CMPD taking applications for free summer program for teens

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will have several youth outreach programs this summer. As programs go, there is just about anything you can think of, from athletics to camping, faith-based to science camps.

One in particular has changed the trajectory of young people in Charlotte.

REACH (Respect, Engage, Accountability, Character and Honesty) Academy is a six-week summer program that builds positive relationships between participants and police officers.

It also promotes personal and social responsibility through leadership opportunities, educational seminars and field trips, as well as career and vocational development classes.

Upon graduation, youths can participate in monthly “booster sessions” designed to nurture the education and relationships developed in the summer program.

The REACH program is part of the CMPD Youth Engagement Unity initiative.

Applications are being taken for the group, which was formed to reduce the number of children and teenagers referred to the criminal justice system by providing them with opportunities for education, leadership and personal growth.

Mentees will also be part of the REACH summer career exploration program, which is a joint venture and partnership with the Rebuilding Opportunities in Construction and Self-Talk Consulting, PLLC.

This initiative will give 30 mentees an opportunity over the course of six weeks to participate in character development training, technical education and career readiness opportunities necessary to become employable.

The ROC program is designed to expose students to the career opportunities found in carpentry, electrical, HVAC and construction management field.

The REACH program is designed for teens who are under peer pressure and who have been negatively influenced by others, but who have the potential for success with the right kind of support.

There are a few requirements. Students need to be between 13 to 17 years old. They must be referred by a student resource officer, police officer, diversion staff, community agency, or parents.

Students must be willing to voluntarily interact and participate in the REACH program and have parent or guardian approval.

For more information, and to sign up you can contact CMPD Det. Mike Nguyen, 704-591-1469 or Det. Faye Strother,, 704-301-8594.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at