Monday, December 9, 2013

Sheriff Garcia visit to AOC

On November 22, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia visited the Academy of Choice to talk about his upbringing, education, and career path in criminal justice. He discussed growing up in a rough neighborhood and being exposed to violence, but always hungering to learn more and excel. He shared his vision of a safe community in which students would help one another out and make healthy life choices, especially in light of shootings that have been taking place in the greater Houston area among young people.  “The power to make my job easier is in your hands,” he said, explaining that students needed to stay away from negative influences and find healthy ways to deal with conflicts. “You can do more for the community when you put yourself out there and work hard.” He told students to be a leader everywhere they went, not just at school. “Stand up every chance you get,” he said. “You never know when you might save a friend’s life.” After his talk, he participated in a Q and A, answering many questions about what students needed to do to join the criminal justice field.

Sheriff Garcia was invited by students in AOC’s Leadership class, who run a peer mediation program at the school using restorative justice peacemaking circles. Leadership students Angel Miranda and Eduardo Retiz introduced Sheriff Garcia, sharing the successes of restorative justice and the hope that it be spread to other areas of Houston to promote peace. Of the talk, Retiz says, “I thought it was amazing because I always saw him on TV every time something tragic happens…I thought he would be too busy to come but he actually came to talk to us.” He said the most important piece of advice he received from the talk was that every decision he makes now impacts how he is viewed by employers in the future. “You have to have a clean record and a history of doing good things because if you get in trouble it could affect you for a long time. I really didn’t realize it.  He also talked about being careful on Facebook and other social media because that impacts you too.”

Sheriff Garcia is the latest in a series of leaders invited to talk AOC students about how they have pursued their goals; the first talk was with the Mayor’s Anti Gang Task Office Director Victor Gonzales.


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