The South Bend Police Athletic League will hold a cookout for participants and their families on Wednesday, July 29 from 11:30am to 1:30pm at the tennis courts at Washington High School, 4747 W. Washington St. At 2pm, the South Bend Police Department will also hold their afternoon roll call there.

South Bend Police Captain Darryl Boykins and Sergeant Dave Herron co-manage the 22-year-old PAL program. Over 400 South Bend children and teens participated this summer.

“This program builds relationships between students and the police in a relaxed atmosphere, keeps kids off the streets, and exercises their bodies and minds,” says Capt. Boykins. “We hope we’ve shown these kids that officers are here to assist, and that we’ve changed some perceptions that officers are unapproachable.”

The eight-week program, that ends August 7, offers tennis and football lessons to students from 7 to 18 years old. Officers, on and off duty, spend time interacting with the participants.

“This is a great chance for young people to learn from and interact with our officers,” says Police Chief Ron Teachman. “The officers sharpen their own athletic skills, while mentoring and coaching hundreds of our city’s young people. It’s a relationship building program through healthy activity, and one that I’m proud to see grow and continue.”