HOMER - On Friday, Banks County Sheriff Carlton Speed and others from his office celebrated the roll-out of the CHAMPS program in the county.
Banks County fifth-grade students will be the first to have the opportunity to participate in the Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety (CHAMPS) program.
With 23 years of experience in the school system, the program instructor, School Resource Officer Ken Mize will be leading the program.
"The program wil be taught at Banks County Elementary School for 10 weeks beginning on Sept. 3, with the graduation being held in January 2014," Mize said.
To celebrate and kick off the new program, Speed, Chief Deputy Shawn Wilson, Capt. Jeff Gribble and Deputy Carissa McFaddin delivered surplus military parachutes with an embroidered CHAMPS logo to both Banks County Elementary School and Banks County Primary School on Friday.
Speed's objective is to see children participate in healthy activities that are drug-free, non-violent, and that promote safety.
"The youth of Banks County are significant not only to me, but also to my entire agency," Speed said. "They truly are the future of this community. Through this program, students will receive an opportunity in education that will promote intelligent and promising decision-making skills throughout their life."
The mission of CHAMPS is to provide an educational program to Georgia's youth that will provide guidance, and the skills, ability, and knowledge to be safe, happy and healthy, helping to prepare them for a successful life.
The CHAMPS program was developed through the Georgia Sheriff's Association Inc. in 2003, after sheriffs throughout the state approached the organization for help in developing a flexible health and safety education program that could be taught in local schools.
Targeting fifth-grade students, the CHAMPS program currently includes 23 modules, but each sheriff's office - working in partnership with local school officials - determines which modules are appropriate for the county's students.