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JPC Youth Grateful for 'Shop' Opportunity

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

New Hartford, December. 7, 2013 – Some of the young people children and teenagers that got presents from police officers on Saturday have seen and have experienced their share of many challenges and hard times. In all, five Johnson Park Center residents participated in the Thomas M. Lindsey Memorial Foundation's "Shop with a Cop" event that was held at the Target at Sangertown Square.

Each child was given $100 Target Gift Card and all of the youth come from families that fall far short of the poverty line. Having seen deaths of family members, been surrounded by illegal activities and seen abuse first-hand – the event also served as a reminder to the children and teenagers that the Police have big hearts and mean well.

"I like it because when you're with them, you know you're safe," Zaida Mason, a 6-year-old JPC resident.

Victor Genier, 13, didn't buy himself anything. Instead he got a video game for his brother, talking dolls for his sister and something top secret for his mother. He said that he wanted to spend the money on his family. The trip was especially fruitful for him because he aims to be a Police Officer one day.

"One day, I'm going to be able to take some children shopping and I can tell them I was the same as them before," he said. "I want to be a role model, and to me, all Cops are role models."

The event was special to JPC because of the agency's reliance upon and partnership with local police, who have been working with JPC for 18-years to chase crime, violence and murder out of the Johnson Park -Cornhill neighborhood.

"We want to teach the children and teenagers that police are your friend, and provide a valuable service of work to protect us, maintain peace, safety & security" said JPC CEO and Founder Rev. Dr. Maria A. Scates. "We want our children to speak up, we want our community to speak up, because it's empowering to stand on the side of what's right. This wonderful event is such a good example of how our young people and the police department can both do their part to build a strong community. We're just honored to be a part of it."

This News Article was written by Mr. Marques Phillips, JPC Public Relations/Media Coordinator