Featured Use Your Life Award
Jeff Bezos, amazon.com
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Cops-N-Kids Reading Program
800 N. Villa
Racine, WI 53403
How it Began — A Concerned Cop
Veteran police officer Julia Burney now patrols the same inner-city neighborhood that she has lived in since she was 18 years old. She knows the people of her community from her street patrol and from house raids. While in homes, she always identifies with the children. "All the poor little girls that I see, I see myself." Julia also sees something else — there are no books in the homes.
"A lot of parents can't afford to buy books for their children... buying books is a luxury," says Julia. "But I also know that in order for these children to have any chance at life, they have to know how to read."
The Solution — Squad Cars Deliver Books!
Julia didn't know how she could bring books to kids until she answered a call to a burglar alarm at a book warehouse. She asked the owner to donate just a few of his supplies — he donated all 10,000!
"I thought, we can give them out from our squad cars... we can just put them in a bag and give them out," says Julia. "Usually when children see the police come into the community it's for something bad. Now when they see the police, it's books for them! They want to see us. They look for us."
New Books, New Attitude
Cops-N-Kids is a simple program that has gained the support of the police department and the Mayor of Racine. In the first 2 months, officers gave out almost all 10,000 donated books. A reading center with a computer lab and tutoring program is currently under construction.
Officers also take children to local beauty shops to boost the kids' self-esteem. "A lot of times children won't raise their hands for fear of being called up in front of everybody because 'my hair is not quite right, my clothes are raggedy, my shoe has a hole'... If you feel beautiful, you act beautiful."
A Special Gift of Music
When American Music World and Young Chang America heard that Officer Julia dreamed of having a piano in the new reading center, they donated a Young Chang Grand Piano! Visit www.youngchang.com.
Check in with Cops-N-Kids Reading Program — See what they've accomplished with the Use Your Life Award!
Cops-N-Kids inspired two cities to join forces — having a huge impact on the lives of thousands of children!