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August 12, 2013

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins speaks with members of the Think Big, Dream Big program.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins recently visited the teens of the Think Big, Dream Big program to impart some words of wisdom upon the group of young leaders.

Think Big, Dream Big idea was derived from a Town Hall Youth Conference held at Harvard University in 2011 and seeks to encourage accomplished high school and college students to become agents of change. The Think Big Dream Big Internship curriculum is comprised of several components that include: leadership development, college and career preparation, media literacy, digital storytelling, civic engagement, social responsibility, team building and health and wellness. The students of the pilot internship in 2012 had to complete a series of essay assignments over a four–month period, which were reviewed and scored based on clarity of thought, uniqueness,  timeliness of submission and overall impression of the applicant’s ability to express information. Only 9 out of the 40 applicants were selected to become summer interns. 

Sheriff Tompkins encouraged each of the group of twelve students – which included future authors, lawyers, and artists – introduce themselves and share their future endeavors.

The Sheriff discussed the journey that he took on his way to becoming Sheriff, what it takes to achieve success and how the mistakes he has made in the past have positively shaped his present.

When asked what measures could be used to evaluate his success, he said, “The hallmark of a great leader is ‘where do the people that work for you go when they leave you?’ You want to put your people in an environment so that when they leave you, they go to a better place. So, that means that you have to be open to allowing other people to do things and giving them the credit for doing it.”

Sheriff Tompkins also emphasized the importance of loving what you do, pointing to his own experience in being the Sheriff.

“Of all the things that I’ve done, this is probably the best job I’ve ever had in my life,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “I get to sit with young folks like yourselves and share experiences, I get to work with an extraordinary staff and I get to work with an inmate population where we create second chances for them.”

“If you can, do something you love—something that you’re passionate about, then – when all the other facets of the business present themselves – you won’t be dissuaded.”


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