Jayhawk Student-Athletes Take Part in Fifth-Annual Hawks, Cops and Kids
More than 100 kids and 70 volunteers from The University of Kansas took part in the fifth annual Hawks, Cops and Kids on Valentine’s Day on the KU campus. The event, hosted by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kansas Athletics and local law enforcement officials, benefited children of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program from Lawrence and six surrounding counties, as well as other students in local schools.
Hawks, Cops and Kids provided a fun, exciting and educational opportunity for youth in grades 2-8 to meet and interact with KU student-athletes and law enforcement professionals. The students were divided into groups and escorted through stations where they learned about personal safety, internet safety, anti-drug awareness and healthy lifestyles.
Utilizing law enforcement volunteers in a program like Hawks, Cops and Kids provides an opportunity to allow kids to interact with police in an informal, non-threatening manner. It also allows law enforcement the opportunity to relay very important messages to the kids.
“Programs like Hawks, Cops, and Kids, are really important, the kids had really great questions, and it is a lot of fun to see them interact and have a good time”, said Officer Trent McKinley of the Lawrence Police Department.
Keith Wood, the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas spoke highly of the program. “The collaborative effort of student-athletes, local police and Big Brothers Big Sisters is an efficient way to get good information to children. It is a joy to see how much fun the kids are having at this program.”
Of the 70 volunteers, over 40 were Jayhawk student-athletes. Justin Springer, a football student-athlete said, “It is such a privilege to be a role model for these kids. We got to play football and freeze tag all day; it makes me feel like a kid again.”
Katie Martincich of the volleyball team echoed similar sentiments, saying, “It is great to be a part of the Lawrence community. It was awesome to pick the kids up and watch them spike over the net.”
Alessandra Manukain, a Quail Run 2nd grader had a great time, and said, “It was neat to see the police car, and the siren was loud. I also liked playing soccer and football – they (the players) are really big!”
After their educational sessions with local law enforcement, the children got to play soccer, football, freeze tag and volleyball with KU student-athletes. After all of the activities were over, they enjoyed a poolside lunch while they listened to the KU Drumline.