DPD gives bikes as anti-bullying prizes

Pictured (front row, left to right) are DPD Chief Danny Watson, Brockington Heights Apartments manager Kiarra Stephenson, essay contest entrants Anastasia McFarland, Calvin Jamel Cooks, Tylon McFarland, Tyjeon McFarland, Javante Hudson, and DPD Community Relations Officer Sgt. Dominick Robinson.

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

As part of a recent essay contest, young residents of the Brockington Heights Apartments in Darlington got the chance to explore their feelings about bullying and potentially go home with one of three free bicycles given away by the Darlington Police Department.

DPD Chief Danny Watson and Community Relations Officer Sgt. Dominick Robinson joined Brockington Heights manager Kiarra Stephenson last week to select essay contest winners and present those kids with their bikes. The three grand prize winners were Anastasia McFarland, Calvin Jamel Cooks, and Tyjeon McFarland.

Stephenson said the essay contest was one of several engagement projects underway to promote a good atmosphere at Brockington.

“We’re working closely with Sgt. Robinson on different activities that we can have for the children,” said Stephenson, noting that a coloring contest with gift card prizes and a pizza party grand prize drew complex-wide participation. Other projects – like arts and crafts gifts for Mother’s Day, a Christmas door decorating contest, and the annual July cookout – also help to promote a sense of community among residents.

Stephenson said she chose anti-bullying as an essay contest topic because some of the children at Brockington have disagreements and issues among themselves, and she thought it would benefit them to ponder the downside of picking fights with other kids.

Chief Watson said the DPD was happy to provide bicycles as prizes for the anti-bullying essay contest, since it provides a great incentive for the kids and allows DPD to repurpose bicycles from its store of unclaimed property.

“From time to time, we find ourselves in possession of quite a few old bicycles, and we’re able to cobble them together and make five okay bikes into three really good bikes,” said Watson.

He praised the idea of getting kids to spend time thinking about bullying and understanding its negative impacts on them and other children.

“We’ve got about a hundred kids out here at Brockington Heights. What better place to go to to find folks where you can have an impact and make an immediate change in their lives? Hopefully, teaching them life lessons about work ethic, working toward something, and how to get along with one another will stick with them for life,” said Watson. “It’s an incremental positive change.”

Author: Duane Childers

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