NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Wednesday was graduation day for a group of young New Yorkers who spent part of their summer learning about police work and the criminal justice system.
The NYPD Explorers Program held a graduation celebration at One Police Plaza for more than 175 participants and their families.
The students, who range in age from 14 to 20 and hail from all five boroughs, took part in a three-week experience that included team-building exercises, leadership experiences, and life skills training.
The program culminated in a trip to Camp Keowa in Sullivan County with members of the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies.
The NYPD's Law Enforcement Explorers program provides young men and women from the city's diverse communities with an introduction to a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system.
The program also helps strengthen ties between the community and police.
Interest and participation in the program soared after the brutal 2018 murder of 15-year-old Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz, who was a proud and active Explorer and dreamed of one day becoming a detective.
"I was like, oh my God, I never envisioned myself doing this," graduate Nathalie Abreu said.
She received a special scholarship named after Junior and said she gained a sense of community she hopes to pass on to other kids.
"I want to let them know, being from where I'm from, it's OK to do these types of things," she said. That it shouldn't be something that's scary, and they can accomplish so much more."
Some of the Explorers will go on and make a career out of Law Enforcement. For now, Abreu has others plans and will start classes at Barnard in September.
"Right now, I want to focus on neuroscience research and base my studies in that field," she said. "A pre med track."
And for the potential Dr. Abreu, the sky is the limit.
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