OASIS After School Program Manager Matt Dillon is looking to foster positive relationships for his students and their community.
What began as a staff meeting discussion will now result in a basketball game between the Oakdale Junior High OASIS students and the Oakdale Police Department.
“It’s the first time we’ve invited police to interact with students in our program,” Dillon said of the event.
The game will be hosted on Friday, Oct. 21 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the OJHS gym. Dillon has invited OJHS staff to participate as well and has received a positive response. The community is invited to attend what Dillon hopes will become an annual event.
“They’re really excited,” he said of the students. “The response rate is very high. We’re happy with that, since it was really kind of an unknown.”
Dillon described junior high students as, “old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, yet still young enough to not be too cool for school.” He also noted that outside influences begin to factor in during this age.
“I want them to know who their police officers are and want them to build relationships with them,” he said of the positive involvement.
Participation in the inaugural event is open to the OASIS students, OJHS staff and OPD. Dillon shared the potential for it to grow greater is there and he plans to use the first event as a learning tool as well.