A playground from a school in Woodbine will soon be the newest attraction in a Costa Rican neighbourhood, thanks to seven Calgary police officers. The officers will be travelling to San Jose, Costa Rica, on Thursday, March 5, for a 10-day trip where they will be installing the playground in a neighbourhood where youth are at risk for gang involvement.
The team is partnering for trip with the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, as well as three officers from the Edmonton Police Service and chaplains from both police services. In addition to installing the playground, the team will also be meeting with members of the Costa Rica Police Guard to share their expertise on gang prevention and youth intervention, as well as learn about Costa Rican culture.
“I had the opportunity to go on this trip last year and I know all the police officers involved found the experience to be extremely valuable,” said A/Sgt. Garry Woods, a member of the Calgary Police Service’s Diversity Resources Team, who works closely with Calgary’s Latin American community. “I learned a lot about the Costa Rican way of life and the power of serving others, and I hope we were able to share some valuable crime prevention expertise with the local police.”
The Calgary officers on the team are mostly from the Community and Youth Services Section, which is responsible for youth education, youth intervention and mentorship, and community services like the Victim Assistance Unit and the Diversity Resources Team. They are all volunteering their time for the trip and will be in Costa Rica from March 5 to March 15, 2015.
“We look forward to having the Calgary Police Service members join our efforts to offer hope and help to hurting people in Costa Rica,” said Fred Weiss, Executive Director of Samaritan’s Purse Canada. “As we have seen in the past, interactions between Calgary police officers and their Costa Rican counterparts can provide practical benefit to the participating police officers of both countries.”
The playground was donated to Samaritan’s Purse by Kids Around the World and was shipped to Costa Rica late last month. The team will be doing some other charitable work during the trip as well, including visiting local rehabilitation clinics and helping to distribute Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to impoverished children.