Just two days into summer break, a teen stabbed another teen in Springdale. That crime is an example of the trouble teens can get into and as we approach the summer months.
Police and parents are stressing the importance of remaining active to deter kids from crime.
Four years ago the Springdale Police Department created the ‘Sandlot’ program to better bridge relations between police officers and the community.
The program is now serving another purpose and impacting hundreds of kids with the hopes of steering them in the right direction.
“They can learn respect, they learn how to be competitive and how to be social and make friends,” said Lt. Derek Wright, Springdale Police Department. “It gives the kids something to do. Lets them build that rapport with the officers.”
Each day during the summer, the program focuses on building up students in the community.
“The officers that do this are school resource officers so they know the kids from the school-year, and they get to continue that relationship over the summer break,” said Lt. Wright.
It comes at a time when the city has seen crimes committed by youth and as the summer break continues, police are trying to ensure that problem doesn’t get worse.
Wright said “the alternative, boredom sometimes leads to poor decision making. This keeps the kids busy.”
The Sandlot isn’t the only thing keeping area youth out of trouble. As Nicola Wilburn picks up her boys from day camp at the Jones Center, the mother of three thinks about what ‘could’ happen with too much free time.
“They could be hanging around different people that are not a good influence on them. Just getting into different things having too much idle time on their hands which could cause, just, bad things to happen,” she said.
As they go home at the end of the day officers are equipping youth of today with life lessons so they can make their city better tomorrow.
Lieutenant Wright said, “these kids can look back 20 years from now and remember the experiences and hopefully relay that to the younger generation.”
Students were given snack-packs of food to go home with over the weekend.
This year the Sandlot program is expanding and more details on that will be announced later next week.