At the Oct. 28 meeting of the Roxboro Kiwanis Club at La Piazza restaurant in Uptown Roxboro, Chief of Police David Hess addressed the club concerning the police department’s athletic program.
Roxboro-Person Police Athletic League is an effort to provide young people with wholesome athletic opportunities. It is a nonprofit organization, and its first project was to take 26 young people from public housing to Person High School for activities and information sponsored by the Rockets basketball team. A couple of kids also were given the opportunity to move the chains at the Person High Blue/White football game.
A current project being worked on is a volleyball camp for young girls. Hess thanked the club for its support and reminded the group that a strategic plan is posted on its website. The four goals are branding and marketing, since many in the community do not know about the program; formation of community partnerships with organizations such as Kiwanis and My Life Matters; fiscal sustainability in order to ensure continuation of the program; and service as an umbrella program that does not compete against other organizations with similar goals.
Many of the children in public housing have negative preconceived notions of how law enforcement will treat them. Building relationships can result in generational changes in these attitudes, and thus in actions as well. Hess suggested that children benefiting from the program could also eventually become Kiwanians.
In response to a question, Hess indicated that the police department staff is very experienced at present and that there are a number of positions that will be retiring soon, making new volunteers for this program critical. There is a national Police Athletic League (PAL) program and Hess had the desire to form one locally early in his tenure as chief. The Roxboro-Person program is modeled on a number of other such programs around both North Carolina and the country. Each local program is independent, but the national program is available as a resource.
Hess noted that opportunities for organized sports are wide open. Other constructive activities are also emphasized, such as chess, computer games and the like. At the close of his presentation he was presented with a contribution from the club for the PAL program.
Tickets for the annual Pancake and Sausage Day on Dec. 7 at Person High were distributed to the members. They are $5 once again in advance and $7 at the door. This is the 65th annual event, and club members will be selling tickets throughout the community. All proceeds will support Kiwanis youth projects.