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MSP, Big Brothers Big Sisters Team Up to Serve At-Risk Youth

courtesy Michigan State Police

The Michigan State Police (MSP) and the Michigan Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Alliance have announced a new partnership designed to better serve at-risk youth, specifically in Flint, Saginaw, Detroit, Pontiac and Lansing. MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, Executive Director of BBBS Capital Region Dr. Phillip Knight and President and CEO of BBBS of Greater Flint Reta Stanley spoke at a press conference on Wednesday in Lansing.

The MSP and BBBS have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to support each other’s activities and promote collaboration in an effort to reduce delinquency, alcohol/drug/tobacco use, violence and truancy, among other things, of at-risk youth. Some of the collaboration includes cross training of staff, expediting the screening process for mentors, increasing at-risk youth referrals, improving the delivery of mentoring services to at-risk youth and tracking the outcome measurements, raising awareness for the opportunity of youth to attend the MSP Youth Leadership Academy (MSPYLA) and increasing the number of MSP mentors.

“The Michigan State Police has a longstanding history of working with families, schools, faith-based organizations, and youth agencies in an effort to help youth become responsible adults,” said MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. “I am a firm believer in the value of prevention services and community policing, which is why we have community service troopers assigned to communities across the state whose sole focus is outreach to help strengthen communities. Prevention, education and partnerships are necessary and needed components to improving the quality of life for our youth.”

The BBBS’s one-on-one youth mentoring program has been recognized nationally as an evidence-based process that leads to better outcomes for young people. Research shows youth participating in the mentoring program are 52 percent less likely to skip school, 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 33 percent less likely to hit someone and 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol.

“The Michigan Big Brothers Big Sisters Alliance is very excited to enter into this proactive and positive partnership as the primary mentoring partner of the Michigan State Police,” said Executive Director of BBBS Capital Region Dr. Phillip Knight. “This partnership aims to increase the number of MSP mentors to serve as ‘Bigs’ in one-to-one mentoring relationships, increase the opportunity for ‘Littles’ to attend the Michigan State Police Youth Leadership Academy as well as allow a Michigan State Police representative to serve on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Board of Directors in each targeted cities.”

“This partnership is a result of the strategic conversation that began last year and was announced in January during the Youth Violence Prevention Summit hosted by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Michigan Alliance,” shared President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit Dara Munson. “By partnering with the Michigan State Police, we will directly impact our shared plan of action to reduce juvenile delinquency and violence amongst our young people.”

The MSPYLA is a week-long residential academy that provides youth the opportunity to develop leadership skills and build positive relationships with law enforcement officers. The goal is to form a foundation of responsibility, respect and trust, benefiting the youth, law enforcement officers and their community. For additional information about the MSPYLA, visit www.michigan.gov/mspyla.

MSP community service troopers’ (CSTs) efforts include mentoring youth, educating citizens on emerging crime trends, focusing on community service and training, serving as a direct resource to citizens as well as spearheading several other initiatives. CSTs are also integrated in local schools providing Teaching, Educating, And Mentoring (T.E.A.M.) curriculum, which is a proactive effort to make schools and communities safer by promoting an understanding of social rules, the consequences of unlawful behavior and students’ responsibilities as good citizens. To contact a CST, visit www.michigan.gov/mspcst.

To volunteer or for additional information about BBBS, visit www.bbbs.org.

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