With growing tensions between law enforcement and the communities they serve – youth in particular – in recent years, anything that can be done to ratchet down potential confrontations is welcomed news these days.
Toward that end, the San Antonio Area Foundation (SAAFdn) and its outreach fund, San Antonio Area African American Community Fund (SAAAACF), recently teamed up with other key partners to offer a fun yet educational opportunity for youth and police to learn from one another, improve relations and hopefully help prevent bad headlines from hitting the news.
Both SAAFdn and SAAAACF teamed up with nonprofit Strategies for Youth (SFY) and San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) to host the first-ever San Antonio rollout of Juvenile Justice Jeopardy (JJJ), an interactive version of the traditional gameshow put on at Marshall Law and Medical Services High School.
The program will eventually be implemented in other schools across San Antonio in order to educate today’s youth of their rights and duties as well as how to safely interact with law enforcement.
The event started out with a news conference announcing the introduction of JJJ. Speakers included Patricia Mejia, SAAFdn’s Vice President of Community Engagement & Impact and Bobby Blount, Chairman of SAAAACF’s Board of Directors. The lineup also included SFY’s Kristen Wheeler, who also led the JJJ program demonstration with Marshall students and SAPD Community Engagement Team officers.
Students learned their rights and best practices for communication with a police officer. Questions like “Is an officer allowed to touch you?” and “Should you be on the phone when talking with an officer?” were just a few JJJ prompts.
The Area Foundation is committed to the success of youth as they are the community leaders of tomorrow. In fact, Youth Success is one of SAAFdn’s four principal grantmaking focus areas. You can learn more about these areas as well as options to get involved by clicking here.
Cristiana Salinas is the Multi-Media Specialist in the San Antonio Area Foundation’s Marketing and Communications Department.