(Camden, NJ) – Officers the Camden County Police Department visit schools across Camden City to read to kindergarteners as part of the department’s Bookmates program.
“Connecting our police officers with young children in school is vitally important for our mission,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli. “We want kids to see our officers as guardians of their community. We want kids to have the ability to engage officers in a friendly environment and vice versa.”
The Bookmates program in Camden City is offered in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey. The regional program aims to provide a nurturing, one-on-one literacy experience for children to encourage them to develop good reading habits. The experience is also designed to provide these young students positive interactions with police officers and community leaders.
The officers meet one-on-one with Camden City students for a half hour or reading each week. The kindergarteners benefit greatly from the individualized attention. As they share the joy of reading, the officers also expose the children to a wide range of literature, expand their vocabulary, help improve their comprehension skills and increase their motivation to read.
“By working with the Camden County Police Metro Division, it is our desire to provide these students not only with a specially trained reading partner, but also with a mentor, role model and trusted resource,” Cappelli said.
The Bookmates program is currently in three Camden City schools: Mastery Charter School’s Molina Campus, Thomas H. Dudley Family School and H.B. Wilson Elementary School. More than 15 officers now participate in the program with more being trained.