Mentorship Collaboration with Local Police Celebrates its First Year

Mentorship Collaboration with Local Police Celebrates its First Year


By Maty Swartz

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Billerica (BGCGB) is teaching youth an important lesson about what it means to connect with and serve the greater community. The Club just concluded the first year of its new Mentorship Program in collaboration with the Billerica Police Department (BPD). The idea was spearheaded in 2023 by two of BGCGB’s newest Board members, Grant Guan and David Farmer. Guan and Farmer proposed a plan for a community-based mentorship program to fellow Board member and BPD Chief of Police, Roy Frost.

Chief Frost was intrigued by the initial concept and saw the potential for a partnership between the Club and local police department. He then presented the idea to his fellow officers, many of whom volunteered to help shape the program in its first year. In addition to Chief Frost, four other officers have since dedicated their time to helping members develop positive relationships, learn how to give back to their community, and better understand the role of local law enforcement.

According to Club staff, these officers brought new meaning to the word “mentorship.” They weren’t merely there to serve as role models or dole out advice; instead, they forged meaningful connections with Club members, always going above and beyond to show up for mentees when it mattered most. Officers even attended basketball games, birthday celebrations, and other important events to show their support for Club members.

According to Teen Director Vanessa DiChiara, the volunteers from BPD are making a positive impact on Club members that they will carry with them throughout their lives.

While our Club may be filled with trusted adults,” DiChiara says, “having someone volunteer their time and show a genuine interest in our members on their own time has had a tremendous effect on them and has made them feel ‘seen’ by another adult in our community.”

The program is currently aimed at Club members between the ages of 12 and 15.

“Middle school and/or high school can be an incredibly difficult time for our pre-teens/teens, and their mental health can decline as a result. Therefore, having a positive adult influence can make all the difference,” DiChiara says.

DiChiara adds that the volunteers are exceeding the Club’s expectations and building trust with members at an exponential rate. Staff are thankful for the compassion and care that mentors have provided and continue to provide.

Given the program’s recent success, DiChiara is excited for what the future holds for Club members and prospective mentors alike.

“Our mentorship program this year has been very focused on social skills and relationship building,” DiChiara says. “While I would not want it to lose that factor, I would love for it to gain traction and have the ability to become more career-focused, as well. If a mentorship could develop into an internship, I think that level of consistency and accountability would be a massive benefit to our teens.”