Program: Team IIF hosts youth from community organizations serving homeless or at-risk youth to participate in a day of bowling,pizza and a shopping spree with Chicago Police Officers from their neighborhood. Youth are given a gift card to purchase gifts for their family and themselves and are paired with an officer who promotes dialogue on social and emotional skills.
Impact: Youth participating in the Shop With a Cop program are paired with Chicago Police Officers serving in their district, addressing the critical need for trust and the understanding that officers are allies and resources in their communities. These relationships are additionally fostered by the promotion of social and emotional life skills, which correlate with a decrease in violent or reckless behaviors and improvement in relationships and communication.
Success: Youth who participated learned the importance of decision-making and budgeting, as well as communication skills. Before the event 43 percent of the youth reported a negative or not positive perception of officers in their neighborhood. 75 percent of their parents reported their own experience of a negative or not positive interaction with officers. After the event, 100 percent of the youth reported the event made them think of officers in a more positive way and 97 percent reported learning about relationships, making good choices, resolving conflict and/or helping others. One student participant reported, “I learned that officers care for the community.” Another stated, “I learned that you can always trust police”.
If you are one of IZZYz KIDz, or the teacher, parent or friend of one of IZZYz KIDz, or a volunteer for our programs, we want to hear from you. We want to hear your stories, your experiences with our programs, what IZZYz KIDz means to you, and we want to see your photos. Please below and share your IZZYz KIDz stories and IZZYz KIDz photos.