The "Insiders" started in 1993 in conjunction with the Communities in Schools organization as a community service project. To be in the program, selected youth go through a rigorous screening process and are trained in public speaking, social skills, and preparing testimonials. Once completed, the approved Insiders travel the state speaking about their choices and life decisions to audiences of youth and adults. The Insiders share their stories of change in hopes of helping other young people make better decisions and aspire to more in their lives. Adults gain insight from the presentations into how to have effective and meaningful communication with youth and warning signs that lead to bad decisions.
The Insiders speak to numerous audiences such as schools, churches, civic organizations, conferences, community events, youth diversion programs, summer camps, etc. The Insiders program has received numerous awards and recognitions, and has been featured many times in print and broadcast media, including USA Today and to an international audience for "Voice of America."
25 Years and Counting
In March 2018, DJJ's Insiders program celebrated 25 years. Over the last 25+ years, hundreds of youth have earned the right to call themselves "Insiders." During a special reunion, Insiders alumni returned to DJJ to join current youth and staff to celebrate the milestone. Leading up to the event, DJJ traveled to North Charleston to catch up with one former Insider who now owns his own business (click thumbnail to watch).