Photo courtesy of WHY’D YOU STOP ME?
WHY’D YOU STOP ME? (WYSM) is hosting its 3rd Annual “Power for Powers” Scholarship Awards Ceremony on Thursday, June 1 from 6:00PM to 8:00PM at the Holiday Inn.
WYSM is a nonprofit organization founded by Officer Jason Lehman of the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), with the mission to create an organization that would reduce acts of violence between officers and the public, as well as restore trust between the LBPD and the community through education.
The organization focuses on training programs to dispel misconceptions about police as well as train officers to better understand community issues. The organization also employs both officers and community members who have experience with police officers or crime, including former gang members-turned-community advocates, according to WYSM.
“We recognize there is a violent encounter between the police and a community member every hour in our country,” Lehman said in a statement. “This often stems from a lack of understanding and mistrust of the police. By creating a platform of strategic engagement, educational empowerment and deliberate interactions; it is possible to change the outlook on future police and community [engagement].”
This year, two Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) students will each receive a $1,000 scholarship. There will also be a $200 scholarship given to a runner-up.
The scholarship recipients were challenged to submit a unique work of art with the theme “Long Beach Through My Lens.” The submissions are reviewed and selected by a team of educators, WYSM Executive Board Members and select LBPD officers.
“The WYSM scholarship opportunity goes beyond providing much needed educational encouragement,” Lehman said in a statement. “It becomes a clear source of deeper engagement between future generations and their respective authority figures. The WYSM principles respect for authority extends the Police to leaders like Principal’s, parents, Coaches, neighbors and teachers.”
The event will also honor a former Long Beach educator, Claudette Powers, who helped Lehman understand the principle of “Event+Reaction=Outcome,” which is the fulcrum of the organization’s police and community training, Lehman said.
The money raised during the third annual Power for Powers will be used to create additional scholarships for next year's event. It will also fund youth-centered mentorship programs within the city, according to the release.
Everyone is invited to support LBUSD students and the WYSM program. For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, which are $10 for students and $20 for adults, visit the Eventbrite page here. Sponsorships can also be purchased at the event or through the link.
For more information about WYSM, visit the Facebook page here.
The Holiday Inn is located at 2640 North Lakewood Boulevard.