STAND T.A.L.L. recently expanded the role of their “Kids & Cops” program at the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County by facilitating a guest speaker in the organization’s Passport to Manhood program. This is a component of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s SMART Moves curriculum, which is designed to help youth prepare for challenges they may face while growing up and to provide them with tools and strategies that help these young people make positive, personal choices.

“After being informed that the Club has a specific program called ‘Passport to Manhood’ for young teenaged boys, we asked if there might be an opportunity to further engage uniformed, off-duty police with these young men to provide a unique real life perspective to them when they find themselves in a situation that involves dealing with police or other people of authority,” said Ron Kauffman, president of STAND T.A.L.L.

Ms. Bonnie Gibson of the Boys & Girls Club agreed with the concept and asked if STAND T.A.L.L. would arrange for an officer to speak at their September 26th class.  Funding for the presentation was approved by STAND T.A.L.L.’s Board, and Officer Keenan Nesbitt was brought in to lead that class. “The teens really enjoyed interacting with Officer Nesbitt, and I believe that they got a lot out of his presentation. If what was discussed helps any one of those young men avoid a future conflict, the class will have been considered a great success,” Gibson said.

Kauffman added that increasing involvement of law enforcement with the Boys & Girls Club is one of the goals of STAND T.A.L.L. “In the coming years, extending the presence of law enforcement at the Club from the current two days a week during the school year to five days a week will make the “Kids & Cops” program even more effective in providing security, mentoring, and the changing of attitudes while building better communications with the children that attend the Club on a daily basis. Our ability to do this is entirely dependent upon private donations and grant funding if we are to successfully achieve this as one of our Mission goals,” he stated.