FRESNO, California – The Fresno Police Chaplains are known for showing up to help families after a crisis or a loss.
Original Article can be found here: https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/community/inspiring-the-valley/inspiring-the-valley-how-the-fresno-police-chaplaincy-is-taking-a-new-proactive-approach/1723050138
And they are now putting a new focus on the city’s youth.
“I enjoyed the excitement, I enjoyed working outside,” says Fresno Police Chaplain Rodney Lowery.
This is not the place he thought he would end up, and neither did a lot of other people.
Lowery says, “I was pretty rambunctious when I was young and I think my classmates and many teachers were surprised when I went into law enforcement. They were doubly surprised when I went into the study of theology and became a chaplain.”
Lowery came on the force at a time when crime was at a all time high in Fresno.
“It was much more dangerous than probably we understood at the time. It took a toll, I know personally,” he says.
Thinking about how trauma impacted him, Lowery thought about the hundreds of calls coming into their office involving kids.
“I know what trauma has done in my life and I had a good support system. I can only imagine what’s going on in our city and these kids may not have that support system that I had,” Lowery says.
With the leadership of Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Lowery is taking the police chaplaincy program in a different direction instead of responding to provide aid and comfort after a crisis.
They are being proactive.
“We developed a curriculum called RISE, Resiliency In Student Education,” he explains.
RISE puts volunteers in Fresno Unified schools who teach kids to bounce back social emotional learning.
Lowery, who wears many hats in this job is expanding the resiliency, adding a space for an onsite counselor who will provide services afters chool and weekends.
“We are going to provide counselling within a 72 hour window to help make sure these kids don’t get stuck in the trauma,” he says.
This is all part of this chaplain’s effort to help make this city “healthy and whole.”
He says, “What I’ve learned is, we cannot fix our issues here in Fresno with handcuffs.”
Lowery says they are seeking partners to help with counseling the Central Valley’s young people suffering from trauma.