Monday, March 31, 2008


"Through the trees", originally uploaded by Cordileran.

"It is better to be alone than in bad company." ~ George Washington

Influence. It's what shaped George Washington's life decisions that eventually led to his becoming President of the United States.

Washington lost his father at the age of 11, and had to cease his formal education to help support the family. His half-brother Lawrence,who was 14 years older, became his mentor.

Through the influence of Lawrence, George learned to become a skilled outdoorsman. He may have developed an early interest in leading men by hearing Lawrence's accounts of military life. The experience and skills he gained led to an opportunity to join a surveying team. The knowledge of the region that he learned as a surveyor helped George immensely years later when he trained and led troops.

Lawrence also introduced George to his extended family who took a great liking to him, and through their influence he was able to pursue a position in the militia. He took on greater responsibilities after his brother died, as he left him his estate, Mount Vernon. Before he was 20 years old, Lt. Washington was commanding a military regiment, and understanding the impact of his influence on others.

Influence is also what led to the planting of several thousand trees in Washington, D.C. that became the annual "Cherry Blossom Festival", an event that provides spectators with a gorgeous display at this time of year.

A 24 year effort on the part of one woman with an idea, a plan and the ability to influence, culminated in her correspondence with the First Lady, Helen Herron Taft, wherein Eliza Scidmore outlined her vision for 300 Japanese flowering cherry trees to beautify the Tidal Basin.

Mrs. Taft immediately loved the idea, and a few days later was able to secure the commitment of 2,000 additional trees. Today, over 3,500 cherry trees of different varieties embellish the Nation's Capitol along the Potomac.

Most people have never heard of Eliza Scidmore or Lawrence Washington. Yet they left their mark by their influence on others.

Influence is what we're under every day, at all times, and what we're always doing. It's important to be aware of influence* when we're involved in motivating others. When we act, especially when we handle challenges, we have an opportunity to be a positive influence on their lives.

* Things for leaders to consider: Who was the greatest positive influence on your life? Who is influencing your life now? Are those influences compatible or not? How is that impacting your life? What kind of influence are you on others?

Sunday, March 30, 2008


"optimism", originally uploaded by sapaho.

“It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.

"So it is."

"And freezing."

"Is it?"

"Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately.”

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Instilling Positive Values in Kids

One of the most important gifts an adult can give a child is to teach them good values. Consistent relationships with adults who behave with integrity is essential for their character development.

Some children lack this quality of relationship with their parents, or the primary adults in their lives, and it plays a part in their behavior. Other adults who come into contact with these children can have a constructive role in their development when they offer what is needed, positive youth-adult connections, where kids can observe good values put into action.

We're in the process of planning a series of programs that engage youth with supportive Law Enforcement Officers in a dynamic learning environment. The goal of this program is to teach and reinforce good values in youth, strengthening their internal compasses that can result in better decisions.

“Instilling Positive Values” is one of the key “developmental assets” or essential building blocks that research has shown has a positive impact on the lives of youth. They provide a foundation for kids as they grow. Good adult role models can provide young people with guidance as they put the values they’re learning into practice. These connections provide a safety net that is especially important during the teen years.

Assuming we're able to secure all of the required resources, we plan to engage city youth with Law Enforcement Officers in a series of Adult/Teen Dialogue Sessions. Four groups of 20 youth (up to 80) will have an opportunity to go through the program, along with four groups of 10 Law Enforcement Officers (up to 40) who will assume the role of “Asset Builders”. Young people living on the Northside of Syracuse will be targeted as a priority, as will the Officers who work in the community with youth and families in various capacities. But any teen or Officer who expresses an interest in participating is encouraged to contact us.

Each of four six hour programs will begin with a three hour “Teen Night Out”, where youth will be guided by facilitators in ice-breakers and skill building exercises. These fun and challenging group activities will prepare the youth to assume leadership roles as the session progresses. In the next three hour session the following day, teens will practice what they learned by leading Officer’s through an Adult/Teen Dialogue to build greater understanding and strengthen these relationships.

The primary outcome of this program is to reinforce the value of treating others with dignity and respect in participants, and show them how to put this into practice. By getting to know one another as individuals, discussing past experiences with each other and their perceptions, communicating effectively and other learning opportunities, participants will learn to value others as individuals, and treat them with dignity and respect.

The program will be available on a first-come, first served basis, giving priority to teens living on the Northside of Syracuse and Officers who are engaged with youth and their families. While we regularly involve city kids in events throughout the year, this program is particularly suited to tweens and teens.

We want to make this opportunity available to any interested and motivated young person who wants to be involved in a positive program that will give them a foundation for their short and long term development. $3,500 in funding will make that a reality for up to 80 city youth this year who will receive an experience that can make a positive impact on their lives. Equipping them with tools needed to make better decisions can result in a healthier community for all.

