This winter, the Saint Paul Police Department (SPPD) teamed up with the YWCA on a project that rewards at-risk youth for positive behavior. As part of an ongoing effort to help cops and kids build rapport, police officers are now managing the Youth Achievers Program (YAP) Store.
The initiative aims to build positive relationships today that will help build a better tomorrow. “Many of our youth are used to encountering police only in the context of stressful situations—so this is a great opportunity for them to interact on a regular basis in a safe, positive setting,” explains Danielle Taylor, Chief Program Officer at the YWCA.
Once a week officers operate the YAP Store, where they help kids tally and redeem points they’ve earned by participating in activities, completing homework assignments and demonstrating good behavior. With a generous donation from the Saint Paul Police Foundation, the store is currently stocked with a little bit of everything including snacks, hygiene products, school supplies, toys and sporting goods. Kids have the option of spending their points as they earn them or saving up for larger items.
In addition to running the store, officers also spend time playing games, helping with school assignments and simply getting to know the youth. It’s an important mission and one the officers take seriously. As Assistant Police Chief Todd Axtell explains, “When our children have a more favorable view of our police, and our police have a more favorable view of our children, we all win.”
Our partnership with the SPPD was recently featured on WCCO. To view the segment, visit http://cbsloc.al/13UXhi4.