Spalding CSO HITS: Photo Shoot DJJ Staff  at:  3/31/2014  


Story support by JPPS III Stephanie Blokzyl of the Spalding CSO

DJJ Staff in the Department of Juvenile Justice High Intensity Team Supervision (HITS) program know that service learning projects are an important tool for local youth to connect with their home communities.  Usually, these service learning projects involve cleaning up parks, working with retirement communities, blood drives and other team exercises.

These photos from a service learning project for the Spalding Court Services Office took on a more personal significance for the HITS team.

On March 21st, the Spalding CSO HITS team took these photographs of the Carr family.  For the Carr family, it became the most timely photo shoot ever worked by the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Facing a serious illness, Brandy Carr wanted to take some personal family photographs with her two children while she was feeling well enough to smile for the camera.  Working with Probation Officer Carleena Brown, Ms. Carr discussed preparations for staging the photo shoot with JPM Georgette Wimbush, JPPSIII Stephanie Blokzyl, and PA Sharon Young.  The team also agreed this photography event would be a positive activity for the Spalding CSO HITS to help organize for the Carrs.

After shopping for items they needed for the photo session, the Spalding CSO HITS team planned to meet at the Wynonna Titus Park in Griffin Unfortunately they were delayed a day due to Ms. Carr's illness, but were able to reschedule the photographs after lunch the next day.

Despite all the unforeseen delays, the DJJ team made possible these heartwarming photos at the park on March 21st.  A special thanks goes out to the entire Spalding CSO HITS team for serving the special needs of their community and to Ms. Michelle Parker Terrell for her fabulous pictures.





     Thomasville RYDC Badge Pinning Ceremony DJJ Staff  at:  3/28/2014  


News story by Stephen Westberry, Director of Operations, Thomasville RYDC

On March 24th, security staff at the Loftiss Regional Youth Detention Center (Thomasville RYDC) participated in a badge pinning ceremony for the officers in the facility. For the first time ever, badges were awarded to Juvenile Correctional Officers within the Department of Juvenile Justice.

DJJ Regional Administrator Corey Butler was the keynote speaker for the ceremony, stressing the importance of fulfilling the ideals set forth by the Department of Juvenile Justice that are represented by the badges awarded that day. Lt. Marie Washington was given the honor of pinning the badges on the officers and Mr. Stephen Westberry issued the Oath of Office. Other guests included Ms. Bonnie Brown who gave the invocation and Mr. Eddie Mathis who offered closing remarks.

Over twenty-eight Officers participated in the badge pinning ceremony including five Lieutenants, four Sergeants, and eight Juvenile Correctional Officers. The badge pinning ceremony was the first after the Blessing of the Badges that took place on March 20th (photos and commentary of which will be posted on the DJJ News and Views website shortly).





     Milan YDC: Hometown Bulldog Makes Visit DJJ Staff  at:  3/26/2014  


Coach Fordham, Leonard Floyd, and JPPS I Collins

Recently, the youth and staff at the Milan Youth Development Campus received a special surprise as Georgia Bulldog football star and Chauncey native Leonard Floyd visited the facility. At home for spring break, Floyd, who led the Bulldogs with 6.5 sacks last year and was named part of the SEC All-Freshman Team, came to the Milan YDC to speak to the currently housed youth during a break from working out.

“I knew coming home that I still needed to stay in shape and work out, so I called one of my former coaches who I knew would push me and asked him to help me. Coach Fordham works at the Milan YDC and we had an idea that I could come out and talk to the kids about pursuing their dreams in life,” Leonard stated.

The main thrust of Leonard Floyd’s talk to the youth of the Milan YDC revolved around his experiences growing up in a small town and the importance of passion and work in order to succeed. “My mom told me when I was a boy that God gave me my talents and gifted me with my size,” said Floyd. “She told me to use my talents and not wasted what he had given me.”

Leonard Floyd talks about his time at the University of Georgia with the Milan YDC youth

Coach and mentor to Leonard Floyd, JPPS I Ricky Collins (Dodge CSO) also spoke to the Milan YDC youth, saying “I remember when Leonard was small, well, he’s never been too small, but I have known this young man for most of his life. His work ethic has never been questioned. He works harder than anyone I have ever coached or known.”

