Candler students fulfill their Contextual Education I requirement at a juvenile detention center.

Metro Regional Youth Detention Center

Regional Youth Detention Centers (RYDCs) are secure short-term centers operated by the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). RYDCs are for youths awaiting trial in Juvenile or Superior Court, or awaiting a community placement more suitable for their needs. Candler Contextual Education I students assist in establishing hope, a commitment to community, and the duty to care by supporting positive change through youth accountability and responsible youth leadership and service. As Chaplain interns, students do this with particular attention to the disciplines of prayer, study, meditation and service as a lifelong commitment.

Site Work

Thursday 3:30pm-7:30pm  

Site work will be in person, as  Georgia Dept of Juvenile Justice policies and public health guidance permit.

Students will serve as chaplain interns, providing spiritual care for youth and staff at the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center. Chaplain interns will help develop innovative models of chaplaincy suitable for the current constraints of distance and safety. Work may include facilitating small group meetings for RYDC youth, individual pastoral care meetings, and other innovative strategies. This site is an opportunity to be a part of frontline chaplaincy innovations in response to rapidly changing conditions. Site work will begin in person and is expected to continue in person as DJJ policy and public health guidance permit. 

Fall 2023 Reflection Group

Tuesday, 3:00pm-4:30pm led by Rev. Emily Kelly.

Spring 2023 Integrative Seminar

Tuesday, 3:00pm-5:00pm

Pastoral Care Class

Students who enroll in Metro RYDC are strongly encouraged to also enroll in Intro to Pastoral Care PC501 in the fall or spring semester.

Faculty Academic Advisor

Dr. Joel LeMon will serve as the academic advisor for Regional Youth Detention Centers students.

Site Mission

Chaplaincy Services supports the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice mission through spiritual guidance, counseling, education and crisis intervention to youth and staff. Its vision is “Building Youth for the future through teamwork and community partnership."

About the Site

Metro Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC) provides temporary, secure care and supervision to youth who have been charged with offenses or who have been adjudicated delinquent and are awaiting placement. In addition, youth who have been committed to the custody in Metro RYDC or any DJJ facility are sometimes placed there while awaiting treatment in a community program or a long-term facility.

Student Reflection

MDiv student Carmen Cunningham reflects on her Contextual Education I experience at Metro Regional Youth Detention Center.

Additional Requirements & Accessibility

In addition to the criminal background check, Candler requires of all admitted students, this site requires an additional criminal background check administered by the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, completion of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice application and online orientation, and fingerprinting. Because of DJJ policy, students who have pending or unresolved legal charges are not eligible to work at this site. Students who register for this site will receive additional information about the clearance process as soon as they register for classes and must work with the Office of Contextual Education to initiate the clearance prior to on-site orientation in August.


Metro Regional Youth Detention Center
1300 Constitution Road, SE
Atlanta, GA 30316-4604

Teaching and Site Supervisor

Chaplain Emily Kelly, NW/SW/SE Regional Chaplain for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. She began her journey at DJJ in 2015 as a contextual Education I Intern at Metro RYDC. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in Sociology and BS in Psychology and then earned her MDiv from Candler School of Theology. She is currently a Provisional Deacon in the United Methodist Church.
Phone: 404.416.3343