DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County students are out of school all week, but some volunteered their time Tuesday morning to bring holiday meals to families in need.
It's an annual event for the Criminal Justice Academy students at Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education
Driving through Delray Beach on a mission too serve, one meal at a time.
"I feel really good because not everyone is capable of getting something or can afford something," student Alair Thomas said.
Thomas is a proud member of the Criminal Justice Academy at Atlantic Community High School.
"I'm thinking of becoming a police officer in the future. So I want to get my face out in the community and all that good stuff," Thomas said.
Thomas is one of more than a dozen cadets giving back to his neighbors during the holiday break from school.
The students fundraise throughout the year to provide meals for 16 families in need in Delray Beach. When they get that delivery, it comes with a turkey and all the side dishes for a great Thanksgiving dinner
"It shows you that you are not actually here, like, against crimes or to deal with crimes," Thomas said. "You are here for the community and to serve and protect the community. So they know they are safe and they know you are there for them."
"It teaches them structure," said Officer Robin Moschette with the Delray Beach Police Department.
Moschette leads the academy and said events like this help show these students another side of policing.
"Some of them have been through the negative side of law enforcement, and they get to see it’s not all negative," Moschette said. "That’s the great part about the program because we’re able to change the perception that these kids see police officers as."
Sophomore Amrita Ramrup said she's gained confidence and leadership skills with her fellow cadets.
"It teaches us a lot of interpersonal skills and how to interact with the community, especially when some of the kids here want to be officers or want to pursue any sort of law enforcement degree," Ramrup said.
But days like this are the highlight.
"I love seeing the smiles on their faces," Ramrup said. "It’s honestly such a great thing to witness."
If students participate in the Criminal Justice Academy all four years of high school, they graduate with nine college credits and a certificate to be a community service officer. That gives them the ability to be hired right after graduation.
The deadline to apply to this and other Choice and Career Programs for next school year is Jan. 27. For more information, click here.