Thursday, March 23, 2017

On Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 Willoughby House youth attended a Breakfast with the Brother’s from the Potter’s House, Fort Worth. TX.

The Deacons and youth shared a breakfast but the men shared wisdom as well.

They encouraged the youth to consider entrepreneurship when they think about their future.

Several Deacons spoke from personal experience, about how they started and continue to maintain specific businesses – ranging from construction and water removal/janitorial services to BBQ restaurants and barbershops.

One Deacon discussed being a published author and encouraged the youth to write their own story.

In addition, several discussed how they dealt with peer pressure and learned to NOT follow the crowd but think for themselves.

But this wasn’t their first meeting. These men also provided Thanksgiving dinner for the youth as well.

The Potter’s House Fort Worth, under the leadership of Pastor Patrick Winfield has become instrumental in helping the youth succeed. The Deacons plan a monthly meeting at the facility where they’ll talk with the youth and provide inspiration and encouragement. The Iron Men, another outreach ministry plans to being mentoring the youth as well.

Potter’s House Fort Worth and Willoughby House – houses united to help youth succeed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Every six weeks, all TJJD education departments participate in a Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) incentive program, which addresses the youth’s individual ability to reach a set of identified expectations and behavior goals. This helps facilitate and shape behavior while building and reinforcing coping skills through targeted skill development. Overall, this offers the students directed practice, staff opportunity for modeling of pro-social skills, and positive reinforcement of targeted progress. The goal is to help youth reduce negative behavior while developing corresponding positive behaviors to build longterm, internalized changes in behavior. Below is a description of the PBIS Incentive Day held agency-wide on September 16, 2016.

Gainesville: PBIS is going strong at the Gainesville State School. The last incentive was the largest yet with 68 students participating. The teachers came in early and prepared a home cooked breakfast for the students that included scrambled eggs, biscuits & gravy, sausage, waffles and fresh fruit. They enjoyed games, having free time in the gymnasium, playing pool, cards, dominoes and ping pong. The free day from school provided an opportunity for the students to have fellowship with their teachers and coaches without the pressure of school work. All the staff worked very hard to make this a meaningful experience and a great day for the students and PBIS…GO TORNADOES!!! James Bateman: PBIS Coach

McLennan II/MRTC: A total of 78 students participated in sports activities and a presentation by Ahmad Washington, founder of Movement Up, an organization to help mentor societal needs of at-risk children. Mr. Washington performed rap lyrics and incorporated his experiences as a youth. He related personal experiences such as growing up in an impoverished area of Houston that was surrounded by anger, abuse, drug abuse, and illegal drug distribution. Against all odds and misfortune, he rose to flourish in a successful athletic career while continuously striving to become a productive, contributing citizen. Students were overcome with emotion and moved to speak of their own trials in life. Mr. Washington wrote a formula on the board and suggested to the students that the sum of life is predicated on experiences, plus choices. Travis Boyd and Larrye Weaver: PBIS Coaches

Giddings: Lone Star High School South East celebrated its first PBIS incentive day of the new school year. Because youth met behavior and academic goals, youth were able to watch “Batman versus Superman” in the chapel and partook in eating donuts, kolaches and drinking orange juice. Due to the amazing participation from the youth, this incentive day goes down in the books as one of the largest and most memorable PBIS Incentive Days with a final count of 92 youth. The number of participants shows an increase in the number of youth taking responsibility for their behavior. The comradery shown between staff and youth was amazing and reinforced how PBIS is becoming part of campus culture. The staff at LSHS SE is dedicated to making sure each youth is afforded equal opportunities to do the right thing and make the right choices. Tatrina Bailey: PBIS Coach

Ron Jackson had 42 students qualify for the first six weeks PBIS Incentive Day. All groups participated in a ropes course trolley activity involving long boards with ropes connected to them. The object was for the groups to learn to work as a team and to afford the opportunities for leaders to emerge. All were able to practice and demonstrate leadership skills. Throughout the morning, each group spent time practicing with their groups. A leader from each group guided group members to step in a rhythmic, unison manner, first with their right foot followed by the left foot. At the end of the day, all the groups came together for a race across the court yard. Everyone got involved including students, teachers, principals, JCO’s and even Ron Jackson Superintendent joined in the fun! The Challenge & Courage group won the race. The whole distance of the race was about 20 yards. Kind-hearted teachers agreed to race the kids in the final race. Students also enjoyed watching an approved movie, eating popcorn, snacks, drinking soda, and playing basketball. Tony Roberts: PBIS Coach

