PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence police officers will be heading to court — and taking the field — with middle school students, in an after-school basketball and flag football program.
Mayor Jorge Elorza was part of the program’s launch Friday morning, along with the Providence After School Alliance (PASA) and sponsor IGT (previously known as GTECH) — the mayor among those trying out a few passes and catches with kids at Gilbert Stuart Middle School.
IGT has given $40,000 to support the Police After School Sports (PASS) program. Besides Gilbert Stuart, PASA’s AfterZone will host the PASS program at Nathan Bishop, DelSesto, Esek Hopkins, , and Roger Williams Middle Schools as well. There are slots for 260 students.
“You think about it. They’re the future. They’re the future leaders, its important for us to be their mentors,” said Col. Hugh Clements of the Providence Police Department.
Ten student resource officers will sign up to coach the after-school teams in their off-duty hours.
“This program provides children with an opportunity to stay active after school and allows them to build important relationships with our police officers,” said Elorza. “We’re working proactively here in providence to make sure we have strong relationships between police officers the police department and the community and what better way to do than bring people together around sports.”
Angel Gomez said the program is beneficial because it helps kids like him stay on a good path.
“I come from a bad neighborhood so like it gets me away from that part of the city and lets me be in school a little bit longer,” he told Eyewitness News. “Very important so we can get into a good college and high school and stuff.”
Citywide, PASA expects to serve 2,000 students in the AfterZone with sports, arts and external hands-on learning.