Helping the youth rebuild connection with law enforcement

Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 8:42 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - GROW NEA is teaching young adults how to interact with first responders, and while doing this, they get to meet officers in their community, building that rapport with the officers that work to keep them safe.

GROW NEA sets out to protect not only the youth but also the first responders.

Shawunta Johnson is the founder of GROW NEA, and he preaches communication. Miscommunication, or lack thereof, can sometimes lead to some dangerous situations.

“Communication between law enforcement I think that is a good way to keep everyone safe, " Shawunta Johnson, the founder of GROW NEA.

Communication helps make sure everyone gets treated with respect.

A huge communication error is not informing the officer that you are carrying a weapon. Sometimes you forget about the weapon, and it happens, but making sure you communicate that you are armed helps everyone out.

“Everybody at the end of the day just want to go home, the police officers want to go home to their families and the civilization wants to go home to their families,” said Johnson.

Someone will always influence kids and young adults. Unfortunately, some get caught up and get influenced by the wrong crowd.

Vincence Mathes knows this too well. He is a former gang member, and he now shares his experiences with the youth, helping guide them down the right path and become a positive influence in their life.

“Realize that people are here to lead you in the right direction and to help get past some of the stigma,” said Vincence Mathes.

This was the first mentoring session for GROW NEA. Next month they will host a meeting where youth can learn how to respond to paramedics and even learn CPR.