DJJ News Briefs, April 18, 2022

In this issue:

  • Kim Rigg appointed Superintendent of Education
  • Chad youth donate thousands to Women’s Center
  • Fireboys documentary now streaming on HBO Max
  • Johanna Boss remembered for Women’s History Month
  • Black History Month essays by youth
  • Ventura Girls Give Women’s History a Story for the Ages

Kim Rigg is appointed Superintendent of Education

Superintendent of Education Kim Rigg at her swearing in ceremony.
Superintendent of Education Kim Rigg at her swearing in ceremony. Credit: OPEC

Kim Rigg has been appointed Superintendent of Education at the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) by Governor Gavin Newsom. She had been Assistant Superintendent of Education at DJJ since 2017. Ms. Rigg was Supervisor of Correctional Education Programs at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2016 to 2017. She was Supervisor of Academic Instruction at N.A. Chaderjian High School at DJJ from 2013 to 2016. She served as a Mentor Teacher and Teacher at N.A. Chaderjian, O.H. Close, DeWitt Nelson, and Karl Holton High Schools within the DJJ from 2001 to 2013.

Rigg was a Math Teacher at the Stockton Unified School District from 2003 to 2004, and was an Independent Studies Teacher at the Valley High School Atwater Campus from 1999 to 2000. Rigg was a Teacher at Vista High School from 1997 to 1998, at Lodi Community School from 1996 to 1997, and at Valley High School from 1993 to 1996.

Rigg earned a Master of Education degree in Educational Counseling from California State University, Stanislaus. Kim succeeds Troy Fennel, who retired in December.  Congratulations to Ms. Rigg as she continues to serve the educational needs of DJJ youth in a leadership role.

Chad youth present thousands to Women’s Center

Staff from DJJ, Cal PIA, CDCR and the Women's Center, Youth and Family Services of San Joaquin County.
All smiles as DJJ staff and youth, CalPIA, CDCR staff and community recipients participate in virtual presentation ceremonies.

Youth from Chad donated $6,726 to the Women’s Center- Youth & Family Services, a provider who helps the homeless,runaways, and victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking The donations were arranged through Merit Partners, which operates at Chad.

Crime victims support groups throughout the state received nearly $18,000 from incarcerated individuals at  institutions participating in the California Prison Industry Authority (CalPIA) Joint and Free Venture programs in Fiscal Year 2020-21.The Joint Venture Program is in four adult CDCR institutions and the Free Venture Program operates at Chad. Read more on Inside CDCR:

HBOMax now streaming Pine Grove documentary

Thumbnail cover poster for HBO Max documentary, Fireboys.
Thumbnail cover for HBO Max Documentary, Fireboys.

The popular subscription streaming service HBOMax is streaming the 2021 documentary, Fireboys, a full length feature documentary that follows youth from their arrival at the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (PGYCC) through training and deployment as fire hand crews and discharge to their communities. Fireboys began streaming March 1 and will be available to HBOMax subscribers. Pine Grove camp is the oldest continuously operated fire camp in California. State law requires that even as juvenile justice realigns to counties that PGYCC remain open to train youth as wildland firefighters.

Don’t subscribe to HBOMax? No problem. See the CDCR produced short video overview of PGYCC, entitled, A Special Place.

Johanna Boss’ Motto was ‘Never Give Up’

Former DJJ math teacher and longtime volunteer Johanna Boss.
Former DJJ math teacher and longtime volunteer Johanna Boss.

March was Women’s History Month and this recollection of former teacher and volunteer Johanna Boss appeared in Inside CDCR

As the Division of Juvenile Justice transitions towards realignment to counties in the next 15 months, much of its storied history is being explored. The Johanna Boss High School at O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility (OHC),  currently being consolidated into adjacent N.A Chaderjian High School, is an example. The fully accredited high school has been in operation since 1965, and since 1997 was named after a beloved teacher and volunteer, Johanna Boss. 

Johanna Boss was an immigrant, a teacher, one of the first graduates of what is now CSU Stanislaus; a survivor of Nazi occupied Holland; and a habitual doer whose longevity, perseverance and spirit of service is admirable. 

Read the entire story in Inside CDCR;

DJJ youth explore deeper meaning in Black History Month essays

Original art by award winning essayist Divina G. depicts prominent African Americans and Black Lives Matter protesters.
Original art by award winning essayist Divina G. depicts prominent African Americans and Black Lives Matter protesters.

An essay contest held at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility during the month of February in commemoration of February’s Black history Month yielded thoughtful essays that explored both the history and accomplishments of Black Americans while placing them in a contemporary context in light of Black Lives Matter and other struggles for equality and inclusion.  First place essayist Divina G. won $100 for her essay and wrote that the day has evolved over nearly a century, expanding from a week to a month, and noted that the focus changes annually.

