Venango County Pennsylvania has a new program for Christmas
The new program places local needy children with police officers
from the area to do Christmas shopping at Walmart.
It is hoped that the program will also allow these children the
opportunity to view the police in a more positive and friendly
This will be the first time for this program in Venango County.
Michelle McGee; Community service officer for the Meadville
state police is working with Family Service & Childrens Aid’s
Big Brothers and Big Sisters program in Venango County to
identify needy children age 5-15 in the area who would most
benefit from such a program.
The goal of the program besides providing christmas to children
who would otherwise not receive a gift is to provide them with
positive experiences with local police officers and hopefuly to
let them see through their own experience that the police are
not bad people.
The Walmart foundation has provided a $1,500 donation which
will provide each child with a $75 Walmart gift card.
Each child and his or her police officer will then go christmas
shopping where the child can either buy gifts for family or for
The only restriction given is that they can not buy electronics.
Jessica Walters, Program Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters
of Venango, Clarion, and Forest counties is coordinating the
program and helping to decide which children will best benifit
from the program.
When Tammy Paden, a local parent read the story in the Derrick
she woke her daughter Cheyenne and told her that she needed
to write a 100 word essay describing her most memorable
experience with a police officer.
When interviewed by the examiner; Mrs. Paden stated that besides
this being the only chance of Cheyenne having christmas this year
due to tight finances and moveing that she also wants Cheyenne
to experience what police are really like through her own experience.
Mrs. Paden also stated that there is a lot of negative talk and hype
about police and she hopes this experience will help Cheyenne to
ignore those negatives and hopefuly gain a trust and understanding
of the men and women who put their lives and familys on the line
every day for us.
Cheyenne sayes that when her mom told her that she wanted her
to write an essay about her experience with a police officer; she
thought that would be neat.
Cheyenne don’t realy think much of the negative oppinions of the
police because she says her parents are allways telling her what the
police do every day just for her.
Cheyenne chose to write her essay on the D.A.R.E. officer at her
school, Officer Reagan.
She states that officer Reagan really seemed to care and that he put
his heart into teaching the students so they would fully understand the
program and why it is so important.
When Mrs. Walters called Cheyenne’s parents, they were overjoyed;
Cheyenne would have a christmas after all.
On Dec 3 Cheyenne will be teamed with a local officer at Walmart
in Cranberry and will get to go christmas shopping as will many other
needy children from the area.
It is hoped that this program will be a success and continue in future
years in Venango county.