We have sought funding for this program from 9WSYR's "Oprah's Big Give CNY" giveaway. Supporters who partner with us in the planning stage of this endeavor can make this program available to more young people in our community.

If you are interested in learning more or want to participate, email us or call (315)471-3257.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thinkin' Orange

Four years ago Tuesday night, Orange fans.


Yep, we're a lil let down.

Since the Orange hoop season is officially over, and winter's hanging on for dear life, why not take a kid to a Syracuse Men's Lacrosse game? They're having another winning season. (Editor's Note: This just in: The Orange were ranked number #1 in the country after their win last Saturday against Loyola.)

The schedule includes a lot of Saturday and Sunday afternoon games, and one Friday nighter coming up. If they keep up this pace, they'll make it well past the regular season and give us an encore.

Did you know youth tickets (age 14 and younger) are only $4?

For $10 a child can be given a membership in 'Cuse Kids . That gets them into all Men's Lax and Women's Hoops games for free, plus other bennies, like t-shirts and chances to be rubbin' elbows with Otto. (Does he have 'em?)

We know kids who would love to be taken to the Dome with an adult or a family. If you'd like to make a connection, give Officer Clarke a call at (315)471-3257.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Teens Enjoy Easter Party.

"DSC03997", originally uploaded by northsidepolice.

These happy faces were among those of the many children who attended the event last Thursday, ranging in age from 6 months to over 16 years old.

You can make a difference in the life of a child. These are simple actions every adult can take to give kids what they need.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

["Bloomin Crocus's! (Croci ?) (Crocus' ?"), by Allie's.Dad.]

Seneca reminds us that in order for something new to begin, the old has to end.

The seasons are like that. On this Easter Monday, winter doesn't seems to want to let go even though the first day of spring arrived last Friday.

In spite of the cold, we can see all the signs of spring as plants force their way through the soil. The days are lengthening and they're sunnier. The robins have appeared and are at work. The change of seasons takes quite an effort.

Part of the change is taking actions to turn away from the old season. It is time for spring.

We'd like to help winter end by removing it's reminders. We need a spring cleaning.

A lot of debris blew around the last few days with the high winds. The road dust has accumulated on the walkway and windows, and has been tracked indoors. Seeing this every day is a reminder of the old season when we're thinking of the new.

Would you help us? We could use some hands to pick up the debris that has collected outside. The windows need to be washed. The brick walls and sidewalks need a hose-down with a pressure washer.

Inside, our carpets need to be cleaned. A thorough spring cleaning by a skilled crew would be great.

If you can assist us with any of the above or in some other way, please give us a call at 471-3257. Thanks!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Smiles Light Up the Center

As flurries flew through the skies outside, spring colors and little smiles brightened the atmosphere inside the Police Center Thursday night as approximately 300 people, including over 150 children, enjoyed our Easter party.

Tens of dozens of eggs were supplied for the children to dye in an assortment of colors. Adults gave guidance and encouragement as kids used the variety of inks, stickers and crayons provided to create unique designs.

Fresh Hoffman hotdogs, hamburgers and Italian sausage were barbequed by volunteers who braved the gusty winds for several hours in order to ensure everyone enjoyed their main fare hot off the grill. Party-goers received their choices on fresh rolls aside chips. All was downed with Kool-Aid and the meal was topped off with plenty of candy.

The Easter Bunny greeted children and posed with many of them for photos. Each child received a brightly decorated basket to take home, filled with candy, toys and other seasonal treats.

Parents and children were encouraged to visit the new Web site. Many children expressed enthusiasm about being able to access and comment on the event photos, whether that's from school, the library or home. Some provided their email addresses to receive event notices and other announcements. Others were interested in providing feedback through comments.

We thank the many volunteers, donors, supporters and others for their generous contributions that made this event possible.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A Chairde,
Dear Friends,

On Saturday morning, the road rose to meet Officer Clarke and his fellow officers who marched in the St. Patrick's parade. Others led the procession in squad cars, and many were at work to keep the parade route clear and traffic flowing smoothly.

The Syracuse Kiltie Pipe Band provided the music that kicked off the parade, and the beat of the drums kept those who were marching in step. An enthusiastic crowd turned out to participate in this annual tradition, and gathered along the route to wave and cheer. The skies were cloudy but the temperature was fairly mild for the middle of March. The rain held off until well after they had completed the route, and even then it fell softly on us like a mist. The luck of the Irish was with us.

For our out of town readers who may not be familiar with this event, Syracuse's St. Patrick's parade, in it's 26th year, is one of the largest per capita in the USA. Several in our community who devote(d) themselves to making life better for others, were honored as Grand Marshalls.

