TAPS Academy and Big Brothers Big Sisters Partner to Benefit Community

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Partnership expected to boost mentorship training of at-risk youth program

By having the world's leading mentorship organization on board, TAPS Academy will employ successful methods to enhance its outcomes for teens, police and their communities,” according to Dr. Everette Penn, Co-Founder of TAPS Academy.

The Teen and Police Service (TAPS) Academy and Big Brothers Big Sisters announced today the launch of a new partnership designed to strengthen the bond between at-risk teens and police, in an effort to help revitalize Houston communities. Major benefits of this partnership include the ability to enhance the mentorship program and provide TAPS Academy with tools to maintain strong and healthy relationships between their mentors and teens.

The idea for TAPS Academy originated from Houston Police Department Chief Charles McClelland, Jr. as he sought additional ways to continue making Houston safer. McClelland challenged his assistant chiefs to find creative solutions to address the crime problem through prevention and education. TAPS Academy is a 15 week program funded by the Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office. Houston Police Department officers serve as mentors in the 15 week curriculum based mentorship program.

“The partnership between TAPS Academy and Big Brothers Big Sisters strengthens the mentorship relationship that evolves after our teens interact with their police mentors. By having the world's leading mentorship organization on board, TAPS Academy will employ successful methods to enhance its outcomes for teens, police and their communities,” according to Dr. Everette Penn, Co-Founder of TAPS Academy and Criminologist from University of Houston- Clear Lake.

Research conducted after the first TAPS Academy class which graduated in the spring of 2012 indicated the need to improve on building and maintaining student-mentor relationships within and after the 15 week Academy. The TAPS Academy leadership team truly understands the value that Big Brothers Big Sister brings to this partnership. Both organizations are eager to work together to better support the youth in Houston.

According to Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Houston President Ron Hadley, “Big Brothers Big Sisters is honored and pleased to partner with TAPS Academy and the Houston Police Department. Houston kids need us. As we work together, we will be a positive impact on even more and more young lives. This partnership is a win for our kids today and will shape our city for tomorrow.”

About TAPS Academy
TAPS Academy is a 15 week program funded by the Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office. TAPS Academy’s goal of reducing the social distance between at-risk youth and law enforcement is being accomplished through learning, interaction and discussion between at-risk youth and local law enforcement personnel. Through this program, TAPS students and law enforcement personnel gain valuable insight about each other and the issues they face on a daily basis.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a donor-supported volunteer organization that places caring adults in the lives of children in one-to-one mentoring relationships. Through the positive impact of those friendships, children with a Big Brother or Big Sister are more likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to begin using drugs, begin using alcohol or engage in negative conflict. For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters contact Stephanie Palmer at 713.270.7805 or 888.887.BIGS. Visit the website at http://www.bbbstx.org.

Visit TAPS Academy.org or Facebook.com/TAPSAcademy to learn more about the program.

For more information and media inquiries, contact: Brian Butler 813.961.4700 or Brian(at)ConsultVistra(dot)com.

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Kendra Cummings
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