Newsletter articles from Northeast Region Program Assistant Amy Cason and the Northeast Region Team
DISTRICT TWO NEWS
Clarke/Oconee JPM Jonathan McMichael recently attended the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Inter-Site Conference in Orlando, Florida. Joining staffs from the Council of Juvenile Court Judges, DJJ and the Juvenile Courts of Clarke, Clayton, Fulton, Glynn, Newton, and Rockdale Counties, McMichael was able to participate in quality JDAI training.
State agencies dedicated to assisting crime victims came together to observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week on April 4th. The Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Family and Children Services teamed up at the Athens-Clarke County DFCS building to place pinwheels on the lawn to recognize victims of crimes. In attendance were Assistant Deputy Commissioner Victor Roberts, District Director Todd Bentley, JPPS III Anton Goldwire, Victim Advocate Loronda Giddens, DFCS Director Dawn Criss, Clarke County HITS Supervisor Mike Passmore, Probation Officer I Tiffany Moore, Probation Officer I Brandyn Richardson and intern Alex Hill. DFCS staff and youth from the Clarke County HITS unit also participated in the event.
Stephens CSO staff members JPM Neely and JPPS Huggins participated in the 2017 Rabun County High School Teen Maze on April 6. The Teen Maze is an opportunity for teens to make real-life choices by guiding themselves through staged experiences, seeing the results of their choices in a similuated future. Students navigate through scenarios that include the perils of underage drinking, driving under the influence, texting and driving, teen pregnancy, STDs, juvenile court and jail. Responsible options such as opening banking accounts and establishing budgets are also available to the students. The teens are able to walk through the experience of graduation and death, writing their own eulogy along the way. Multiple agencies were involved in Teen Maze including the Rabun County Community Partnership, Rabun County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Fire Services, Rescue, Health Department, North Georgia Technical College, Students Against Drunk Driving, DJJ and various other agencies and volunteers.
DISTRICT FIVE NEWS
On April 1, several staff members of the Gwinnett CSO participated in the Color Run 5K Race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Staff who attended included Kurtia Humphrey, Jasmine Reed, Khadijah Muhammad, Mario Alvarez, Jalesa Dickerson and Timothy Hall.
Gwinnett CSO Program Assistant and Evangelist Patricia Grigsby held a Gospel Concert at Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church called “Hymn & I.” The purpose of the concert was to highlight the importance of hymns and how we should focus on bringing singing back into the church. The concert involved singing, dancing, preaching and teaching the purpose of hymns. Several prominent preachers and gospel singers participated in the concert and many Gwinnett CSO staff attended.
GEORGIA FOOD BANK FRENZY
On behalf of Chief Judge Lindsay Burton, Judge Alison Toller, Judge Joe Diaz and the Hall County Juvenile Court Staff, we would like to thank the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Hall County CSO for their support in helping us collect food for the Georgia Food Bank Food Frenzy. It was wonderful to see the Juvenile Court and the DJJ Hall CSO staff working together and supporting Hall County families that are in need. This was a wonderful way to not only give back to the community but strengthen our working partnership. We often find ourselves working with the same families while trying to locate community resources. This opportunity allowed us to pool our resources and work together to combat hunger in our community. All it took was one phone call to Todd Bentley, District Director and the Hall CSO staff joined in and assisted us with this effort. We collected a grand total of 7,892 pounds of food that will be distributed. Everyone did a GREAT job and there are many families that will benefit from all our hard work. Thank you Todd for all that you and your staff do in the Hall County Community on behalf of children and families. - Hall County Juvenile Court Administrator Annette Rainer
DISTRICT SEVEN NEWS
In April, the Effingham CSO staff participated in the Effingham County Teen Maze. Tenth graders from area high schools were given the opportunity to go through the real-life scenarios of the Teen Maze. JPM Powell functioned as the Probation Department for the youth whose “lives” unfortunately led them through the court process. The maze included a car crash with a helicopter fly-in, a huge party and an emergency room. Many of the participating youth were able to go through “life” without any of those experiences, graduate and, ultimately, find a good job.
Effingham CSO’s Program Assistant Melisa Bragg presented the Community Services Workshop (CSW) for youth on April 19th. Each quarter, the Effingham CSO holds a new CSW to introduce newly probated youth to the community services opportunities within the county. The most recent CSW kicked off the “Beat the Heat” Fan Drive where youth were able to bring in new 20” fans that will be delivered to the elderly with the assistance of the local DFCS.
Tiffany Robinson from the Office of Victim Services and Trenda Moore, JPPS II from Screven CSO, hosted a Victims’ Empathy Workshop for youths in Screven County. During the workshop, the youths learned about victims’ rights and advocacy. They also heard Moore’s personal account of spending time in DJJ facilities and how it impacted her future. The group also helped to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Week by making pinwheels in recognition of child abuse victims. The pinwheels were placed on the library lawn.
McDuffie CSO JPPS II Shauntisha Williams-Powell attended the Youth Challenge Academy Family and Friends Day on April 22nd with local youth.
On April 18th, Screven/Jenkins CSO, along with the Bulloch HITS team participated in the Jenkins County Career Fair for youth in grades 9 - 12. The event was also attended by DD Bryson and OSM Pope.
The McDuffie CSO enjoyed a visit from Commissioner Avery Niles and Deputy Commissioners Catina Martin-Fenner and Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb on April 12th.
