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First Lady Perdue Honors Graduates at Macon YDC

Wednesday, December 16, 2009  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

MACON – First Lady Mary Perdue spoke today at the commencement ceremony for the Macon Youth Development Campus (YDC) high school graduation. Nine students received their high school diplomas or a GED. The Macon YDC is the only long-term juvenile correctional facility in Georgia to house females. The facility’s capacity is 150.           

“Today, as these young women accept their honors, they join a group of young women who have recommitted themselves to achieving better, more successful lives,” said First Lady Perdue. “As the only facility of its kind, the Macon Youth Development Campus has helped young women recognize their past mistakes and become more productive members of society. Today marks the beginning of a redefined future for these ladies.”

“This is a special event for DJJ, Macon and the girls at this facility,” said Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Albert Murray. “Not only did the graduates benefit tremendously from Mrs. Perdue’s words, but the facility’s population was also in attendance and inspired by her.”

The First Lady is committed to working in support of the welfare of Georgia’s children, particularly children in foster care and the juvenile justice system. She believes it is critical to reach children in their early years to avoid potential social problems as teenagers or adults.

In 2003, Mrs. Perdue launched the “Our Children” campaign to raise awareness about the need for foster care programs in Georgia and to encourage individuals, corporations and faith-based organizations to take an active role in addressing the needs of their community. Her objective is to increase the number of available foster homes and volunteer hours, and financial and in-kind contributions to our youth-serving organizations. Mrs. Perdue also created the First Lady's Children's Cabinet, whose mission is to stem child abuse and neglect and to promote foster care and adoption. Cabinet members include heads of state agencies that address children’s issues including Commissioner Murray.

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is Georgia’s 181st school district and has accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. All DJJ teachers are certified. Students in short-term RYDCs and long-term YDCs receive 330 minutes of instruction each day year round. Students in DJJ schools can achieve a GED, high school diploma or special education diploma. All academic and vocational credits awarded are transferable with the youth upon a return to the community.

During the 2008-2009 school year, DJJ youth earned 32 high school diplomas and 116 GEDs. Forty-five youths completed the course requirement for a technical certificate of credit. The Macon YDC graduation is the first graduation of the 2009-2010 school year.