During the summer of 2017, the Arlington County Police Department hosted the first Summer Teen Enrichment Program (AC S.T.E.P.). This grant-funded program was offered to rising 8th and 9th graders identified by their Arlington Public School and/or School Resource Officer for their potential leadership qualities.
This program provided participants with positive experiences and mentorship through a three-week program designed to develop leadership skills, provide the students with smart decision-making skills, and educative lessons. The participants also joined in on discussions about the dangers of risky behaviors, practical knowledge, and lifestyle skills important to employment, mental health, and finances, all to promote healthy lifestyles through team building, leadership activities and self-confidence.
Throughout the three-week program, students spent time interacting and learning from School Resource Officers (SROs), other staff from the Police Department, county agencies and community leaders in various hands on activities. Students also worked with the SROs to develop and execute a community service project focused on giving back to the community. Seventeen of students graduated from the program and have been paired with a SRO who will serve as a mentor for the remainder of their time in the Arlington County Public School system. Due to the success of the program, a second session is currently being held during the summer of 2018.