Moving from one community to another can be a challenge for anyone. Being a young man not only moving from a familiar community but from one country to another can be daunting, especially when a new language is involved. Consequently, the Lewiston Police Department, in coordination with the Quebec Junior Major Hockey League, is forming a mentoring program designed to bring their officers together with players for the purpose of helping the team transition from Canada to the U.S.

Lewiston Police Chief William Welch describes the program as a resource for the players as they join the community and learn about their new surroundings and the laws of a different country. According to Welch, the mentoring program has already proven successful in Canada.

“We have already had some officers express an interest in working with the players. They’ll serve as role models, making themselves available to spend time with the players, and serving as a sounding board for questions and concerns the players may have.” Welch elaborates. “We’ll just be another group of people these young men can count on for support, a community extension of their billet families.”

The Lewiston Police Department has already worked with the Lewiston MAINEiacs players to review U. S. laws as they relate to driving, curfew and drinking. It is a role the department lends itself to easily.

“We work closely with Youth & Family Services and the DARE program, and, of course, Officer Friendly visits in the schools,” adds Welch. “We’ve been called upon to help a child with a homework problem as well as listen to a young person tell us about problems at home.”

Welch and his officers look forward to working with the team organization and the players. “We’ll be learning as much or more about their culture as they’ll be learning about ours” he added.

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