This month’s Compass Keeper video is about a mentorship between Cooke Elementary School and the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office that started during something that will be happening in many homes this Thanksgiving—a conversation around a dinner table. The assistant principal’s brother is a lieutenant with the Sherriff’s department. They were talking about how great it would be to have officers read to students. When that happened at the end of last school year, one of the officers, Lieutenant Lois Thompson, noticed that there were several students who predominantly spoke Spanish. Officer Thompson’s reaction was to think of the many officers who speak Spanish and who would love to support the school. Principal Casey Conger immediately embraced the idea and by the first week of school they matched Spanish-speaking students with officers who serve as mentors, coming to school during lunch to talk to students about their studies, visiting the school’s language library together and helping bridge the communication gap. Once the word got around the Sheriff’s department, non-Spanish speaking officers wanted to join in, so that grew into a P.E. buddy program. And, even more officers wanted to be part of the mentorship so in addition to the mentorship with the Spanish-speaking students and the P.E. program, there is now a lunch buddies program.
The program has now grown to more than 20 mentors and is making a difference in children’s lives.