Project Pneuma, Baltimore Police working to enrich young mens' lives

Posted at 11:51 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 07:08:51-05
Here's a feel good story for you. Twice a week, young officers from the Baltimore Police Department work out with young men from Project Pneuma. The organization is designed to cater to young men from a holistic approach but the bonds made are seldom broken. 
"It was a battle of the wills at Under Armour World Headquarters gym Thursday where the young men from Project Pneuma and the Baltimore Police Department duked it out to see who was the strongest.  But it was more than just a great workout, it teaches important life lessons. 
"What we're doing is building bridges before we need them when i say that we have officers interacting with young men and not in a law enforcement capacity, not in an enforcement capacity," said Lt. Jarron Jackson of the Baltimore Police Department.
But in a capacity that helps the young men learn, grow stay healthy and trust authority.
"We take these young men and we partner them up with trainees who are essentially young police officers and essentially having them grow up together, Jackson said.
"We try to work with young men who have disciplinary issues and help curb some of those impulse actions we teach them deep breathing techniques, yoga, mindfulness, wrestling and martial arts," said Damian Cooper, Project Pneuma executive director, said.
His personal story encourages him every day to take the young men of Project Pneuma under his wing.
"I was shot and the man  that shot me, I actually forgave him and so if I forgave the man who shot me, I can teach these young men to forgive society today," Cooper said.
He believes in therapy for the mind, body and soul but also teaching these boys that they should have a trusting relationship with the police. 
"We know we cant arrest our way out of the crime problem we know we need a holistic approach of healing the city and building relationships," Jackson said.
And the kids are really benefiting.
"I definitely learned that it's a select few police officers that do their jobs wrong I don't think everybody does their job wrong," said participant Nigel Cooper.
"They're building the bonds of trust, love, and camaraderie and as you can see, it's all love here," Cooper said.