On Thursday, September 28 the Life Skills Class from Milford Central Academy visited the Milford Police Department (MPD) as part of their community outreach program. Students brought treats that they made in the classroom along with thank you signs to local law enforcement.
Students of the Life Skills Class are taught vocational, social and community skills to better improve their lives and their impact on their community as contributing citizens. Recognizing that some of these students will ultimately not receive a high school diploma, teachers work with each student individually and as a group to help them understand what life after school consists of.
Special Education teacher Elizabeth Elder states that these students need an opportunity to connect with their community and to understand the opportunities available as they venture into the post-secondary school world. “[Our goal] by the end of high school is that the students are able to choose what they want to do with their lives,” she said. “We hope by the end of this year that their community interactions and how they interact with people becomes second nature.”
The Life Skills Class has adopted a campaign of compassion as instructors teach their pupils about empathy and appreciation for others. The students have met with the Milford School Board and plan to meet with local firefighters and nurses to understand their role in the community and share their appreciation for their service. “We want them to learn empathy and the only way to achieve that is to see through the eyes of others,” said Elder.
Jeffery, an eight grader in the program, was excited to meet the Milford Police Department and to find out more about their community involvement. “[The visit] was good. I like cops, they arrest bad guys,” said Jeffery. He stated that the Life Skills Class has taught him to pay attention and to listen to others.
Students also had the opportunity to meet Audie, a MPD K-9 that assists with apprehensions. Corporal Kirk Marino showed the class several commands and also allowed them to pet Audie as he focused on a training instrument.
Darren, a seventh grader in the Life Skills Class, was excited to see Audie and learn more about how he helps local law enforcement officers. “I had a great time and appreciate everything [the officers] do,” he said. “I want to thank them for saving lives.”
For most of the students, this visit to the Milford Police Department was their first visit to the station and first interaction with a police officer. ‘’It was an honor for us to greet these students and we greatly appreciate their support,” said School Resource Officer (SRO) Robert Masten. “The support we continue to see from the Milford community is noticed by our officers and definitely appreciated.”
SRO Masten encourages community groups to connect with the department to create opportunities for families to learn more about their local police force. “It allows us to get to know the kids in our community and for them to get to know us,” commented Masten. “It also allows the students to see police officers in another light. We typically show up in emergency situations in the community but in the schools we can be proactive in creating that positive relationship.”
For more information on community outreach by the Milford Police Department, individuals can connect with MPD on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Milfordpolicede or on their website at https://milfordpolicede.org.
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