DEFY Program Helps Local Youths

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Gangs, alcohol, and drug use are a growing problem for teenagers throughout the country.

But a national program offered in Tallahassee is working to help children make the right decisions at an early age.

"I've seen children who have been in trouble and children who have never been in trouble. We are here to help both to mentor the children and hopefully prevent them from getting into either farther trouble or any trouble at all," said Tallahassee DEFY Program Coordinator Danielle Davis.

The Tallahassee Police Department is now accepting applications for the DEFY or Drug Education For Youth program.

During the 10 month program, police mentors show kids the way to deal with conflict resolution, drug resistance, health issues and even personal hygiene.

"I am a police officer today because I had that positive interaction with a police officer when I was 6 years old. I looked at that positive reinforcement and to this day look back on it and it kept me out of trouble," said Tallahassee Police Spokesperson David McCranie.

Parents say the program is worth it as well.

Dorita Gavin's daughter Erica is currently involved in DEFY and will graduate from the program next week.

"I talk to my daughter all the time but I think she can be impacted by someone else giving her information, sometimes you just can't hear it from you parent," said Dorita Gavin.

Kids involved in the two phase program go on field trips, have classroom assignments but most importantly bond with positive mentors.

If you would like to sign up for the DEFY program, call the Tallahassee Police Department. Only 20 kids will be admitted to the class and it is first come firs serve.

The Leadership Camp will be held from July 21 through July 25.