FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 28, 2015
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
BOSTON – Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins visited 75 young scholars at the Perkins Community Center in the J.A.B. (Jump Across Barriers) Step, INC. program. This nonprofit organization pairs together young entrepreneurs, recent college graduates and previous student–athletes to help children in the Dorchester community “strengthen self–esteem, self–motivation, and self–discipline.”
Through the sport of basketball, the program seeks to provide children with the tools they need in order to prepare for their collegiate aspirations. Although Boston Public School students were out for April vacation, this group of 4th through 8th graders were ready and excited to participate in the organization’s Basketball Camp program.
After a welcome of warm smiles and high five’s, the Sheriff posed a question to the young group, asking, “What does the future hold for you?”
Students were eager to share their aspirations, which included everything from being a professional chess player, to professional athletes, and lawyers.
Delivering a serious message about how the impact of a single mistake could derail the dreams and aspirations of those in the assembly, Sheriff Tompkins addressed the topics of bullying and drug abuse.
“Don’t allow yourself to bully others or to be bullied yourself,” said Sheriff Tompkins, as he conveyed the importance of helping others. Echoing the message of the J.A.B. Step program, he emphasized the value of being not just an athlete, but being a student–athlete.
Sheriff Tompkins also emphasized the critical need to have character and respect for yourself and others.
“Having respect for yourself is staying out of jail,” he continued, “We want you to realize that you don’t want to come here.”
Following Sheriff Tompkins’ presentation, several of the program’s administrators and participants spoke about their impressions of their guest.
“There was not one thing the Sheriff said that wasn’t important,” stated one program coach.
“I want to thank the Sheriff, because he is a man of his word,” said Al McClain, Athletic Assistant at the Perkins Community Center. “It meant a lot [to us] for him to talk about jail as a place where no one wants to be. In all of the work we do, the Sheriff coming to speak was the missing piece for our kids with respect to understanding how important it is to get an education and reach their goals.”
To learn more about the J.A.B. Step program, please visit their website at: www.jabstep.net.