One of the most important and enjoyable initiatives connected with the Bethlehem Police Department is working with the Cops ‘n’ Kids Reading program.
Cops ‘n’ Kids is a national Children’s Literacy Program founded by Julia Burney Witherspoon, a police officeer from Wisconsin. The dynamo behind the local chapter of the Cops ‘n’ Kids program is powered by Beverly Bradley and her volunteers.
The 4th Annual Celebration of Reading takes place at Looper’s Grille & Bar on Saturday, April 24th. It’s a huge event and it’s a lot of fun for both kids and their families. The performance schedule between 11 am and 3 pm includes everything from the Parkettes to Kim’s Black Belt Academy to different musical groups ranging from bagpipers to The Dirty Sock Funtime Band. Even the Peeps Mobile is going to make an appearance! The Police Department will be there, of course, as will all three police officers and their horses from our Mounted Patrol Unit.
From the Cops ‘n’ Kids press release:
Along with area school, community and college participants, all are part of the free festivities Saturday, April 24, 2010, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., as the award-winning Cops ‘n’ Kids Children‟s Literacy Program holds its 4th Annual “Celebration of Reading,” on the grounds of Looper’s, 313 E. Third Street in south Bethlehem.
The Celebration marks the distribution of more than 320,000 free books to area children by Cops ‘n’ Kids, an initiative sparked by Bethlehem resident, Beverly Bradley. Cops ‘n’ Kids pairs area youth with new and gently used books generated through book drives and donations from local businesses, schools, individuals and others in the community who have responded overwhelmingly to Bradley‟s endeavor.
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In 2003, Bradley, a retired teacher from the Southern Lehigh School District, challenged herself to raise 1,000 books for the Lehigh Valley‟s most needy children. It was a service project she was inspired to take on after learning of the program through the Bethlehem Chapter of Quota International, a world-recognized service organization whose motto is “we share.”
Cops ‘n’ Kids is Bradley’s way of giving back. For many of the children who receive the free books, it is the first time they have owned a book. “The more these children see good people, the more they see that they are valued,” says Bradley. “That book is just the conduit to making the connection.”
In addition to taking home free books of their own, children and their families who attend the Celebration will enjoy free entertainment by community groups, participate in crafts, sports and other demonstrations, and enjoy free food prepared by volunteers from the City of Bethlehem Police Department, Bethlehem Police Commissioner Stuart Bedics and Northampton County Sheriff Randy Miller. The Dan’s Camera Photo Booth will also be on hand to help children and their families take home lasting memories of the day’s spirit.
Here’s the poster for the event. We hope to see you there!