Cincinnati's 'Right to Read' Program Receives National Attention
United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch made the first stop of her annual National Community Policing Tour May 19 in Cincinnati, Ohio. This tour highlighted collaborative programs and policing strategies that strive to advance public safety while reinforcing police-community relationships.
As part of this national tour, Madame Attorney General visited Chase Elementary School in Cincinnati where she met with two UC Criminal Justice students. The students, Adam Jones and Matt Mauric, were involved in Cincinnati’s “Right to Read” Program this past year, which began in the Fall 2014. Chase Elementary was one of the local schools participating in this program. During the Attorney General’s visit, both Matt and Adam had the opportunity of participating in a Jeopardy game that Madame Lynch played with the students at the school as part of her accolade to the program.
The Right to Read program was designed to help young elementary students excel in reading comprehension by providing them with tutors and mentors. In this program, Cincinnati police officers work with UC students to mentor the children, providing the elementary students and the mentors with the opportunity to develop constructive and healthy relationships that will positively impact their lives by presenting a respectable image of the Police Force.
Jones, a rising senior at the University of Cincinnati, helped contribute to the startup of the Right to Read program as an active mentor for the third graders at Frederick Douglass Elementary School. He helped students with their readings in order to prepare them for their upcoming Third Grade Reading Guarantee Test.
“It’s just a great feeling when one of the kids you tutor improves,” Jones stated.
Jones believed that the students’ reading skills improved dramatically since the program was implemented, and was honored and humbled to be a part of something that was nationally recognized.
Mauric, a 2015 spring graduate from UC’s Criminal Justice program, tutored in the Right to Read Program during the Spring 2015 term. He believed that getting involved with this program had been a privilege, and that the kids were definitely benefiting from the experience.
“Not only do I feel that I have helped some of these young kids to advance in their classes,” Mauric notes, “but they have taught me a few things as well.”
Mauric agreed that he gained valuable qualities from these students, including patience and understanding. Mauric, who is pursuing a career as a police officer and hopes to work for the Cincinnati Police Department, is optimistic that this experience will help guide him in his law enforcement career.
“I see where these ‘at-risk’ kids are coming from,” Mauric notes, “and it helps me to build a better understanding of where they might be headed and in what ways that can be redirected.”
Mauric has high hopes that this program will serve as a way to move students forward in their education so that, ideally, they can stay out of the Criminal Justice system completely.
“I have been grateful for the opportunity to give back to this city in a way that I truly believe is making a positive change in the lives of others,” Mauric stated.
The two students are proud to see the program being nationally recognized as a model program for positive relationships between the community and police forces here in the U.S. Part of the success this program has achieved would not have been possible without the support of the Cincinnati Police force. Specifically, both Jones and Mauric noted that a great deal of this program’s success should be attributed to the hard work of Officer Donald Jordan, who initiated the policing effort to build this program. Jones insisted, “If it wasn’t for Officer Jordan, there would be no program. He just had a vision on what he wanted to accomplish and he did that by working really hard.”
Dr. Ed Latessa, Director of the School of Criminal Justice at UC, proudly stated, “Students like Jones and Mauric are what make CECH’s Criminal Justice program strive to be successful and inspiring. We are likewise proud to be affiliated with Cincinnati Police Force and all that they do.”