The holidays in 2020 were very different due to the pandemic, but that didn’t stop Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) staff and youth from helping families in need.
Food drive saw DJJ team with others
The annual State Employees Holiday Food drive found DJJ staff teaming with CDCR’s Office of Research to donate turkeys. DJJ headquarters staff donated 30 turkeys and the Office of Research added a dozen more.
All 42 were delivered by Nic Hatfield to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. Overall, the regional effort for the food bank netted more than 16,700 turkeys in one day. The frozen turkeys were donated to area food banks for holiday meals. Jermica Peters of DJJ headquarters and Hatfield, Ashley Gabbard, Amber Lozano and Kim Dornback of the Office of Research were thanked for organizing the drive under such unusual circumstances.
Helping the Stockton food bank
Youth Correctional Counselor Oscar Lopez and several Freedom 100 program youth mentors coordinated a food drive to help families in Stockton.
A facility approach was initiated for the Northern California Youth Correctional Center complex and DJJ headquarters. In addition, all the youth at NA Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility were given the opportunity to donate back to the community.
Staff donated 335 pounds of food, with the youth donating $500. The Victims Benefit Trust Fund matched, raising to total to $1,000. Senior Youth Correctional Counselor Daniel Torres personally delivered the $1,000 check and food to the Stockton Emergency Food Bank.
Organizers also thanked Parole Agent Violet Borrego for her assistance in making this a successful event.
Warm feet make warm hearts for DJJ
To help families during chilly winter months, several Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) staff donated new socks and gently used sneakers for men, women and children. The youth sanitized the shoes and prepared the items for delivery to the Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard. The youth also ordered new socks from the canteen to help with the donation efforts.
Over $1,000 worth of new socks were purchased by the youth. Meanwhile, 39 pairs of shoes and 117 pairs of socks were donated by staff. The staff effort was spearheaded by Parole Agents Tracee Agee and Alexander Chavez.
OH Close youth craft beanies for children
For years, youth from OH Close Youth Correctional Facility have been knitting beanies and donating them to Mary Graham Children’s Shelter.
The pandemic didn’t stop the youth, who worked diligently to make as many beanies as possible, under the supervision of Recreation Therapist Angela Tarbat.
“The youth truly enjoy participating in this activity, knowing their hard work will bring someone else joy. The act of making the beanies is very relaxing and gives each youth a sense of accomplishment,” Tarbat said.
The yarn for the annual project was donated by OH Close staff.