INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indy teens with Avondale Meadows YMCA competed in a kickball event Monday evening with IMPD.
Teens ages 11 to 19 went up against Chief Bryan Roach and members of IMPD as they played their first-ever kickball game at the Avondale Meadows YMCA.
It’s all part of the YMCA Y-Future Leaders Program, which assists teens who have been involved or at risk of entering the Juvenile Court system.
“We talk a lot about violence in the community,” said IMPD Chief Bryan Roach. “The more we work with that, the more obvious it is that prevention is a big deal.”
Through the program, teens participate in various health and wellness activities together while learning about drug prevention.
They also receive academic support and learn job-readiness skills to prepare them for the workforce.
“A couple years ago when I first became a freshman, I went to a school and all of these bad feelings started hitting me hard,” said Donald Piper, a member of the Y-Future Leaders Program. “As soon as I came into this program, I started opening up and I became a better person. I saw all of these people and they’re not hostile, they’re not mean– they’re inviting, they’re open. It made me feel happy.”
Several members of IMPD played alongside youth with Avondale Meadows where teams were evenly divided between the two.
Chief Roach said prior to the game he’s hadn’t played kickball for about 40 years but felt it was important to come out to spend quality time with Indy’s youth.
“So many of our youth don’t have someone that takes time and spends time with them, or a mentor; someone who kind of guides them through life,” said Chief Roach. “This is a program that does and the more we can be involved and be participants of that, we feel better about our profession and as individuals.”