PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Mike Brooks wants to inspire change in teens.
He’s not only a physical education teacher at a local middle school, but he also is the founder of the nonprofit called Men Inspiring Kids Everyday.
“We teach life skills to different youth that aren’t taught in school,” said Brooks.
He works with teens everyday, gets to know them on a personal level, and takes their concerns about day to day life, to heart.
“Some of my former students told me they get pulled over and they don’t want to get shot, that’s the first thing they say ‘I don’t wanna be shot,'” said Brooks.
Brooks says he approached about a grant from the state farm neighborhood assist program
“There was a State Farm agent who came to one of my non profit events and she liked my movement and when she saw the grant opportunity come across her computer she reached out to me and thought it would be something i should qualify for,” he said.
Brooks knew exactly what he wanted to do. He wants to educate teens on the best way to conduct themselves during a traffic stop, but also bring the teens and police together to discuss this topic.
“I want to erase that negative stigma that’s put on police officers because they’re there to help us at the end of the day but when you get pulled over you immediately think you’re about to be disciplined or something wrongs about to happen,” Brooks said.
Brooks believes this could decrease anxiety amongst teenagers on the road.
The program gives $25,000 to 40 non profits. Voters decide who wins.
Brooks says hes already done some research.
“I want to challenge officers, police departments, sheriffs departments I would love to partner with them. I reached out to a few who said they’d be willing to come talk with the youth,” he said.
And he already has a plan for how he would use the money.
“The grant money is $25,000 which is a lot of money for what I’m trying to do but I’m planning on taking my program more than locally and I want to get materials to do research and give booklets i can implement to the DMV and different driving programs across the area,” said Brooks.
He says the money would help him reach his goal faster, but if he doesn’t win, he still plans to move forward with the project.
The winners will be announced Sept. 25th.