Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Events

Dear Supporter,
I hope everyone is managing to find ways to enjoy their self during this cool, wet, summer. I am beginning to wonder if we are even going to have a summer. I am making the best of summer, getting a lot of time with area children who are out of school and enjoying time up to camp with family and friends.

Occasionally, someone glancing over our photos or a list of our youth programs will ask me questions like…… Do you think it is worth it with these kids? Do you think Police Center Programs keep any of these kids from committing crimes? Do you think you ever, really, turn any of these kids around? Before answering the question I find myself stumbling for the right words. How do I describe the expressions of joy, laughter and excitement I have witnessed on literally thousands of children’s faces over the years of working with city families? And how do I explain it in a couple of sentences when I need an hour to properly answer the question? The short answer is yes, yes and yes. The long answer starts with the reminder “They are children” their social level, race, IQ, parent’s behavior and sometimes even their own bad behavior should not influence our commitment to help them. I don’t have huge expectations of transforming their lives during the short amounts of time I spend with them. Rather, my expectations are of myself, that I might enrich their lives in a meaningful way. Sometimes this results in children choosing to finish school or obtaining a career in Law Enforcement. Often it results in a more positive opinion of Police (not of all police but at least some). The one thing our programs always produce is good memories. Memories of a time when adults (Police and civilian) focused on making a child’s life a little bit brighter. I have many experiences of children and adults who years later shared stories about a past trip or Police Center Party. The sharing of those memories (with adults who were once children) reminds me of the awesome privilege God has given me to reach out to these kids. Yes, it is worth it. Yes, it keeps some kids from committing crimes. And Yes, it turns some kids around.

This past week I received two quotes from friends of mine, one on Twitter and one on Facebook.
“Children are always the future…invest everything you have in them”.
The Soul is healed by being with children”.
I have found both to be true. Sorry, I don’t know the authors.

Our free breakfast and lunch program is well under way with 30 children coming in for breakfast and 60 children for lunch. We are in need of soap, trash bags, paper towels and toilet paper to help us with the program.
Our Summer Fishing Trip to Black Lake is this weekend July 24-26. If you are interested in helping us out with the trip you may help in any of the following ways:
· fishing poles, lures, life jackets, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.
· Bait, worms, minnows
· Food, drinks, snacks, paper plates, bowls, cups, napkins, paper towels
· Clothing, water shoes, towels.
· Gas cards – we will be using a lot of gas for vehicles to transport everyone to camp, for the boat and the ATVs.
· Monetary donations for food, gas, fishing equipment and any other expenses for the trip. Checks may be made out to Northside Community Police Center Fund.

Our Picnic with the Police and Fire Department is scheduled for Thursday 13 August (Rain date Friday 14 August). This is a big event serving nearly 1,000 people. We need lots of help. If you or one of your employees would like to volunteer, please contact me.
Items needed for the picnic are hamburgers, hot dogs, rolls, drinks, ice, snacks, napkins, paper plates, cups, photo paper and ink (to print our photos for the kids), game prizes, face paints etc.

This is a community picnic; please encourage your employees to stop by for lunch. Bring your families out for a fun time. If you or your employees come to the picnic have them find me and I will get meal tickets so there is no waiting in line at the sign up table.

I am truly grateful for the support we receive from you folks who have been faithful to our programs over the years. The lives of thousands of young people have been touched in a positive way because of your support. Thank you, for caring enough about the families we serve to give of your time and resources. Together, we are making a difference.


James K. Clarke
Police Officer
North Community
Police Center

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