travis had been involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) since he was 14 years old.  He was arrested for several felony offenses and charged as an adult, but was sentenced back to the Department and placed in a DJJ residential commitment program.  After completing the program, Travis was released back to his home community and joined Eckerd’s Project Bridge the next day. 

Travis has been motivated to make the most of his second chance, while participating with Project Bridge and is an outstanding example of a youth who has successfully transitioned home following residential confinement.  Taking inspiration from his mother, who is a successful hair stylist, Travis decided he wanted to attend a local barber academy.  Though he enrolled at Manhattan Beauty School, Travis needed additional funding to pay for the required barber kit and textbooks.  His assigned Eckerd Transition Coordinator helped him purchase books and a kit for $600 through donated funds, allowing him to begin his studies on schedule. 

In less than three months, Travis has completed 300 of 2,000 required hours and is now more than a quarter of the way to earning his barber certificate.  Travis has already progressed to the point of working with paying customers on the salon floor, and has demonstrated admirable skills in the classroom that has earned the trust of his instructors.  At his current pace, Travis will earn his Florida practitioner's license in 4-6 months, at which point he will be able to work in any barber shop in the state.  Not content to simply work as a barber, Travis aspires to open his own barber shop within the next few years; his Transition Coordinator has connected him with a local business owner who will mentor him in his pursuit of this goal.

Travis has earned his SafeStaff certificate while with Project Bridge, and is now working at Raymond James Stadium providing concessions for events at the stadium. He is also very involved with church youth group, which meets weekly. 

Travis is an outstanding example of a young man who has dedicated himself to both short-term and long-term goals and is making the most of the opportunities provided through Eckerd's Project Bridge program.  


 

BAYS Florida is proud to present Christopher Deas, Consulting Clinician serving Circuits 9 and 18, as 2014 Employee of the Year. Chris embodies the BAYS values of: Professionalism, Responsibility, Integrity, Dedication, and Enthusiasm. Chris is an outstanding Consulting Clinician who will do anything to work and support the youth and families that are involved with Bay Area Youth Services.  Chris has helped develop and deploy our successful domestic violence classes in Circuits 9 and 18. Bay Area Youth Services is looking forward to sharing the domestic violence classes with other circuits in need of this service due to the successful outcomes that Chris has had.  Chris speaks of the families in his classes as if they were his own family and he has true concern for their positive outcomes. Chris is a team player and is appreciated by the case managers, consultant clinicians, and supervisors for all of the hard work he demonstrates on a daily basis. Chris has a genuine gift in his personality and spirit that aligns him perfectly with the population that are served by Bay Area Youth Services. Chris has more than earned the recognition of Employee of the Year.  Congratulations!​



The Girls Initiative in Circuit 13 conducted a community service work project at Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa on December 23. Seven young ladies were accompanied by DJJ staff including SJPO Shelley Turner, JPOs Ardena Bosley, Pat Locker and Temika Shoemaker and Reform Specialist Khalilah Daniels, who all assisted the kitchen staff at the facility with preparing meals for homeless families. Our girls were given an overview of the services Metropolitan Ministries provides and how their services will help needy families over the holiday season. Afterwards, the girls were treated to a pizza party as incentive to their hard work and spoke to their probation officers about navigating through probation to termination without reoffending.  

Reform Specialist Melanie Kretzman and JPOs Charles Dutton and Aimee Harrier from Circuit 8 spearheaded a food drive for those less fortunate in Alachua County. The food drive, which benefited the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, ran from October 20 to December 24 of 2014.  All total,  the probation staff collected and donated 713 pounds of food, the first donation of 188 pounds was made over Thanksgiving while the second donation of 525 pounds was made on December 23. The Bread of the Mighty Food Bank provides foods to charitable groups and organizations engaged in feeding the needy, the ill and infants. 






Probation headquarters staff Kara Ahearn, Jeannie Becker-Powell and Abby Novak teamed up with Reform Specialists Terese Moses from Circuit 1, Randy Reynolds from Circuit 5, Tracy Olson from Circuit 18, and Wanda Jackson and Bree Thaxton from Circuit 14 to continue the model roll out for EPICS (Effective Practices in Community Supervision) implementation.  The team formulated the details associated with future roll out and maintenance for staff that are already trained. 

The EPICS program is a structured cognitive intervention for providing probation services to moderate and high risk youth, which targets criminogenic needs and provides evidence-based interventions as wells as graduated incentives and consequences.   


Detention Update

JDO Lee Anne Terry from the Bay RJDC arranged for Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus to make a visit to the facility on Christmas morning. Mr. And Mrs. Claus (otherwise known as Ken and Sandy Hebner) spend a majority of the holiday season visiting others and took time out of their hectic schedules to voluntarily visit our youth and ensure they had some Christmas cheer.

For the Christmas meal, advisory board member Beth Mathis donated two smoked turkeys prepared by her husband Charles, a local cupcake store (Sugar Boogers) donated a beautifully decorated cake and another advisory board member, Jackie Parrish, donated decorated cupcakes and gift items for the youth.  Youth and staff alike enjoyed a very bountiful and delicious feast! We are thankful so many folks contributed their time, energy, and resources to ensure our youth were able to enjoy their Christmas Day.



