Officials launch new “community van” program

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI)- The Rhode Island State Police, along with several other community agencies, officially launched a new statewide initiative Wednesday morning.

The Community Van program sent 30 high school students from Woonsocket, Cranston, Providence, East Providence, Pawtucket and Johnston to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Students left from the Salvation Army on Broad Street at 6 a.m. today. The group will take an all day tour of West Point and visit the barracks there. They will also learn about the admission process and meet with the school’s superintendent. The day will also include a stop at West Point Cemetary to visit the graves of Rhode Island soldiers killed in battle.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed coordinated the trip on the student’s behalf.

Colonel Steven O’Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police said that programs like these will help teach young people to respect law enforcement, while also learning about the leadership and discipline needed to go into the armed forces.

The initiative was developed by Colonel Steven O’Donnell and Kobi Dennis, of community outreach group Project Night Vision. The group chose the students who got to embark on today’s trip based on their potential and interest to succeed in a military academy.

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