Choose2Live Teaches Michigan Students Safe Interactions with Law Enforcement

Contact: Vicki Levengood 517-241-7978
Agency: Civil Rights

January 4, 2016

Berrien County, MI — On Wednesday,  January 6, students in Benton Harbor High School and Berrien Springs High School will take part in Choose2Live, a program specifically designed to teach youth how to interact in safe and positive ways with law enforcement and to improve the relationship between young people and police officers and agencies.

Choose2Live will present at Benton Harbor High School from 10 am to 11 am on Jan. 6; the presentation at Berrien Springs High School also will take place on Jan. 6, from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm.

The Choose2Live presentations are not open to the public. Members of the news media are welcome to attend.

The Choose2Live program is a new initiative from Dedication To Community, created to address both safe law enforcement engagement and anti-violence strategies, utilizing a simple curriculum that is customized for middle school, high school and university students/faculty/administration, as well as police agencies, companies and community advocacy groups.  

Berrien County Commissioner Marletta Seats has led the effort to bring Choose2Live to area schools. Along with Dedication To Community and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR), other partners involved in the effort include the Benton Harbor and Berrien Springs School Districts and the Whirlpool Corporation, which is underwriting the cost of the program.

“In Berrien County, we want to make sure our area youth – the future leaders of our communities – learn to interact with law enforcement in safe and constructive ways,” said Commissioner Seats. “We can’t leave something so important to chance, and that’s why we’re partnering with Choose2Live to provide our kids with the skills they need but might not obtain any other way.”

“Dedication To Community is very excited to launch this incredible, new and creative partnership to help students in this region,” said M. Quentin Williams, Founder and Chairman of Dedication To Community. “The opportunity to work with forward-thinking individuals and organizations has been a humbling experience and it displays just how much can be accomplished when we all work together in a collaborative manner. I am proud of the extraordinary efforts by Michigan’s leaders to educate communities in The Great Lakes State, especially in the areas of public safety and business empowerment.”

“I am looking forward to participating at this program,” said Agustin Arbulu, Director of MDCR. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is actively engaged in improving communication and relationships between communities and the law enforcement agencies that serve them. Choose2Live gives us an opportunity to engage young people in that process and help them build the skills and the trust required if we are to reduce the risk of tragic situations like we’ve seen in other states.”

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Whirlpool’s D’Anthony Tillery, who first brought Choose2Live to my attention, and Senior Vice President Jeff Noel, who secured the financial support needed to bring the program here,” said Commissioner Seats. “Their leadership and support were instrumental in bringing this educational opportunity to Berrien County students.”

For more information on Choose2Live and Dedication to Community, go to www.DedicationToCommunity.org. For more information about the work of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to www.michigan.gov/mdcr.