Niagara Gazette — A group of children will go holiday shopping with police officers today as part of a program designed to build relationships between area kids and city cops.
Called “Shop with a Cop,” it’s an event created for underprivileged kids by BobbieJoe Feagin’s non-profit organization Mentorship Alive.
When Feagin started Mentorship Alive in 2006, she had one mission in mind, improving the quality of life for at-risk youth and their caretakers in the Niagara Falls area.
“When my husband and I were growing up, Niagara Falls had a lot of places for kids to go,” said Feagin. “At the 13th Street Center, they had arts and crafts, dancing and modeling classes, and if you didn’t want to do that, you could go to the game room. Kids had choices. When I started Mentorship Alive, we didn’t have that for the kids.”
She said many youths these days come from single-parent households. This not only creates a need for places that children can go to be safe and productive, but also a need for extra positive influences in children’s lives, she said.
Then Feagin realized that her original mentoring program was missing the element of one-on-one connections with kids. So she started new aspects to Mentorship Alive, including an All ‘Bout Choices program, and also implementing a Shop with a Cop program.
The Shop with a Cop program, now in its fifth year in Niagara Falls, is designed to help kids form relationships with local law enforcement officers. This year, the children who will be participating will meet at the Doris Jones Family Resource Building.
“The children are selected from the All ‘Bout Choices program. We also call around to other agencies to see if there is a need we can fill,” said Ren Feagin, BobbieJoe’s husband.