Louise Stamper knows that making a community safe for young people means giving them a place to hang out after school and on the weekends.
That’s one reason Stamper started COPS Club, a youth program at the Community Oriented Police Substation (COPS) in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood. “It’s basically a drug, alcohol and crime prevention program,” she says.
Every Friday afternoon, children ages 4 to 18 go to COPS West or the West Central Community Center to play games, create artwork, listen to stories or spend time with their neighborhood resource officer. “We have different activities for specific age groups,” Stamper says.
During the summer, COPS Club operates daily. Last summer the kids learned about politics and government by creating their own miniature city inside the police substation.
Stamper invites police officers to participate in many of the COPS Club activities. This gives the children access to positive law enforcement role models.
Teenage COPS Club members play competitive basketball against teams from other neighborhoods. “The basketball team is the gang intervention part of COPS Club,” Stamper says. “It’s for kids who already have juvenile records.”
Those basketball players now help educate younger children about the detriments of gangs and drugs.
For more information about COPS Club, or other youth programs at the COPS shop in your neighborhood, call 625-3300.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
MEMO: Created in support of the Spokane County Health Improvement Partnership (HIP), Discoveries highlights people working to improve community health and well-being. If you have a discovery that deserves recognition, call HIP at 482-2557 or Elana Ashanti Jefferson at 459-5419.
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