June 19, 2013

Respect for Law program designed by students in Fort Wayne

The Optimist Club of Fort Wayne, Indiana and the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department collaborated on a Respect for Law Program. By surveying students involved with the Parks Department's Youth Centers, they created a youth-directed safety program designed with the specific intent of keeping people safe when they are in the parks or on there way to and from park activities.

The core of the campaign was to produce Respect for Law and Safety posters with a Top 10 List to be Safe to and from the Parks as follows:
  1. Walk with others. (Use a buddy system)
  2. Pay attention to surroundings.
  3. Stay out of the street.
  4. Don’t talk to strangers; don’t go into strangers’ houses; don’t go to strangers cars.
  5. Call parents to let them know when leaving and arriving, go directly to the Recreational Center
  6. Self Defense. (Scream or run.)
  7. When you see trouble, go the other way, stay away from danger
  8. If you see a gun or knife or any weapon while walking to the park tell a staff member.
  9. Call the Police when help is needed.
  10. Say no to Drugs, Gangs and Violence
Additionally, the Optimist Club has arranged for three forums where Fort Wayne law enforcement officers will make presentations and engage with the youth on a one-to-one basis. 

The Optimist International Respect for Law program was first designed to provide opportunities for children and law enforcement officers to meet in a non-threatening way and develop positive relationships. Over the years it has expanded to include officer recognition on a club and community level; but as with most Optimist Club programs, engaging our youth is always the most rewarding. Good job Fort Wayne! 
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