Coordinator of Youth Services Elaine Daignault announced that the Westport Youth Commission and the Teen Awareness Group (TAG) at Staples High School have teamed up with the Westport Police-Youth Collaborative (WPYC) to host the second annual dodge ball tournament at the Staples High School Field on Friday, Dec. 14 from 6 – 8 p.m.
The event will feature mixed teams of officers and kids and will benefit Toys for Tots. Kids can pre-register at Staples High School during lunch shifts or contact Elained@westportct.gov.
Dodge-a-Cop is one of many Westport Police-Youth Collaborative (WPYC) events where young people are invited to interact with police in a non-enforcement capacity. From “Cop Shops” to volleyball and informal gatherings, the WPYC strives to find ways to promote positive interactions between kids and cops.
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“Dodge a cop is a way for high school kids to have some fun with officers while raising funds for other kids this holiday season.” said Daignault. “Kids can form their own teams of five for $20 or register as individuals for $5, and organizers will assign a police officer to play on each team.”
Kids of all ages are encouraged to come to watch and bring a donation for Toys for Tots.
Youth Detective Sereniti Dobson and DARE Officer Ned Batlin have been instrumental in creating the Westport Police-Youth Collaborative as a means to build a stronger sense of community among officers and kids in town. They represent the police department on various youth-led initiatives in Westport including the Westport Youth Commission and the Teen Awareness Group at Staples High School where young people meet regularly to address topics that are important to kids.
“The officers who participated last year had a great time playing with the kids and enjoyed a pizza dinner with their team.” said Dobson. “This event is a great way for us to get know kids we may not otherwise get to meet and an opportunity for young people to see us as regular people0 out of uniform.”
The Westport Police Youth Initiative (WPYC) is the first program of its kind in Westport and is funded by the Reaching for Respect Grant managed by The Youth Development Training and Resource Center (YDTRC) at The Consultation Center, Inc. to support youth-led teams from across Connecticut to design projects that promote positive relationships/ interactions between youth and police in their communities.
The goal of the Westport Police Youth Initiative (WPYC) is to increase supportive connections between youth and police officers by providing opportunities for positive communication, increased understanding of one another and collaborative involvement in a mutually agreed upon goal and thus decreasing negative interactions & risky behaviors by youth in town.
Residents or students wishing to volunteer or register for the event is encouraged to contact Elaine Daignault at203-341-1165 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Westport Youth Commission is a partnership of 15 Westport high school students and 15 adults appointed by the First Selectman. The group is responsible for promoting public knowledge and understanding of issues important to our youth and encouraging community responses to youth needs and concerns.
The Teen Awareness Group is a student club at Staples High School designed to identify the various and potentially compromising situations many young people will be faced with during their adolescent years. By developing and promoting public service presentations which focus on social decision making, TAG aims to empower its peers to make safe and responsible decisions, particularly around prom and graduation celebration season.