Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Police driving instructors to mentor students in car-building program

Our December Informant newsletter has an interesting story about a collaboration between a group that seeks to teach inner-city kids skills by building electrical vehicles and the KCPD. Check out the story below and the video at the end:

What started as providing a set for a documentary film turned into a mentoring opportunity for the Kansas City Police Academy driving instructors.

This fall, owners and mentors from MINDDRIVE and a film crew from L.A., working for Translogic-AOL, did a film shoot at KCPD’s own Police Academy driving course, covering a story on MINDDRIVE’s car and program.

According to their web site, MINDDRIVE is a non-profit, after-school program for at-risk high school students that uses experiential learning methods administered by instructors and mentors. 

MINDDRIVE inspires students to learn, expand their vision of the future and have a positive influence on urban workforce development. They achieve this by teaching the students how to build a car. By doing this, the students have progressed into welders, battery experts and even working with MINDDRIVE’s web site and social media.

After learning of MINDDRIVE and all the good it does for the urban core of Kansas City, the instructors from the Academy decided this would be a great opportunity to help.

“We have a community responsibility over and above fighting crime,” Director Rick Brisbin of the Special Projects Section said. “We want to be more of a role model for these kids.”

In addition to letting them test drive the car they built on KCPD’s driving course, the Academy driving instructors plan to put together a course for these students to teach them how to drive and prepare them to take their drivers’ license tests.

Those who are old enough to drive will definitely need their license. They are planning a coast-to-coast trip in March 2012. Project Reynard, MINDDRIVE’s second car, will be driven non-stop from San Diego, Calif., to Jacksonville, FL using quick-charge technology. They plan to split the trip into two segments and fly half of the students to San Diego who will travel to San Antonio, Texas. Then, they will fly home, and the other half will fly in and continue their trip to Jacksonville, Fla.

They hope to find a sponsor to send all of the students to Washington DC to have their car displayed at the Capital building at the end of their successful demonstration run.

“I feel that kids under the right tutelage can get more engaged,” added Brisbin. “This is one of the more inspiring things you will ever get to be a part of.”

MINDDRIVE Mentor and Marketing Strategist, Linda Buchner commented that, “Having a driver's license will give our students a lot more freedom as well as the potential for getting jobs. Many are old enough but haven't had the motivation to go ahead and get the license.”

And KCPD driving instructors will get to have a hand in pushing them toward that self-reliance.

To learn more about MINDDRIVE, visit their web site at http://minddrive.org.


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