Officers tutor students as part of after-school program in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Quizzing kids on their spelling might not be in a police officer’s job description, yet twice a week, that’s the assignment for officers like John Velten.

Every Tuesday after school, Columbus police officers spend an hour at Candlelight Mobile Home Park, helping some of the younger residents with homework.

“Our sweet spot is kindergarten through fifth grade. After that, we have trouble figuring out the math homework,” Velten said with a laugh.

These tutoring sessions have been happening for nearly a decade. Officers help form complete sentences, while forming relationships.

“A lot of these kids we’ve had for four or five years together, and we’ve watched them grow up,” Velten said.

For parents, the hour of tutoring is a help, but the hour of bonding with officers means even more.

“It really gets him excited and I think it’s really good for him to get involved with our city police,” said parent Jessica Meredith.

Spelling lessons might not be in a police officer’s job description, but spending time serving the community most definitely is.

“It’s been a nice way to develop some friendship and bonds with the kids and also break down some stereotypes involving police officers,” Velten said.

Officers also visit the Arbor’s apartments on Mondays.

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