“I didn’t want to sign up at first,” he said. “I was kind of resistant.”
Michel got into a situation at school, so his mother went to the nearest precinct, the 88th Precinct, just a few blocks from his home. She got in touch with a police officer, who introduced Michel to the program.
Now at age 15, Michel loves the Explorers program because he believes it will be helpful for his future.
“You learn mechanisms to use to not only help yourself, but help others,” he said. “You can always bring this back to your peers, so you get to learn how to become a role model over time.”
According to the NYPD, the program, geared toward people ages 14 to 20, teaches the importance of higher education, self-discipline and respect. They learn not only law enforcement and leadership skills, but also participate in community service projects and other events.
Michel, who wants to be a detective, said he has met many city officials, from the commissioner all the way up to the mayor.
“That was kind of surreal. He runs New York, so that was a big deal,” he said. “I had to get my A-game on for that one.
“There’s nothing better than learning from the best,” he added. “They teach me certain leadership roles I should have as a person and a young male.”
More importantly, the Explorers program gave the Brooklyn teen a sense of family in Blue.
“It’s really a great thing, especially with all of the social injustice that’s been going on,” Michel said. “It’s great to know I’m in this family.”