WON Landing Page OCT 2022

OffBeat: Be a positive role model – Be a mentor

Sara Ahrens.

Before I became a police officer, I was unaware of the fact that often, police-child interactions involve violence, chaos, or crisis. Inevitably, this leads children to correlate the presence of police with negative events. Seeing traumatized children is the most heartbreaking facet of the profession.

Most police officers aspire to be positive role models for children, and the officers at my agency are no different. I’d like to take this opportunity to express how proud I am of my fellow officers. They continually suggest, organize, and implement police and community events that benefit children. Giving back to children is one way to offset the negative interactions over which we have no control.

Our officers personally donate their time and money to a variety of programs, which focus on helping underprivileged and at-risk children. These programs include a winter hat and gloves program, “Shop with a Cop,” “Cops and Bobbers” and fundraisers for the Special Olympics. It is not uncommon for officers to personally donate toys and clothing to victims of fire and other serious crimes. In addition to these external initiatives, our officers have been instrumental in implementing internal programs for children, such as a youth police academy and the NRA “Eddie  Eagle” program on gun safety.

For many years, I have witnessed some truly selfless acts of kindness and charity by our officers that are often overlooked, unnoticed, or quickly forgotten. The officers don’t do these things for recognition, but rather because they long to have a positive influence on children. I find myself constantly inspired to be a better role model for children, thanks to the examples set by my coworkers.

Mikey Ahrens shoots. Photo by Sara Ahrens.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to positively interact with local children during an NRA Youth Sports Fest. The NRA Youth Sports Fest is a one-day event that introduces children to several disciplines of shooting sports. The concept is that shooting teaches responsibility and self-discipline, while developing concentration skills and building self-esteem.

I found this event to be extremely fulfilling. For me, I don’t think there is any better feeling than to see children develop a love and respect for marksmanship (though I’ll admit that at times I felt endangered by some of the under-developed gun handling skills of the participants:). I strongly urge people to consider their own talents and passions, and look for an opportunity to mentor children. Children are exposed to a lot of negativity in their lives. They welcome the chance to have adults spend quality time with them. So if the opportunity presents itself to participate in an event in your community, I would sincerely recommend it!

Mikey Ahrens with a bow. Photo by Sara Ahrens.

OffBeat is sponsored by Otis Technology, “from the front lines to the hunt of a lifetime.” Visit Otis Technology.

The Conversation