Last month, several youth from the Sumter and Augusta Youth Development Campuses took a field trip to the Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Henry County, just south of Atlanta. While getting to see exotic wild animals such as lions, tigers, and bears was a first in a lifetime experience for many of the youth, the wildlife viewing was only a secondary aspect of a larger community based service project for the Sumter and Augusta YDC youth.
As part of a larger community service project, the youth who visited Noah's Ark scouted locations for picnic tables that were constructed at the Sumter and Augusta YDC facilities. Noah's Ark uses picnic tables for groups to have lunch and relax as part of each educational visit. To help determine the best locations and sizes of the proposed picnic tables, the attending youth took photographs and learned about the mission of the Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary. During this latest visit, the constructed picnic tables were delivered and installed at the animal sanctuary.
Noah's Ark is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Animal Sanctuary dedicated to bringing children and animals together with the purpose of providing unconditional love, unconditional service and a future full of hope. Noah's Ark has over 1,500 animals with 100 different species and it costs $33,000 per month to feed and care for the animals.
Noah's Ark is a 250 acre sanctuary for abused, unwanted and neglected animals. A beautiful "park like" setting with paved pathways to bring your family and enjoy an afternoon out.
Rescue 2 Restore aims to improve the quality of life for DJJ Youth R2R teaches youth to take responsibility through the training of rescue/shelter dogs that need a second chance. Rescue 2 Restore provides structured dog training programs in the facilities that house animals. R2R teaches the dogs skills to make them more adoptable while teaching DJJ youth patience and providing positive reinforcement to create positive results.
Special thanks goes out again to the Rescue 2 Restore Team. To learn more about Noah's Ark, visit them at http://www.noahs-ark.org/.
Chatham County Education Transition Center: Back to School Open House
Story Support from DJJ District Director Patricia Merritt
On July 30th, the Chatham County Education Transition Center (Chatham ETC) held a Back to School Open House for their facility youth and parents. The Back to School Open House was a great opportunity for the youth to share with their loved ones details on their day-to-day learning experiences while easing into preparations for the new school year.
Chatham ETC teacher Ms. Artlise Alston-Cone talking with a parent of a student
During the Back to School Open House, students were able to test out classroom computers and learn more about transportation updates and class schedules. Students and parents alike had a chance to meet with the hard-working employees who make up the Chatham ETC including Juvenile Probation/Parole Specialists, teachers, and the School Principal, Dr. Roy Davenport. The youth also learned more about upcoming events and activities in the community.
GED Instructor Dallacey McCall with a Chatham ETC student
Learning more about the Chatham Education Transition Center
The Department of Juvenile Justice would like to thank all of the staff of the Chatham MSC who helped to make the Chatham ETC Back to School Open House a big success. Special recognition goes out to the Ms. Dallacey McCall and Ms. Artlise Alston-Cone for their hard work and preparations.
DJJ's Repack the Backpack 2015: Augusta Back to School Drive
On August 3rd, as part of the Department of Juvenile Justice's 2015 Repack the Backpack school supply collection program, Mayor Hardie Davis and the City of Augusta held a Back to School Drive Partnership at the O'Neal Insurance Agency (Allstate) on Peach Orchard Road. All school supplies collected were donated to the Richmond County School District for distribution.
The Department of Juvenile Justice helped collect over one thousand items related to youth school supplies for students in the Augusta/Richmond County area. More than twenty barrels of supplies (and over 106 backpacks!) were given to Richmond County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Angela D. Pringle.
Led by DJJ's Associate Superintendent of Schools Dr. Audrey Armistad and the Education Services division, deserving youth in the Augusta area will have the tools to compete in the upcoming school year. Items for the School Supply Drive were collected from DJJ's Central Office, the Richmond County Court Services Office, the Augusta Regional Youth Detention Center, and the Augusta Youth Development Campus.
Additional guests to the Augusta Collection Drive included James O'Neal from Allstate, Christy Lutz from the Southeast Restoration Group, Chairman Stuart Rayburn of Leadership Augusta, State Senator Harold Jones II, and State Representative Earnest Smith. Special thanks goes out to DJJ's Latera Davis for her work with the project, DJJ District Director Emmanuel Bryson, and Regional Administrator Victor Roberts.
Repack the Backpack is the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice's agency wide school supply drive for students needing support for the upcoming school year. Part of DJJ's commitment to giving back to local communities, Repack the Backpack will collect school supplies using specially decorated donation boxes placed at DJJ Facilities and in specific areas around the state. All donations collected will be donated to local shelters, schools, and other community based organizations as determined by local DJJ staff. To learn more about Repack the Backpack, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/repackthebackpack.