Detention staff from the Okaloosa RJDC worked with youth in setting up and decorating two Christmas trees in the facility during the Christmas holiday.  All of our youth within the facility wanted the opportunity to decorate the trees and everyone enjoyed the event. The youth also placed additional decorations around the control room and were provided Christmas cards to send out to their families. 










The recently developed hydroponic garden at the Pinellas RJDC continues to be a positive outlet for our youth at the facility and the vegetables continue to grow with the assistance of our youth and officers. Recently, several of our youth from the Honor Mod worked in the garden and assisted with harvesting the crops to be used in meal preparation. The pictures seen here reflect the hard work that our youth have put into the garden. JJDOII Edith Hamm can been seen washing and cutting collard greens which our food service staff prepared for our youth over the holidays. 


The Palm Beach RJDC hosted their annual holiday party on December 15. Guests at the party included DJJ stakeholders from Circuit 15 including attorneys, county commissioners, and members of the judiciary. The youth at the facility provided the entertainment which consisted of a variety of singing, dancing, and speaking activities. The youth from the culinary program prepared a five course tapas holiday meal for the attendees. Each of these youth were eager to share with the guest how each dish was prepared. I would like to thank Captain Cornelia Burden and Corporal Cheryl McCullough who worked so hard in making this event a success.  


On December 8th, The Youth Assisting Puppies Program at the Pasco JDC received their first litter of eight Christmas puppies as part of the Trauma Informed Care initiative. The puppies, provided by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, were under the care of our youth at the facility until December 28th and were all adopted out by loving and caring families. Four of the puppies were adopted by DJJ staff members at the facility. 






The Brevard RJDC is celebrating the one year anniversary of the Teens Assisting Puppies or TAPS program. In that time the youth and staff at the facility have learned that fostering the puppies takes a lot of work, but the end result is worth the reward. Every puppy that has come to the facility has been adopted, and we could not thank enough our partners from the Pixel Fund and the SPCA for their collaboration.




Residential Update

In the spirit of giving during the holiday season, the DJJ staff of Northwest Residential Services likes to do a little something special for a few of our kids.  Last year, each team member made custom placemats portraying “What Christmas Means to You.”  These were given to the young ladies at the DOVE Academy to use on Christmas day.  This year, the staff’s project was a little larger and involved donations of toiletries from Residential Services and Management Review Units all around the state, as well as HQ staff members in every unit. 

During the Northwest Residential Holiday Staff Meeting, these donations were sorted and bagged along with a candy cane.  The goodie bags were given to the staff members at DOVE Academy, JoAnn Bridges Academy, and Alachua Academy who included the bags in the residents’ Christmas surprises.  Many thanks go to the Northwest Residential Services staff members who undertook this project:  Amy Daglish, April Lewis, Dwight Poole, Lori Jernigan, Mary Mills, Natosha Faul, Neil Stier, and Sean Dorsey.

On December 18, Northwest Residential Services staff hosted special guests from DOVE Academy and JoAnn Bridges Academy at two separate events in the Alexander Building.  While the girls were visiting, they enjoyed special snacks, fellowship, the reading of a Christmas story and—through group collaboration among the girls—decided which decorated door they liked best.  The visitors also were joined by HQ Office of Residential Services staff members Meg Bates, Sarah Hollar, Jeanine Rhodes, Candace Seifert, Vanessa Wicker, and Pat Wilson, as well as Circuit 2 Chief Probation Officer Minnora Bishop.















Recently, a few boys from Escambia Boys Base, a non-secure program for males, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by AMIkids, Inc., completed the Hospitality & Housekeeping Training and Certification Program that was developed and implemented by Escambia Boys Base in partnership with the University of West Florida’s Department of Continuing Education, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida, Landrum Staffing Services, and CareerSource EscaRosa.  Each young man did a great job and accordingly earned their certification.

Shown below: A few of the boys, along with Supervisor William Freeman, pose with Ronald McDonald himself!



























Last month, the residents and staff members of the Orange Youth Academy (OYA) and the Orlando Intensive Youth Academy (OIYA) assisted the Omega Psi Phi Organization and the Delta Sigma Theta Organization with the event “Breakfast with Santa” at Ivey Lane Elementary School in Orlando, for the residents of the Ivey Lane Subdivision.  Both OYA and OIYA are residential commitment programs for males and are operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC. 

The young men provided set-up and clean-up services for the event, ate breakfast and assisted Santa by delivering the gift of their choice to the winners of each toy raffle.  After the toy raffle was complete, the students and staff members noticed a young boy was crying because he did not win anything. 

One of the students asked the boy why he was crying he replied that he wanted a bicycle for Christmas.  Immediately, the staff members adopted the family and bought the young boy a bicycle for Christmas.  The boy was elated with their donated bike.  When the boy received his bike, he, his mother, staff members, and the OYA and OIYA students then shed tears of joy. 

One of the young men who helped with the event said, “It is best to give than to receive!” 







A Christmas morning tradition for the staff members and residents of Kissimmee Juvenile Correctional Facility, a high-risk program for males, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, Inc., is to enjoy a special breakfast from Denny’s Restaurant.  Afterward, the students and staff go into the multipurpose room at the program and the residents open their Christmas gifts.

Gifts are provided by the program to the young men to give them a sense of being at home.  This tradition brings joy to the residents and puts smiles on everyone’s faces.  














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