Shop With A Cop
iF Charities 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.
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.
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 perception of officers in their neighborhood. Seventy-five percent of their parents reported their own experience of a negative 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."