Evins had an excellent PBIS Incentive Day! Prior to the actual day, the Dodgeball teams were eager to show their talents and competitiveness on the gym floor. Three teachers and staff were selected to play and guide the youth as Coaches on each team. Staff had drafted, met, and mentally prepared the youths to unite as a team. Each team was united as one group, one team, and one family. All students met with the coaches in the early morning to prep them for the game. Officials gathered the youth to emphasize sportsmanship, teamwork, and importantly to have fun! Officials had to declare the yellow team winners to break a tie!! Both teams were taught how important it was to shake hands and congratulate each other on their hard work and dedication throughout the games. Both teams gathered for lunch and sat together to enjoy pizza and an ice cream cone. Manny Ortiz: PBIS Coach

Friday, March 17, 2017

Giving to others to create smiles was the purpose of youth at Cottrell House making Christmas ornaments to donate to the children at Scottish Rite Hospital. The youth at Cottrell House wanted to make Christmas special for young children that were unable to spend Christmas at home. Volunteer Shellita Garrett was excited to work with youth to help them design special Christmas ornaments to put smiles on the faces of children. When other volunteers heard about the youth plans of donating ornaments, they were excited to assist. Shellita supplied paints, glitter, and clear Christmas ornaments. The youth supplied the creativity and designs for each ornament. Once all the ornaments were completed, the Iron Guardians took the ornaments to the Scottish Rite Hospital so that the children could smile. Cottrell House youth did more than just create ornaments for children; they learned that working together for a greater good is powerful. They had so much fun that they wanted to create more exciting things. Shellita came back a second time to allow youth to use their creativity to create whatever they felt. The youth created bird houses using popsicle sticks.

Volunteer D’Juan McDuffie was amazed that Cottrell youth wanted to give smiles to children that could not spend Christmas at home. This amazed him because youth at Cottrell were also not able to spend Christmas at home, but yet they wanted to give smiles to someone else. D’Juan wanted to help the youth provide a gift for their family members. He wanted the gift to be handmade by the youth so that the gift would truly have meaning. He engaged youth in making homemade hand scrubs using salt, and essential oils. Youth were excited, and made several different scented hand scrubs for their family members. The youth packaged the hand scrubs with bows to prepare them for their family members.

The Dallas Youth Resource & Advisory Council (DYRAC) knew that youth could not be home. The members of DYRAC gave donations of food, clothing, and hygiene products to youth Cottrell House. They also purchased all new board games for the entire house. DYRAC members served nachos and dessert as well as watched Christmas movies with the youth. They even provided toys for youth that have small children of their own so that they could give the toys as gifts.

All Gods People provided a home cooked Christmas meal for youth and their family members. Everyone enjoyed turkey, hams, green beans, potatoes, dressing, dessert and much more. Volunteers enjoyed their time with youth and showed them that Christmas is about caring for others. Volunteer Palmer Reed was known for spending time with youth. He mentored many youth, gave many donations, taught many bible study sessions with youth and participated in countless celebrations with youth at Cottrell House. Palmer passed away this year. Palmer was celebrated during the Christmas dinner for all his good works. He was a role model for every youth that he came in contact with. A plaque will hang at Cottrell House honoring Palmer Reed.

Christmas is more than receiving gifts. It is about placing smiles on the face of others, giving from the heart, and celebrating the life of those who are special to each of us. Youth at Cottrell House experienced all of this and more because of volunteers.

Photo: Ornaments designed for children at Scottish Rites Hospital by Cottrell House youth 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A total of 245 TJJD employees from across the agency donated $49,409.44 during the 2016 State Employee Charitable Campaign. There are many organizations that are so appreciative of the help that these contributions provide. Thanks to each person who contributed in any form or fashion. Every dollar and hour that is donated is a gift that is priceless!!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

TJJD volunteers are mentoring six K-5 elementary students at McBee Elementary, located about one mile east of Central Office on Braker Lane in Austin. Two more TJJD mentors will be connected once parent permission slips have been returned. Two additional TJJD employees are signed up for mentor training.

The response has been highly gratifying to McBee leadership, especially since the school had no active mentors to work with students previously. The elementary school has achieved distinction designations from the Texas Education Agency, and works with youth facing significant challenges. More than 95 percent of the student body is economically disadvantaged and nearly 75 percent are English language learners. Mentors commit to work with a youth for an academic year, but have the option of continuing in a mentorship role with a youth for future years.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bikers For Christ volunteers work closely with youth at Evins Regional Juvenile Center during a Christian Concert in October 2016. More than 50 youth were able to attend and enjoy great Christian music, guest speakers and a Chick Fil A meal. The concert is sponsored twice a year by “We Are One in Spirit” Ministries out of Edinburg, Texas.

Friday, March 3, 2017


On December 10, 2016, Schaeffer House held its annual Christmas event. The event was sponsored by the Community Resource Council (CRC). Several special guests attended and spoke to the youth and families. The CRC provided a Christmas meal for all that were in attendance. The youth received gifts and sang Christmas carols. Overall it was a good day for the youth, families, volunteers and staff.

Photo: Staff and volunteers stand ready to serve dinner to Schaeffer House youth and their families on Family Day.