DJJ Supports National Nurses Week 2017 DJJ Staff  at:  5/11/2017  
DJJ Supports National Nurses Week 2017

At the Department of Juvenile Justice, nurses are some of the most unsung heroes at our facilities around the state. Providing medical services to all of our youth, nurses are called into action day and night to ensure the health and well-being of those individuals entrusted to DJJ’s care.

In recognition of the hard work and dedication of our nurses, DJJ is a proud supporter of National Nurses Week, currently being celebrated across the country. National Nurses Week is a time to show appreciation for these vital members of the healthcare profession. This year’s theme, set by the American Nurses Association, is "Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit" and focuses on the year of the “healthy nurse”.

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale's birthday. Nightingale was a trail-blazing figure in the medical profession and because of her pioneering work during the Crimean War, she is known as the founder of modern nursing. Due to her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale became known as "The Lady with the Lamp". National Nurses Week was first observed in October 1954, the 100th anniversary of Nightingale's mission to Crimea.

DJJ would like to thank and recognize all of the men and women who make up the nursing team in Georgia. For more information on National Nurses Week, visit




     DJJ Supports School Lunch Hero Day DJJ Staff  at:  5/10/2017  
DJJ Supports School Lunch Hero Day

DJJ’s Georgia Preparatory Academy (GPA) school nutrition staff strive to make lunchtime the favorite part of every student’s day. By preparing healthy food, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies and offering service with a smile, GPA's school nutrition professionals are truly heroes.

Earlier this month, GPA students and staff showed their appreciation for their school nutrition staff as part of School Lunch Hero Day. Showering their school lunch heroes with gratitude, cards and recognition, GPA students and staff around the state took the time to thank the unsung crew who keep DJJ's secure facilities running with healthy food each and every day.

School nutrition employees must balance many roles and follow numerous federal, state and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available in schools. Your efforts do not go unnoticed by me or the staff at the Central Office." -- Deputy Commissioner Margaret Cawood



School Lunch Hero Day is a nationwide celebration hosted by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author and illustrator of the popular LUNCH LADY graphic novel series. Inspired by his own childhood school lunch hero, Jean J. Cariglia, Krosoczka created the popular LUNCH LADY series of graphic novels for kids, starring a crime-fighting school nutrition professional and her faithful sidekick, Betty.

School Lunch Hero Day gives schools and communities the opportunity to thank the school nutrition professionals who serve 30 million students each day. To find out more about School Lunch Hero Day, visit


As a follow-up to School Lunch Hero Day, Regional Food Service Administrator Stephanie Henesy compiled some additional photos and news from DJJ around the state including Eastman, Atlanta, Marietta, Gainesville, Crisp Elbert Shaw, Waycross and Muscogee. Learn more about the dedicated professionals serving the youth of DJJ each and every day at:




     Views from the 2017 Commissioner's Challenge DJJ Staff  at:  5/8/2017  
Views from the 2017 Commissioner's Challenge

Story and photos by Meagan Terry

On April 21st, the Special Operations Unit of the Division of Operations and Compliance hosted the Fourth Annual Special Operations Commissioner’s Challenge at Jackson State Prison. The competition was held among the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Security Emergency Response Team (SERT), Special Management Response Team (SMRT) and High Intensity Team Supervision (HITS) teams. The training was a combination of leadership skills and physical challenges including obstacle courses, running trails and a competitive tug-of-war.

DJJ personnel designed the endurance course and 24 trainers from the Office of Training assisted in the overall scoring of the courses. Ten teams were staged at three different courses and competed for the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy, which will be showcased in the Commissioner’s suite at the DJJ Central Office. The trophy is a symbol of the excellence in DJJ’s elite Special Operations team statewide.

After the teams completed the courses, Assistant Commissioner Keith Horton, Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper, Deputy Commissioner Catina Martin-Fenner, Director Montrail Mitchell and Commander Jesse Dewberry presented the awards.

This year’s winners and award recipients include:

Commissioner’s Trophy: SMRT Team 1

1st Place Overall Team Award: SMRT Team 1

2nd Place Team Award: HITS South

3rd Place Team Award: Eastman YDC

Top Leadership Course Award: SMRT Team 1

Top Endurance Award: Sumter YDC

Top Obstacle Course Award: SMRT Team 1

Top Tug-of-War Team Award: Eastman YDC SERT

Wilbert Barrett, SMRT and statewide key control officer, was honored for his 23 years of service to DJJ and congratulated on his retirement in May. Special thanks to all of the staff and volunteers for planning and hosting the annual event. Congratulations to all of the participants and winners!





     DJJ Celebrates 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week DJJ Staff  at:  5/8/2017  
DJJ Celebrates 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week

National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 8-12, 2017 and DJJ and the Georgia Preparatory Academy (GPA) can’t wait to #ThankATeacher with you!

The theme of this year's Teacher Appreciation Week is “Teachers Deliver.” Teachers deliver so much to our students—inspiration, motivation and, ultimately, their futures. From May 8-12, 2017, DJJ would like to celebrate the teachers and administrators of GPA and deliver our thanks and gratitude to them.

Teachers change the lives of millions of children every day and their work and impact extends far beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Join us during PTA Teacher Appreciation Week to #ThankATeacher for all that they deliver to our nation’s children - and the children that DJJ cares for on a daily basis.

DJJ also administers the 181st school system in the state of Georgia. There are 29 Georgia Preparatory Academy schools across the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit the Georgia Preparatory Academy at





     United Way and DJJ: 2017 Shoebox Project DJJ Staff  at:  5/2/2017  

United Way and DJJ: 2017 Shoebox Project

Photo and story by Meagan Terry

DJJ Launches Statewide Service Learning Contest for Youths

The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) partnered with the United Way of Greater Atlanta to launch a new community service learning project for youths in DJJ care. For over 10 years, the United Way’s Shoebox Project has brought together donors and volunteers to help those most in need. The Shoebox Project ran from March 1st through May 1st. During that time, shoeboxes were collected and filled with toiletries to help underserved men, women and children throughout the 13-county region the United Way of Greater Atlanta serves.

As part of the service learning project, DJJ youths participated in decorating and filling shoeboxes for the Shoebox Project. Youths decorated the shoeboxes with uplifting quotes, cartoon characters, sports teams and more. Overall, DJJ facilities and communities collected over 300 shoeboxes filled with toiletries, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, shampoo and lip balm. Last year, the United Way of Greater Atlanta collected more than 41,000 filled shoeboxes, with a value of more than $830,000.

Commissioner Niles stated, “We are proud to partner with the United Way of Greater Atlanta in a program that provided DJJ youths the opportunity to participate in an activity that provides support and relief to the community. The Office of Victim Services and the Office of Volunteer Services worked closely with the United Way of Greater Atlanta to make this new service learning project a success.”

The purpose of the service learning project was to engage youths in DJJ secure facilities and community service offices in activities that benefit local homeless families. Prizes will be awarded to the facility that contributes the most shoe boxes and the most creative shoebox in the categories of YDC, RYDC and Community Services Offices. To learn more about the Shoebox Project and how to donate, visit





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