The Arlington Police Foundation, VANS, and an anonymous donor provided shoes for 3rd – 6th graders at Lynn Hale Elementary in Arlington.
Students at Lynn Hale Elementary got a big surprise!. The Arlington Police Foundation and the Arlington Police Department partnered with VANS shoe company and many local volunteers for a “Kick Off the Year in New Kicks” giveaway on Friday, January 17. Nearly 200 pairs of new shoes were given to the school’s 3rd – 6th graders, along with fun swag from Under Armour and Happy Meals.
Lynn Hale Elementary is a Title I school in east Arlington. Nearly nine out of every ten students come from economically-disadvantaged households. In 2016, as part of an effort to reduce fights and bullying around a pedestrian bridge near the school, officers from the Arlington Police Department teamed up with teachers to established the Bridge Kids Program. The program is outside the scope of the officers’ typical duties, and has led to a significant reduction in after-school incidents involving students.
“The Bridge Kids Program has grown far beyond our expectations” notes APD Sgt. Robert Walsh and Sgt. Ja’Nae Powell-McGee. “The partnerships that were established allowed for additional time and resources to positively impact the lives of students. Patrol officers, community leaders and Arlington Independent School District have really gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
Arlington Police officers came up with the idea for the shoe donation after noticing that many of the students were in dire need of new shoes. “Our officers are investing in the lives of kids who live in our community daily” says APD Chief Will Johnson. “The Bridge Kids Program was created by officers who love these children, and these kids love their officers. I am proud of the Arlington Police Foundation and these officers for seeing a need and being the change agent required in our community to make a positive difference.”
“The Arlington Police Department and the Arlington Police Foundation were there to help” notes APF Chairman John Slover. “We spoke with an anonymous donor about the situation, and he was so moved that he donated $4,000 on the spot. We later reached out to VANS in hopes of getting them to discount the price of the shoes, but when they heard what we were doing, they decided to donate the shoes instead. We’re so thankful for the generosity of these donors, and the many volunteers who are helping to make it happen. We’re now able to use that initial $4,000 donation to help fund this special giveaway event, and we’ll use the remaining funds as seed money for similar efforts in the future. The Arlington Police Foundation represents the men and women who provide vital expected services every day. We are proud to be able to be a part of showing these dedicated servants’ compassion and visions of service to our community.”
Speakers included Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson, Martin High School Athletic Coordinator Bob Wager, and AISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavasos. Plus, Sam Houston High School Drum Line/Band helped to create more excitement along with music provided by DJ Gigi Erwin, an affiliate of Mission Arlington and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tarrant County.