The 2nd Annual Boston Police Foundation Gala was a resounding success! I am pleased to announce that this event, with the significant help of our honoree, Mr. Robert Kraft, raised over $1.4 million for our work in supporting the men and women of the Boston Police Department.
I would like to thank Mr. Kraft for his generous support and efforts on our behalf. I would also like to thank our host, Maria Stephanos for being the emcee of the evening’s events. To Mayor Marty Walsh and Commissioner William Evans, we thank you for speaking to the good work of the Foundation and for your ongoing support. To the Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes & Drums, The Boston Police Department Honor Guard, Police Officer Teddy Hendricks and Father John Connolly, thank you for making the kickoff of the evening a memorable one.
I also wish to offer a heartfelt thanks to all of our Sponsors and Supporters. You believe in the mission of the Boston Police Foundation and the men and women of the Boston Police Department. Without your incredibly generous support, we would be unable to “Back Up Boston’s Finest.”
It is the intent of the Foundation to put this money to work immediately and last night the Board approved its first distribution to support the Police Teen Academy. The Police Teen Academy is a mentoring program that focuses on developing a positive image of police officers, while helping the teens develop life skills. The program showcases different Boston police divisions, such as the gang unit, or with other police agencies, like the MBTA police. It also includes lectures on defusing tense situations among peers and helping forge trust between police and adolescents in the street. There is also a fitness component to the curriculum, which includes a daily workout regimen of push-ups, sit-ups, a run, and medicine ball exercises. The result of the education and fitness program is the development of young ambassadors for the department and for the community, while building connections between police officers and the youth of Boston. The teens, some of whom headed off to college while others headed back to high school, were given a different and very unique experience that will benefit them and their community for their lifetime.
In addition to picking up life skills, the students also earned minimum wage to participate in the program, allowing them to pay for clothes for school, buy books for college, or just help out with family expenses.
The Boston Police Teen Academy program was originated by Sergeant William Baxter and Police Officer Darryl Owens. Given the recent tragic events in Ferguson, the Police Teen Academy program shines brightly as an example of the good things that can happen in a community when police and young adults communicate and form personal relationships. The Boston Police Foundation is proud to partner with the Boston Police Department in supporting this program.
Stay tuned for additional information on other initiatives and programs that the Foundation will soon support and thank you for continuing to help us “Back Up Boston’s Finest!”