CINCINNATI - Twelve students from Rothenberg School in Mt. Auburn received diplomas Saturday for completing a boot camp style program by Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig.
The pilot program is called Children in Trauma Intervention or C.I.T.I. Craig based it off a similar program from Los Angeles where he worked prior to Cincinnati.
The three month program began in Jan. 2012 with 26 students from the 7th and 8th grade who were having troubles at home and school. Cincinnati Police officers volunteered their time to train the students in physical fitness. Their work also included drug prevention, problem solving and self esteem.
"The success of this city camp is based one thing. This is what makes this effort so different. One thing. and that's called love. We love you," said Craig. "Parents, we love you too."
Half the students from the original group made it to graduation day at the Sentinel Police Association on Saturday. Twelve year old Darian Lattimore was among the graduates.
"The program changed him a whole lot," said Belinda Lattimore, Darian's mother. "We were having problems. He was having problems in school and the camp taught him about self discipline and respect, respect for himself, respect for me and for the neighborhood that he lives in."
An unlikely mentor also took part in graduation day. Bengals cornerback Adam Jones was invited by Craig to take part in the program. Jones said he used his own legal troubles from his past as a motivation for the students.
"I try to give back as much as I can and I'm really emotional right now because they know how much I care about them. I don't know if you all know but when I am with them it's a great time," said Jones.
Cincinnati Police will soon begin training students at South Avondale Middle School. Their program is scheduled to begin in May.