How you can help steer Florida juvenile offenders onto a better path

·1 min read

Floridians who would like to assist juvenile offenders in getting on the right path are not helpless. There are ways to pitch in.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has a statewide volunteer initiative. Each circuit has a volunteer coordinator. The coordinator for Miami-Dade is Johnny Sanders, who can be contacted at 305-654-1962 or via email at Johnny.Sanders@fldjj.gov.

“We currently have several volunteers that come in and work with the youth in our detention centers and residential programs,” said Amanda Slama, communications coordinator for DJJ. “They serve as mentors, help the youth with ‘soft skills.’ We even have some volunteers that teach the youth yoga.”

You may wonder: What are “soft skills?” The answer: interpersonal skills — things like verbal and written communication, problem solving and teamwork.

An organization called the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation solicits money for programs to help juvenile offenders, including collecting money for scholarships. The foundation seeks to foster collaboration among business people, community members, parents, youths and Florida’s juvenile justice system; it can be found here.

Finally, for $20 a year, Florida residents can order an “Invest in Children” license tag. The proceeds go to crime prevention and early intervention programs and services that are designed to prevent juvenile delinquency.

In 2019, the plates generated $173,400.

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