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PbS Celebrates National Juvenile Justice Award Winners

The 2022 Performance-based Standards (PbS) annual Agency Coordinators Training (ACT) took place in New Orleans from Thursday, Aug. 4 – 6, bringing juvenile justice professionals together from states across the nation.

Late Thursday afternoon, PbS staff including Executive Director Kim Godfrey Lovett and PbS Deputy Executive Director Akin Fadeyi welcomed guests at a reception in the downtown Sheraton hotel ballroom. First time attendees and longtime acquaintances mingled during the catered event amidst local fare including creole style paella, jambalaya with crawfish and gulf snapper tacos.

Opening remarks on Friday morning by PbS Coach Janice Shalcross established the theme of the training sessions: Creating HOPE: Healthy Relationships, Opportunities, Positive Outcomes, and Equity. Executive Director Kim Godfrey Lovett shared PbS updates and echoed the Creating Hope theme in her opening report. A group discussion focused on how to use date to create opportunities for young people was facilitated by PbS staff.

The remainder of the training day consisted of discussions geared toward creating positive outcomes. Topics such as reducing suicidal behavior, increasing family engagement, collecting quality data and improving substance abuse programming were the focus of breakout groups, allowing for participants to self-select and attend multiple sessions based on interest and needs within their agencies. 

The day concluded with the PbS Awards Night, an event supported by the PbS Education and Employment Foundation. Executive Director Kim Godfrey Lovett reflected on the importance of the annual celebration. “We all do this work because our passion for helping disadvantaged young people outweighs the challenges of demanding hours, average to low-wages and physical and emotional stress working with adolescents who understandably would rather be someplace else! Sadly, much of our work is measured by what goes wrong when a young person falls short of expectations or gets into trouble again. So tonight, we honor all of you for all you are doing to help young people realize their full potential, find their paths to meaningful careers and establish nurturing and supportive relationships.” The fun filled evening of recognition included a live performance from one of the winners of this year’s talent contest.

On the final morning of the ACT, attendees gathered for focused group discussions on one of the most crucial and important issues facing juvenile justice facilities—how to recruit, engage and retain staff members. Recruitment ideas focused on sign-on bonuses and streamlined hiring processes while staff retention strategies included ongoing employee recognition programs and annual staff appreciation ceremonies.

After closing remarks, attendees went their separate ways, bidding farewell to The Big Easy with an eye on reconvening next year in the heart of Philadelphia for another chance to reconnect, learn from each other and celebrate successes big and small.

Read more about:  Foundation, Awards

About the author

Lisa Duffy

Lisa Duffy

Lisa Duffy is a program assistant for the PbS Learning Institute. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has extensive experience in writing, editing, and content creation for private, healthcare, and non-profit organizations. A published novelist with three book club favorites from Simon & Schuster, Lisa’s writing can be found in numerous literary journals, print, and online publications.

PbS has been a partner in assisting this facility to become a dynamic work environment that is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.