By CLAY NEELY | Aug. 17, 2019 – 9:57 PM

This fall, the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office is aiming to raise funds for Project Students Are For Education (SAFE).

On Oct. 25, the third annual SAFE Clays for Kids Tournament will be held at Blalock Lakes. All proceeds from the tournament will go directly to Project SAFE, a course taught by school resource officers to all fifth-graders in the Coweta County School System.

Lt. Jamie Hixson stands with recent graduates from the S.A.F.E. program at Moreland Elementary. The program is designed to cover topics like self-esteem, bullying, internet safety and staying in school and handling stress and disagreements without violence, as well as avoiding drugs.

Capt. Stephen Crook oversees the 12-week program. As fifth-graders prepare to enter middle school, Crook said the program is designed to cover topics like self-esteem, bullying, internet safety and staying in school and handling stress and disagreements without violence, as well as avoiding drugs.

In addition, it gives students the opportunity to forge relationships with members of law enforcement in a comfortable environment. By helping instill confidence in students, they’re prone to make better decisions, Crook said.

“The program really works,” Crook said. “I’ve had several parents thank us because their child will tell them about a scenario they encountered and how they handled it. I know that’s happened to other officers, too.”

Using its own bank account, separate from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Project SAFE is accountable for its own resources and provides T-shirts and certificates of completion to all of the program’s graduates – over 1,200 students each year.

“While the sheriff’s office pays our salaries, the rest of our program is funded entirely by donations, contributions and fundraising events,”Crook said.

The cost of the tournament is $80 per person or $320 per team. Sponsorship of a station is $100. Food, drinks and snacks will be provided for individuals and teams before, during and after the tournament.

Trophies will be presented to first-, second- and third-place winners.

Participants must provide their own shotguns, preferably 12- or 20-gauge, but shotgun shells will be included.

The deadline for team entry and payment is Sept. 27.

All questions and registration may be directed to Capt. Stephen Crook at the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office at 770-253-1502.