Good Sports and the Georgia Preparatory Academy: Healthy Soccer is the Goal DJJ Staff  at:  7/15/2015  

Good Sports and the Georgia Preparatory Academy: Healthy Soccer is the Goal

Story support from DJJ Grants Specialist Brandi Hicks

The Georgia Preparatory Academy (GPA) recently became the proud recipient of a soccer equipment donation from the national Good Sports organization. The equipment donation for use by DJJ students will help the Georgia Preparatory Academy “kickstart” its own soccer program. The GPA program will feature basic skills development, practice games, and the possibility of competing with other soccer teams in the school district. The new equipment includes soccer balls, nets, and goal markers.

The national Good Sports organization helps lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles by providing athletic equipment, footwear and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide. By partnering with sporting goods manufacturers, Good Sports gets crucial equipment to kids who need it most, and gets them in the game. Since 2003, Good Sports has provided more than $12 million worth of equipment to more than 1,800 youth programs, and impacted more than ONE MILLION kids.

The soccer equipment will be used by DJJ youth to demonstrate their ability to participate in a variety of net wall and field game activity through fitness and individual activity. Through soccer, GPA students will learn principles and concepts connected with movement to achieve the level of developmental skills needed to increase their playing ability. Students will perform in skilled movement patterns and use psychomotor skills to cultivate tactical strategies and apply their appropriate use in soccer.

Strategic Planning Coordinator David Schwartz reviewing some of the new soccer equipment

The Georgia Preparatory Academy soccer program will help players develop athletic skills that youth can use when they return to their communities and enroll in their neighborhood schools. Through soccer, Georgia Preparatory Youth may assume greater individual responsibility in their personal behaviors and could begin to understand and develop the higher levels of basic fitness and physical competence needed in a variety of activities for school and non-scholastic settings, including the home, workplace and community.

Congratulations to the Georgia Preparatory Academy for “getting the ball rolling” with its soccer program as we work to stamp out youth obesity and increase positive individual competition for our students. To learn more about Good Sports, visit them on the web at .





     Volunteering Matters Newsletter: July 2015 DJJ Staff  at:  7/13/2015  


The latest version of Volunteering Matters, the Official Newsletter of the Office of Victim, Volunteer, and Chaplaincy Services, is now online for viewing. In this edition, learn more about Crime Victims' Rights Week, First Lady Sandra Deal's S.P.L.A.S.H. program, PBIS dance at the Sumter YDC, and much, much more. To view the Summer 2015 Newsletter, click on:





     DJJ Runs the Peachtree Road Race DJJ Staff  at:  7/8/2015  

DJJ Runs the Peachtree Road Race

On July 4th, the Department of Juvenile Justice sprinted into Independence Day with a strong showing at the 2015 AJC Peachtree Road Race. Led by Assistant commissioner Mark Sexton and Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper, a hearty and motley group of DJJ Central Office employees braved the rain and the 6.2 mile race.

Among the DJJ Central Employees who ran in this year’s race were:

Evelyn Phillips
Zane Shelfer
Julie Carr
Danny Horne
Allyson Richardson

The AJC Peachtree Road Race, organized by Atlanta Track Club, is the largest 10K in the world. In its 46th running, the AJC Peachtree Road Race has become a Fourth of July tradition for thousands of people throughout the metro Atlanta area and beyond. The Department of Juvenile Justice is a partner of Atlanta Track Club with the Beat The Streets program.

Congratulations to everyone who competed in this year’s race!






     Photos from the Noah's Ark Field Trip DJJ Staff  at:  7/6/2015  

Photos from the Noah's Ark Field Trip

Story support from Chrissy Kaczynski

Last week, 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 were present to help scout locations for picnic tables that are to be 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. The information will be passed along to the other youth at the facilities who will be helping to design and build the new picnic tables.

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 to the Rescue 2 Restore Team. To learn more about Noah's Ark, visit them at






     DJJ Central Office Employee of the Month: Tricia Phillips-Williams DJJ Staff  at:  7/1/2015  

Congratulations to Tricia Phillips-Williams -- Selected Central Office Employee of the Month for July 2015!

For the month of July, the nomination committee would like to recognize Ms. Tricia Phillips-Williams.

Ms. Tricia Phillips-Williams began her employment with the Department of Juvenile Justice in 2008 and has been with the Office of Federal Programs for over a year. Since joining the Office of Federal Programs, Ms. Phillips-Williams has assisted with the implementation of the new Georgia Families 360° Medicaid Program for DFCS youth, youth receiving adoption assistance and youth committed to DJJ in residential placement. Ms. Phillips-Williams has been an instrumental member of the team to ensure all DJJ youth, statewide, are successfully transitioned to the new Georgia Families 360° Program when they are placed in residential programs. By doing so, the DJJ process for enrollment into Georgia Families 360° is very efficient and has decreased the additional burden that would have otherwise been placed on Community Staff.

As with any new program, especially one implemented statewide for 24,000 DFCS and DJJ youth and required coordination between five other state agencies, there have been glitches. However, Ms. Phillips-Williams has always been willing and able to troubleshoot and research any issue or trend involving DJJ youth to ensure they have the correct Medicaid coverage and thereby ensuring continuity of care. Ms. Phillips-Williams also coordinated and led the statewide trainings for this new program, and successfully trained the identified Community Staff in a timely and comprehensive manner. Outside of Georgia Families 360°, Ms. Phillips-Williams also takes the time to assist stakeholders with other Medicaid and PRTF issues; always going above and beyond to identify, research and resolve issues to ensure DJJ youth can access the health care services they need. This involves effectively communicating with and coordinating efforts between DJJ staff, medical providers, placement providers, state agency partners, and insurance providers, which is often no small feat.

Ms. Phillips-Williams has also been instrumental in other new initiatives implemented by the OFP over the past year. For example, she led the implementation of the COMPASS (Common Point of Access to Social Services) partnership, which began as a result of the Re-Entry Task Force. This partnership allows DJJ staff to assist youth and their families in applying for benefits once youth re-enter the community from YDC. Ms. Phillips-Williams coordinated the statewide training for the COMPASS individual users and also leads the quality assurance efforts to ensure DJJ is complying with our agreement with DFCS and all applicable federal regulations.

Ms. Phillips-Williams also takes on new tasks with enthusiasm and dedication, such as her continued involvement with the Re-Entry Task Force subcommittee meetings as the Office of Federal Programs representative providing subject matter expertise as questions arise concerning Medicaid, SSI, and COMPASS. Lastly, Ms. Phillips-Williams continues to be instrumental in new initiatives still in process, such as projects with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Ms. Phillips-Williams continuously performs over and beyond by researching all applicable federal laws, regulations, and SSA guidelines and has consequently become a knowledgeable subject matter expert on SSA benefit programs.

Through her work quality, ethic and efforts, Ms. Phillips-Williams exemplifies the spirit of “One Team, One Mission.” She is truly an asset to the Office of Federal Programs, the Division of Finance and the Department as a whole.



The Employee of the Month Committee

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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