Opening Ceremonies for the 2014 P.R.I.D.E Academy will be held at 9 a.m. Monday at North Heights Junior High School Campus, 2118 E 35th St, Texarkana, Ark.
Sponsored by the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department, 125 incoming fifth grade students at College Hill Middle School are expected to attend this year’s week-long event. In addition, 50 young adults of the Texarkana area have volunteered to serve as youth peer leaders.
The program is offered at no cost to students. The only requirement is that students attend daily. During the week, students will participate in learning sessions related to various risk-factors, including alcohol/tobacco/other drug use/abuse, violence, self-care, and negative attitudes.
The TAPD began the program three years ago, in an attempt to be proactive and circumvent crimes committed by at-risk juveniles. Law enforcement had been inundated with juveniles committing petty crimes – misdemeanor offenses – such as theft or simple assault that didn’t result in corrective programs or incarceration.
Because early intervention has proven effective in promoting productive citizenship, thus reducing the risk of criminal behaviors and activity, the TAPD established the P.R.I.D.E. – Personal Responsibility in Daily Effort – Academy.
The idea was to deter early infractions and negative behaviors and encourage positive life choices among at-risk children in the Texarkana, Arkansas community.
Under this philosophy the TAPD developed the concept for the P.R.I.D.E. Academy as a way to provide a positive outlet for developing young adults so that they may choose a better life for themselves and those around them.
The mission of P.R.I.D.E. Academy is to alter at-risk behaviors in youth by providing a positive influence in their lives before they reach adulthood. By creating a lasting relationship between at-risk youth and law enforcement, a support network is formed that encourages trust and respect.
To meet program goals, the following methods are implemented:
Provide encouragement and direction for making quality life choices
Create a positive experience with law enforcement
Working with participants in a team concept to build self-confidence