Police Youth Alliance: History
“Law enforcement agencies should create opportunities in schools and communities for positive, non-enforcement interactions with police.”
- President Obama’s Task Force on 21st-Century Policing
Launched in 2015, the Police Youth Alliance (PYA) is an original initiative of the Families Behind the Badge Children's Foundation designed to cultivate positive relationships and interactions between police officers and the children in the communities they serve.
In response to growing tensions between inner-city communities and law enforcement in recent years, this initiative was designed to create opportunities, through educational enrichment activities, for uniformed police officers and students to interact in a positive manner. The expectation is to begin to change the current dynamic and bridge the gap between police officers and the communities they serve.
When PYA began in 2015, it had just three pilot programs - two chess programs and one art/music program - in 2 schools in the Independence Mission Schools system being led by officers from the Philadelphia Police Department. In the Fall of 2016, we expanded to seven schools and extended our classroom curriculum to include reading and step dance. During the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 school years, we saw substantial growth in the program, offering over 30 programs across 15 different schools each year. As the program grew, we expanded program activities to include drumline, Spanish, gardening, home ec, robotics, carpentry, bike safety, sports, and technology.
Currently, the program is being hosted in partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department, Temple University Police Department, and Pennsylvania State Police and Independence Mission Schools, Philadelphia Public School System, and Keystone Elementary School in Bucks County.