The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office along with two local area St. Charles Parish Public schools recently announced a new pilot program called the BOSS Up Initiative, which aims to help guide local female students through positive mentorships.
Using 30-to-45-minute sessions scheduled throughout the school year, the program aims to work primarily with young female students facing difficulties and demonstrate to teachers in various ways they may need positive mentorship in their lives. Instructors and mentors work and engage with the students on a closer level than is usually possible in a larger classroom setting, discussing life skill topics like decision making, goal setting, social wellness among others.
LeNeshia Markey, 7th grade teacher at Albert Cammon Middle School, has volunteered in other local mentoring programs and was recently chosen to work with the Sheriff’s Office in helping develop the program.
“There is always the promise that they can change,” Markey said of students enrolled in the program. “They can always turn around if there is some kind of intervention of someone that will stand in the gap on their behalf and show them a different way,”
Albert Cammon Middle School will be the first to participate in the program, incorporating a group of female students selected from Grades 5th to 8th grade into the program’s first wave of student enrollees. The BOSS Up Initiative has already begun offering sessions for students, but the program is still considered to be in the planning stages as organizers look to add more features and interactive experiences for students.
“The program focuses on helping these girls develop better decision-making strategies, social-emotional wellness, teaching about financial literacy and awareness,” Lt. Roanne Sampson, Juvenile Programs Commander, explained. “We are also hoping to help these girls become better leaders in their school and community, more career focused by setting goals, creating affirmation boards and introducing them to other professionals.”
Local developers of the program, including Sgt. Keysla Perilloux with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, are currently planning outside school activities, social gatherings, educational field trips as well as activities with local seniors to help engage students.
“I am excited to offer the BOSS Up Initiative pilot program to girls at Albert Cammon Middle and St. Rose Elementary Schools,” Sheriff Greg Champagne said recently. “Lieutenant Sampson and Sgt. Perilloux continue to make me proud with their dedication to the youth of St. Charles Parish. They are helping to prepare our future leaders.”
After having watched the progress of some of her students enrolled in the program, Markey said she can already see positive results in some students.
“We want to show them we care,” Markey said. “This is what we’re doing to make sure that our kids know that we care for them, care about them…giving them the tools and the techniques that when they leave the school building, they know how to make decisions that are going to be in the best interest of themselves.”