Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Nick Keefer, of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, laughs as Bob Ortiz, 10, flips on the lights and sirens in Keefer’s squad car Monday at the Boys & Girls Club. Children at the Boys & Girls Club were given the opportunity to climb aboard some of the local police cars and SWAT vehicles.
March 21, 2017 1:03 AM
Police reaching out to city's youth
Officers work with Boys & Girls Club, United
Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette
Joined Monday by officials from the Boys & Girls Clubs of northeast Indiana, the Fraternal Order of Police and Fort Wayne United, Mayor Tom Henry unveiled a new community awareness program for the city’s youth.
The Blue Bucket Brigade will foster stronger relationships among community organizations, law enforcement and the city’s youth, officials say.
“A collective effort to bring the community together is another example of Fort Wayne’s commitment to providing opportunities and making a meaningful difference,” Henry said. “I continue to be encouraged by the proactive response to meeting challenges in Fort Wayne. It’s a clear demonstration of why we’re seeing positive momentum and investments throughout our city.”
Monday’s announcement was followed later in the day by law enforcement officials taking part in activities with Boys & Girls Clubs members at the organization’s facility on Fairfield Avenue, south of downtown.
The goal of the program is to better serve families and at-risk youth through positive activities and mentoring. The first phase will build on programs similar to what’s offered by Fort Wayne United, a program designed to advocate for the city’s youth, particularly African-American men and boys, and ensure residents’ safety.
“Everyone in our community must wrap their arms around our most vulnerable children. When children feel safe, protected and cared for, they are best able to become the productive citizens we all want them to be,” said Joe Jordan, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. “It is vital to the future of our community to reconnect our most vulnerable children to our most trusted servants and re-establish mutual respect and understanding and encourage positive lifelong relationships.”
As part of the Blue Bucket Brigade initiative, law enforcement officials and members of the Boys & Girls Clubs will collect donations, using blue buckets, in high-traffic retail and business locations throughout Allen County. The effort will take place from mid-May through Labor Day. Fundraisers will be present at community events and will hold Lunch and Learn events at various businesses. The volunteers will also participate in an array of engagement programs throughout Fort Wayne and Allen County.
Proceeds from the Blue Bucket Brigade will benefit programming and activities developed and implemented by the Boys & Girls Clubs and Fraternal Order of Police.
More information about the initiative can be found at www.bluebucketbrigade.org or by calling the Boys & Girls Clubs at 744-0998.