Calgary Police Foundation’s Power Play program sets kids up for success

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Calgary Police Foundation’s Power Play program sets kids up for success
WATCH ABOVE: Whether new to Canada or facing financial obstacles, getting kids involved in sports can be a tricky task. But every week about 160 energetic youngsters take part in a seasonal hockey or soccer program that’s accessible to all Calgarians. As Sarah Offin reports it’s bridging relationships between the city's youth and local law enforcement – Aug 4, 2016

There’s only one way to describe the Calgary Police Foundation’s Power Play program.

“It’s chaos,” 11-year-old Osama Essid said, wiping sweat off his brow. He’s one of about 160 kids participating every week.

The program offers soccer games in the summer and hockey in the winter, with gear and transportation both free of charge.

It’s open to anyone facing cultural or financial barriers to participating in sports.

“I am from Lebanon. I’ve been here since August 2003,” Essid’s mother Roukaya Jomaa said.

“I have no idea how to get involved in recreation for my kid – because I’m the only one in the city – I have no family around me. A friend referred me to Power Play and it’s been amazing – for my kids and for myself,” the single mother of four added.

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Overseeing the program are Calgary’s finest: local police officers donate their time to provide mentorship and adult supervision to keep the games running smoothly.

“What else can you do in your police career where you feel like you’re making such a difference and where you feel like you’re doing something that matters so much to so many people?” said Cst. Rayn Boyko, the director of the Power Play program.

For many kids, the weekly event is their only recreational activity outside of school.

“All kids – if you let them do what they want – they are trouble. But if you put them in active sports and activities – it’s the best thing,” Jomaa said.

“We know that after school is a prime time for youth crime and we know that if we can keep the kids involved in a really positive social active setting, then the chances of their success are much higher than having no other extra-curricular activities at all,” executive director of the Calgary Police Foundation Tara Robinson said.

The program is now in its sixth year.

“I have many friends here since we’ve been coming for a while. All of us get along,” 13-year-old Lina Tesgaye said. “If someone gets hurt, we make sure they’re fine and come back and cheer them on.”

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Click here for more information on how to get involved in the Power Play program.

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