KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Carolinas has provided "life-changing, one-to-one mentors for youth in Cabarrus County since 2004," according to a news release.
In 2016-17, the agency placed and supported over 170 Cabarrus County children with a mentor.
This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters is introducing a new mentoring program to "help children while building positive relationships between law enforcement and the community called Bigs In Blue."
Bigs in Blue is described as a special one-to-one mentoring program that connects youth with police officers in communities throughout our nation, building strong, trusting, and lasting relationships.
These relationships are intended to help build stronger bonds between law enforcement and the families they serve. Mentors or "Bigs" in the program meet with their mentees at lunchtime once a week throughout the school year, enjoying time together and building relationships that fosters personal growth and academic achievement.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is launching this mentoring program with six initial Big-Little matches between officers from the Kannapolis Police Department and students from Forest Park Elementary School.
Officers participating include: Michael Smith, Lemar Harper, David Archie, Brett Wilhelm, Wesley Wilson and Stephen Johnson
These new matches will bring the total number of Big-Little mentoring relationships at Forest Park to 13. Josh Sain, Forest Park Principal: "We at Forest Park are so excited to have this opportunity for our students and to continue to build relationships with our surrounding community. We're very grateful to Big Brothers and Big Sisters for helping to make this partnership happen. Our students are lucky to have members of our law enforcement who are willing to give time out of their day to support our students. They are just as lucky as well because I know they will learn so much from our students."
Big Brothers Big Sisters established a school-based program at Forest Park in 2015.
Connie Rheinecker, Area Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Cabarrus County states, "Big Brothers Big Sisters is excited to create and support strong and enduring relationships between police officers and youth in our community. We know that children who have one-to-one mentors demonstrate increased self-confidence and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors."
"Our officers are committed to helping young people in our community. One of our primary goals is to develop strong relationships with everyone we serve - especially our youth. We do this through a variety of programs such as this partnership and with one on one personal interactions every day. We look forward to building new friendships and bonds with the children at Forest Park," commented Kannapolis Police Chief Woody Chavis.