Thanks to the Growth Through Opportunity (GTO) Cadet program, Virginians with disabilities are developing life and career skills to reach their independent living goals. By volunteering at the law enforcement organizations, such as the Western Virginia Regional Jail and the Roanoke Police Department, they get the real-world experiences they need to transition into the workforce.

Becoming a Cadet, Uniform and All

Designed for young adults, the four-month-long program enables cadets to volunteer for up to 12 hours a week. Each cadet gets a uniform and works alongside officers to hone their experience for their unique interests and independent living goals. Upon graduation, cadets often transition into paid employment.

Each cadet also has to participate in daily physical activity. By being active, the cadets learn the importance of physical fitness to their overall well-being.

Integrating Into the Criminal Justice World

Cadets of the GTO program have sat alongside judges during an active court session, received self-defense training and riot-control training, and toured courthouses.

By collaborating with Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Bedford Police Dept, Bedford County Fire/EMS, Blue Ridge Regional Jail and the Virginia State Police, GTO immerses cadets into the full experience of working in the criminal justice field.

To learn more about the GTO Cadet Program, visit the GTO Cadets Facebook page.

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