An empty basketball gym at D.C.’s Sixth District police station transformed on Tuesday into a space for mentoring and positive affirmations.
The “Think Like a Queen” back-to-school luncheon hosted by the D.C. police Youth and Family Services Division featured young women, colorful journals, sparkling crowns, boxed lunches and police officer mentors.
Even before the youngsters were officially greeted by their hosts, Jayla Garvin, 10, opened the workbook at her seat, picked up the pen and began responding to questions.
Favorite thing about myself? “I have a lot of family that love me,” she wrote. Talent or gift: “I can make the best, fluffiest slime ever.” Garvin’s favorite mentor: Her third grade teacher.
“The journal is to encourage them to write their ideas and feelings, and the crown is to always remind them that they are queens,” said Officer Tamu Morainey who organized the event. “So, when something happens they can have the affirmation — ‘I am a queen.’ And hopefully that will deter them from engaging in … negative activity.”
As for the brightly colored pamphlet that so quickly engaged young Garvin?
“The workbook is basically encouraging them to think about the future,” Morainey said. That starts with nurturing interests and hobbies and looking for role models.
“And if you don’t know what you want to do for a living, then what some of your hobbies are, sometimes your hobbies and your talents may be the catalyst for you to think, ‘You know what, I’m good at that. Maybe that’s what I can do,'” Morainey said.
“We’re just trying to encourage them to look toward the future and start planning,” she said.
Morainey is with the recidivist unit, which works with court-involved youth and engages with their families to help prevent young people from reoffending.
A couple weeks ago, activities included a vision board.
“We encourage the girls to come in and put positive affirmations and goals on their board, so they can keep them in their room or whatever, and look at the board for inspiration when things aren’t going so great,” Morainey said.