Story support and photos from Janette Nihles, Betty Brown-Williams and Veronica Garlic
Last month, the Muscogee Youth Development Campus (Muscogee YDC) held its Annual Fall Festival on its facility grounds. Part of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, more than 30 youth were rewarded for recent exemplary behavior with the chance to participate in miniature golf, musical chairs, hop scotch, a marshmallow and spaghetti competition, a basketball shoot-out, bowling, ping pong, a long jump competition and a three-legged race. Staff from throughout the facility contributed to the Fall Festival as either volunteers or active participants in the games and activities.
Events such as the Fall Festival are an important part of the PBIS program at DJJ. PBIS is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes. More than 19,000 U.S. schools are implementing PBIS and saving countless instructional hours otherwise lost to discipline. The premise of PBIS is that continual teaching, combined with acknowledgement or feedback of positive student behavior will reduce unnecessary discipline and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. PBIS schools apply a multi-tiered approach to prevention, using disciplinary data and principles of behavior analysis to develop school-wide, targeted and individualized interventions and supports to improve school climate for all students.
To learn more about PBIS at DJJ, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/pbisatdjj/.
Story support and photos from SE Regional Administrator Rusty Rodgers
Recently, the Laurens Community Services Office (Laurens CSO) organized a canned food drive for deserving families in middle Georgia. Led by JPPS Chataura Poole, full Thanksgiving meals were provided to local area residents in need. DJJ youth helped the Laurens CSO team bag the items and take them to recipients' homes. Extra items collected during this food drive will be combined for delivery during the upcoming holiday season in December.
The Laurens CSO Food Drive is in keeping with the tradition at the Department of Juvenile Justice to lend a helping hand to those in need in our local communities. Similar programs and food drives have been organized under the Restock the Shelves '16 umbrella. Restock the Shelves ‘16 is an opportunity for the Department and its employees to help local food banks replenish their supplies prior to the busy holiday and winter seasons. All donated items will stay in the area where collected to maximize the benefit in the community. To learn more about Restock the Shelves '16, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/restocktheshelves/.
Story support and photos from GPA Director Zane Shelfer, Augusta RYDC Lead Teacher Carol Spurgeon and Atlanta YDC Principal Kendall Douglas
On the first Tuesday in November, millions of citizens across the country exercised their fundamental right to vote and participate in America’s electoral process. For youth at the Atlanta Youth Development Campus (Atlanta YDC) and Augusta Regional Youth Detention Center (Augusta RYDC), this Election Day took on additional significance; it was the first time for many to learn why voting is so important and can have a direct impact on their lives, the lives of their families and the future direction of the local communities where they live.
At the Atlanta YDC, this year’s election took on a more individual tone as several youths had the chance to vote for the first time in their lives. With help from their Georgia Preparatory Academy teachers, eligible youth applied for absentee ballots from their home communities. Nineteen students from the Atlanta YDC voted for offices such as President, United States Senator and United States Representative.
Education was the winning platform for this year’s election cycle at the Augusta RYDC. Hosting a mock election for the facility youth, the Augusta RYDC Advisory Board served as poll officers and assistants helping staff and students move from one election station to another. Youth were able to vote, enjoy refreshments, learn about this year’s candidates for office and receive an overview of our government.
To learn more about the Georgia Preparatory Academy, visit http://www.djj.state.ga.us/GPA/GPAMain.shtml.
Story support and photos from Food Services Administrator Lauren Gean
Recently, the Food Services Department came together for three days of education, team building and planning at the 2016 Food Service and Wellness Ambassador Professional Development Conference (PDC) at Lake Blackshear in Cordele. Looking to expand their horizons, DJJ teams from across the state came together to learn about about a variety of important topics such as planning wellness events, policy and procedural updates, heart health and even how to become a “hero” in your daily life. While the conference topics were serious, the laughter and an upbeat tempo were in attendence as well as the obvious friendship and fellowship of DJJ Food Services was front and center; from dancing to the best rendition of “Eye of the Tiger” since Rocky III, Food Services brought the fun to Lake Blackshear.
