The State Charitable Contributions Campaign Continues: Hot Dog Lunch DJJ Staff  at:  11/5/2013  


The quest to break the Department of Juvenile Justice donation record continued in earnest on November 5th with the Hot Dog Lunch. The goal for this year's campaign is $12,000. This goal was based on the generous totals raised by DJJ during last year's campaign.

Special thanks to Melody Stanfield, Elanda Trice, Natasha Bray, Toni Driskell, and the entire SCCP Team.

To learn more about the 2014 Annual Campaign for Charitable Contributions and to pledge support, visit

The State Charitable Contributions Campaign ends on November 30th, but you can keep up with the campaign as DJJ pushes forward to meet this year's goal via the News and Views page of the DJJ website.




     DJJ Service Learning Project: Dodge Court Services Office DJJ Staff  at:  11/1/2013  


One of the more rewarding aspects of working at the Department of Juvenile Justice is the ability to reach out and provide unique learning experiences for youth who have never had the chance to enjoy life moments that many of us take for granted. Whether it is spending time learning about the arts or spending time outdoors in nature, Service Learning Projects are a small but important way for the young people in our care to enjoy life experiences while connecting with their community.

Recently, the Department of Juvenile Justice’s Dodge Court Services Office along with the Department of Natural Resources held a service learning project at the Dykes River Landing in Bleckley County. Over twelve local youth participated in a day of cleaning the river, lawn maintenance, and structural painting.

To kick off the service project, JPPS IIs Jeff Lowery and Jessie Mincey joined JPM Jeff Johnson in discussing the importance of keeping river and river landings clean to avoid hazardous environmental issues. The participating youth were then given personal protection equipment and spent most of the morning picking up trash and debris around the landing.

After the trash collection, the youth were given instruction on lawnmower maintenance and safety, including how properly to check for oil and gas issues. The instruction came in handy as the youth used push mowers and weed eaters to cut the grass around the boat landing area.

One of the highlights of the day took place after the general cleanup with the painting of a canopy on the property. Measuring 25 feet by 50 feet, the canopy had not been painted in over eight years according to Bleckley County Commissioner Bob Brockman. Despite the buildup of dirt and grime, the youth enthusiastically “opened some paint” and repainted the canopy to a mint green color.

Service learning projects are much more than just labor and hard work; teaching and general education are important components to the overall learning experience. While preparing a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs to all the project attendees, Department of Natural Resources Ranger Ronnie Beard spoke with the youth on the importance of improving the environment, what it means to keep the rivers clean, and how both affect everyone’s lives in the long run. Ranger Beard also handed out seven online hunter education safety courses for those youth interested in hunting.

Cochran Police Chief Key McGuire also spoke during lunch about his organization, Oconee River Keepers. Chief McGuire detailed the process by which the youth could become a river keeper and what exactly the job would entail.

Others who spoke during the lunch cookout included DJJ Southeast Regional Administrator Jeffery Alligood who talked about positive life choices and educational opportunities and Department of Natural Resources Captain Bob Lynn who led a discussion on fish and game rules in Georgia. Jessie Mincey and Jeff Lowery also helped to distribute during lunch over $600 worth of door prices collected from local business owners in Bleckley County.

While every youth received a shirt from the River Keepers organization for participation in this event, the main thing gained from this service learning project is the teaching tool of excitement of previously unknown activities and camaraderie. It is that gift and reward which will benefit the youth, DJJ staff, and the community at large in the future years to come.





     Georgia Preparatory Academy: New Teacher Orientation DJJ Staff  at:  10/30/2013  


At the Department of Juvenile Justice's Georgia Preparatory Academy, teacher preparedness is an essential factor in increasing student achievement. As part of this prepardness, the Georgia Preparatory Academy held its New Teacher Orientation on October 25th in Forsyth, Georgia.

Starting a teaching job in a new school district can be a pretty scary experience. No amount of college teaching training and theoretical methods can and will prepare one for all that happen in a new school year. New teachers benefit from participation in an orientation to the school and district beliefs and practices, well before their teaching responsibilities begin. The Georgia Preparatory Academy New Teacher Orientation distilled the root of teaching in the juvenile justice system in one comprehensive work session which will be augmented with continuing education throughout the year.

