ROANOKE, Va – Children from the West End Center for Youth got the chance to connect with local law enforcement Tuesday.
The West End Walk started in 2016 as a partnership between the Grandin Theatre and the West End Center in hopes of introducing children at the center to resources in their community and connect the two neighborhoods.
“Exposing kids to new opportunities is just really important to use and something we value,” West End Center for Youth executive director Amanda Nastiuk said.
Run About Sports provides the children with shoes for the one mile walk from the center to the theater.
One of the other partners of the walk is the Roanoke City Police Department. For Sergeant William Drake, the walk is a chance to build a relationship with the children in his community, which Drake says is more important now than ever.
“We know the struggles that we’re dealing with currently, and these have been changes that have been changing for a long time and we’re very lucky here in Roanoke because we’ve been doing this kind of stuff for a long time, the community engagement,” Roanoke City Police Sergeant William Drake said.
The organizations involved hope the walk helps bridge the gap between communities and build stronger communication.
“We’re really a place where kids can come and build resilience so that kids can be successful in the future,” Nastiuk said.
The children got to watch a movie at the Grandin Theatre while practicing social distancing when they finished the walk.
Four more walks will be held every other Tuesday through the first week of August.