“Every year for Black history month there is a different theme and with this year’s being Black health and wellness, I feel that it may help to encourage people of minority groups to get the COVID 19 vaccine. I’ve personally noticed that a lot of Black and Latinx Americans aren’t getting vaccines and I hope this year’s theme helps those unvaccinated to embrace all opportunity to better their fight against this COVID 19  Pandemic.

The Association for the study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which was founded in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson, is the committee that designates a new theme for Black history month each and every year. The U.S. isn’t the only country that celebrates Black history month. It’s come to my attention that Canada celebrates it in February while the U.K. and Ireland chooses to celebrate it in October.”

Second place essayist, a $75 winner for youth Kamryn M.’s research revealed that Black History is truly a diverse study that includes everyone.

If you have a purpose in which you can believe, there’s no end to the amount of things you can accomplish.”

Vocalist Marian Anderson

“Black History Month and what’s been accomplished beforehand, not only celebrates African Americans but also actually celebrates the resilience and progress toward equal treatment by all people who once were treated “Inferior.”  I also believe that Black History Month also celebrates the accomplishment of their supporters and partners.

Consider Yuri Kochiyama for instance, who was a powerful activist who advocated for civil rights and third world parties, she was a very very close friend of Malcom X, and she was of Asian nationality.  She founded “Asian Americans for Action,” and was even a member of Malcom X’s Afro-American Unity Organization, which allowed her to get support from many African Americans and eventually became a powerful influence toward President Ronald Reagan’s signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.   Although she was Asian, much of her accomplishments and actions had ties into Black History, thus making her a recognized person during Black History Month. This alone shows how Black History month is important for all people and all races.”

Winning essays are displayed prominently at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility.
Winning essays are displayed prominently at Ventura YCF.

Third place essayist Dejon Y. took home $50, and used the accomplishments and words of accomplished African Americans to make the point that success is earned, and overcoming hardships, including racial discrimination, is part of maturity . Dejon used a quote from African American classical vocalist Marian Anderson who said, “If you have a purpose in which you can believe, there’s no end to the amount of things you can accomplish. It is easy to look back self-indulgently, feeling pleasantly sorry for oneself and saying I didn’t have this and I didn’t have that. But it is only the grown women regretting the hardship of a little girl who never thought they were hardships at all… She had the things that really mattered.”

Women’s History Month at Ventura “Takes a Stand”

Girls at VYCF present vignettes of historical and powerful women to staff.
Girls at VYCF present vignettes of historical and powerful women to staff.

By Karette Fussell

Youth from Alborado cottage at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility paid homage to powerful women they admire with choreographed poses while delivering poetry recitation and short orations on March 29 in full regalia courtesy of Rosalinda Vint. Vint, facilitator of Alpha group at VYCF and the founder of WOSMOH (Women of Substance and Men of Honor, a nonprofit organization), graciously provided costumes. These costumes commemorated the unique style of the remarkable women youth chose to personify for their performance, and formal men’s attire was provided for trans-male youth who respectfully paid homage to incredible women. From Rosa Parks, Selena and Sally Ride to a grandmother who sacrificed much to raise her grandchildren, the remarkable arc of excellence made by these inimitable female figures is unsurpassed and continues to inspire awe, amazement and respect from their youthful avatars.

Other powerful women honored were First Lady Michelle Obama, Mexican Artist Frieda Kahlo, Activist Ellen Ochoa, Mathematical Engineer Dorothy Johnson Vaughan, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, American Labor Leader Dolores Huerta, Puerto Rican Political Activist/Freedom Fighter Maria De La Mercedes Barbudo and Poet Rupi Kaur.

“Hope is something no one can ever take away from you.”

Cynthia, former DJJ youth

Dr. Leon, a psychologist at VYCF, facilitated a speech contest for the youth; the two winners immediately accepted an invitation to be a part of the Women’s History celebration, recapitulating stirring speeches on toxic masculinity while raising awareness of the objectification of women.  

Cynthia, a guest speaker who was once resided at VCYF, encouraged the youth to make the most of treatment and educational opportunities offered and to remember, “Hope is something no one can ever take from you.” She also encouraged staff to have grace and patience. Cynthia is a successful entrepreneur “making a six- figure income and paying taxes.” For Cynthia to come back and share her story in honor of Women’s History Month meant so much to the youth, who were able to see women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling and defy the odds. Through their performance, the youth embodied the fulfillment and promise of greatness exemplified by so many spectacular women who came before them, from all walks of life who took a stand paved the way.