by Jalil Boulahssas
The majority of Stuart students know Officer Mario Colorado as the school’s resource officer, however many students know him as an essential factor in their day to day safety and as key in the betterment of our community.
Colorado’s aspirations of becoming a police officer grew during his time at Edison High School in nearby Alexandria. Growing up in a time in which drug use and violent crime were consistently prevalent, he began to feel the need for change.
“I just felt like I wanted to involve myself in a career that was action-oriented, where I felt I could make a difference and serve my community,” he says. After graduating from high school in 1991, he continued working towards becoming a police officer, first at Northern Virginia Community College and later at George Mason University.
“I’ve been a police officer for eighteen years and [being an SRO] is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job,” he says about working at Stuart.
As if serving the community as a police officer wasn’t enough, Officer Colorado is also heavily involved in volunteering through The New Hope Church. The church has a long track record of service projects fueled by its strong belief in serving the community. Not only has The New Hope Church helped its surrounding areas, it has extended its aid overseas.
Officer Colorado played a crucial part in this year’s summer mission trip. He and a small team of volunteers traveled to a remote village in Haiti. There, the team worked to improve the living conditions of sixty children at an orphanage.
“There was no electricity, no running water, none of the luxuries you can think of that we have here…half of the children slept in chicken coops.”
“They slept in these beds that were in the most deplorable condition you can imagine. They were latent with urine and in complete disarray,” says Colorado. So they started their work by bringing in thirty new mattresses for the children.
The group then began their construction in weather that Officer Colorado described as “code red conditions.” Despite several members, including Colorado, falling ill, it did not slow their progress. The men added a roof to the multi-purpose room, giving the children a sheltered place to eat, as well as a new front gate to provide security, a new clothes line, two new soccer goals and a swing set, which most of the children had never seen before.
“It was a telling experience,” he says about his time in Haiti. His unique experiences in Haiti allow him to bring equally unique qualities to help the Stuart community.
What some students may not realize about Officer Colorado is that he spends his time at Stuart with the intention of bettering the community. “I’m here for the kids at Stuart and I want them to know that,” says Colorado about Stuart students. “Some kids might feel like I am their adversary,” he adds. “I want kids to know that we’re all human beings, we all make mistakes and I take that into consideration in the things that I do.”