Above and Beyond Award - Sumter YDC and Bob Richards RYDC
YDC Wellness Committee of the Year - Eastman YDC
Honorable Mention National School Lunch Week - Muscogee YDC, Crisp RYDC, Bob Richards RYDC and Sumter YDC
Honorable Mention Health Fair - Atlanta YDC, Rockdale RYDC, Loftiss RYDC and Marietta RYDC
RYDC Wellness Committee of the Year - Savannah RYDC
Each and every day, the work performed by the Food Services Department is an important component of life at DJJ. The Food Services Department works tirelessly to operate within federal and state regulations for meal programming. This requires diligent effort daily, including staying abreast of new dietary guidelines and vigilant adherence to high standards of both food quality and safety.
The Food Services Team strives to provide wholesome and appetizing meals to youth while maintaining the ability to receive maximum reimbursement for meals served. Calorie minimums and maximums, sodium restrictions, saturated fat regulations, colorful vegetable requirements and designing meals with various fruits and 100 percent whole grains are just a few of the ways Food Services is ensuring that youth receive high-quality, nutritious meals and snacks. Food is the fuel of our lives and the lives of the youth we serve. The DJJ Food Services Team is an integral part of the foundation that supports youth in our facilities on a daily basis.
Another important aspect of the Food Services Team and this year’s Ambassador PDC involved DJJ Wellness Committees. Led by their inspired and innovative Wellness Ambassador, Wellness Committees are tasked with putting on events that promote an overall healthy lifestyle to DJJ youth. The Wellness Committees are responsible for planning and implementing creative health and wellness-centric events twice per year. The events have ranged from health fairs and gardens to yoga classes and National School Lunch Week events. Each year, the Wellness events have gotten more creative, more fun and more involved.
This year’s Food Service and Wellness Ambassador PDC was an exciting and engaging event that allowed the leaders of the Wellness and Food Service Teams to showcase their expertise and suggestions for improvement. It also provided a fun- filled opportunity to get to know each other and form positive relationships so that departments can team up for success. We look forward to another high-energy event next year!
(To learn more about food services at DJJ, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/gpaschoolnutrition/)
Story support and photos from District One AOC II for Operations Donna Lawrence and JPM Susan Edgeworth
Recently, the Catoosa Community Services Office (Catoosa CSO) held its third annual Halloween Chili Cook-off and Auction to benefit the State Charitable Contributions Program. This year, the competition was fierce as 12 teams vied for the official title of Catoosa Chili Champion.
After the entire Catoosa CSO staff had a chance to taste all of this year’s chili recipes, a vote was held to determine the 2016 Chili Cook-Off winner. JPPS II Brittany Martin was declared this year’s Catoosa Chili Champion.
In addition to the Chili Cook-Off, an auction was held to raise even more money for the State Charitable Contributions Program. Consisting of 69 donated items from local community partners and businesses, participants purchased tickets to be placed in the ticket containers of the prizes that they wished to win. Tickets were picked at random to determine the winners of each prize.
As a fun aside to the Chili Cook-Off, the Catoosa CSO staff also held a Halloween costume contest during the event. The entire Catoosa CSO staff (JPM, Susan Edgeworth, JPPS III Amy Hall, JPPS II’s, Judi Hamill, Johnathan Runyon, Amber Hayes, Brittany Martin, and PA Loretta Abbott) plus RA Renee McClanahan, DD Robb Gilstrap and ACO II Donna Lawrence all participated in the costumed festivities. Winning with her Supergirl costume, JPM Susan Edgeworth was more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap ahead of her fellow costumed co-workers.
The Catoosa CSO would like to thank the Whitfield CSO, Walker CSO, Case Expeditor Steve Pike, Stacie Beach, the Dalton RYDC staff, Catherine Ice, Gina Freeman, Anita Hammonds and Assistant Deputy Commissioner Theo Carter for attending and participating in this year’s event. The Chili Cook-Off was a fun-filled day that raised much money for Georgia charities and was a perfect complement to other staff fundraisers such as jeans pass day and the Angry Birds Coin bucket.
To learn more about the DJJ State Charitable Contributions Campaign, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/djjcharitablecampaign/ .