By Rachel Wion
“Wherever an officer engages a youth it’s a mentoring moment,” said retired Sgt. Frank Danysh, Adopt A Cop USA’s founder and director. “There were many of those mentoring moments on October 1st during our Meet & Greet at the Boys & Girls Club.”
Mentoring children is what Adopt A Cop (AAC) is all about. AAC partners at-risk 4th graders with local off-duty police officers as mentors where the kids learn Character, Courage, Commitment, Responsibility and Civic Duty. The community-based 501c3 non-profit was founded by Danysh in November 2015 after serving 25 years on the Boynton Beach Police Department in Crime Prevention and Youth Services. His vision was to heal the communities of America by helping officers bond with neighborhood children so they grew to support each other. Children would be less likely to enter a life of crime and officers could help them.
The event was sponsored by and hosted at the Marti Huizenga Boys & Girls Club, 1111 North 69th Way, Hollywood, FL, to establish AAC’s presence in Broward County. Broward County Schools will train the officers. Mentoring will be done on school grounds or at the Boys & Girls Clubs. Seeing the officers engage with the children shows the enormous potential for the success of AAC’s mentoring programs in neighborhoods across the USA.
Police officers came from the Hollywood and Boynton Beach stations. They played pool and other games with the children, ate with them, and shared mentoring moments. At the park across the street from the club, everyone learned about gear policemen wear and met Coco the German Shepherd.
This was an amazing experience for all. Police officers are not used to engaging with neighborhood youth, so they approached everything with caution at first. Children grow up these days indoctrinated by stories that law enforcement is out to get them, but they met people who were just like them. This was a beginning to healing the community with one baby step at a time.
AAC was able to watch their three-fold mission statement enacted in front of their eyes. Their statement is to bring communities back to wholeness by:
Danysh said the event showed the youth that there is a human being on the other side of the badge. It showed the police officers that the neighborhood children have fears and concerns that need to be addressed, and they are not just getting in trouble. Plus, the families saw the police officers and children bonding and becoming friends instead of in an adversarial relationship.
“Officer’s perception of youth and children’s perception of police officers are flip sides of the same dynamic,” Danysh said. “Thru mentoring, Adopt A Cop wants to heal that dynamic, and with it heal the community.”
Adopt A Cop USA is developing in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. AAC focuses on Bridging the Gap between Community and Law Enforcement, One Child at a Time. By pairing front line police officers to mentor at risk children, the organization supports the relationship between the two in a way unseen through any government programs. Adopt A Cop USA reduces community violence and helps law enforcement to be more productive and compassionate for generations to come. The organization operates solely on individual contributions and public support.
Please consider contributing to our efforts to create safer communities across the USA by visiting our website at www.adoptacopusa.org. Contact Sgt. Frank Danysh at 954-263-8270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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