HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Leaders in our community are trying to lay an early foundation for students to make better choices through a program called Project LEAD.
If you're not a teacher or don't work in the court system, it may surprise you how often younger kids tend to put themselves in dangerous situations.
So local leaders came up with Project LEAD, a program specifically for kids to help lead them in the right direction.
This interactive program was first introduced to fifth graders at Conway Elementary School last school year as a pilot.
Now attorneys, prosecutors and police teach kids about the criminal justice system every week for one hour.
It's a project that stemmed from a similar one in California, so leaders decided to bring the same idea closer to home.
Tuesday, Conway Mayor Barbara Bellamy talked to kids about staying away from trouble with the law and how going to jail or committing a crime can follow you for years.
She also chatted about being smart not only in school, but even after the bell rings.
She says they just hope to be another source of information outside of their parents, school and church.
"Middle school is a big rite of passage and is the time where children tend to become more swayed by peers and parents and we want to take a last grab at them before that becomes what is real to them," Bellamy said.
There are currently 30 elementary schools in both Horry and Georgetown counties, but as of now county leaders only visit with seven.
The goal is to keep expanding the program to try and reach every 5th grader in our community.