DJJ youth from the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC) were awarded top prizes at the annual Dalton Flower Show held at the Mack Gaston Community Center on May 5 and 6th. The two-day event promotes the love of gardening and floral design, allowing participants to display their talents.
DJJ youth’s “Fairy Garden” display received the first-place ribbon in the youth division. The fairy garden included plants grown in RYDC’s greenhouses, stones from the garden, and structures created from air dry clay that were painted by the youth. They also received first place in the potted plants division for their aloe vera plant also grown in the facility’s greenhouse.
“The personal pride the youth have expressed in being a part of something they have imagined, designed, and created is truly beautiful and powerful,” said Juvenile Correctional Officer (JCO) Anna Verhoeff. Officer Verhoeff coordinates horticulture activities at the RYDC and helped organize the entry of the plants in this year’s competition. “This is the first year for such a spectacular and creative group entry. We are all so proud of their effort.”
According to the Youth in Custody Practice Model, a guide to best practices in youth corrections, improving youth outcomes rests on the ability to involve youth in a meaningful array of programs that meet their developmental needs by teaching new skills and promoting attachments to pro-social people and activities.
“Growing things helps our youth look outside themselves and see how their efforts can not only benefit them but others as well,” said Verhoeff.
This marks the third year the youth have participated in and received first-place awards in the Dalton Flower Show. Last year, they received two first-place blue ribbons for their curly spider plant and another for a non-blooming potted plant.