EAST GERMANTOWN – A different kind of police activity in North Philadelphia Friday, as officers in one district are launching a new effort to keep the community, especially kids, safe and have a little fun, at the same time.
“I love jumping double-dutch,” Nyliah Luke said.
The 13-year-old is spending her Friday evening doing something she loves. “My mom taught me when I was around seven or eight.”
She literally got it from her mama Nataye Dixon, who is a stand-out at the jump rope competition at the Belfield Rec Center.
It’s an event that gives young people something to do, now that school is out.
“We love it. It’s great fun. It’s positive, it’s part of the community. It’s getting my babies off their iPads and phones and stuff, so I enjoy it a lot,” Dixon stated.
The event is put on by the Philadelphia Police 35th District.
Some of the women are with the department and joined the community and young people in a night of safe fun.
Robert Hoppie is the Community Relations Officers. “Our goal is to be able to get the kids to come together. Come out, engage with the community, engage with the public and just have a good time. Help keep them off the street.”
There was a live DJ, plus free food and sweets.
“I think it’s opening up more positive opportunities versus none at all and it’s affiliated with police, so it’s not just seeing the police for negativity. It’s for positivity, as well, so I think it’s great,” Dixon added.
They’re hoping to get more young people to come out as the summer initiative grows. Nyliah agrees with police that it’s a chance for other kids who don’t have things to do or the means to do things and to have fun.
“I think it would be very hard for them to get around and be active and have a nice, fun summer. So, I’m glad that ya’ll have programs that we can come out and have fun,” Nyliah commented.
As the women and kids jumped to the beat, the rec center was full of smiles and laughter, all in a safe place.
“100 percent. A lot of the rec centers are safe spaces for the community. We definitely encourage the kids to come out to the community and to the rec center and engage and have fun,” Hoppie said.
The 35th Police District plans to hold different activities the fourth Friday of every month. Next up is teaching the kids to paint and with a twist. The twist is a Philly pretzel.