As our youth face the unpredictable future, they do so with the help of those who have gone on before them. Whatever they do to prepare for their future, it is helpful for them to be able to hear, see and touch thriving achievers as well as mentors such as Captain Brent Burton, Dr. Genevieve Shepherd, and Sharon Dean.
They have gone beyond measure to make sure the Junior Cadets program successfully paves the way for our upcoming youth.
Twelve students from Tom Bradley Elementary School recently graduated from their annual Junior Fire Cadet Program (JFC), one of many programs held at the school.
The program consists of a six- week program where fourth and fifth grade students attend an after school session of learning. The subjects consists of fire safety education, how to avoid self-destructive behavior, physical fitness, career opportunities, discipline, local government operations and being respectful to others. The program has been very successful since its inception.
During the course of the program, students are also exposed to various career professionals and a local fire station, which makes an appearance with fire trucks to provide demonstrations.
A special thanks goes to Captain Addison Birdine and the members of Fire Station 94 for taking the time from their busy schedules to demonstrate the ladder truck and pumper engine function.
During the demonstrations, students learn about fire safety tips, and are also directed in calisthenics demonstrations.
The JFC Program was created seven years ago through the efforts of Sharon Dean, Tom Bradley’s Healthy Start Coordinator; and Captain Brent Burton, President of the Stentorians, Los Angeles County Black Firefighter’s Association; with the blessing of Tom Bradley’s legendary Principal, Dr. Genevieve Shepherd.
Captain Burton brought the concept to Bradley in 2001, as a way to give back to the school he once attended as a youngster, formally called Dublin Avenue.
It was here at this young age where Burton learned the meaning and value of community based involvement.
He joined Tom Bradley Healthy Start Collaborative with the goal of giving direction and supporting elementary students in making positive choices.
He is a mentor, and partner who provide services and support to Tom Bradley Elementary every year, making a difference in the lives of our youth, from their clothing attire to their mannerism. He would also provide speakers for the school. At age 16, Burton became an Explorer Scout with the Los Angeles City Fire Department. He was introduced to Arnet Hartsfield and the Stentorians organization.
He then learned about the history of African Americans in the fire service from Mr. Hartsfield and read the Stentorian book in its entirety.
He received help from the organization on his way to becoming a firefighter. He became a paramedic at the age of 21 and at the age of 23, he received the coveted Community Protectors Award—an accomplishment that is presented by the Los Angeles County Board of supervisors and Los Angeles City Council for outstanding leadership and dedication toward the betterment of the Los Angeles Community.
At age 28, Burton was promoted to the rank of Captain. At the time of his promotion, he was the youngest company officer in the Department. In demonstrating leadership and ability, it enabled him to earn his position.
During his 22-year career in the fire service, he has been able to serve the Department in various capacities.
The students celebrated their accomplishments with T-shirts and certificates presented by Dr. Genevieve Shepherd, Captain Burton and Sharon Dean.
The Junior Fire Cadet program was successful because of the tireless work of volunteers committed to building community skills, changing attitudes and behaviors to encourage children, enhance families and contribute to a better community.
The program also allows students to learn about a career of being a firefighter and how to become a respectable citizen in the community.
Its Program Mission is to promote student academic achievement. The program increases access to comprehensive services and support families and the community.
The School and Community Policing Partnership Collaborative have made a difference in Dorsey High, Audubon, Coliseum Elementary and Tom Bradley Elementary.
Their program goal is to improve student academic achievement; Increase access to health and wellness; increase parent involvement; increase student involvement in after school programs, (enrichment, tutoring and recreation).
For more information about their programs and services, call (323) 298-0219.