Keaton Fox, NBC 5 News
A group of Fort Worth police officers are moving beyond law enforcement and helping people they encounter on the streets.
Two Fort Worth police officers have set out to change the course of homeless children and teenagers.
Cpl. Tracey Knight and Officer Julie Cox have started the support group Project Success 1. It aims to get children off the street and on a path to a brighter future.
"I would rather help them learn a skill, go to school, go to college, than put them in jail," Knight said.
"These homeless youth are going to be the homeless adults that we deal with in the next 10 years," Cox said.
Cox and Knight bring the kids into a safe environment and teach skills from accounting to carpentry, as well as offer expressive outlets such as painting.
"The kids don't typically like the police," Cox said. "Any time we come into their lives, it has been something negative that's been attached to that. We're there when their parents got taken away, when there was a death in the family and, typically not a death, but a homicide."
Living on the streets is a tough life for any adult, but starting life as a child with little food and no shelter can lead to a life of pitfalls.
"There are a lot more resources available for homeless adults than there are for homeless youth," Knight said. "There's no homeless shelter's available for kids. Finding housing for children is impossible almost, so there's a need out there."
The program is not financed through the department but solely relies on donations.
"I want to change lives," Cox said. "And not me as a person, but I want our program to do something that's big, because I think these kids deserve it."