On May 2nd, over 400 people, including officers from the Philadelphia and Temple Police Departments, teachers and 2nd – 8th Grade students from 10 of our Independence Mission Schools, including St. Rose of Lima, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Veronica, St. Barnabas, St. Thomas, St. Martin de Porres, St. Malachy, Holy Cross, Our Mother of Sorrows/St. Ignatius of Loyola (OMSSI) and St. Gabriel, came together to take part in the 3rd annual Police Youth Alliance (PYA) Year-End Celebration. The event, which took place at Temple University’s McGonigle Hall, included a chess tournament and recital featuring step dance and our drumline.
The celebration, kicked off by Deputy Commissioner, Joe Sullivan, gave 275 of our students a chance to show off the skills that they developed during the school year, thanks to their involvement with the PYA after-school enrichment program. The program, designed to have wide appeal to the students, features classes in reading, music, chess, carpentry, dance and even robotics, which is taught by the Temple Campus Police Department.
This year’s event had it all – the energy and excitement generated by the choreography and beats of the step dance and drumline performances, contrasted by the heavy air of concentration that could be felt in the room as the chess students and officers put their cognitive skills to the test.
We are so proud of all who participated in this end-of-year celebration and congratulate our students who placed in the chess tournament!
• First Place: Justin K., St. Rose of Lima
• Second Place: Amir R., St. Veronica
• Third Place: Dominic R., St. Veronica
We are also grateful for all the officers who give of their time and talent each week teaching students fun and interactive activities with the goal of fostering positive interactions between kids in disadvantaged neighborhoods and the police patrolling the area.
The PYA, made possible by the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation, is an initiative that was launched in 2015 and has been growing and seeing positive results ever since. In the past year, the number of programs offered in our participating schools has increased by about 50%, with 30 different after-school programs being offered in 11 IMS schools – a promising sign of the program’s success and acceptance among our students and their families.