Salute Our Heroes: TPD’s School Resource Officers teach teens life skills during summer partnership

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Members of the Topeka Boys and Girls Club’s Teen Center are spending their summer learning life skills from school resource officers in the Topeka Police Department.

It’s the second year of the partnership.

Sgt. Jayme Green designed the agenda for the program.

“I had about two months this time to plan five to six weeks focus primarily on the Teen Center kids,” he said.

“We were able to come up with this kind of mentorship partnership program between the school resource officers for TPD and the Boys and Girls Club’s Teen Center.”

The teens are taught skills they can use in everyday life from performing an oil change to financial literacy and CPR.

Green said it gives kids the opportunity to see law enforcement in a new way.

“It gave us a chance to kind of step outside the basic role and show them another side of the police officers,” he said.

“We have seen we watched major changes an attitude and outlook for a lot of these kids and for a lot of our officers.”

As a bonus, Green said officers are also learning a lot about young people.

“It’s fun, it’s great, I get to know these kids, I get to know these kids better, I get to show them things I like to do like fishing, hiking,” he said.

“I get to show them things I don’t necessarily like to do balancing a checkbook and changing my oil and teach them how to do things and show them that that’s a part of life and that’s a rewarding experience in itself.”

He said he can already feel the impact of the program.

“I’m never gonna forget some of these kids and another they’re never going to forget some of these officers,” he said.

“That’s a really cool opportunity for the police department to be seen as more of a mentorship role more of a friend and companion mentor more than just a cop.”

Green hopes the kids gain more than life skills.

“I hope that they are getting to know us in a way that we can be there for them if they’re going through something at school if they’re going to something during summer outside of school and feel comfortable with us, in general, to approach us to help them take away some of the hesitancy kids have in approaching us.”

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