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Program is investment in future

Parents and guardians of teens who are at risk or already getting into trouble are often at a loss as to what to do. The answers are rarely easy, but one Suffolk program might just be the closest thing to it.

The Youth Public Safety Academy happens every spring and features police officers and firefighters mentoring young people as the teens learn about everything from fire safety and police forensics to more difficult topics such as teen suicide and important skills such as proper job etiquette. Their mentors run a tight ship and don’t tolerate any disciplinary issues or poor academic performance during the program. The program participants, ages 13 to 17, participate in a community service project that they design and implement themselves, and they get a behind-the-scenes look at several excellent careers that could be their future if they stay on — or get back on — the right track.

The program is close to home, and another important consideration is that it’s free. Transportation is provided, as are snacks and meals. Field trips are also included.

For a youngster who might be directionless and wondering what their purpose in life is, this program could be the thing that turns that around. They get exposed to some of Suffolk’s finest twice weekly, they learn about things bigger than themselves and their immediate surroundings, and they just might find what their purpose in life will be. In any case, they will surely learn something.

We thank the city and its public safety departments for offering this program. The return on investment is impossible to measure but is sure to be great.