The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department was recently honored for its Deputies Making A Change mentoring program.
Deputies Making A Change (DMAC) began in 2012 as an outreach program to the community under Sheriff Jay Russell’s administration. Its goal is to positively impact the future incarceration rate in Ouachita Parish by working with youth. Deputies began by identifying schools that experienced high disciplinary and behavioral problems with youth ages nine to thirteen.
DMAC is a comprehensive twelve month program that includes a summer program. Included are educational classes on reading, writing and math. In addition, courses are given on life skills which include hygiene, future planning, managing and solving problems, educational field trips and money management. Guest speakers from various professions also speak to the students in the classrooms. Tutoring services after class are also part of the program for those needing additional guidance.
All of this is aimed at providing the student the structure needed to become a positive influence in their community.
“DMAC believes if you create a positive environment for most children, it will create a positive mindset that will directly improve the behavior, classroom participation, and relationship to law enforcement” said Russell.
DMAC currently works with twenty to twenty-five students per year. It has successfully impacted over three-hundred students to date and affected thousands of student’s lives due to their daily presence in the schools.