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"Bigs in Blue" program: Positive impact for kids in Carlisle Area School District

CBS 21

Big Brothers Big Sisters Capital Region is celebrating a new partnership between the Carlisle Police Department and Wilson Middle School.

As part of the national initiative by Big Brothers Big Sisters, the department is participating in the "Bigs in Blue" program. It pairs up children with police officers in their community as part of the mentorship program.

The police officers act as any typical "big" would, by becoming friends with the student and a mentor.

"It's a great program that our kids are excited about," says Wilson Middle School Principal, Walt Bond. "They're excited to meet their bigs and to be part of the program so it's exciting to see that."

Carlisle Police Chief Taro Landis pushed for the program to start in the middle school. Typically, Big Brothers Big Sisters starts at elementary-aged.

Leaders say this is a great time to help mentor kids because it's a very pivotal age.

"For these kids to look at the officers as a friend, someone they can go to when they need help, someone they can trust," says Cumberland-Perry Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Capital Region, Barrie Ann George. "If there is something wrong in their neighborhood, they need to know they can go to them and trust them and know that they'll get it fixed."

Pricipal Bond agrees, saying at least a third of the school population identifies themselves as only living with their mother.

Leaders say this will have a positive effect on the five sixth graders who've been paired up with police officers. George believes they will now gain a positive male role model in their lives.

Starting earlier is also important to Big Sergeant Simon Jackson.

"Here's the deal. At that age, they desperately want to be adults but they can't help but be kids. And if we get them right then and there, before they get to their teenage years and shut us out, it's the perfect time."

The partnership officially kicked off last Friday.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is always looking for volunteers. If you're intereted in learning more, click here.

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