NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Students in Hampton Roads are strengthening their literacy skills with the help of law enforcement.

In Newport News, Sheriff Gabe Morgan and members of his command staff commit one hour a week to tutoring children. The Life Enrichment Center started the program, which has expanded to two dozen schools in Hampton Roads.

Sheriff Morgan dedicates one hour a week to tutoring the same 2nd grade student every week at McIntosh Elementary School.

“If we want kids to be successful, sometimes we have to put in some extra time,” he said.

Sheriff Morgan helps the student with spelling, reading and forming sentences. He says a good education can lead to smart choices in life.

“We know that about 25 percent of all the children not reading on the level by 3rd grade end up in trouble with the law,” Sheriff Morgan said. “How do we disrupt that pipeline that leads children to prison, to jail, to all of the bad outcomes? And one of the ways we do that is that we ensure that kids get a good education.”

The Life Enrichment Center is a non-profit organization that connects elementary students reading below their grade level from local Title I Schools with mentors like Sheriff Morgan. The goal is to get the selected students up to speed for their age.

“They know that the only reason that you’re here is for them. It’s not for anybody else, not the other student. It’s them,” Sheriff Morgan said.

The same mentor meets with the same student once a week for one hour for the entire academic year.

This is the second year of literacy tutoring in Newport News schools. For a full list of participating schools and to learn more about becoming a tutor yourself, visit the Life Enrichment Center’s website.