FREEZING OUT ALS: DJJ LEADERSHIP TAKES THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE DJJ Staff  at:  8/26/2014  

FREEZING OUT ALS: DJJ LEADERSHIP TAKES THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE



SPECIAL THANKS TO MELODY STANFIELD AND LISA KENN FOR THEIR ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE PHOTOGRAPHS


When it comes to doing their best for the citizens of Georgia, let it never be said that the Department of Juvenile Justice Management Team is all wet....except when they are deliberately getting all wet for a good cause. Led by Commissioner Avery Niles, the DJJ Leadership took to the Central Office lawn recently to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosisresearch and funding.



The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone's head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and challenging others to do the same. Nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.




As a state agency that prides itself on its charitable work, the Department of Juvenile Justice never backs down from a challenge, literally in this case. Cheered on by the employees of the Central Office, the DJJ Commissioners and Directors took personal leave to take a chilly bath in order to help stop the killer known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.



ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that modestly extends survival.




As of Tuesday, August 26, The ALS Association has received $88.5 million in donations compared to $2.6 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 26). These donations have come from existing donors and 1.9 million new donors to The Association, which is incredibly grateful for this tremendous outpouring of support.


The ALS Association’s mission includes providing care services to assist people with ALS and their families through a network of chapters working in communities across the nation and a global research program focused on the discovery of treatments and eventually a cure for the disease. In addition, The Association’s advocacy efforts empower people to advance public policies in our nation’s Capital that respond to the needs of people with ALS.



As part of the Ice Bucket Challenge, video of the challenge must be posted online for everyone to see and to move forward with the next challenge. The Department of Juvenile Justice video can be seen below. For more information on ALS and how you can participate/donate, visit them on the web at http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html.


 



http://youtu.be/4OvnNVnvgVI



 



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     WABE News Story: DJJ Unveils New Career Guidance Centers For Young Offenders DJJ Staff  at:  8/22/2014  

WABE NEWS STORY: DJJ UNVEILS NEW CAREER GUIDANCE CENTERS FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS



STORY BY WABE ATLANTA (90.1) REPORTER MICHELL ELLOY (ONLINE AT http://wabe.org/post/djj-unveils-new-career-guidance-centers-young-offenders). SPECIAL THANKS TO ANDREA BRISCOE AND LISA KENN FOR THE ACCOMPANYING PHOTOGRAPHS.


The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice announced Thursday it plans to open career guidance centers at eight of its facilities across the state, the first of which has already rolled out in a detention center near Atlanta.





According to DJJ officials, the new career centers will offer young offenders the opportunity to research careers and take aptitude tests. The new program will also provide programs on how to write resumes and interview training.




DJJ Associate Schools Superintendent Dr. Audrey Armistad said up to now the department had offered guidance counselors and some career prep for young offenders, but not a specific place where children in state custody could get career information.



“We were missing that piece as far as re-entry services were concerned,” he said. “We were doing all of the academic stuff, but following them back to the community for re-entry, that was our big thing.”




A career center has already rolled out at the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center, located in DeKalb County.




DJJ plans to roll out the program to the state’s seven long-term Youth Development Campuses by October.




The department also announced a partnership with online charter school Provost Academy to offer school services to young offenders after they leave DJJ.




"Some of our kids have been expelled or suspended from their local public schools, so Provost Academy offers them an option to continue their high school diploma in the community," rather than a GED, Armistad said.




Around 65 students have so far been enrolled in the online academy for this school year, according to DJJ.




Department officials says often enrollment is part of a young ex-offender probation, with DJJ's education department and probation officers checking in to make sure the work is done.





 


 




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     DJJ Anti-Gang Campaign: 1st Annual Youth Symposium and Law Enforcement Visits DJJ Staff  at:  8/22/2014  

DJJ ANTI-GANG CAMPAIGN: 1ST ANNUAL YOUTH SYMPOSIUM AND LAW ENFORCEMENT VISITS



The Department of Juvenile Justice is dedicated to the elimination of gang activity among Georgia youth. As part of this commitment, DJJ recently held two separate anti-gang initatives at its Atlanta YDC and Metro RYDC facilities: The 1st Annual Youth Symposium and the Anti-Gang Law Enforcement Program.

 



DJJ YOUTH SYMPOSIUM


On June 2nd, the Atlanta Youth Development Campus (Atlanta YDC) held its 1st Annual Youth Symposium. The theme of this year's event was the Department of Juvenile Justice's Anti-Gang Campaign: It's YOUR Story...Write your own Ending!


Special guests to the Symposium included Captain K.D. Johnson of the DeKalb County Police Department and DeKalb County Medical Examiner Director, DeWayne Calhoun. Director Calhoun commanded the attention of the entire crowd with a chilling presentation of the consequences of gang life which included a demonstration using a body bag.



