Purpose –To take seriously what Compassionate St. Augustine's mission proclaims by helping to foster and create a culture of emotional intelligence, creativity and compassion in one of the most vulnerable and under-served populations in our city, county and throughout Florida.
Whom Does St. Johns Youth Academy Serve? SJYAis a secure high risk residential facility on Avenue D in St. Augustine that provides specialized treatment to adolescent males who have been committed to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. It is under the jurisdiction of St. Johns County School District and managed bySequel Youth Services of St. Johns, a private company that administers the programs, professional support services, and the day-to-day operation of the facility.
At this time there are 70 boys at the Level 8 facility ages 13-19. Level 8 (out of 10) is for boys who have committed wide-ranging felonies that include manslaughter and armed robberies. They have not committed 1st degree murder. Most stay for 9-12 months before returning to their homes or to a court ordered half-way house, foster home, etc. Some stay as long as two years.
Residents who have a high school diploma or have earned their GED have attended St. Johns River College and Flagler College online. Flagler College is in St. Augustine and it is ranked as one of the best private liberal arts colleges in the southeast by US News & World Report.
Poster designed by Youth Academy students during CSA's Week of Compassion & Non Violence
What is Compassionate St. Augustine's Role? CSA's role is to offer the residents of the Youth Academy supplemental programs that can enrich and positively impact their lives while they’re incarcerated and after they leave SJYA. These are programs that are not provided by the St. Johns County School District. Examples of programs, workshops and classes now initiated by CSA include “Keys To Success” piano lessons; “SHIfT Happens” mindfulness meditation and biofeedback training; "Alternatives To Violence - Help Increase The Peace"; “Inside/Out” photography lessons; African-American History taught by re-enactors, and “Animé Illustration as Storytelling.” Most programs run 6 weeks per session and are ongoing.
A separate program is being designed for the boys to partake in CSA's award-winning history & art program “Compassion Through the Eyes of Children.” This will be the third phase of this acclaimed program. Among its many awards are the first Florida Cultural Council Award for Diversity & Inclusion in 2015 and the 2015 Florida Historic Trust Award for History & Media Preservation.
CSA participates in efforts to provide materials, instruments and tech related items for the workshops, classes and programs offered via contributions, grants, individual donations, and professional instructors and facilitators who all volunteer their time, talent, and energy.
CSA's St. Johns Youth Academy Youth Academy initiative received the 2017 Florida Cultural Council Award for Diversity & Inclusion.