It Takes a Village: Dedicated Volunteers Celebrate Giving Youth a Second Chance

The Duval Academy Advisory Board held their annual Volunteer Appreciation luncheon to honor the volunteers that annually support the organization. The board meets monthly to discuss volunteer opportunities for the young men. Activities typically included participating in area health walks, various community based events, feeding the homeless and fundraisers aimed at giving to those in need.   The board’s goal is to demonstrate and reinforce a positive way of life for the young men in the program. The vision is to change one life at a time.

The Duval Academy is a structured, non-secure residential treatment program that serves 28 males, ages 14 to 18, who have been adjudicated. Youth receive individual and group mental health services in addition to substance abuse counseling services. Select youth participate in “Thinking for Change” (T4C), curriculum that addresses cognitive and emotional needs.

The program also provides the “Character Counts” curriculum, which addresses life skills, “Impact of Crime,” and restorative justice. These curricula help youth understand the impact criminal activities have on individuals, families and communities. All youth admitted have approved judicial consent permitting off-site activities allowing participation in job searches and community restoration.

The Duval County School District administers the educational component of the program, which allows students to remain in the public school system. The academic setting is a Type 2 program, offering English, Math, Science, Social Studies and one elective course. The elective course is typically used to provide remediation in the areas of reading and math. Shown are the volunteers (l-r) Annie McCaleb Smith, Richard & Van Grace, Tim & Marilyn Duncan, Jasmine Duncan,  Sylvester & Dolores Williams, Clifford & Patricia Martin, C. J & Natalie Reed, Johnnie Mae Shaw, Andre Lee Jr, Margaret Anderson, Diane Weaver, Jimmie Washington, Pamela Perkins, David Washington, Deborah Dickerson. Seated (l-r) Sarah Dowdell, Rochelle Hamm, Herlena Washington, Jackie Bartletto and Anita Sanders.

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