Area law enforcement partnered with the Danville Area Boys and Girls Club to host the second annual Youth Athletic Games.
The event was a chance for area kids to get active and meet local officials.
The Danville Sheriff's Office says most of the children grow up seeing law enforcement in a negative light and the event is one way to change that perception.
Balls were bounced and thrown and kids jumped and ran. It was clear Saturday that the Danville Area Boys and Girls Club is full of energy.
"Oh they love it. They're having fun, running around, just having a good time," said David Thomas, the Unit Director of Danville Area Boys and Girls Club.
Not only were the kids having a great time, they were doing it with Danville and Pittsylvania law enforcement.
"They get to compete in the athletic events and are awarded medals if they win," said Sheriff Mike Mondul with the Danville Sheriff's Office.
"Kids get to compete in certain activities like jump rope, basketball free throw shoot, the 100 meter dash, football throw for accuracy," Thomas said.
For some of the kids, the events were just friendly competition, but to area law enforcement, it meant much more.
"The main theme is they get to interact with law enforcement in a positive way, so that they develop that positive relationship that will hopefully last them throughout the rest of their lives and through the years," Sheriff Mondul added.
Officers facilitated the games, and had a little fun with the kids as well.
"Unfortunately a lot of times the only way young people come in contact with law enforcement and prosecutors is either in the court room or you know when their loved one is being arrested or getting a ticket, something like that. This is obviously something that they can connect with and have that positive memory that when they're in trouble, or they need help, that they do go to law enforcement," Sheriff Mondul explained.
"It's very important because a lot of kids are scared to go to the police, so having events like this, the kids will not be hesitant to call the police when they really need them," Thomas said.
"How we invest in our children clearly defines how our future becomes, and that's why we're out here today, and to have fun with the kids," Sheriff Mondul added.
Before they started the games, officers had the kids sign a good citizens pledge. It was focused on good sportsmanship, community service and respecting authority.
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