LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — “Do you have a gun?” and “Why do you wear a badge?” were just a few of the questions police officers answered at West Preparatory Academy. On Wednesday, Las Vegas Metro police volunteered to read to students during the Black Giving Circle’s Scholastic Book Fair.
“Oftentimes, their relationships are on the negative side,” said Principal Yolanda Brown. “So to have Metro come in, read to our students, and have an opportunity to build their own libraries is very, very important.
The Black Giving Circle was created by the LVMPD Foundation. It is a membership program designed to empower Black ownership of public safety. The goals of the Black Giving Circle are to ensure the continued growth of several youth programs including Scholastic Book Fairs.
“Improving literacy proficiency is a priority to the Black Giving Circle knowing the importance of reading to student development,” said Tom Kovach, Executive Director, LVMPD Foundation. “Many students do not have the resources to build a home library, and we are helping to bridge that skill gap to increase academic success down the road.”
About 900 students get to take home two books, thanks to the donation by Black Giving Circle member Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. LVMPD officers, Metro Volunteer Program volunteers, and Black Giving Circle donors volunteered as cashiers, baggers, and readers. LVMPD officers also interacted with the students discussing their favorite books.
“We’re building the trust with these students at a young age so that trust can continue into the future,” Sgt. Stephanie Ward said.
Bolden Little League is another program under the Black Giving Circle umbrella. About a dozen teams opened their sixth season in April. Kovach said that the second year after the Bolden Little League was created, there was an 86 percent drop in violent crime in the neighborhoods where games were played. The Black Giving Circle wants to continue to see these ripple effects throughout the entire Valley.
Other Black Giving Circle programs include Hockey United, Cooking with a Cop, Reading with a Cop, and Conversations with a Cop. These programs are in conjunction with the NAACP Las Vegas branch to improve communication between young people and law enforcement. The Empowering Our Girls Workshop demonstrates the power and worth of young females, and Hip Hop & Entrepreneurship Program focuses on lifting youth of color through the creative process of hip hop, rap and education about the music industry.
Community and local business leaders are invited to become members of the Black Giving Circle to support these programs. More information on the LVMPD Foundation website.