POPP Selma Model
- First, we need buy-in from the Mayor, Chief of Police, and the City Council to lay the groundwork for our POPP Community Peace Initiative. Collaborative meeting is set with those parties.
- Next, we choose at least one of the main high schools to launch the first round of our “Protect the Dream: 40 Days of Power” campaign. Twenty-four students are chosen: twelve boys and twelve girls: athletes, cheerleaders, marching band, performing arts, and ROTC. Those chosen need to be leaders, both positive and negative; kids who have influence among all the main peer groups. At the conclusion of the eight-week Character and Leadership Development project, the standout kids create a student organization called the POPP Club that they take ownership of. They meet for bi-monthly inspirational meetings before school to involve and engage other kids from the student body. Inclusion, acceptance, and compassion are developed as we begin to reach the kids who are difficult to reach.
- We need at least one influential Pastor to agree to launch our “40 Days of Prayer” in tandem with the school campaign. In this way we will pull in the faith community and begin to provide positive support for the school project and what these kids are striving to accomplish.
- We involve law enforcement… Each week when the kids meet for their weekly POPP Squad meeting we will pull in officers to begin to bridge the gap between Cops and Communities. The kids begin to see the heart and humanity behind the badge, and the officers begin to see the kids in a positive new light.
- As we move forward with each new eight-week phase more schools are added, more officers are brought in, and more churches come on board. Momentum develops as we begin to see healing and develop unity among the oftentimes “Dysfunctional Triangle” of three local institutions: schools, jails and churches.
- Working through connections in the community we identify influential players on the street: local gangs and cliques. We respectfully ask for the blessing of those who are leading in a negative way, as we make them aware of what we are trying to accomplish in the schools. This method has proven very effective in our successful prison programs. Gang leaders began to provide protection and even support as we seek to decrease violence in their community. Mutual respect is key.
- We build a coalition of community leaders connected to the following areas of expertise: addiction and recovery, GED, Mental Health, Job Readiness, etc. In this way, we can point youth and families to experts that can help them get on track and stay on track. Recovery and restoration in the goal.
- Lastly, we need local media coverage so that we can begin to tell a new story for a community that is wounded and beginning to expect the worse. We begin to shift public perception and get the community to become aware of what is happening, and public perception shifts. Churches, Cops and Communities begin to work together to create sustainable positive change.