GPD launches new summer youth program

GPD Chief of Police Steven Ignacio, right, said that this is the first time in GPD's history that they will host a program like this for the island community. (PNC photo)

The Guam Police Department has launched a new youth program for the summer.

Project U is a month-long youth summer program looking to sign up 12 teens, aged 14 to 17 years old to participate in various activities with GPD, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

GPD Chief of Police Steven Ignacio tells PNC that this is the first time in GPD’s history that they will host a program like this for the island community.

“So the youth will be engaged in different theme days, in different activities that will keep them occupied during the summertime and it’s not just to keep them occupied but we’re going to be teaching them core skills, life skills, better decision-making, and you know, we’re excited for what we call a ‘Wellness Wednesday.’ So we’re going to have Guam Behavior Health come in and talk to these children about different things mentally and how to deal with them and we have ‘Mentor Mondays’ and that’s GPD’s day where we have different activities for the youths. We’ll show them the instruments to issue citations, the laser devices, and we’re hoping to take them out on a boat ride if the seas are good,” Ignacio said.

He added: “This is our way of getting ourselves out there. We’ve been dealing with this pandemic for over a year. It’s our way of getting out there and re-engaging with our community once again.”

Ignacio believes that this program will definitely help in addressing the current issues the island youths are facing today.

“We’re going to be doing different things like ‘Trades Thursday.’ You know, of course, we’re not going to bring elementary school students to operate power tools, so we’re looking for the more older children, a little bit more mature in their mental health and development so we can safely navigate what we’re doing,” the GPD chief said.

He added: “Staying away from drugs and alcohol and not committing crimes is really the goal of this program. To have a positive influence in these children’s lives so that they don’t become alcohol and substance abuse dependent.”

GPD will be partnering up with Manelu, The Micronesia Resource Center, The Guam Department of Education, Guam Trades Academy, Guam Behavior Health and Wellness, Westcare’s Thrive Coalition, and the mayors’ offices.

Project U will start on June 1st to the 30th with orientation night on Monday, May 24