Oklahoma City police and community leaders host annual ‘Man Up Retreat’ for metro high schoolers

United Voice

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “Most of us wouldn’t trust police if this wasn’t happening,” said high schooler Marrin Johnson. 

The FACT (Family Awareness and Community Teamwork) team with the Oklahoma City Police Department is dedicated to help build that trust. 

“We try to tell them that police work is what we do, it’s not who we are,” said Lt. Wayland Cubit, FACT Director. 

Their mission is to turn young high schoolers into men. 

“It’s a team of officers, a whole unit, dedicated to mentoring inner city youth,” said Lt. Cubit. 

Each year, the FACT team partners with community mentors to host the ‘Man Up Retreat.’

“We want to engage youth where they are. We want to build a relationship with them, and then do what we can to create good character in those young men,” said Lt. Cubit. 

“They talked to us, how to be a man, a leader, responsibility,” said Johnson. 

Upwards of 25 young men spend the weekend with police officers and community leaders. 

“They actually have a lot of feelings about the police when they come, and they have a whole different understanding when they leave,” said Lt. Cubit. 

KFOR spoke with three young men who attended this year’s retreat. 

They called the experience life changing. 

“To teach you how to be a man, and how asking for certain things, you don’t have to be scared for,” said another high schooler Michael Reyes. 

Each has their own background and life experience, but they come together and realize they also have a lot of similarities. 

“It taught me how to be a man, and take care of certain responsibilities, and be accountable for my mistakes and my actions,” said another student Zinari Waldrup. 

Cubit says they host this retreat every year and each year brings a new significance. 

“More often, we get phone calls from their parents saying ‘what did you do to my young man, he’s making up his bed, he’s doing his homework,’ and all those types of things,” said Lt. Cubit. 

They host a retreat for women as well. 

Usually the retreats are hosted during Spring Break. 

United Voice mission statement: A coalition of Oklahoma’s media outlets, brought together in a united voice to promote a healthy dialogue on race.

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