Last year September, Sheriff Armando attended the Christmas Cantata in New Jersey. He brought 20 students with him to the performance and ever since, we have been interacting with the explorer programs in police stations all across the country.
Police Explorer students partaking in a recreational activity
At the time, we were invited to the Police Explorers program in New Jersey and we held recreational activities and mindset development session there. Then, with the start of the 41st Precinct police station, we had sessions in 6 more police stations in the Bronx, Long Island, and Manhattan.
The Police and Corrections Forum held in Hempstead New York in March, 2019
The police department recognized that not only do the young people at the Police Explorers program need to develop their mindsets but also the law enforcement officials at large need a changed mindset to bring change to society. Thus, we introduced the program to the Department of the NYPD in Manhattan and we plan to give lectures on the world of our mind to police officials as well.
When we were getting to know the programs, we learned that although the police work for the safety of society every single day, there is much conflict between police officers and the citizens who they have to keep safe. Thus, police officers receive much stress as they are on duty. The officials told us that last month, two police officiers committed suicide and suicide prevention has become a hot topic among the NYPD. This was one of the reasons why the NYPD representatives are interested in mindset and character development.
Picture with NYPD officials at the NYPD Department of Community Affaris
We went to meet some officials at the NYPD again on the 9th of April. Paul Valerga, the Chief of the Community Affairs Department of the NYPD of all five boroughs of New York City, expressed his interest in the mindset development curriculum.
Pastor Philip Song presenting a lecture on the world of the heart to police officers
Pastor Philip Song first explained the need for a type of education that deals with the thoughts that people keep in their hearts. He continued to give a 1-hour lecture. Pastor Philip used the sport of boxing as an example of how we should communicate: “If you want to communicate, you got to get hit (in the fight of conversation) and listen first).” The Deputy Chief of the Department expressed his agreement with the message of the lecture and said, “The entire presentation was so memorable to me”.
“At first, we did not know how to start to work with the NYPD. However, we received the word of the servant of God to “try anything” and also we remembered the New Year’s Message that Pastor Ock Soo Park spoke about of how God wants to work strongly in the United States. So, we took our first steps forward. When we did so, we were amazed to see not only the police department but the prisons, the Bronx city hall all open their doors and hearts to us. We are so thankful to see how God has opened all of their hearts to us” (Brother Caleb Kim, Manhattan Church)
Through our mindset and character development curriculum, we are making a way to communicate with the educational and justice organizations of the city. Also, we plan to hold an Education Leaders Forum at the Bronx Supreme Court. We could see how God was opening the hearts of the people around us and we have much hope of how the works of the gospel will proceed in the future.