McDuffie also enjoyed a Team Building Day on April 27th.
On April 28th, Loronda Giddens, Victim Advocate with the DJJ Office of Victim Services, held a Service Learning Project at the Richmond CSO located at 971 Broad Street in Augusta. This event was to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month by placing pinwheels in front of the Richmond CSO building.
Photos from Victim and Volunteer Services Director Latera Davis
Recently, the youth and staff of DJJ launched the We Care Campaign to give back to local citizens and to improve communities in Georgia. As part of the campaign, youth donated Mother's Day cards, plants and flag pallets to honor the residents of the Bell Minor Nursing Home in Gainesville.
Participants in this year's We Care Campaign included the Bell Minor staff, Gainesville RYDC Director Herman Oglesby, Victim and Volunteer Services staff members Loronda Giddens and Sara Gardner, the Metro RYDC Girl Scouts, the Eastman YDC horticultural program students and the Augusta YDC. The We Care Campaign is part of National Nursing Home Week.
During National Nursing Home Week, skilled nursing care centers will unite under the theme, “The Spirit of America.” This theme underscores the bond between staff, volunteers and residents that capture the American spirit.
Established by the American Health Care Association in 1967 and always beginning on Mother’s Day, National Nurising Home Week provides an opportunity for residents and their loved ones, staff, volunteers and surrounding communities to recognize the role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities.
DJJ Congratulates the Inaugural Class of Emergency Planners
Photo and story information from Office of Planning & Preparedness Director Scott Cagle
The Department of Juvenile Justice is proud to announce the graduation of the inaugural class of Emergency Planners. The Office of Planning & Preparedness (OPP) is excited and honored to share its knowledge to help accomplish the number one priority of Commissioner Avery D. Niles: to operate safe, secure facilities and communities.
DJJ is fortunate to have some of the best instructors in the law enforcement community and experts in fire and life safety. A special thanks goes out to Andy Wall, Betsy Wetzel, Dewayne Hall and John Parker for leading this first class. Because of their hard work and the dedication of the class, DJJ will no longer have to send its emergency planners to the Department of Corrections for training in planning.
For the initial class, OPP delivered instruction that covered emergency response, planner duties and responsibilities, emergency drills, basic fire safety/prevention and how to conduct regular fire inspections. OPP looks forward to teaching these classes in the future for Secure Campuses/Facilities in addition to the current classes with our Communities Division.
PBIS at DJJ: Recent Elbert Shaw RYDC Employees of the Month
Photos and information provided by Lt. Kristen Nix
The Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center (Elbert Shaw RYDC) announced that Officer Katherine Blackstock and Special Education Teacher R.D. Noren were named recent Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Employees of the Month for the facility. The PBIS Employee of the Month award is open to all in fields of Safety & Security, Medical, Counselors, Mental Health, Education, Food Service, Maintenance, Business, Personnel, Support Staff and Administration.
To become the PBIS Employee of the Month at the Elbert Shaw RYDC, employees must:
Possess a positive attitude towards work responsibilities, co-workers, youth and be willing to serve as a role model for others.
Show a willingness to exercise servant-leadership, take initiative and accept and carry out additional responsibilities beyond the regular job assignments for the good of DJJ.
Be consistent, dependable and punctual in reporting for duty.
According to her co-workers and supervisors, Officer Katherine Blackstock is "is a team player and is highly respected among the kids. She is fair, firm and consistent. She is flexible and does what she is supposed to do without being told to do so. Officer Blackstock has a servant's heart. She is super flexible and adapts at the blink of an eye. She can relate to these kids and I've witnessed her getting on their level more than once. She is willing to help whether it be stay over or to do extra tasks. She never complains."
Special Education Teacher R.D. Noren is "is a very valuable employee at Elbert Shaw. He is success driven and always has a positive attitude. Constantly, he is revising new methods of teaching to hold our youths' attention and gain feedback. Students have approached staff constantly excited with something new learned in his class that day. He makes learning fun yet keeps students focused and on-task."
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 23,000 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/.
Story and main graphic by Maria Rondel. Photo provided by Renee McClanahan
The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is continuing its partnership with the Special Olympics of Georgia to raise funds for athletes with intellectual disabilities across the state.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest statewide fundraiser for the Special Olympics of Georgia. Funds raised through the Law Enforcement Torch Run help offset the expenses of the State Games and are specifically used for facility rental, housing, meals, sports equipment rental and purchase, officials’ fees and medals.
Over 26,000 athletes are expected to participate in the event this year. For a few days, these children and adults will compete in a high-quality sports competition, interact with their peers and experience new places and events. Participation in the State Games also means these athletes are focusing on a goal, learning new skills and developing healthy habits that may lead to improved overall health.
The law enforcement staff of Georgia continue supporting the cause by participating in Law Enforcement Torch Runs throughout Georgia. Just last Thursday, May 10, DJJ NW Region District 1 law enforcement community members participated in the event and ran over eight miles for the cause in Whitfield County.
Several more Law Enforcement Torch Runs will take place; the final Torch Run will be held on May 19 in downtown Atlanta. Sign up today to help make this year’s Final Torch Run the biggest one ever held!
If you or your group from any DJJ facility are interested in running in one of these fundraiser legs around the state, please contact Latera Davis via email at email@example.com or Montrail Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can organize with the day’s host agency and maximize DJJ’s Torch Run reach. Your help is vital to the continuation of Special Olympics Georgia!