Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department is cancelling this summer’s Youth Leadership Academy.
With the continuing spread of the virus and the unknown impact in the coming months, Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger determined cancelling this academy was the safest thing to.
“This was by no means an easy decision. We know the great and positive impact the Youth Leadership Academy has with our at-risk youth,” Sheriff Coppinger said. “It’s also a program we very much enjoy, and our staff values the time spent with these kids.”
The Essex County Youth Leadership Academy is a nonprofit educational service that provides a structured youth diversion program for at-risk children ages 8 to 15. The Academy provides the necessary skills and tools to enable these children to contribute to their communities as proactive and positive citizens. This free program runs for seven weeks during the summer and incorporates a wide variety of game and team-building exercises to teach valuable life lessons, including CPR, Internet safety, anti-bullying, and drug and alcohol awareness.
New England HIDTA, part of the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy, funds the majority of the academy and has vowed to continue its partnership with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to resume the program next year.
“We very much look forward to being able to get back out there next summer and work with these kids to help them on a positive life path,” Sheriff Coppinger said.