Six years ago, RE/MAX Select One Broker/Owner Stuart Thomas and STAR Real Estate CEO and founder Frank McDowell were having lunch. During that lunch they decided that they could bring together the community to raise money for a great cause. For the past 6 years, they have focused on helping kids. The first five events helped Colette’s Children’s Home, Habitat for Humanity, Project Self Sufficiency, Make-A-Wish and Children’s Hospital of Orange (CHOC). This year, they are excited to be working closely with Huntington Beach Chief of Police Robert Handy. The Huntington Beach Police and Community Foundation was created by Chief Handy. One of the focusses of the foundation is youth programs. The foundation recently took a group of kids who got surf lessons from police officers.
There is a fundraiser planned for November 3rd at Seacliff Country Club. The event is from 4-7PM. Corporate Sponsorships are available. Tickets are $20 at the door. These events are very well attended averaging 350 people. There will be silent auctions, pick a prize, $1,000 drawing, food and drink…
Chief Handy outlines the programs and benefits…
- Horse therapy program. We take at risk kids and a police officer picks them up in their neighborhood and takes them to the riding stables on Golden West. At the stables we have partnered with Horse Nation (a local nonprofit) and there are counselors and social workers who spend several hours with the kids, along with the police officer. They do this over a ten week span. The classes or therapy sessions include anti bullying, gang and drug awareness, and general life skills topics. The horses are used to break down any barriers and get the kids talking and introduce topics. All the horses are rescue horses and many have similar backgrounds to the kids. There is some job skills introduction as well and some students are brought back in “intern” programs at the stables to learn specific job skills such as horse grooming, braiding, and even horse shoeing. We did one program last year and hope to do 8 this coming school year.
- We are doing a shop with a cop program at Target in December. We are taking 30 kids (each escorted by an officer) shopping. Each kid will have two hundred dollars to spend on gifts for themselves and their families. They will be fed breakfast first at Market Broiler. Santa Clause will be there and there will be some Christmas crafts and a small family gift for each of them from Target. Some parts of the event will be donated, but the Foundation is covering the bulk of the costs.
- We have had some preliminary discussions about also partnering with the Kiwanis Club and assisting them with their holiday shopping/clothing event. I have a tentative meeting with their organizer in a couple of weeks.
- We have a youth leadership program that should start late this fall. It will be a one night per week program at the police station with 20-30 high school age kids. There are many behind the scenes costs for the program that will be covered by the foundation. Transportation to classes, events and service projects, shirts, meals, and speaker fees. The program will run from November to May. In addition to one night per week, there will be periodic trips to places like the Museum of Tolerance and community service projects on the weekends.
- We have a scholarship program. Several scholarships will be awarded this Spring to our local high school kids.
- Multiple recreation/sports programs. We have done a couple of camp style sports programs with cops and kids. Those programs will grow exponentially throughout the year. Last year we did a couple of spring camps. One with local youth and another with kids and their families from Orange County who are battling life threatening diseases. Our goal is to eventually get to a Pal or Police Activities League concept where kids have after school sports activities with police officers.
There are other programs in the making as well, but this is just what is immediately planned.
“This Foundation created by Chief Handy will do tremendous work with the youth of our community. We are excited to be able to give something back to the Huntington Beach Community through our fundraising efforts. These events take months of hard work and the group of ladies who give their time and energy are the heart and soul of these events. They are the “A” Team. This is the sixth time we have all come together with a common goal of helping others.” Stuart Thomas.