NC police department launches girls' leadership program
Burlington PD will host female students where they'll learn about leadership, communication, civic responsibility, and preparing for college and employment
By Natalie Allison Janicello
BURLINGTON, N.C. — Having spent nearly 30 years as an officer in Burlington, Sgt. Wendy Jordan has recognized gaps in the community that needed to be filled.
Most recently, among those needs she identified was a way to help prepare teenagers, specifically girls, to enter adulthood with poise and some key basic life skills.
"I've been able to see a need for this over the years," said Jordan, who focuses on the police department's work in Burlington schools. "Especially now."
After brainstorming ideas for such a program and searching the Internet to find similar ideas successfully executed elsewhere, Jordan decided to name the police department's new three-month program Girls With Pearls.
Beginning Feb. 7, the Burlington Police Department will host female students from ninth to 12th grades one night a week, during which time they'll learn about leadership, communication, civic responsibility, manners, preparing for college and employment, and other skills.
The students will hear from women working in the police department and from other community leaders, such as Broadview Middle School Principal Brie Butler, Burlington City Council member Kathy Hykes and Alamance County District Court Judge Katie Overby.
At the end of the free 12-week course, participants will each receive their own pearl necklace as a gift, Jordan said, as well as give a 10-minute speech to the class.
The program will conclude with a graduation ceremony.
"We'd like them to get their goals set," Jordan said of the participants, whom they will push to make plans to succeed as they continue through high school and on to the next stage of life.
The girls will be paired up with a mentor, most likely about halfway through the program, Jordan said, who will serve as a resource if the students have questions about school or need someone to talk to about issues they're facing.
"We do a lot of work on leadership within our department, and helping our younger officers sharpen their leadership skills," Jordan said. "If we want leaders, let's reach out and get them even younger and while they're still in school."
As she came up with an outline for the 12 weeks, Jordan said she incorporated leadership principles from training programs and classes she has attended through the police department.
"Leadership is the same across the board," Jordan said. "Corporate, policing, even though we may do different jobs, how to present yourself doesn't change."
Participants must apply to the program by Jan. 31, and can receive an application by emailing Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her at 336-516-1240.
The class will meet on Tuesday nights at the Burlington Police Department.
Reporter Natalie Allison Janicello can be reached at email@example.com or 336-506-3078.
Follow her on Twitter at @natalie_allison.
(c)2017 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.)