Evanston Police Department Facilitators, left to right are Detective Ken Carter, Officer Adam Howard, Officer Mario Miller, and Officer Robert Robbins. Photo from EPD

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On Dec. 14, the Officer and Gentlemen Academy (OGA) hosted an orientation at the Evanston Fire Department headquarters for the students selected for the class of 2018.  Academy facilitators presented an overview of the program, followed by a station tour for students and parents. OGA facilitators Officer Adam Howard, Officer Mario Miller, Detective Ken Carter, and Officer Robert Robbins had the opportunity to reconnect with returning OGA students as well as introduce the new parents and students. The Officer and Gentlemen Academy, a male mentoring program, was conceived as a partnership between Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and the Evanston Police Department.  The mission of the program is to educate, inspire, and empower young men to reach their full potential. It includes 12 weeks of education and mentoring for young men in sixth through eighth grades.

The OGA is in its second year at Nichols Middle School and will be collaborating with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School in 2018. The 2018 class includes a total of 12 kids from both schools. Curriculum-based sessions are held on Wednesdays and extracurricular activities on Saturdays. The curriculum for the Wednesday program centers on male etiquette, professional attire, development and maintenance of peer relationships, goal-setting, self-confidence, decision-making skills, positive interactions with law enforcement, knowledge of the law, community service, and financial literacy. The Saturday portion of the program focuses on fun team-building activities that reinforce concepts taught throughout the week.

The Officer and Gentlemen Academy will be hosting a kickoff event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 27 at the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center. More information about this program is available by email from Officer Adam Howard or Officer Mario Miller.