Now we're preparing for the children's Easter event on Thursday at 5pm at 255 Wolf Street. If you're available to help set-up on Wednesday or Thursday, or to help run the event on Thursday evening, please give us a call at 471-3257.

Go raibh míle maith agat!
May you have a thousand good things!


Ach is leor nod don eolach, a chairde:
seachnaígí an roth stiúrtha!

But a word to the wise, my friends:
Stay away from the steering wheel!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Officer Clarke's Early Spring Letter

Dear Supporter,

It seems like we just got back from our Ice-Fishing Trip and I am already sending out a letter for our Easter Party. The fishing was poor, but we all had a great time.

For the past 20 years I have been fishing on the other end of the lake at my camp. Now that I have sold my camp and purchased my Dad’s, I have to learn where to fish on his end of the lake. The good news is, I do know that the fishing is great when the ice is gone on Dad’s end of the Lake.

Our upcoming events include the Easter Party and our Annual Bullhead Fishing Trip. I will provide you with information on both to save from sending out another mailing.

By the way, our mailing list consists of over 2,000 businesses and individuals. The purpose of our mailings is to keep the community informed of the numerous programs offered at the Police Center and to allow folks the opportunity to assist us in making the programs possible. Please don’t feel obligated to assist us every time you receive a mailing. Most of our needs are met by 50-75 of you folks who support us at various times through out the year. Add to that several businesses and individuals who support us in a larger way and it seems the needs of our programs are almost always met.

This is a great testimony to the many wonderful people who make up our community. I truly enjoy working along side those of you who volunteer your time at our events. Many notes sent by others are stashed in a special place in my desk as meaningful keepsakes. Thank you all so much for your support.

Our Easter Party is scheduled for Thursday, March 20th, 2008 at 5:00pm. Area children come to the Police Center to color Easter Eggs and receive an Easter Basket. We cook hotdogs, hamburgers and provide drinks for everyone. The Easter Bunny will make an appearance at the party. Attendance seems to grow each year. It’s a busy but fun event.
If you would like to help, you may do so by providing any of the following:

  • Hotdogs, hamburgers, rolls, chips, ketchup, drinks
  • Eggs (we need lots of eggs)
  • Easter Egg coloring kits (deluxe - allow kids to make their own designs)
  • Easter candy (we need lots of candy)
  • Easter baskets or buckets
  • Cups, plates, napkins
  • Monetary donations (enable us to purchase needed items)
  • People to assist with cooking, serving, egg coloring, set up/clean up.

Another upcoming event will be our annual Bullhead Fishing Trip to Black Lake (date in April or May TBA). Each year we take some kids to my camp on Black Lake for a weekend of bullhead fishing. If you would like to help make this trip possible, we need the following:

  • Food for the weekend
  • Fishing poles, line, hooks, sinkers, worms, minnows etc.
  • Lantern fuel, mantels, propane
  • Donations to help pay for gas (transportation) and any other items needed

If you would like some bullhead, let me know and we will bring you back a few. Also anyone interested in coming along on this trip to assist with the transportation, fishing, cooking, cleaning, etc. please contact me. We can always use the extra help.

In closing I have some more good news. One of our recently completed a Web Design course at Syracuse University, and created a new Web Site for the Police Center. These new sites have been designed to improve communications with you and ease access to the services we offer. New features include:

  • Services: Obtain a report, register a bike, etc.
  • News: Read the latest as soon as it is posted in our new Blog, which appears right on the home page. Have something to contribute? Let us know.
  • Event Info: An Event Calendar and Event Photos, a selection of our latest pics. One click takes you to our photo sharing site where you can see more;
  • Info on How to Join Us: Ways to get more involved with us;
  • Contact us via email or a form, and get on the mailing list - it saves us postage!
  • Maps and directions to the Police Center available with one click.

Check it out:

Thank you, for your support with our youth programs. Together we are making a difference in the lives of area children.


James K. Clarke
Police Officer
North Community Police Center

Editor's Note: This letter was revised from one mailed to supporters today. Read more about the Ice-Fishing Trip, or view photos here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In With the New

It's official! Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running! Take a look. Comment.

Now you only need one address to access all the services, information and happenings at the Northside Community Police Center. Bookmark us.

Friday, March 7, 2008

We made the "Neighbors" Section

Maureen Nolan of the Post Standard wrote a nice article on our Ice Fishing Trip that appeared in yesterday's "Neighbor's" Section, along with a few photos of the trip. Thanks, Maureen!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Save the Date: March 20

The Annual Children's Easter Party is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 20, 5:00pm at 255 Wolf Street. Details to follow.