Atlanta YDC: Wellness Week

June 7, 2018

As part of an initiative by the Department of Juvenile Justice Food and Nutrition Services division, facilities across the state have been encouraged to create their own Wellness Week programs encouraging healthy eating and exercise to improve the lives of the youth in DJJ's care. For the Atlanta Youth Development Campus, Wellness Week took a turn for the green with the theme of "Go! Grow! And Glow Green!", merging such themes as St. Patrick's Day, sustainable living, and diets focused on large amounts of vegetables.

For the Atlanta YDC Wellness Week, employees provided healthy green food items and beverags for Front Lobby guests to eat and drink.  Information from the Medical Unit was provided regarding counting calories when meal planning, reducing sodium content in daily diets, the health differences between bottled water and vegetable water, and what vegetables are best for improving eyesight and improving one's overall health.

Forty-one of eighty eligible Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) youth participated in Wellness Week festivities. In order to qualify, PBIS youth had to have seven days or more without disciplinary actions or interventions. Staff members who participated included Juvenile Correctional Officers who donated and prepared healthy "green" food and beverage items and the teachers and staff members who wore all-green to show their support.

Atlanta YDC Director Debbie Alexander-Carter received a surprise as part of the Wellness Week as Commissioner Avery Niles, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Allyson Richardson, and Chief of Staff Joe Vignati did a POP-UP visit.  Sliced lime water and green guacamole chips were the snacks of the day for the special visit.

DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Allyson Richardson and DJJ Chief of Staff Joe Vignati visiting the Atlanta YDC

Healthy food was the main theme of Wellness Week at the Atlanta YDC. The Atlanta YDC Volunteer Advisory Council presented a gift card (compliments of the Mental Health Division) to the employee who made gluten-free green pasta, gluten-free green cupcakes, sugar-free cookies, green deviled eggs, and green frozen ginger ale punch. The Atlanta YDC Education Division brought green granny apples, the Medical Division brought green pears, Volunteer Services brought guacamole chips, and Human Resources purchased green chips for the Go Green Wellness Presentation Table. Special thanks goes out to Nurse Malano who made a special green kale slaw which was a huge hit with youth and staff alike.

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 over the counter 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. 

The Department of Juvenile Justice and the Food and Nutrition Division would like to thank all who participated in Wellness Week at the Atlanta YDC.

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