Beechnut Academy’s Stephanie Mosquera Speaks in Washington D.C.

 In Camelot Blog

TAPS

Stephanie Mosquera, a student at our Camelot Beechnut Academy and a graduate of our TAPS (Teen And Police Service) Academy, was recently invited by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (TX) to present at the 2015 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 45th Annual Legislation Conference.

Stephanie served as a panelist in the conference’s “Criminal Justice Legal Issues Forum: Building Better Relationships and Safer Interactions between Minority Youth and Law Enforcement” and had nothing but good things to say about the TAPS program that she discovered at Beechnut Academy.

“The goal of TAPS is to reduce the social distance between at-risk youth and law enforcement,” said Stephanie. “Before participating in the TAPS program, I thought that police officers automatically wanted to take people to jail. I had negative experiences with police officers in the past, so I always thought ‘they’ll find a reason to get you and accuse you of a crime you didn’t do…’ But my perspective changed in that very first meeting with them, as soon as I saw them in regular clothes and was able to have a conversation with them. I saw them just like us, like regular citizens, and it was shocking to me.”

Stephanie concluded her speech by saying, “This program has changed me so much. Now when I approach a police officer it is with respect, because that’s what I expect to get back. And the program didn’t just change my perspective—it changed all of the other students who were in the program with me.”

During her trip, she also got to meet with members of Congress, tour the White House, and to take in the sights of the city. She was also granted a special invitation to a social engineering event at the Hay Adams Hotel hosted by Rep. Lee.

Stephanie has plans to graduate from Beechnut Academy in the spring of 2016, to attend University of Texas, and to become an anesthesiologist or surgeon.

 For more on Stephanie’s trip, please click here.

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