When Ja’Quary grows up, he wants to be a police officer like his “Big Sister,” Lieutenant Sally Lannom. “I want to put bad guys away,” he said. “Well, they’re not bad people, they’ve just done bad things. She taught me that.”
For the last five years, Lieutenant Lannom has worked to expand the youth outreach unit at the Dallas Police Department. Recently retired after 34 years of service, she saw becoming a mentor in the Bigs and Blue initiative as a natural fit. The national program connects youth with police in the community to help build stronger bonds between law enforcement and the families they serve and to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
Lieutenant Lannom visits her “Little,” Ja’Quary, at his school about once a week. An active second-grader, he loves to play football. Recently, they spent an hour adding to his “memory box” and picking their favorite March Madness teams. They both rooted for Loyola University. “You have to root for the underdog,” Lieutenant Lannom said.
When Ja’Quary grows up, he wants to be a police officer like his “Big Sister,” Lieutenant Sally Lannom.
For more than 90 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Dallas’ mentorship programs have partnered children with adult volunteers who provide friendship and mentoring. The relationships are monitored and supported to ensure a positive impact. One-third of children served are from low-income families with a single-parent household.
Ja’Quary, who lives with his mother and three other siblings, has had disciplinary issues at school, but he is working to address them. He is a little too active, Lieutenant Lannom said. To give him something to look forward to and encourage him to improve his behavior, she promised to bring a squad car to his school.
He kept his promise, so she kept hers. His face beamed as he looked back and forth between his “Big Sister” and the vehicle.
As Lieutenant Lannom walked him back to his class, she reminded him to “flip the switch.”
“That’s kind of our code now to help him refocus and take a different path rather than get upset, act out and end up in trouble,” she said.
Make a difference in your community and create a relationship like Officer Lannom and Ja’Quary by becoming a Big today. For more info about becoming a donor or mentor, visit https://www.bbbstx.org/dallas/get-involved/