Information from PBIS Regional Coordinator Chasidy Taylor
Recently, the Sumter Youth Development Campus (Sumter YDC) held several events for youth and employees alike as part of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. Known as the Tiger's Den, the Sumter YDC allowed youth with high level behavioral scores in facility and school settings to participate in the Christmas Bingo and Cookie Decoration gathering, a tasty and fun-filled afternoon of seasonal cheer. Earlier that same month, a number of these youth were allowed to go off-campus to Fun Park in Albany where many learned to play miniature golf and also competed against one another in a bowling tournament.
In addition to the fun-filled activities for Sumter YDC youth, the regional PBIS team also helped to organize some "thank you" events for local DJJ employees/PBIS boosters. While youth acceptance is a necessary component of the success of the PBIS program, the sacrifices employees make to help the youth are often left unsaid; without employee buy-in and extracurricular volunteering to help chaperone youth off-campus, the PBIS program at DJJ would not succeed. Therefore, events held for employees such as the recent Sumter YDC Winter Fest help build a sense of camaraderie and support for the overall goals of the PBIS program.
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 the school climate for all students.
To learn more about PBIS at DJJ, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/pbisatdjj/.
SUMTER YDC PBIS CHRISTMAS BINGO AND COOKIE DECORATION GATHERING
SUMTER YDC PBIS FUN PARK VISIT
Learning to play miniature golf with IPD Leonard Myles
Photos and information from Assistant Director of Reentry Services Cathy Smith-Curry
In February, DJJ staff from the Office of Reentry Services, Community Services and Volunteer Services all participated in a Teen Maze event held at the Mitchell County Agriculture Center. Working various stations at the Teen Maze, DJJ staff conducted sobriety tests, provided information on the risks associated with gang activity and discussed issues associated with being a teen parent. Eighth-graders from public and private schools in Mitchell and Baker counties participated in this event.
The Mitchell County Teen Maze is an interactive life simulation where students are shown the positive and negative consequences of future behavior and life choices. The maze allows youth to explore real-life situations and their consequences without the permanency that would occur if they happened in actuality. Along the maze, these eighth- graders draw their "fate" out of a bag as community professionals in different fields present information. As they continue from station to station, these teens encounter the real-life choices and consequences that can interfere with obtaining a high school education. The ultimate goal of the Teen Maze for the participants is to reach graduation with a focus on continuing their education and succeeding in life.
The Teen Maze is sponsored by Family Connections of Baker and Mitchell County. DJJ would like to thank all of the participating departments in this important local event.
Cathy Smith-Curry conducting a sobriety test
Fredrick Wrenn and Katrina Dennard
Fredrick Wrenn, Katrina Dennard and Ervin Warren
Keith Jones, Jessical Jennings, Fredrick Wrenn, Cynthia Joyce, Cathy Smith-Curry, Ervin Warren and Katrina Dennard
Photos and information from SE Regional Administrator Rusty Rodgers
Earlier this month, Department of Juvenile Justice youth from Toombs County participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new nature trail that will be built in Partin Park located in Lyons. The new trail will be constructed over the next year and will be a welcome addition to one of the finest small town parks in the state. The park hosts the south's largest Soapbox Derby and annual Real Squeal BBQ and Music Festival.
As part of the groundbreaking ceremony, the Toombs County youth were put in charge of signing up attendees for the new Partin Park nature trail newsletter. During the ceremony, it was mentioned that the Toombs County youth will help build the nature trail, working on school holidays to earn community service hours and gain valuable construction experience in the process.
DJJ would like to thank Lyons Mayor Willie Nesmith, Jr. and Lyons City Manager Jason Hall for meeting with the youth volunteers and for their support of DJJ community outreach efforts.
Lyons Mayor Willis D. NeSmith, Jr. and Lyons City Manager Jason Hall with the Toombs County youth
Photos and information from Victim and Volunteer Services Director Latera Davis
On January 25th, Department of Juvenile Justice volunteer coordinators throughout the state participated in a Day of Service for Georgia citizens in need. The DJJ Day of Service was coordinated as part of a quarterly meeting for coordinators at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) in Forsyth.
