Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Manager, 509.625.6308
Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 3:39 p.m.
This summer more than 450 kids went to camp in our local parks and many of the camp counselors were Spokane police officers.
“The Spokane Police Activities League really is focusing on building bridges between kids and police officers,” Officer Jennifer DeRuwe explained.
For six weeks youngsters were coached by cops and other volunteers as they played basketball and other park-friendly sports.
The kids learned core values like respect and honesty and that they shouldn’t fear police but instead look at officers as people they can trust.
“I learned that if you ever see one you can always ask them for help. You don’t have to be afraid if you see them,” Izaiah Rowe said.
The kids graduated at a recent ceremony in Liberty Park, but their experiences at the City weren’t over. Officials from the Spokane Public Library then invited PAL participants if they’d like to spend the last two weeks of their summer vacation doing something smart.
“After we have these children for six weeks in a PAL program, there’s still a little summer left. So what better to do with that time than introduce them to the library and everything it has to offer,” Jacquelyn MacConnell, the Director of the Spokane Police Department’s strategic initiatives said.
The program is called “PAL After Park” and is hosting kids at the Hillyard, East Side and Downtown Library branches.
“We have 3-D printing for the kids, and we have a demonstration of that. We also have a sandbox where they can experiment with topography and how the mountains and the rivers form against each other when you build up the sand which is really fun,” said Sarah Bain of Spokane Public Libraries, listing some of the activities that are planned
PAL After Park is funded in part by proceeds from the Mayor’s Our Town Gala & Ball. Mayor David Condon feels exposing kids to all the fun and resources they can find at our public libraries will help broaden their horizons and their thirst for knowledge.
“For kids, the library should be more than just a stack of books,” Mayor Condon said. “I’m excited that the kids who have been involved in the Police Activities League will finish up their summer inside the library. It’s a new and different way to connect with them.” The best thing about our public libraries is that they offer equal access to information and entertainment, regardless of where someone lives.
MacConnell noted that exposing the PAL kids to the library will provide them with opportunity and access to information well beyond the summer. As they move into the new school year, they will have a better understanding of how they can get help and resources to help them.