While the autographs and photos that Leonard Floyd took with the youth and staff of the Milan YDC were appreciated, it was Leonard Floyd’s positive message of hard work and hope that will remain long after his time at the facility or on the gridiron is over. Said one youth after Mr. Floyd’s visit was concluded, “It was a beneficial experience to be able to meet someone of such influence and learn the struggles and responsibilities of an individual in that limelight.”

The Milan YDC would like to thank Leonard Floyd once again for his visit and to wish him the very best this year at school and on the field for the University of Georgia.





     SMRT Leadership: DJJ's Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy Graduates DJJ Staff  at:  3/24/2014  


Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper with SMRT Officer Jesse Dewberry

The Department of Juvenile Justice is proud to announce the graduation on March 21st from Georgia Police Academy Basic Law Enforcement Training of Special Management Response Team (SMRT) Officers Jesse Dewberry and Leonard Schrader. SMRT Officer Dewberry graduated from the Georgia Public Safety Training Academy Course in Forsyth while SMRT Officer Schrader graduated from the Georgia Police Academy Course in Canton, Georgia.

Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper with SMRT Officer Leonard Schrader

Even though both SMRT Officer Dewberry and SMRT Officer Schrader were enrolled in separate law enforcement training courses, both individually were chosen to represent their respective graduating classes as members of the Honor Guard during graduation ceremonies. With 113 push-ups in 60 seconds, SMRT Officer Dewberry captured the Georgia Police Academy's physical fitness record for training course graduates. Equally impressive was SMRT Officer Schrader's academic achievement, graduating with an overall academic score of 94.8%.

With the successful completion of the rigorous eleven week training course, SMRT Officers Dewberry and Schrader are now certified peace officers within the state of Georgia. The firearms training, emergency vehicle operation, defensive tactics, and first aid response taught to SMRT Officers Dewberry and Schrader will serve DJJ well.

Congratulations again to SMRT Officers Dewberry and Schrader for their graduation success!





     Catoosa CSO: Run For Robin DJJ Staff  at:  3/21/2014  


News Story by Robb Gilstrap, Juvenile Program Manager, Catoosa CSO

On March 15, 2014, the Catoosa County Court Services Office participated in the 15th annual Gradurun 5K run and 1 mile walk to benefit Communities in Schools. The local DJJ office staff participated in memory of JPPS II Robin Sponberger who recently passed away after a battle with leukemia. In addition to staff, over 60 family members, friends and community supporters joined “Team DJJ” to honor the memory of Ms. Sponberger. Each wore an orange shirt with “Run for Robin” emblazoned on the back since orange is the official color for leukemia awareness. Six members of “Team DJJ” were awarded with prizes for placing among the top three in their age groups.

Pictured: Zeb Hensley – JPPS III Whitfield CSO; Renee McClanahan – District Director; Susan Edgeworth – JPPS III Catoosa CSO; Brittany McKaig – JPPS II Catoosa CSO; Donna Lawrence – District AOC; Jake Sponberger – JPPS II Catoosa County; Amy Hall – JPPS II Catoosa County; Chance Hall – son of Nolan and Amy Hall; Robb Gilstrap – JPM Catoosa CSO; Joseph Edgeworth – son of Joey and Susan Edgeworth

Ms. Sponberger was diagnosed with Leukemia on October 18, 2013 and passed away on February 1, 2014. The “Run For Robin” portion of the event was organized by JPPS III Susan Edgeworth and JPPS II Jake Sponberger.

Communities In Schools started in Georgia over 30 years ago and is now the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, serving over one million youth in 25 states and the District of Columbia. ICF International recently completed a comprehensive five-year evaluation, comparing the results to over 1,600 studies screened by the Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse. ICF concluded that the Communities In Schools model is cost effective, reduces dropout rates and increases graduation rates. Communities in Schools works alongside many of the same youth that DJJ serves.

The Catoosa County Court Services Office is proud to support Communities In Schools at the same time they were able to honor the work and memory of their friend and coworker JPPS II Robin Sponberger. To learn more about Communities In Schools, visit them on the web at .





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