This article appeared in the November 2016 issue of the Georgia's Cities newspaper.
Youth and their families enjoy Newnan’s tennis outreach program.
In 2015, the Newnan Police Department hired its first community resource officer. Since taking the position, Officer Edward Lee has initiated three programs to reach the youth of the community.
“I am glad to be a part of these programs because they show that the city of Newnan and the Newnan Police Department are dedicated to making this community better,” he said. “I believe that the city has put a lot of effort in this community by allowing these programs to be part of the city and show the community that we do care. This makes me proud to be part of the city of Newnan.”
Lee praised Newnan leadership and their successful efforts to improve community wellness with a variety of programs including task force meetings, tennis outreach, the Guitars Not Guns program, the Newnan Law Enforcement Explorers, Newnan Citizen’s Academy and Keep Newnan Beautiful.
Musical Instruments Foster Perseverance and Discipline
The Guitars Not Guns program is an 8-week-long program that provides foster children and at-risk youth ages 8-18 an alternative to violence through guitars and music lessons. The program utilizes a high teacher-to-student ratio. Each class consists of a maximum of 10 students with three adult instructors.
In addition to learning how to master changing from one chord to another, children learn perseverance and discipline and build self-esteem.
Tennis Used to Teach Life Lessons
The Newnan Police Department has partnered with the Southern Crescent Tennis Association (SCTA) to provide young people the opportunity to learn and play tennis. This program—including equipment and instructors—is free.
Program organizers believe that tennis is a sport of a lifetime that teaches the importance of hard work, sportsmanship and improves physical endurance while contributing to an overall healthier lifestyle.
According to the SCTA, the sport also serves as an umbrella that encompasses communication, nutrition and critical thinking both on and off the court. Life skills are fundamental when helping participants attain a better understanding of themselves and others while helping them reach their full potential.
The United States Tennis Association found that children who play tennis are more prone to earn better grades than their peers, aspire to attend college, better behave in school and are more civic minded in the community.
Other program partners include Coweta County Park & Rec Department, USTA Georgia, USTA Southern and SCTA.
Explorer: Learning for Life
The police department also started the Explorer program under Lee’s leadership. The program gives real working experiences on the duties and obligations of being a law enforcement officer. The program is designed to improve leadership skills, citizen engagement and teamwork.