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Norfolk Sheriff’s Office: “Help Kids Dream Bigger”

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With the region’s lowest high school graduation rate at 84 percent, the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office is launching a new way to inspire middle school students to rise above. The “Youth Character Allstars” day will give 150 inner-city kids a chance to experience college life, and meet the Harlem Globetrotters, with one goal in mind: helping kids dream bigger.

“We wanted to get inner-city kids excited about college. Many of them don’t understand what college is besides the educational part. A college education isn’t unreachable. It’s right there in theirbackyard,” Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Lt. Meryah Breeden said.

The youth will be given a campus tour of classrooms and dorms.

Then, students will meet with the Harlem Globetrotters, and watch the Harlem Globetrotters show at the Ted Constant Center. Teachers nominated children to attend based on grades and attitude.

“Often times in sports, children are praised for their performance in the game. We want to reward kids for something you might not see on the field – their character.” Sheriff Joe Baron said. “It’s their values of determination and hard work that help kids excel in school.”

The program is part of the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office mission to be a values-based organization, but it wouldn’t be possible without partnerships with Norfolk Public Schools, Parks and Recreation, Old Dominion University’s visitor center and ODU athletics, and a Virginia Attorney General’s Office grant.

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