DJJ Office of Health Services: Open Hand Atlanta DJJ Staff  at:  1/12/2016  

DJJ Office of Health Services: Open Hand Atlanta

Special thanks to Director Ben Harvill of the Office of Health Services for story support on this article....

The 2016 new year is now upon us and for the staff of the Department of Juvenile Justice's Office of Health Services (OHS), resolutions include serving others...both literaly and Open Hand Atlanta. Meeting at the Open Hand Atlanta headquarters this past Tuesday, OHS staff members helped prepare packed lunches and dinners for the meals-on-wheels service that helps to deliver healthy food options to local neighbors who may not have the access or capability to prepare meals for themselves.

OHS Staff who helped volunteer included Stephanie Vera, Lauren Gean, Nicholas Woods, Alika Turner, Deshawn Henderson, Andrea Stroud, and Director Ben Harvill

Open Hand Atlanta’s main intention is to help people prevent or better manage chronic disease through nutritious home delivered meals. As part of this service, Open Hand Atlanta also provides nutrition education as a means to reinforce the connection between informed food choices and improved quality of life. Open Hand Atlanta has been providing meals, market baskets and nutrition supplements for thousands of Atlanta citizens for over twenty-seven years. The organization recently reached a milestone with the delivery of its twenty-fifth million meal.

OHS Staff on the food assembly line

The OHS Volunteer Team built camraderie and a sense of civic pride while working extremely hard, packing over 1,400 healthy meals for their community in need. This adds up to over 700 cups of sweet potatoes, 350 pounds of brussel sprouts, and 1,400 fillets of fish delivered. They also delivered plenty of happiness in each tray they packed and served..

The OHS Team plans to continue volunteering and hopes to inspire others at the Department of Juvenile Justice to do likewise. To volunteer for Open Hand Atlanta, contact them via the web at or call 404-872-6947. To learn more about Open Hand Atlanta in general, visit them at .




     H.I.T.S. Inside Edition: January 2016 Newsletter DJJ Staff  at:  1/12/2016  

H.I.T.S. Inside Edition: January 2016 Newsletter

The January 2016 edition of H.I.T.S. Inside Edition, the Official Newsletter of the Department of Juvenile Justice's High Intensity Team Supervision is now online. In this month's newsletter, learn more about the new Director of Operations Catina Martin-Fenner, community service in Clarke County, and a heartfelt letter of gratitude to the staff.

To download the latest version of H.I.T.S. Inside Edition, click HERE.




     The DJJ Healthy Way: January 2016 Newsletter DJJ Staff  at:  1/7/2016  

The DJJ Healthy Way: January 2016 Newsletter

The January 2016 edition of The DJJ Healthy Way, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice's Office of Nutrition and Food Services Newsletter, is now available for viewing. In this month's newsletter, learn about healthy activities one can do at work, Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities, and a spotlight on food trends.

To download the latest version of The DJJ Healthy Way Newsletter, click HERE. To learn more about food services at our facilities, visit




     DJJ Cares: Appling and Jeff Davis Counties DJJ Staff  at:  1/6/2016  

DJJ Cares: Appling and Jeff Davis Counties

The holidays may be over but the generosity of employees of the Department of Juvenile Justice continues year wide. As part of DJJ's Operation Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive, toys were collected from facilities across the state to make special memories for deserving families.

In Jeff Davis and Appling Counties, the holiday donations made a real and important difference for one local family. During a routine shopping trip, JPPS Jan Stone of the Jeff Davis Community Services Office met and developed a relationship with a young mother with five kids ranging from four months to eight years old. Naturally, the holidays can be stressful and expensive for many families, much less a young mother working at a local restaurant to support herself and her family.

Thankfully, the generous spirit of the Department of Juvenile Justice staff was able to help out and give this family the holiday that they deserve. Using the toys gathered by the Central Office staff, the employees of the Jeff Davis and Appling Community Services Offices were able to provide a tree-full amount of toys and gifts to all of the children of the young mother.

Both the Department of Juvenile Justice and the grateful mother would like to thank everyone from DJJ Central Office, the Jeff Davis Community Services Office, and the Appling Community Services Office for their support. Special thanks to JPPS Stone, Appling CSO Program Manager Chad Kent, and Operation Hope for the Holidays Director Latera Davis.






Happy New Year!

I am delighted to announce the first Employee of the Month for 2016…Ms. Sharon Starks.

Ms. Sharon Starks performs multiple roles that have a positive impact across several Divisions and Offices in the Central Office. Her primary duties include being the Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Commissioner and Chief of Staff, and being the Liaison for the DJJ Board of Directors. These roles put her into a position to handle sensitive information issues every week as well as being a confidential advisor to the Departments senior leadership and to the DJJ Board. Her years of experience across state government give her a unique perspective, to include some of the background behind decisions that were made inside the Department during previous Commissioner’s administrations.

Ms. Starks handles her role of coordinating with the members of the DJJ Board in a very professional and gracious manner. She does an excellent job coordinating their travel and lodging. She also coordinates for their attendance at the required training events that occur during the year. Her ability to accommodate all of the requirements of the diverse Board Members is a testament to her understanding of the administrative systems across the state and her truly supportive personality.

Ms. Starks provides purchasing assistance to the Legal Services Office, and stands in for the Commissioner’s Executive Assistant as required. She has also taken time to cover the operations at the Central Office front desk when requested. She can frequently be seen providing a listening ear and calm steady guidance to many Central Office workers that seek her opinion and input when they happen to be dealing with difficult or complicated situations.

Ms. Starks’ value to the Central Office goes well beyond how well she accomplishes her assigned tasks. She willingly gives of her time and her knowledge to improve many office operations here at the Central Office. Thus, it was without hesitation that Ms. Starks was selected as Employee of the Month for January 2016.


The 2016 Nomination Committee

Ms. Sharon Starks with DJJ Chief of Staff Mark Sexton

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.




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