Community Outreach Spotlight
Submitted by Major Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Police Department.
In 2010, the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Police Department (OCPD) created Jamming Hoopsfest, a youth outreach event. Held every Thursday for 6 weeks during each summer, this effort involves a collaboration with numerous community partners and individual volunteers.
Outdoor tournament basketball serves as the center of community interaction. Youths of all ages from at-risk neighborhoods come together to participate, eat dinner, and hear a short positive message from a community leader. Police mentors who serve as coaches, referees, disk jockeys, and cooks reinforce the life lesson learned.
Each week, several youth participants receive recognition for their positive behavior and outstanding display of character. Winners get a pair of the latest sneakers.
Over the years, Jamming Hoopsfest has grown significantly and become an event that the community and OCPD look forward to every summer. About 250 youths participate each week. Officers who regularly volunteer enjoy getting to know the kids on a personal level and forming meaningful and long-lasting relationships. The program helps form a stronger partnership between OCPD and the community it serves.
For additional information, contact Major Balderrama at firstname.lastname@example.org.