DJJ Growth: 2019 Division of Community Services Professional Development Conference

June 7, 2019

Story support and photos from Director of Operations Tricia Phillips

Earlier this spring, the Department of Juvenile Justice’s Division of Community Services held its annual Professional Development Conference at the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris, Georgia.  Division employees all joined together to learn and embrace the theme, “Accelerate Your Professional Growth.”

The role of the Community Services staff is to provide intake, case management, probation, supervision, detention planning, aftercare supervision, and Re-entry services. In some areas of the state, local county government staff also provides intake and probation or shared services with the Department. The Intake administration is the decision-making point at which a youth is either diverted from or formally processed into the juvenile justice system. 

During this year’s conference, attendees had the opportunity to acquire knowledge from a diverse group of speakers on topics to help improve their leadership abilities and how to accelerate their professional growth.  The conference opened with a heartfelt welcome from Assistant Commissioner Catina Martin-Fenner and an invocation from DJJ Chaplain Danny Horne. The first day included a keynote address from Dr. Terrence Vandiver, an empowering certified member of the John Maxwell Team and specialist in professional growth coaching.  An overview of the Random Moment Survey was also presented by the DJJ Office of Federal Programs’ Title IV-E Program Coordinator Joycelyn Evans.  

During the conference, attendees attended workshops including:

  • Breaking the Bonds of Bias, presented by Al Vivian of BASIC Diversity, Inc.
  • Retirement Planning: Are YOU Ready?, presented by Danielle Jordan, Director of Communication from the GA Employee Retirement System
  • Adolescent Trauma, presented by Dr. Elaine Dilbeck of Dilbeck Counseling & Education, LLC
  • The Power of Engagement: Public Speaking, presented by The Office of Training and NW Regional Administrator Robb Gilstrap
  • Women in Leadership, presented by Assistant Commissioner Catina Martin-Fenner
  • The Message in the Music, presented by Marc Fomby of FTC Prevention Services, LLC
  • Shift your Life, Living in the UPPERcase, presented by Dr. Terrence Vandiver of TV Leadership Development Co.
  • Effectively Mentoring and Setting Boundaries with Youth, presented by Deputy Commissioner Victor Roberts
  • ABCs123s of Leadership: presented by Dr. Tania Appling-DJJ, Training Academy Director
  • The Whole You: What Matters Most, presented by Monaleto Irby, DJJ Training Northern Region Program Manager
  • Physical Fitness and the Healthy Employee, presented by Timothy Hall, JPM of Gwinnett CSO and Tyrese Harris, JPM of the Dekalb MSC

PDC attendees also had the opportunity to hear an outstanding keynote address from Deputy Commissioner Victor Roberts and attend a Western Denim Affair style dinner in the facility's Sunset Pavilion.

For the closing session, Chief of Staff Sean Hamilton offered his encouragement and gave words of support to the Community Services team which was followed by a refreshing keynote address from Commissioner Avery D. Niles.  Before closing out the PDC, all attendees gathered in the ballroom for awards and regional employee recognition by the Division Regional Administrators Tamara Barber, Robb Gilstrap and Todd Bentley, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Rusty Rodgers, Deputy Commissioner Victor Roberts and Assistant Commissioner Catina Martin-Fenner.  

The 2019 PDC allowed employees from the Division of Community Services to share fellowship and collaboration in a relaxed setting.  Despite the large size of Georgia, DJJ as a team can make the difference in the lives of the youth and families served. 

Remember, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”


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