Texarkana police prepare for summer mentor program
TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) - A program started by Texarkana Arkansas police has received national attention. “PRIDE” places young students with police officers as coaches to help with life skills.
The program began nearly 10 years ago and is designed to help 5th grade students learn life, people and behavioral coping skills.
Each summer participants attend a week long academy, however, in 2020 the academy was cancelled due to COVID-19. “PRIDE” officials say the academy is back on schedule for this year.
Shawn Burns is a motivational speaker in Fayettville, Ark. and a former student participant in the “PRIDE” program. On Thursday, May 20, Burns took the lead in training Texarkana Arkansas high school and college students as peer leaders for the “PRIDE” academy.
He said his message to the students is based on three things.
“Number one is their voice matters, I think that is so important for youth to hear. Two is to listen first and then choose what you will take with it. And the last thing, which I think is most important, is be authentic,” said Burns.
Fortunate Barry was a previous participant in the program and is now a college student.
“I come back because I develop a family with all my peer leaders. Also I’ve learned how to build different relationships with kids. I’ve learned you can be the extra step that a kid needs to keep going in life and you don’t even know it,” said Barry.
These peer leaders say they will be ready when the “PRIDE” academy returns in August. Police say they already have over 100 kids signed up.
“It’s a program we put on here in the community to help them be community leaders when they get to be our age,” said Kelly Pilgrin with TAPD.
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