Group participation with the Atlanta YDC youth was a key component of the Symposium. In a segment called "Who's Brave Enough?", youth were tasked with eulogizing themselves after imagining their deaths from the consequences of gang life and activity. On the positive side, the Atlanta YDC Steppers, the facility Step Team, impressed youth and guests alike with their hard stomping, exciting routine.


The Statewide Security Risk Group Coordinator organized the Youth Symposium with the main goals of addressing youth gang violence, stopping teen drug abuse, avoiding risky sexual behavior and promoting youth development and self-esteem.


"During this symposium, I wanted to give our youth a voice." Ms. Brandenburg stated. "Many of these young men have been yearning to be heard and act out due to neglect, forcing everyone to "listen" through dangerous activity."


In addition to listening to the concerns of young people, Ms. Bradenburg also believes that "effective youth mentors and programs with high levels of youth involvement are a valuable resource to give direction and guidance to young people in our community. When a youth has a voice - a voice that's not frowned upon because of current situations or circumstances -- that youth is given the power to change their mindset for the better."


ANTI-GANG LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM



(From left to right; Sgt. Christopher Johnson/ Fulton County Sheriff Dept., Deputy Burnice Howard/ Fulton County Sheriff Dept., Sgt. Damien Butler/ Fulton County Sheriff Dept. and Officer Rico Rucker/ Fulton County Police Department)


In July, the young men of the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center (Metro RYDC) had an eye opening visit from members of the Fulton County Police Department and Fulton County Sheriffs Department. The key message: the Gang Life is NO life!



During the talk, Metro RYDC youth listened to each officer's experiences with gang members currently inside the Fulton County jail. The biggest shock to the youth was the fact that the jailed gang members were now largely ignored by the gangs they once belonged; street gangs turn their backs on individual members as soon as they are jailed and no longer useful to the gang. Loyalty in gangs is non-existent and the crimes that members commit (murder, assault, robberies) are forgotten, leaving ex-members to fend for themselves.



DJJ continues to be proactive in its efforts to spread an anti-gang message. Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper, Division of Operations and Compliance, thanks all of the law enforcement agency representatives who came out in support of these recent events:


City of Atlanta Police Department
City of Atlanta Corrections
Fulton County School System Police Department
Fulton County Sheriff Department
College Park Police Department
DeKalb County Police Department
DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office
GDC Probation


Special thanks to Statewide Security Risk Group Coordinator Monique Brandenburg for helping organize these powerful events.




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     DJJ Double Dutch: Fitness in the Facilities DJJ Staff  at:  8/21/2014  

DJJ DOUBLE DUTCH: FITNESS IN THE FACILITIES



Metro Regional Youth Detention Center (Metro RYDC) youth were jumping for joy with the recent visit of Michelle Clark, Founder of Double Dutch Aerobics and a World Champion Double Dutch athlete.



Michelle Clark from Double Dutch Aerobics


Double Dutch Aerobics is the latest fitness craze sweeping America. Combining elite fitness training with jump rope skill, Double Dutch is a calorie burning workout that tests your physical mettle and can leave you tied up in knots. The youth at the Metro RYDC were smiling as they were sweating once they learned that Double Dutch Aerobics is no mere kids game.



Statewide Security Risk Group Coordinator Monique Brandenburg showing her Double Dutch moves



As a Double Dutch World Champion, Michelle Clark and her husband Shawn act as ambassadors for the sport across the country in addition to their studio classes in Atlanta and New York City. As guests of the Metro RYDC, Michelle and Shawn were impressed by the eagerness and Double Dutch skill of youth and staff alike.







The Metro RYDC would like to thank Michelle and Shawn Clark again for their time and dedication to teaching Double Dutch Aerobics to our youth and staff. Special thanks to Statewide SRG Coordinator Monique Brandenburg for coordinating this event.



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     DJJ Federal Programs Update: Title I Annual Meeting on August 25th DJJ Staff  at:  8/21/2014  

DJJ FEDERAL PROGRAMS UPDATE: TITLE I ANNUAL MEETING ON AUGUST 25TH



The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice School District and Georgia Preparatory Academy will host the District Title I Annual Meeting on August 25th starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center located at 1300 Constitution Road SE in Atlanta. The Title I Annual Meeting is an opportunity for parents and the general public to learn more about federal programs provided by the Department of Juvenile Justice's school system. The meeting will also serve as an information session for the Georgia Preparatory Academy's Parental Involvement Plan.


Title I is a federally funded program for elementary, middle, and high schools across the country designed to ensure that all children have a fair and equal opportunity to high-quality education. Through an enriched and accelerated educational program, Title I provides extra help to those students who need it most.


Attendees to the meeting are encouraged to participate in discussion and share their ideas and thoughts on Title I. For more information on the District Title I Annual Meeting, contact Keshia Douglas at 404-272-6008 or via email at keshiadouglas@djj.state.ga.us .


REMINDER: Since the Title I Annual Meeting will take place at the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center, all visitors will be subject to search and must leave personal belongings including cellphones locked in their vehicles as a condition of entry into the facility.



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