An inspiring story from Thief River Falls about what's right with our schools

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Thief River Falls, Minn. (Valley News Live) - A new program that puts cops into a Thief River Falls elementary school is getting rave reviews. As part of the Little Brother and Sister program, police officers serve as mentors to students.

Officer Craig Mattson, TRF’s Police: “Do you still have the Lego cop car I gave you for Christmas? Cool.”

Thief River third-grader, Evan is extremely shy. But, Officer, Craig Mattson has been spending time with him during recess, lunch hour and at other times. He says Evan is beginning to come out of his shell.

Evan, Student: “My Dad’s friend used to be able pick our other car up…”
Officer Craig Mattson, TRF’s Police: “It’s just to get them to have a positive role model or mentor that they have contact with. Down the road, this could be in effect for years… that they’ve had a positive encounter with law enforcement.”

Teacher, Jill Johnson call the program nothing short of phenomenal. She says it helps students like Evan break out of their shell.

Jill Johnson, Teacher: “Opens them up, exposes them to positive experiences and experiences he might not have otherwise had.”
Reporter: “Would you like to see this expand in your school and others?”
Johnson: “Yes, absolutely.”

So far, 3 students are taking part in the program. The organizer hopes to expand the program next year.

Melora Bergee, Program Coordinator: “And I’ve applied for a grant that would help us expand the program to about 30 adults. Then I would have to ask firefighters or students from the law enforcement program to help with that.”

Evan now gets a boost in confidence and words of encouragement from the biggest man on campus, as he gets a good start on life.

Mentors in the program donate their time. Money needed for out of school events like movies and other activities is raised through grants and public fund raisers.