ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Officers with the Moultrie Police Department will soon become mentors for students in Colquitt County.
Moultrie police officer Michael Sumner said he is looking forward to becoming a role model for kids struggling educationally and socially. He said his main goal is for students to see beyond his uniform, in order to realize that police officers are humans too.
School can be difficult for students of all ages. Most are dealing with stressors from academic work and social relationships.
Many kids constantly hear the same message of motivation.
"Stay in school. Don't do drugs. Blah blah blah," said Sumner. "But when you have somebody that they can actually come and they know that they can talk to, that'll make a difference.
Sumner says that kids need someone to look up to now more than ever.
"I think that parents need to understand that kids are going through a lot more than just are they going to be able to pass that test on Friday," said Sumner.
The YMCA's Mentoring Program comes into play for just that reason. Mentors from around the Moultrie area volunteer their time to be a support system for kids from kindergarten to their senior year.
"They are recommended to us from guidance counselors, principals, social workers, and teachers," said YMCA Mentoring Director Jan Barrow.
Sumner says he knows from experience how influential a mentor can be. He himself had a mentor while attending Colquitt Co. High School.
"If we can instill morals and values in these children and we can build good character early on, maybe in the future we can prevent them from winding up in prison and that they can be productive members of society," said Sumner.
Barrow says mentors tell her the program is also a blessing for them.
"I just want to get in the kids' lives and find out what's going on and see how I can help them," said Sumner.
The mentors from the police department will be paired up with their students next Tuesday.