A principal element of the Community Policing and the Weed and Seed concepts is the partnerships formed between organizations and the community to address crime and quality of life issues in our neighborhoods.

I have a couple of examples of these partnerships. Both deal with youths from a positive perspective.

The first, “Operation Chill,” is a joint effort between the Dallas Police Department and 7-Eleven stores to reward kids for doing something positive for the community. The program also provides an opportunity to enhance relations between the police and young people.

7-Eleven has provided the police department with 30,000 coupons for a free 12-ounce Slurpee at local 7-Eleven stores. The coupons were distributed to patrol officers and others, such as Interactive Community Policing and the gang unit, who might have contact with children and teens.

An officer who observes a young person doing something positive now has a way of saying “thank you” by giving them a free Slurpee.

Police Chief Ben Click says officers could also give a coupon to a young person who “looks like they could use a cold treat on a 100-degree day.”

The idea is pretty simple, but think of the impact 30,000 positive exchanges between police officers and kids could have.

Thank you, 7-Eleven.

The second partnership hopefully will involve a growing number of participants, maybe even you.

Many Weed and Seed programs across the country were originally void of organizations capable of or willing to provide quality programs to neighborhood youths.

We are lucky enough to already have a Boys and Girls Club operating in the middle of our Weed and Seed neighborhood. The Boys and Girls Clubs, for only a $5 annual registration fee, provide a place where young people have something to do. The club offers a place to occupy kids’ free time with positive activities – giving them less of an opportunity to make wrong choices, such as gang affiliation.

Our neighborhood club needs community support. This is where you come in. I don’t necessarily mean money: I mean you.

Your time and or your ideas are needed to help our East Dallas Boys and Girls Club. The club needs volunteers for a variety of activities and programs – coaches for sports, tutors, and teachers for everything from cooking to computer classes are needed.

If you do something well and enjoy doing it, show someone else eager to learn, such as a neighborhood kid. Ideas also are needed about how the club can attract kids from the immediate neighborhood.

For more information call Eric Elliot or Leanne Kendricks at the club at 828-2200.

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