For the first time, local youth will have the opportunity to interact with Missouri State basketball players and local law enforcement officials in monthly basketball games throughout the Springfield community. Bears head coach Dana Ford has organized the events with collaboration from the Springfield Police Department, the City of Springfield, the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, and the Springfield Dream Center to create this unique opportunity.
The events are free for children in grades K-6 and will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the fourth Saturday of every month, starting June 27 and ending May 22, 2021. The complete event schedule and locations are as follows:
- Saturday, June 27 – John B. Hughes Apartments (2100 N. Clifton Ave.)
- Saturday, July 25 – Nichols Park (1900 W Nichols St.)
- Saturday, Aug. 22 – Grant Beach Park & Pool (1401 N. Grant Ave.)
- Saturday, Sept. 26 – Reed Academy (2000 N. Lyon Ave.)
- Saturday, April 24, 2021 – Pipkin Middle School (1215 N. Boonville, Ave.)
- Saturday, May 22, 2021 – Silver Springs Park (1100 N. Hampton Ave.)
“It is our goal as leaders in the Springfield community to assist in bridging the gap between young people and the men and women who serve and protect our city,” said Ford. “We are proud to partner with the Springfield Police Department and other organizations who care about making Springfield the best it can be for generations to come.”
Springfield Police Chief of Police Paul Williams noted his enthusiasm for this initiative to reach more young people in the Springfield community.
“The Springfield Police Department is proud to partner with MSU on this new initiative,” said Williams. “I think this is a natural extension of the successful ‘SPD in PE’ program we started with SPS seventh graders this past school year, and provides another opportunity for police officers and kids in our community to interact in a positive way.”
Each participating child will receive a free lunch, T-shirt and replica badge. There is no cost to sign up, but advance registration is required to ensure that all participants are adequately rewarded for participating.