Congratulations to Amy Fortner-- Selected Central Office Employee of the Month for August 2015!
For the month of August, the nomination committee would like to recognize Director Amy Fortner.
Director Fortner is most deserving of this recognition as she has proven her commitment and dedication to DJJ, the staff, and the youth by what she accomplishes in the area of safety and security. Fortner has been called upon many times by the executive leadership and management team for her vast knowledge, expertise, and experience in the areas of correctional security and emergency response. As the Director of Special Operations, Amy manages the Security Management Response Team, the facility Security Emergency Response Teams, and Emergency Management. Under her management and direction, her teams have proven their dedication in ensuring that DJJ staff, the youth in our care, and the general public are safe in both facility and community settings by their response to critical incidents as well as repetitive details on a statewide level.
Director Fortner also serves on the executive committee for the GA Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run, the DJJ’s point of contact for the FBI’s MATCH Task Force (Human Trafficking), and the GBI’s CART Task Force (child abduction). Amy is graduate of the Corrections Leadership Institute, POST Instructor Training, BCOT, BJCOT, and many other specialized trainings. The yearly Commissioner’s Challenge event was designed, developed and implemented by Fortner and has proven to be a great training event and as well as a fun morale builder for the specialized teams throughout the Department. Fortner has received many thanks and praise from the Community Services leadership for her dedication and success in the recovery of youth who have absconded from supervision.
Even with the accolades above, Director Fortner first and foremost gives the credit to her teams, which is proven in their dedication to Special Operations and their continued success. Director Fortner is well deserving of the title of Employee of the Month!
The Employee of the Month Committee
NOMINATION PROCESS DJJ’s Employee of the Month Recognition Program – How Nominees Are Selected
Beginning January 2015, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice kicks-off its first “Employee of the Month” program for Central Office employees. Names of nominees are selected by the DJJ Executive Team from members of their units or divisions and submitted to be recognized as the Central Office Employee of the Month. Included with the nomination is a one page write-up detailing why the staff member should be given consideration to be selected Employee of the Month.
Then each month, the Nomination Committee makes their selection for the employee to receive public appreciation the following month. The written nomination is reviewed and signed by Commissioner Avery D. Niles and posted for public recognition on the DJJ “News & Views” website. Each nominee selected by the committee will be recognized at a monthly DJJ Board Meeting and entitled to use the Employee of the Month parking space reserved at Central Office.
The DJJ Central Office Employee of the Month award is intended to recognize and support those stand-out DJJ team members who bring additional motivation, determination and vigor to the workplace through their personal ethics, advocacy, positive attitudes and innovative solutions to impact the professional challenges faced by their dedicated colleagues and the troubled youth they serve.
The Department of Natural Resources at the Aaron Cohn RYDC and Muscogee YDC
Recently, the youth at the Aaron Cohn RYDC and Muscogee YDC in Columbus received a special visit from a local leader of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Arriving at the facilities with his DNR-issued boat and his dog friend Rutger, Corporal Jeremy Bolen stopped by to talk about boating/water safety and the use of canines in law enforcement investigations.
The Department of Natural Resources has statewide responsibilities for the management and conservation of Georgia’s natural and cultural resources. Most of this work is conducted by DNR’s six operating divisions which include: Coastal Resources Division; Environmental Protection Division; Historic Preservation Division; Law Enforcement Division; Parks, Recreation & Historic Sites Division and Wildlife Resources Division.
While showing the youth of Aaron Cohn and Muscogee his boat, Corporal Bolen gave a presentation on the importance of knowing all the rules regarding swimming and boating before visiting Georgia's lakes and rivers. Floatation devices such as life vests are required legally on boats, especially for kids and teens and can help to save lives. Awareness of one's surroundings is also an important facet of swimming safety and can make a difference between a fun afternoon in the water and something more dangerous.
Rutger the Dog was a favorite of the youth and adults alike in Columbus. Working with Corporal Bolen, Rutger demonstrated his ability to find wildlife and assist in the apprehension of criminal suspects. Other aspects of Rutger's "job" with the Department of Natural Resources were also discussed including the ways that dogs are used to help find lost and missing persons.
DJJ Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Spell, Muscogee YDC Director Mordie Askew, and staff members from the Aaron Cohn RYDC participated in a demonstration of the bite power of canines. Showcasing an impressive level of strength and coordination, Rutger was able win the "battle of the bite" in competing with his human challengers.
The youth of the Aaron Cohn RYDC and Muscogee YDC truly enjoyed their time with their new friends from the Department of Natural Resources. Corporal Bolen and Rutger both deserve special kudos and thanks for visiting during one of the hottest days of the summer. To learn more about the Department of Natural Resources, visit them on the web at http://www.gadnr.org/ .