TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Texarkana Arkansas Police Department’s “Pride Academy” hosted a peer training in preparation for their camp later this summer.

Every August, the Texarkana Arkansas School District requires every 6th grader to attend the Pride Academy training. With the goal of gaining a high school student as a mentor to guide them through middle school.

“This youth at this are actually the ones who said ‘Yes’ to the call,” said Facilitator Shawn Burns.

“That I want to be a leader, that I want to make an impact in the community, and that I just want to make a difference.”

The purpose of Friday’s leadership training is to build a voice, develop better listening skills, and address strengths and weaknesses.

“Some kids they just be so broken-hearted sometimes where they need a mentor to guide them through things,” said Peer Leader, Jaydon Benton.

“And I always just want to help people out because I don’t never want the kid might feel left out. Because it’s better that we change it now instead of them going down the wrong path.”

Benton says the peer leadership program has nearly 100 students. That’s almost double from last year.