CPD officers recently learned more about the mentoring program. (Photo: Contributed)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga is partnering with local police for a new initiative, called Bigs in Blue, which aims to provide one-on-one mentoring opportunities for area students.

“Being trusted by our community is built one relationship at a time,” Chattanooga Police Department Chief David Roddy said in a prepared statement. “Bigs in Blue is a meaningful way for CPD officers to be part of a child’s life providing guidance, friendship and building relationships that positively affect the life of that child, our community and our officers.”

Through the program, CPD officers will volunteer about one hour a week at a child’s elementary or middle school. The officer may spend time at lunch, playing games or helping with homework.

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Roddy has committed to mentoring a child at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary School, his alma mater.

The goal is for the officer to provide emotional support, motivation and help improve the student’s self-worth, according to a news release.

“I cannot think of a more important time than now for these officers to connect to Chattanooga’s youth,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga CEO Theresa Varos said in a prepared statement. “The impact will be felt for years to come.”

Bigs in Blue will begin next school year.

The program is funded by the Tucker Foundation, which will cover the cost of volunteer recruitment efforts and training, the process of matching mentors and youth and match support, according to a news release.

Locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga serves children ages 6 to 18 in Hamilton, Bradley, Marion, Walker, Catoosa and Dade counties.

The mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better forever.

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