Bridging the Communication Gap

This is Officer Mat Aragon, Officer Aragon created the Legacy Adult Learning Program in partnership with Legacy Creekside, an Irvine school that works with adults with developmental disabilities and provides them with a working understanding of life skills.

During a meeting with the school, it became apparent that there were communication gaps that needed to be addressed between the students, teachers, parents, and law enforcement. Traditionally, this could have been handled a variety of ways: a community meeting; a bulletin issued to parents with information for their children; or a meeting with the school staff. Officer Aragon understood that there was a greater need to assist these students, whose communication abilities range from high-functioning to completely non-verbal. 

Officer Aragon created an entire curriculum that was designed for the students with the goal in mind to teach them trust and communication when they encounter emergency first responders.

Upon completion of the program the student participants were given an opportunity to participate in a carnival. Local police and fire personnel were in attendance and the program participants were able to put their new found skills to work, interacting with and conversing with emergency first responders. Students who were originally afraid and unable to talk to a police officer were now happy to see them, some students began talking in class for the first time since the program started.

The effects Officer Aragon had on this group of young adults will no doubt serve them well for the rest of their lives. It has made them better citizens and has allowed a new comfort level in dealing with first responders.

Officer Aragon then put the entire curriculum into a well-organized, detailed, and easy to follow document for future instructors of this course. As a result of Officer Aragon pioneering this project, a portion of our community now feels supported and connected with the police department and the City. 

We would like to take a moment to commend and congratulate Officer Aragon for recently receiving Employee of the Year for the entire City of Irvine! Way to go Officer Aragon!

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