As part of the DJJ Day of Service, volunteer coordinators created statewide service learning projects for interested employees and youth. The helpful impact of these service learning projects was felt by a large segment of people in need in Georgia. Personal hygiene and used clothing was collected for the southwest Georgia storm victims. Care packages were organized for families in homeless and children shelters including the Atlanta Children's Shelter. Ties were donated to DJJ youth to help educate on the importance of dressing for success. Teddy bears were made for youth in foster care.
The DJJ Day of Service was modeled on the nationwide Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service during the King Holiday in January. Days of service can be a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into action that helps empower and strengthen local communities. To learn more, visit https://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday.
DJJ at the American Probation and Parole Association 2017 Winter Training Institute
Photos and information from Deputy Commissioner Margaret Cawood
Recently, the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) held its 2017 Winter Training Institute in Reno, Nevada. The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice was a proud participant in this educational event for youth justice programming.
Training Program Manager Tania Appling served as the National Program Chair for the APPA Institute, where she worked with 15 committee chairs to review and approve over 100 workshop submissions. In addition, Appling was responsible for securing and introducing the speakers for the plenary sessions. Speakers included Chef Jeff Henderson, a panel of experts led by Margaret diZerga, project director from theVera Institute and Dr. Emily Salisbury from University of Nevada.
During the event, Appling worked closely with APPA Executive Director Veronica Cunningham, APPA President Susan Burke and others from the APPA staff to ensure the successful facilitation of workshops. Appling's hard work was successful as the workshops topics and the speakers were well-received by the over 400 individuals in attendance in Reno.
Appling is the current Juvenile Justice Committee Chair for APPA. Working with a group of dedicated individuals from across the United States, she helps to address juvenile justice topics and concerns within community correctional agencies. As Chair, Appling worked to develop strategic goals for the committee as well as review the current Juvenile Justice Position Statement on Disproportionate Minority Contact for the group.
Currently, the Juvenile Justice Committee for APPA is working to develop a statement on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and the School to Prison Pipeline. APPA is preparing to participate in the National Center of Juvenile Justice’s model data project. Several current and former Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice staff members are also members of this committee including Lalita Appling, Dee Bell, Carl Brown, DeBaja Coleman and Michele Stanley. As the Juvenile Justice Committee chair, Appling is also a member of the APPA Board of Directors.
In addition, Victim and Volunteer Services Director Latera Davis and Secure Campuses Program Director Lalita Appling are members of the Victim Services Committee. Their involvement has provided several opportunities for them to present to various conferences and to work closely with victim advocates such as Anne Seymour and Angie McGowan. They are both active members of the Committee for Justice Involved Women and Girls.
As Co-Chair of the APPA Diversity Committee, DeBaja Coleman helped to organize the 2nd Annual Diversity Community Dialogue Event. This event was created to facilitate an open dialogue regarding diversity-related issues in community corrections and how APPA can be a driving force to correct these issues.
The Community Dialogue in Reno focused on reducing the increased tension in communities involving race and policing. As part of this dialogue, agencies are taking actions to address community concerns with APPA supporting reducing inequities within the criminal justice system.
Training Director Debaja Coleman attended other committee meetings including Community Justice and Prevention, and Juvenile Justice. These committees looked at ways to partner with outside groups to increase membership and share information on major projects taking place in other states.
Ms. Coleman also moderated a presentation DJJ’s Latera Davis and Lalita Appling that discussed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: the Pathology of Males and Sex trafficking.“ This presentation gave attendees the opportunity to raise awareness and education on issues of commercial sexual exploitation of males with a focus on juvenile males.
The 2017 APPA Winter Training Institute offered large amount of varied opportunities to network and make contacts with other national juvenile justice agencies and organizations. The participating DJJ staff looks forward to the next APPA conference in New York later this year.
Training Program Manager Tania Appling takes the stage at the 2017 APPA Winter Training Institute
Tania Appling with Chef Jeff Henderson
Lalita Appling, Chef Jeff Henderson, Tania Appling and Debaja Coleman