Attendees at the New Teacher Orientation gained valuable knowledge in the areas of:

DJJ Education Policy, taught by Dr. Muriel "MeMe" Horne

Classroom Management, taught by Dr. Kimberly Gore and Dr. Jerry Jones

CTAE Programs, taught by Zane Shelfer

Special Education, taught by Julie Carr and Dr. W.D. Strickland

Curriculum and Instruction, taught by Keshia Douglas

The "Nuts and Bolts" of Teaching, taught by Dr. Rufus Johnson and Jancie Brown

The New Teacher Orientation was a rewarding experience for all who participated. As such, additional orientations will be scheduled and will take place quarterly to ensure that all teachers are afforded the opportunity to gain the knowledge necessary to increase success in the classroom.





     DJJ in the Community: Whitfield County Teen Maze DJJ Staff  at:  10/25/2013  


Earlier this month, the Court Services Offices of Murray and Whitfield Counties (CSOs) participated in the 1st annual Teen Maze at the North Georgia Agricultural Fairgrounds in Dalton.

Over 2,300 students experienced first hand the consequences of randomly selected life-style choices associated with risky youth behaviors. Students from the Whitfield County, Murray County, and Dalton Public School System visited the Maze which presented them all with different scenarios including a party, a DUI car crash, an emergency room scenario, and processing through the juvenile justice system. Teens were split into different groups and were able to experience different areas of the maze.

"The purpose of Teen Maze is to help students realize that one bad choice can quickly lead to more bad choices. The consequences of these risky choices can last a lifetime, " said Suzanne Harbin of the Whitfield Family Connection, one of the sponsors of the Teen Maze.

Students began the Maze by first hearing from Chris Sandy, a motivational speaker whose award winning broadcast program "Enduring Regret" tracks the life journey of Mr. Sandy and how his bad choice to drink and drive ultimately created a reality of different outcomes not only for his life, but others as well. Among those also affected by Mr. Sandy was his brother-in-law, Eric, who also spoke to the Teen Maze and, because of injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident, could only communicate to the students non-verbally using an I-pad.

Among the many different scenarios was a realistic mock DUI crash scene which included actual law enforcement agencies and other first responders. Drama students from Dalton High added to the realism by portraying crash victims in the DUI mock up.

As part of the Department of Juvenile Justice's participation in the Teen Maze, the Murray/Whitfield CSO team partnered with the Whitfield Juvenile Court and the Elbert Shaw RYDC to take the students through the actual process of what happens as one enters into the juvenile justice system. Students participating in this component of the Maze were handcuffed and then had to go to Juvenile Court to face a judge. After court, students had to get their photos taken and then were either placed on "Probation" or in "Committed" status.

The Teen Maze's goal was to stress the importance of wise decision making to the youth of Murray and Whitfield Counties. Special thanks to everyone at the Whitfield/Murray CSO offices who participated including Zeb Hensley, JPPS III who helped plan the event and acted as the DJJ representative for the Teen Maze.

To learn more about the Teen Maze, visit the group on the web at:





     Photos from the 2014 State Charitable Contributions Campaign Kickoff DJJ Staff  at:  10/23/2013  


On October 22nd, the Department of Juvenile Justice hosted the 2014 state Charitable Contributions Campaign Kickoff at its Central Office in Decatur, Georgia.

Led by DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles and the State Charitable Contributions Campaign volunteers, the goal for this year's campaign is for the Department of Juvenile Justice to raise more than $12,000 agency wide. This goals was based on the generous totals raised by DJJ during last year's campaign.

In front of a large crowd, DJJ's Melody Stanfield and Toni Driskell introduced representatives from local charities that would be among the beneficiaries of this year's charity campaign. Some of the speakers included:

Marla Poe, Genesis House

Karen Parsley, Community Health Charites

Monica Hammond, United Way of Greater Atlanta

Sarah Durry, The Cool Girls

Gerald Mansfield, The Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia

Sharon Thompson-Young, Atlanta Community Food Bank

Bob Boyd, Habitat for Humanity

Stephanie Campbell, KidsGym

Brenna Stickland, Best Friends Animal Society


Attendees were also treated to a stirring rendition of "The Greatest Love of All" and door prizes throughout the presentation.

To learn more about the 2014 Annual Campaign for Charitable Contributions and to pledge support, visit

The State Charitable Contributions Campaign ends on November 30th, but you can keep up with the campaign as DJJ pushes forward to meet this year's goal via the News and Views page of the DJJ website.

Thank you again for your support as we Give Today to Change Tomorrow.






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