The sun is shining, the field is filled with around 400 kids, and the parade of police cars, motorcycles, and bikes begins around the track at the Boys & Girls Club. The cops turn on their lights and sirens as the kids cheer with delight. Then K9 Ringo gets in the action with a staged "bad guy" scene. A little girl next to me screams "I am totally going to be a police officer when I grow up!"
This was the dramatic start to Cops 4 Kids Day, held on May 8th at the Cherry Avenue Boys & Girls Club. The police continued to engage the crowd of kids by participating in relay races through a bounce-house maze, showing the kids through the vehicles, putting on police-themed temporary tattoos, doing the limbo, shooting nerf guns at targets, dancing, playing corn-hole, and leading a game of "red light green light," and all the while they were breaking down barriers that often exist between young people and the police. Even the teens got in the action by participating in the 3-on-3 basketball tournament. This year the kids beat the cops in the final game of the tournament! Everyone enjoyed dinner by Wayside Chicken, treats from the ice cream truck, music and bubbles by the DJ, and raffle prizes. Parents were welcomed to join us for the dinner and fun when picking up their children at the Club.
This program has been a continued success each year, and the CPF could not make it happen without the B&GC program staff, the Charlottesville Police Officers, volunteers who show up to help, and our donors whose generosity and enthusiasm have kept this program running each year. We are grateful for everyone's support.