In a unique partnership created through the Harris County High School (HCHS) Work-Based Learning program, local law enforcement and a local business are partnering to benefit the high school’s public safety program.
Recently, William Pendergraph, Kimble’s vice president-correctional division, and Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley, visited Seth Bierman, HCHS public safety teacher, during a class on constitutional rights, to present a donation to the program. Kimble’s of LaGrange, Ga., presented the HCHS Public Safety program with a check for $540.88. This follows the first donation in 2019 of $500, which launched the partnership.
“I live in Harris County. When I participated in Leadership Harris County through the Chamber, the experience included a tour of the high school and its programs, including the public safety program. In all our years of working with detention facilities, including the Harris County Jail, I had never seen any law enforcement program in a high school such as this one. It was after that tour that I called Sheriff Jolley and said that we wanted to support this program,” Pendergraph shared.
At that time, they designed a program to donate two percent – or two cents – of every dollar spent on concessions at the Harris County Jail to the HCHS public safety program. Those inside the facility are provided with cards that family members can load money onto, which can be used to purchase items like snacks, clothing, emails, etc. The school uses the funds to purchase materials and equipment for classroom instruction.
With regards to the donation amount, Pendergraph shared, “At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a decrease in those in jails; however, it is now picking back up. We anticipate the average donation to the program to be around $1,000 each year.”
“Being involved with those incarcerated, we want to do what we can to give back,” said Pendergraph. “We have a number of programs in place to help those incarcerated, but we also look for ways to benefit the law enforcement side as well as ways to inspire people to make good choices to stay out of detention centers. This partnership is a win-win.”
Since the original meeting of representatives from the school, Harris County Chamber of Commerce, Sheriff Jolley’s office, and Kimbles, in addition to the donation program from Kimbles, the Sheriff’s office has donated a law enforcement vehicle to the program for class-related training and there is a possibility of the Sheriff’s office creating an internship opportunity for next school year.
For information on how to make financial or monetary donations to any program in the Harris County School District, email email@example.com.