New police after school program in Providence

By News Staff

Reporting by Liz Tufts

ltufts@abc6.com

Middle school students in Providence who go home to an empty house after class now have a new alternative. The school district is teaming up with Providence Police and other organizations for a first-of-its-kind after school program: Cops using sports to keep kids out of trouble.

Cops coaching kids–not just about how to catch a football–but they’re teaching them life lessons through sports.

11-year-old Aiden Hernandiz is one of hundreds of Providence middle school students gearing up to take part in the police after-school sports program, also known as PASS. "It’s really fun for kids who love sports and other fun activities," he says.

Before this, Aiden would be heading home to an empty house. "Here you can actually experience things and learn new things, rather than being at home playing video games and being bored," he says.

Ten student resource officers will coach basketball and flag football to kids at Nathan Bishop, Delsesto, Esek Hopkins, Gilbert Stuart, and Roger Williams Middle Schools.

Mayor Jorge Elorza says it’s about time the police and community were on the same team.

"The relationship between police and the community doesn’t exist and we are working to make stronger relationships," says Elorza. "You think of what sports did in our lives, it helps build confidence, self esteem, discipline."

Police Chief Hugh Clements says his guys will have the opportunity to help the future of the city become great team players, "People talk about a win-win, this is a win, win, win! A win for the police, a win for the community, and a win for the men and women in the community."

The program was all made possible through a donation from IGT, the company formally known as G-Tech. They donated $40,000 to the cause.

© WLNE-TV 2015