J.L. Francis Elementary and Richmond Police Department Launch Mentorship Program
J.L. Francis Elementary School has partnered with Richmond Police Department to launch Boys in Blue, a mentoring program for 5th grade boys at the school.
The initiative pairs students with police officers throughout the year in hopes of establishing strong mentorships and creating a positive narrative between police officers and the communities they serve. The program kicked off with a luncheon attended by police officers, students, parents and representatives from a local law firm who sponsor the program.
“This program has so many positive aspects. We want our students’ first encounter with an officer to be a positive experience. By bringing these officers into the schools, we build relationships, foster support and build lasting bonds that move from the school into homes and communities,” said Brigette Mimms-Sears, Exceptional Education Teacher at J.L. Francis Elementary School and co-founder of the Boys in Blue Program. “This program has exceeded our expectations and I’m excited about the expansion into more RPS schools next year.”
The officers visit the students weekly during their lunchtime. Many of them also take time on the weekends to visit students at home and make connections with their families. Last week, officers and students attended a University of Richmond basketball game together.
“Volunteering for Boys in Blue is important because we are given the opportunity to personally get to know the kids in the city of Richmond and begin to develop a relationship of trust and honesty,” said Second Precinct Lieutenant Kimberly Mooney. “By reaching students early, we get to override any preconceived notions of what the police are and are not and show them that no matter what we are here to help them and lead them in a positive direction.”