Chicago West Side has always been a school striving for connection in the community. Last year, Karen Trout (CWSCS 4th-8th science teacher) organized an event with our community partners YMEN and the 10th District Chicago Police for some basketball and conversation with the middle school students. The event was such a success that it was a no-brainer to do it again this year. CWSCS has been recognized in the local news for the efforts of building bridges between the community and the police, and to strive for open conversation in a time where it’s very much needed. Here’s what organizer Mrs. Trout has to say about this year’s event:
“This annual event was designed to promote improved community police relations by creating positive points of engagement with police. So often police are only called in at times of crisis and conflict. CWSCS students wanted to lead with a celebratory event in the hopes of building bridges between youth and law enforcement.
This basketball tournament created a playful environment for the youth and officers to interact, get to know each other, and work together. Prior to the tournament, District 10 welcomed a question and answer session where students were able to ask their officers questions about their career path, the dangers they face, and strategies by which they are working on improving community-police rapport.
Then the games began. For 5 rounds of half court 3 on 3 basketball, middle school teams paired up with an officer and played together. Following the half court tournament, the 8th graders challenged their officers to a full court game. With two 15 minute halves, the 8th graders gave District 10 a run for their money yet the officers pulled off a 33-28 victory. There was no doubt every player left everything on the court and all had a great time! All of CWSCS showed up to cheer both teams - even the CWSCS mascot made a surprise appearance! The CWSCS choir rocked the house with their performance of "All Hail King Jesus" and District 10 introduced us to their new Officer Friendly, Officer Brown or JB, who will continue working in our school and others to foster safety and friendship with our kids.
We are already gearing up for our next collaborative event - the Student Police Lawndale 3K on Thursday, April 6th. YMEN is spearheading a collaboration between CWSCS and other neighborhood schools through this upcoming event trying to create a LOUP - Lawndale Organizations United for Peace.”
As a Christian school, CWSCS is constantly looking for ways to engage with community and to bring peace where we’re planted. This annual event has been a wonderful way to do that. We’re already looking forward to what this event has inspired and next year’s game!